Giving Songwriting Credit to A Star for a cut.

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Feb 13, 2018, 01:23 AM

Well that was very informative. And civil! You didn’t have to insult me once. There may be hope for you yet.

There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? http://www.garyeandrews.com

 
     
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Gary E. Andrews Joined Apr 12, 2005
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Feb 13, 2018, 02:07 AM

Gary,

No reason for insults. I respect you very much and always enjoy the contributions you make here. And in a perfect world, you are correct. Writers should be paid for their work and be able to retain as much of their rights as they deserve. But there are always extenuating circumstances,and that is what I am trying to point out. There are other things that go “beyond the song” that have to be taken into consideration.

I have always had to see the bigger picture because I come from a business background. My Father and I had a business buying, selling and restoring collector cars, and many other businesses. I had to see from him how many things have to go into making a business work. And I also saw a lot of ways that businesses DON’T work. I saw many times where he spread himself too thin and robbing Peter to pay Paul. So I’ve seen businesses succeed and fail and understand that it is often beyond your control. You try to control what you can and deal with what you can’t.

In everything I do, I try to give “the other side of the story.” I try to give examples to explain my position and draw parallels with other fields of endeavor. And I understand how most of the affected parties think and why they think like they do.

So I’m glad to have the conversation with you and don’t ask that you agree with me, just understand both sides of the equation. Never stop fighting for what you believe in, songwriter’s rights and the whole reason any of us do this. You are correct in many of the things you say. There are just larger things you also have to be aware of.

That’s what I try to present. Glad you think there is hope for me. I do too.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Feb 13, 2018, 02:14 AM

Gary,

An aspect of my overall career has always been the benefit of working with people who were more experienced than I was. I was brought into bands, into situations by others that saw something in my abilities that made them want to work with me. I “stumbled into a cut” because I had worked with (and paid) a professional writer to mentor me when I had to change everything about my style, my writing abilities and completely adjust to a new genre of music. Ron Muir, was his name and he had lived in Nashville for ten years before and had achieved a good deal of success in his era. He was the one who produced my first project, which is what led to the cut.

So while we did “stumble” into it, we actually were prepared with the right song, at the right time, produced just the right way, that represented what we were doing. And that took a lot of ground work and preparation and understanding the way things worked “beyond the song.”

“LUCK” is when ‘preparation and opportunity; meet.”

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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JAPOV Joined Jul 02, 2006
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Feb 13, 2018, 03:14 PM

Tony,

I’ll admit it all gets a little hard to believe since most people are convinced there are “gatekeepers” and big secrete things that go on that navigate all these things. But most stuff is really very random. Luck plays a huge part. And this story is repeated in almost every hit writer I have ever known. I’ll give you another example from a co-writer of mine, Jim Peteric.

Jim is out of Chicago Ill. where he started at 17 with a band called “THE IDES OF MARCH.” They had one main song, that was recorded in a small studio. It was called “VEHICLE.” (“I’m the friendly stranger in the black sedan, won’t you hop inside my car…”, fifty years later, still some of the creepyist lyrics ever written). Jim’s entire career is one “chance meeting, with another. He later happened to run into a friend, who was putting together a new rock band and wanted someone to write songs for them. That band was 38 SPECIAL. (HOLD ON LOOSELY, ROCKING INTO THE NIGHT, Jim wrote most of their stuff.) Each one of these bands would go for a while, have great success and then break up and random meetings with people “he sort of knew” would lead to something else.
As 38 Special was winding down, he ran into another friend who had another rock band again looking for someone to write material. A lot of these bands didn’t really write or were not getting the songs they wanted, so they went outside to someone who knew songwriting better than they did. In each case, they were just “groups of guys getting together to jam.”

This new band was called SURVIVOR. And Jim wrote a couple of songs that became medium level hits and were getting radio airplay. One day, as it looked like that band was actually over, he gets a phone call in his house in Chicago from a very distinctive voice. It was Sylvester Stallone. At first he thought it was some friends playing a trick on him, so he let the joke go on.
Sylvester, or “Sly”, as he called himself, said he was doing another Rocky Film and had been driving on the LA freeway and heard one of their songs on the radio. He tracked them down and found out Jim was the primary writer. He said he was doing another one (Rocky III) and wanted something “New and Fresh for the kids, instead of just the “Rocky Theme” which was already pretty well worn.

Jim finally was convinced and Sly asked if he could send him the raw commercial footage for what would become the trailer and see if Jim could write something to it. Jim was still a little skeptical until the Fed.EX package arrived with all the “Movie logo stuff and “official” things on it. He had to view it, work on what he needed and “GET IT BACK, ASAP.”
So he put it in his VCR (at that time, still fairly new) and he and his partner started watching this. It was no music or sound effects, just a montage of shots of Clubber Lang (MR. T) punching bags, opponents, working out in the gym. Jim, had his guitar on and just sort of absentmindedly started playing an E Chord, to the timing on the punches.

Da….Da,da,da….da,da,da…..da,da,daaaaaaaa…..!!!!

That’s what the guitar parts on EYE OF THE TIGER became.

He worked out licks timed to the punches in the video footage. But he still didn’t know what to write about. He sent Sly a work tape of that, but said since he didn’t know the story, he didn’t know where else to take it. A few days later, he gets a ROUGH copy of video footage of the actual movie. Again, no music or sound effects, not even all the dialogue, but Jim got a sense of what it was and the scene where Apollo Creed tells Rocky he had to go get the “Eye of the Tiger”, it all fell together.

IT’s one of the biggest songs in rock history due to licencing in film, television, commercials. I can’t turn on the TV without hearing that guitar phrase. And this morning at 2:00 AM I was watching that movie and saw the footage Jim had written to.

So that is sort of the example. A guy has multiple careers that just dovetail into each other accidentally, he is at the right place at the right time with the right song, a Hollywood mega star happens to hear one of those songs on the radio, and decides that’s what he needs for his movie. And all of that turns the guy into a very wealthy man.
PREPARATION+OPPORTUNITIES=LUCK.

There are BILLIONS of these stories when it comes to music. But this is a very similar example to what has happened to almost anyone I’ve ever met who were successful at this. And a similar thing happened to me on my first cut.

So that is what I mean.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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JAPOV Joined Jul 02, 2006
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Feb 15, 2018, 07:23 AM
Barry Butler - 11 February 2018 10:25 AM

If a Star wanted to sing your song but insisted on having co credit as the writer would you say YES? I think that sucks but I would do it.

Barry, that very question just came up. We know a kid who has been playing and writing and having local success for about 6-8 years or so. Has an agent, etc. A well known international act bought one of his songs and that was the deal; sign away ALL the rights. He’ll get no writing credit on an album if they use it. None.

He chose to do it because he hopes his name and reputation will circulate behind the scenes and there will be a next song and so on. Oh, and it was a pretty decent sized check. A years pay for a lot of people.

Without knowing it, he has been doing pretty much what MAB suggests so often; build a local presence, network, keep writing and playing. Through that net work, he came up to the right person at the right time.

So, we asked ourselves if we’d do it. The answer is yes and for the same reasons; build up to the point where our name matters.

Now, we started playing a game, is there a song we’d say NO to? And the answer there is, YES. Some of them are off limits. Some are too special, too meaningful.

At least I say that now with no one waving a check in our face. LOL

 
     
Larry Gude Joined May 23, 2017
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Feb 15, 2018, 09:21 AM

15-20k is nothing to smirk at that’s for sure! But who’s to really say what goes on behind the
scenes? I would never want to become “that guy” who claims to be the “ghost writer” for…........
If you sign away all your rights then what do you put on your resume? What’s your guarantee
that you won’t be ignored from then on for “contractual” reasons? How would you ever know
who your friends truly are?

 
     
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JAPOV Joined Jul 02, 2006
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Feb 15, 2018, 09:45 AM

” A well known international act bought one of his songs and that was the deal; sign away ALL the rights. He’ll get no writing credit on an album if they use it. None.”

This is why all of this is such a grey area. If he did that, what he did was technically illegal. According to the 1973 copyright law, you actually “CANT’ sell your writer’s rights. Was a law passed because people like Willie Nelson “sold” the song “CRAZY” for $50, back in the 60’s, which was common practice. From then on your could “assign” your publishing rights, but legally could never “sell” your writers rights.
But due to the international scene, and other laws, and a lot of “UNENFORCEABLE” laws and regulations, it is more or less what you make up.
Hey, we can’t even decide on what to do with ILLEGAL HUMANS, you think anybody really cares about rights on SONGS?

And if he has gotten $15-$20, grand, he better TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN. But I wouldn’t expect any of that to happen again. Another problem you have with “International entities” is collecting. They are pretty close to the “Nigerian general’s” when it comes to actually paying money.
So good for him I guess. Enjoy it, spend it wisely or save it cause HE’S GONNA NEED IT.

Modern number one songs are not paying that. Miley Cyrus’ “WRECKING BALL” paid around $13,000 through Spotify, and that was split between THREE WRITERS and THREE PUBLISHERS. And most songs now have four-five or even more writers on it.

The deal on all of this is, WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL OUTLOOK?
If you think this is the ONLY SONG YOU WILL EVER HAVE CUT, or if it will LEAD to other things, then make your decisions.

My thoughts are that ANY OUTSIDE CUTS will be completely gone within 3-5 years. There are really not any now, particularly in the major label artist.
Independents are going that way, if not totally gone by now. Been steadily decreasing for 25 years.

But people can still try. A DIY world.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Feb 15, 2018, 10:00 AM
MBarne4908 - 15 February 2018 09:45 AM

” 

This is why all of this is such a grey area. If he did that, what he did was technically illegal. According to the 1973 copyright law, you actually “CANT’ sell your writer’s rights. 

MAB


Ah, OK, maybe it was all done properly? I do NOT know the details first hand nor the person well enough to ask.

Interesting.

 
     
Larry Gude Joined May 23, 2017
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Feb 15, 2018, 02:10 PM

Larry,

I’m not saying anything about the guy, I’d only say I’m a little skeptical whenever people start talking about money when it comes to music There are a few reasons. First of all, it’s nobody’s business. Second there might be tax issues you have to deal with. Third, he might be doing something not kosher in certain areas (might be fine in some countries and not here, or vice versa), the forth is because the second you start talking about money, every distant friend, relative, etc. come out of the woodwork wanting money or something. Most notably, other writers wanting them to do something for THEIR music. Gets pretty ridiculous, just like lottery winners.

The last is more superstitious. Like a hitter on a hot streak, who won’t change his socks till he stops hitting or not talking to a pitcher in a no hitter. it is just bad luck to tempt fate. You may never get another cut or make another dollar. If he has gotten this, good for him, keep his mouth shut, cash the check and move on to the next thing.

A lot about overseas stuff is really the opposite. I have a friend who is a publisher, specializing totally in overseas cuts. A few years back he got a cut on this group in Greece, who were like “DESTINY’S CHILD” Three hot women who were everywhere. Hit stars on the radio, television, billboards, awards shows, ringtones, CD’s, the whole star bit. The song went to number three on charts in Greece and some other countries in Europe.
After a couple of years, he still hadn’t received a dime on the song. So he starts trying to track down all the people he had dealt with to get the cut. ASCAP here, his PRO, had nothing to do with it and they tried to find their opposite number in Europe, which proved harder to find than they realized. Finally, they tracked down this PRO in Greece, which turned out to be owned by the Government. Greece is a socialist country, and at the time, were having food riots in the streets. So paying money on a song, really wasn’t on their priority list.
I don’t know if he ever saw a penny on that song.

So things can be quite misleading. If this guy did do a work for hire, and sell whatever, it is his right. I’ve heard of similar things, but again, never from the actual people who did it, but from second, third of fourth hand. I think if it was something that was common, a lot of people would be doing it. So I’ll remain skeptical.

MAB

[ Edited: 15 February 2018 03:54 PM by MBarne4908]
 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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