• Clement S. Sealy, Jr.

Structuring Payment With Producers

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

There are a host of horror stories from artists with bad experiences with producers. These experiences may or may not be one-sided. There are a host of issues and circumstances that can play a part in any business relationship.  Regardless of a producer’s moral or moral character, it should be said that anyone entering the music industry should know its foundation and how to protect themselves.

Personally, in my many years in this industry, I have experienced many horrific people from immoral actions, incompetence, and such from many different aspects and levels within the industry.  Artists, producers, musicians, executives all have experienced the bad with the good.  These experiences help build a better you, a more intelligent and stronger career for you.  

Now let's talk about what you should look for. The main focus is to make sure that you are dealing with someone who understands that you will not do business unless it is in WRITING.  This is your protection and means of restitution judiciously.  Keep in mind you must do what is required of you to be compliant with the agreement.

How to work with a producer

This is not complicated typically producers are paid a flat fee plus some of the royalties. Usually, but nothing is set in stone. the producer’s royalties are somewhere in the range of 15 to 25 percent, after recording costs, producer’s fees, distribution, and so on.

It is possible to have a producer take a larger cut of the royalties and waive their flat fee but that is negotiable. Looking at the transitions in the market place it is better to reduce the royalty entitlement by paying more upfront.   In addition, be aware that you can sometimes by out the producer so that you are owing any royalties, this will cost much more. If an artist is not planning on releasing the song then an upfront fee is all the producer will get. Please be advised that this is going to be in the agreement.

If you can’t pay a producer’s fee, try to negotiate a 50/50 split where the producer is maintaining part ownership of the track.  If this deal is accepted ensure that you maintain “Administrative” privileges over the track. Again, be aware, you will be responsible for releasing and promoting that track.

If you are in a collaborative endeavor, understand, that you will be owing the producer a certain amount of money. 

Remember this "Free is not a game plan. I's a death sentence." - Mega P

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