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#1125579 - 03/20/17 09:59 AM Pitching song with another artist  
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 22
MichelleMarie Offline
Casual Observer
MichelleMarie  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 22
I have a dilemma. I wrote a song- words and lyrics and a male vocalist sang it for me to pitch as a demo for free. No monies were exchanged. A little while later, I hear it and think- that song is amazing with him as the vocalist. Do I have to get his permission to pitch this song with him as the artist? I may be able to put it on local radio stations, etc. I probably can't sell it on CD Baby, either without his permission. And, even if I get his permission, I still can't sell it on CD Baby??? Cause isn't it the artist who can sell songs on CD Baby, NOT the songwriter? Please clarify for me, because I have NO IDEA how all this can be done.

In case any of you know... I am trying to get in touch with Ronnie Lee Hurst. I met him years ago, I believe on JPFolks. Now, years later, I have looked him up on Facebook and even left a message on a phone number I found for him. But, I see he hasn't gone on Facebook for close to a year and I have no idea if I even have the right phone number for him.
Thank you in advance for any information you have to give me.

#1125580 - 03/20/17 10:11 AM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: MichelleMarie]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,786
Ray E. Strode Offline
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Ray E. Strode  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,786
Brunswick, Ga. USA
OK,
I assume you have registered the Copyright and you own the song. Rarely would you identify the demo singer when you pitch a song. If in case you place the song and it does well you could reward the demo singer if you wish. We all have demos done by amazing artists as that is what some artists do. Good luck.


Ray E. Strode
#1125581 - 03/20/17 11:27 AM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: MichelleMarie]  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 8,440
John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 8,440
PA
Is this the singer Michelle? http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=171451 If it is, there's a contact link here. Anything other than demo purposes, you should have his permission.

Best, John smile

#1125583 - 03/20/17 11:41 AM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: MichelleMarie]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,814
Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,814
Nashville, Tn.
Michelle,

You are in some murky waters. A demo singer has the same function as the musicians on a recording. To DEMONSTRATE what the song is supposed to sound like. Even if they do it for free or a favor. We all do a lot of that. But sometimes you get the perfect pairing of a song and singer and you want them to be involved. First of all, you do have to get their permission on anything representing them as an artist. You could pitch the song TO the singer. I know of many hits that were done by artists when they were the original demo singer. "FRIEND'S IN LOW PLACES" was an enormous hit for Garth Brooks, it was actually cut by singer Mark Chesnut first. But Garth was the original demo singer on the song. He actually was the demo singer on several of the songs that would go on to become hits for him. Also Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, and many others recorded songs they had sung as demo singers, so that is not unheard of. Less so today where everyone are writers but still happens. That is what we would love. Have a demo singer that goes on to be famous and take one of ours with us.

But there are "other sides" as well. I used to sing on a lot of demos, especially in the "Travis Tritt" days where everyone who had a Travis pitch would come to me for the demo because our voices were very similar. And many, I'd say most of the songs, simply were not very good, and I would not want to be associated with the song as artists. Paying the rent and food by doing a demo is one thing. Having it become part of your career, even supplanting one of your own songs is another. In some cases, you might have a very Christian artist being hired to do a demo for a drinking or partying song, or a "message song" that goes against the personal feelings of the singer, happens a good deal also.

I have had people use my voice on their songs and sell them on CD's, which is a very uncomfortable situation One guy had myself and several well known singers on some pretty lame songs. We all asked him to stop which he did. I know he just really liked what we all did, but to be honest the songs were just very sub par.

Much like the model or actress that does some "art pictures" or low budget questionable films early in their career that pop back up to haunt them later. In some cases that can be a mess, like actress, Vanessa Williams found out when pictures surfaced that forced her to give up her Miss America crown. Although it worked out well for her. The publicity actually helped her career. But was a shock at that time.

"DEMO" means DEMONSTRATION. It should be kept at that unless you get permission to do anything else. The first stop would be there.

MAB

#1125584 - 03/20/17 11:56 AM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 22
MichelleMarie Offline
Casual Observer
MichelleMarie  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 22
Thank you, John. Yes, that is me.
I will check it out.

#1125588 - 03/20/17 01:25 PM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: MichelleMarie]  
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 123
Toby Barns Offline
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Toby Barns  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 123
Central Illinois
This is a good example of why using a "Work Made For Hire" agreement is useful. A thorough Work For Hire agreement should address the singers and musicians roles (everyone involved). They can basically be compensated, with no claim to ownership, for their role in the creation of the sound recording.

Then the actual ownership of the sound recording, as well as the composition can be established. If you go beyond using it as more than a demo, and you do not have an agreement, then the session players could potentially make an issue of it.

#1125919 - 03/28/17 06:17 PM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: MichelleMarie]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 545
Pat Hardy Offline
Top 500 Poster
Pat Hardy  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 545
Originally Posted by MichelleMarie
I have a dilemma. I wrote a song- words and lyrics and a male vocalist sang it for me to pitch as a demo for free. No monies were exchanged. A little while later, I hear it and think- that song is amazing with him as the vocalist. Do I have to get his permission to pitch this song with him as the artist? I may be able to put it on local radio stations, etc. I probably can't sell it on CD Baby, either without his permission. And, even if I get his permission, I still can't sell it on CD Baby??? Cause isn't it the artist who can sell songs on CD Baby, NOT the songwriter? Please clarify for me, because I have NO IDEA how all this can be done.

In case any of you know... I am trying to get in touch with Ronnie Lee Hurst. I met him years ago, I believe on JPFolks. Now, years later, I have looked him up on Facebook and even left a message on a phone number I found for him. But, I see he hasn't gone on Facebook for close to a year and I have no idea if I even have the right phone number for him.
Thank you in advance for any information you have to give me.



I solve this perennial dilemna with a "work for hire" agreement. A WFH is defined in copyright law, it makes you the owner of the recording, and it assures publishers, music directors, etc., that no one but you has a claim on the song or the recording. . A WFH transfers any claim of copyright to "employer". I downloaded a boiler plate work for hire, and added some other language for this and that. A WFH means, say his melodic variations ( which are actually just interpretive variations ) he or she could argue make him a "co-author", by signing a work for hire, it's a moot point. You own it and that's that. Also, if you are going to sell the recording, or try and place it as a master in a film, TV show, etc., you should inform the vocalist, for he or she might, as a condition of employment for the recording, want something, or you need to get them to sign a WFH where they waive performance rights if you are intending on using it as a master.

If they refuse to record it because you don't intend on compensating them for their vocals on a master use license, and you want them bad enough, consider maybe something like 20% of "master use" license ( not for PRO royalties or sync license, those go to the songwriter ) which is a one time fee and/or something for mechanicals for CD sales. If you are going to sell it on CDBaby, etc., now you are acting like a label, and that's a whole nuther can of worms about which I know every little, given that now you are promoting the demo singer not as a demo singer, but as an "artist". I make masters for film and TV placement ( well, I'm trying, anyway ) I actually do this with singers I really like ( give them a percentage of a master use fee ), and I want them to make money in case I place the master in a film, or TV show, share in the excitement. But, I'm not real clear on this, so check with a lawyer, that's a must.

#1125920 - 03/28/17 06:24 PM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 545
Pat Hardy Offline
Top 500 Poster
Pat Hardy  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 545
Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Michelle,

You are in some murky waters. A demo singer has the same function as the musicians on a recording. To DEMONSTRATE what the song is supposed to sound like. Even if they do it for free or a favor. We all do a lot of that. But sometimes you get the perfect pairing of a song and singer and you want them to be involved. First of all, you do have to get their permission on anything representing them as an artist. You could pitch the song TO the singer. I know of many hits that were done by artists when they were the original demo singer. "FRIEND'S IN LOW PLACES" was an enormous hit for Garth Brooks, it was actually cut by singer Mark Chesnut first. But Garth was the original demo singer on the song. He actually was the demo singer on several of the songs that would go on to become hits for him. Also Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, and many others recorded songs they had sung as demo singers, so that is not unheard of. Less so today where everyone are writers but still happens. That is what we would love. Have a demo singer that goes on to be famous and take one of ours with us.

But there are "other sides" as well. I used to sing on a lot of demos, especially in the "Travis Tritt" days where everyone who had a Travis pitch would come to me for the demo because our voices were very similar. And many, I'd say most of the songs, simply were not very good, and I would not want to be associated with the song as artists. Paying the rent and food by doing a demo is one thing. Having it become part of your career, even supplanting one of your own songs is another. In some cases, you might have a very Christian artist being hired to do a demo for a drinking or partying song, or a "message song" that goes against the personal feelings of the singer, happens a good deal also.

I have had people use my voice on their songs and sell them on CD's, which is a very uncomfortable situation One guy had myself and several well known singers on some pretty lame songs. We all asked him to stop which he did. I know he just really liked what we all did, but to be honest the songs were just very sub par.

Much like the model or actress that does some "art pictures" or low budget questionable films early in their career that pop back up to haunt them later. In some cases that can be a mess, like actress, Vanessa Williams found out when pictures surfaced that forced her to give up her Miss America crown. Although it worked out well for her. The publicity actually helped her career. But was a shock at that time.

"DEMO" means DEMONSTRATION. It should be kept at that unless you get permission to do anything else. The first stop would be there.

MAB



I agree. If a demo singer finds out the person who hired him is selling the song on CDbaby, etc., ( say it's a lame song ) he is now acting like a label, which is not what you, the singer, bargained for. Make sure the Work-For-Hire spells out what both of you want out of the deal, and often boiler plate work - for - hires downloaded off the internet don't adequately address all the issues that need to be addressed, so this is the reason for a lawyer ( not just any lawyer, but an entertainment intellectual property -IP- lawyer.)

Last edited by pathardy; 03/28/17 06:26 PM.
#1125961 - 03/29/17 07:40 AM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: Pat Hardy]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,160
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,160
Indianapolis, IN USA
Originally Posted by pathardy
Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Michelle,

You are in some murky waters. A demo singer has the same function as the musicians on a recording. To DEMONSTRATE what the song is supposed to sound like. Even if they do it for free or a favor. We all do a lot of that. But sometimes you get the perfect pairing of a song and singer and you want them to be involved. First of all, you do have to get their permission on anything representing them as an artist. You could pitch the song TO the singer. I know of many hits that were done by artists when they were the original demo singer. "FRIEND'S IN LOW PLACES" was an enormous hit for Garth Brooks, it was actually cut by singer Mark Chesnut first. But Garth was the original demo singer on the song. He actually was the demo singer on several of the songs that would go on to become hits for him. Also Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, and many others recorded songs they had sung as demo singers, so that is not unheard of. Less so today where everyone are writers but still happens. That is what we would love. Have a demo singer that goes on to be famous and take one of ours with us.

But there are "other sides" as well. I used to sing on a lot of demos, especially in the "Travis Tritt" days where everyone who had a Travis pitch would come to me for the demo because our voices were very similar. And many, I'd say most of the songs, simply were not very good, and I would not want to be associated with the song as artists. Paying the rent and food by doing a demo is one thing. Having it become part of your career, even supplanting one of your own songs is another. In some cases, you might have a very Christian artist being hired to do a demo for a drinking or partying song, or a "message song" that goes against the personal feelings of the singer, happens a good deal also.

I have had people use my voice on their songs and sell them on CD's, which is a very uncomfortable situation One guy had myself and several well known singers on some pretty lame songs. We all asked him to stop which he did. I know he just really liked what we all did, but to be honest the songs were just very sub par.

Much like the model or actress that does some "art pictures" or low budget questionable films early in their career that pop back up to haunt them later. In some cases that can be a mess, like actress, Vanessa Williams found out when pictures surfaced that forced her to give up her Miss America crown. Although it worked out well for her. The publicity actually helped her career. But was a shock at that time.

"DEMO" means DEMONSTRATION. It should be kept at that unless you get permission to do anything else. The first stop would be there.

MAB



I agree. If a demo singer finds out the person who hired him is selling the song on CDbaby, etc., ( say it's a lame song ) he is now acting like a label, which is not what you, the singer, bargained for. Make sure the Work-For-Hire spells out what both of you want out of the deal, and often boiler plate work - for - hires downloaded off the internet don't adequately address all the issues that need to be addressed, so this is the reason for a lawyer ( not just any lawyer, but an entertainment intellectual property -IP- lawyer.)


Pat,

You're correct of course, but we also live in the real world where almost nobody follows good business practices and where far fewer have the first clue how it even works. If a demo singer can actually get paid real money from someone, especially a rank amateur, asking for an attorney is too costly to make sense. A boilerplate is a good practice for both sides as it shows intent and cost nothing. I am all for protecting yourself legally, but when the money isn't there it's also a bad decision to hire an attorney, spending 125-250 dollars to make 50. I do think a discussion upfront about how the recording can be used is critical, then you could write down that your voice cannot be used for commercial purposes without your expressed written permission, get both parties to sign on front of a notary and for most real world issues, the understanding and documented mutual terms goes a long way to protect while still making it possible to do low end projects. To be clear, this is only my opinion, I am not a lawyer. Seek one out when needed and when the money makes it feasible, especially if your are dealing with a company. In my opinion, people need attorney advice before agreeing to use any site where you're posting your music because those user agreements are fraught with peril.


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1125970 - 03/29/17 09:11 AM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: MichelleMarie]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 811
Martin Lide Online content
Top 500 Poster
Martin Lide  Online Content
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 811
Houston, Texas
Michelle

Not sure what this thread is exactly about. But unless there is a good deal of money involved lawyers are going to cost much more than the money in question as stated above. If there is some but not a lot of money involved, the lawyer is going to take a big bite out of that before it gets to you. You also have to look at the defendant and question if they can or will ever pay you anything, even if you get a judgement with lawyer fees and court costs reimbursed.

The chances against a song even getting noticed are astronomical. The chances of a song making money is slimmer than that.

Even if you had an agreement and paid the demo singer a few thousand dollars....should Adele take your song to #1 he still might find some "liar for hire" to "argue" why he deserved a share beyond his fee....thinking that you would give him something rather than suffer the expense of a trial. From what little I know of Ronnie he never struck me as being that type of person. Seemed a decent guy.

For 35 dollars you can register a collection of songs online with the Library of Congress. All things considered that is about the only thing that *I can suggest. It proves in a court that you have a claim on the song. Yet copywrite laws don't offer much protection unless someone steals your song without modifying it.
I'm an architect. Even if you know for certain that someone stole your design, proving it in the lying world of lawyers is a separate set of concerns unless they replicate it exactly and take full credit for it.

NSAI et al don't have people sign those blanket indemnities waiving your rights to sue them....even though the music world has nothing but honest people in it.

When I'm working with someone on one of my songs, I don't spend time on agreements for the division of profits that will very probably never come. I copyright the song, keep the records and pay fairly for the demo work. Should a triple lightning strike occur and one of my songs make real money...I'll deal with it then. Worse problems to have I 'spose. wink

I suggest that you relax and enjoy promoting your song. You've made a reasonable effort to run down the demo singer.

#1126049 - 03/31/17 11:16 AM Re: Pitching song with another artist [Re: MichelleMarie]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,779
Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,779
Saint Petersburg. FL
If I was in your shoes, I would try to contact the singer with whatever info you have, leave him messages, emails, etc. saying you will pay him x% after costs have been covered if it makes money. And then damn the torpedoes and do whatever you want. The chances are slim it will go anywhere, but nothing ever happens if you don't try. You might put it out under a fictitious band name. He might be in jail, dead, suffering from dementia, etc. etc. or just on vacation. Don't let that stand in your way. But do it right the next time!


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/



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Newest Members
downloadnewmusic, Lovewithmusic, katherinefelix2, Reyalla, Rodolfo
20930 Registered Users
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Mar 16th, 2017
Just Plain Quotes
"A tool is only as good as the craftspeople wielding it." -Brian Austin Whitney
Today's Birthdays
CassandraKubinski (2017), Juliana Finch (35)
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