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Single Song Agreement

Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Single Song Agreement - 05/25/20 07:20 PM

Hi. I received a Single Song Agreement from Big Yellow Dog for my song "Bad Day Good" to be pitched to Lee Ann Womack. I can't afford to pay a lawyer to look this contract over. What do all you poor like me songwriters do???
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/25/20 07:26 PM

Originally Posted by Donna Dutchess
Hi. I received a Single Song Agreement from Big Yellow Dog for my song "Bad Day Good" to be pitched to Lee Ann Womack. I can't afford to pay a lawyer to look this contract over. What do all you poor like me songwriters do???


Without seeing your contract... if this is the company: http://www.bigyellowdogmusic.com/cuts/ - congratulations Donna!

Best, John smile
Posted By: Dave Rice (D)

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/25/20 08:38 PM

Hi Donna:

Congratulations on attracting some attention with your song. Does the contract limit exactly how long these folks have to pitch the song... and more importantly, is there a reversion clause?

John: That's a pretty glitzy web-site B-Y-D has established. If I were Donna, I would ask them for some success stories and get permission to get to talk to a few of their clients about how that relationship worked out.

Some would say, on the other side of the coin, how many opportunities arise these days. Lee Ann Womack is a "name" in the Biz but the odds are still pretty slim.

Best of luck, Donna. ----Dave
Posted By: Ray E. Strode

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/25/20 09:02 PM

Humm,
According to their Web Site they don/t accept Outside Submissions. They are listed at 1313 16Th. Ave South, Nashville, Tnn. 37212. It's been a while since Lee Ann Womack released anything. Of course I haven't looked to see if she has a Web Site. A automatic Reversion of one to three years is most important. Good luck.
Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/25/20 09:05 PM

They don't accept outside submissions. This contract is with Matt Lindsay who is with Big Yellow Dog.
Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/25/20 09:08 PM

They have 3 years, then revision clause kicks in.
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/25/20 09:37 PM

Originally Posted by Donna Dutchess
They have 3 years, then revision clause kicks in.


That's reasonable Donna.

John smile
Posted By: Everett Adams

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/26/20 10:25 AM

A reversion clause, very important. Good luck and congratulations, at least you have a foot in the door to get heard.
Posted By: Gary E. Andrews

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/27/20 08:15 AM

Have you Registered the Song for Copyright? www.copyright.gov
Who 'owns' Publishing Royalties? At what percentage?
Who 'owns' Songwriting Royalties? At what percentage?
As the Songwriter you 'own' 100% of Publishing, and 100% of Songwriting.
The Publisher's incentive to pitch the Song is your 'assignment' of 'ownership' for Publishing Royalties, if any are earned, at some percentage agreed to by contract.
Is the Song title 'registered' with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) meaning those 'owners' names are listed with the Song title for receipt of Royalties if any are earned when the PRO calculates it each quarter after it is 'cut' and 'released' to market?
The 'Reversion Clause' sets a date for when 'ownership' of Publishing Royalties, 'assigned' by the Songwriter(s) 'reverts' back to the Songwriter, freeing them to market the Song to another Publisher, and/or other artists. A specific date seems logical so there is no question of that deadline.
Having 'any' lawyer look the contract over might be beneficial. Entertainment law has nuances a lawyer who practices criminal law or commercial law may not be familiar with. But any lawyer might be better than no lawyer. While you're there you may want to talk about a Will, since your Intellectual Property, this Song, can be inherited by the persons designated in your Will. Ask about the fee to read through the contract, and to write a Will. See what you CAN afford.
Act quickly to keep the project moving forward.


Posted By: 90 dB

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/27/20 03:43 PM

I once had a lawyer read a single-song contract for me from a guy in Nashville. Best $200 I ever spent.

That being said, congrats to you Donna!


Regards,

Bob
Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/27/20 09:34 PM

Have you Registered the Song for Copyright? www.copyright.gov YES, IT IS COPYRIGHTED.
Who 'owns' Publishing Royalties? At what percentage? PUBLISHER OWNS THE PUBLISHING
Who 'owns' Songwriting Royalties? At what percentage? 50%
As the Songwriter you 'own' 100% of Publishing, and 100% of Songwriting.
The Publisher's incentive to pitch the Song is your 'assignment' of 'ownership' for Publishing Royalties, if any are earned, at some percentage agreed to by contract.
Is the Song title 'registered' with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) meaning those 'owners' names are listed with the Song title for receipt of Royalties if any are earned when the PRO calculates it each quarter after it is 'cut' and 'released' to market? YES
The 'Reversion Clause' sets a date for when 'ownership' of Publishing Royalties, 'assigned' by the Songwriter(s) 'reverts' back to the Songwriter, freeing them to market the Song to another Publisher, and/or other artists. A specific date seems logical so there is no question of that deadline.
Having 'any' lawyer look the contract over might be beneficial. Entertainment law has nuances a lawyer who practices criminal law or commercial law may not be familiar with. But any lawyer might be better than no lawyer. While you're there you may want to talk about a Will, since your Intellectual Property, this Song, can be inherited by the persons designated in your Will. Ask about the fee to read through the contract, and to write a Will. See what you CAN afford.
Act quickly to keep the project moving forward.

This contract is a standard contract. Revision clause: 3 years from date it was signed then all rights revert back to me. My hopes is that this will open doors for me. As you know: the doors in Nashville have always been locked up tight.
Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Re: Single Song Agreement - 05/27/20 09:35 PM

Thank you everyone for your responses and help. I feel more comfortable moving forward with this.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/02/20 12:10 PM

Donna,

With a single song contract, it is sort of you take or you don't. There is not a negotiation, and not really a lot to talk about. And being pitched, really is only getting a foot in the door, it's not knocking the door off the hinges. You should be proud that it got attention that someone wants to put it in writing that they are representing it, but don't get too wrapped up in it. Move on to other songs and things and if something happens, they will let you know.

The fact is that songs don't really earn much money any more. It is all about artist branding now, and even cuts on major label products, are not garanteed to earn anything. So it's more for "bragging rights" than anything. If it works out, hopefully they might ask you for more songs down the road and offer opportunities to write with and get to know their artists and writers.

It's not going to make or break a career. The contracts are very basic because for the most part, not a lot happens on these things. But again, it is a good sign that you have some attention. Make sure if they offer you an open door, you deliver product that is well written, well recorded, and gives them something to work with.

Congratulations and enjoy it, then move on to other things. When professional writers operate, they don't just stop when they get songs pitched or anything. They move on to other writing appointments, other songs, other realtionships. It is very routine for songs, even at the top of the pecking order, to take years or even decades for something tangible to happen. You've got it in the door, gotten a foot there, now you keep that in the back of your mind, and move on to other things.

MAB
Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/02/20 12:34 PM

Thank you Marc. I agree with you 100%. You've taught me so much over the years and hope to meet you someday when all this craziness is over.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/03/20 12:25 PM

Thanks Donna, It's so good to see you continuing along. And congratulations for getting some attention for your song. Toby Keith's company, Big Yellow Dog" have a lot of writers and songs to choose from so the fact that they gave you something tangible, in the form of an actual contract is a very good thing.

A lot about this business is easy to be caught up in and easy to get lost in. We feel like that next meeting, the next song, the next show, could be THE ONE that turns the corner on our careers, and well could be. But we are also in a business with a million intangibles, and most of the time, it is all hurry up and wait. Even getting cuts hopefully getting singles, getting something to radio or distribution, internet platforms, sometimes take FOREVER!!!!

As I said, getting songs signed and then pitched, sometimes will take months or even years before we actually hear something. Artists take a long time to do projects. Touring, publicity, usually take a long time, and of course now, with the current restrictions on our time and our audiences, often mean we are all in a holding period. There is activity going on, and more and more go digital and online, and that means of course, that it's easier to get lost with the millions of others on the net. So it's best to temper all that.

So the best thing to do is ALWAYS celebrate your victories, enjoy it, and be aware of it. Then you go to do other things. If something happens, there will be a long process to go through. You would get notices that it is being physically pitched, any response and then if someone is going to record it, you would be informed. But also remember that often getting recorded is not being released. They often will cut songs that don't end up being used. So don't get dissapointed, just understand it is the nature of things.

Good luck to you and continue on. Glad to hear you are still around.

MAB
Posted By: R&M

Re: Single Song Agreement - 01/02/21 12:46 AM

I have only been in distribution sites with what are my most frequented recordings online. At least at a rank amatuer or intermediate level.
Along with a media production course. I don't have a paid account. But I am looking at single usage myself having an interest in film and advertising.
Working behind others. Looks to be a lot of marketing and legal stuff involved with that.
Posted By: Joanne Lurgio

Re: Single Song Agreement - 01/02/21 10:49 PM

This popped up to the top again.
Congratulations, Donna. I am curious, how did you make out Donna? Any new word?
Hope good things have come.
best
Joanne
Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Re: Single Song Agreement - 01/03/21 09:46 PM

Hi Joanne, first of all, I just went on to your website and listened to your music. Love it and especially love your voice!

I don't expect to hear anything soon about the song. The publisher has 3 years, per the contract, to make something happen. After that, the contract can be renewed or void. This same publisher, Matt Lindsay, shared a story: he signed and tried to pitch a song call "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking" to Blake Shelton. For 9 long years, he kept pitching the song and Blake kept rejecting it. Another artist, Joe Nichols cut the song in 2007. Finally, Blake covered the song in 2010 and it reached #1 on the Billboard charts in 2011. So knowing all of this, I don't expect to hear soon and have faith that Matt will get someone to cut the song, if not Lee Ann Womack.. If not, its been a great ride and has spurned me on to write better songs.

Thank you everyone for answering. If you want to hear the song, here it is. https://www.reverbnation.com/donnadutchesssongwriter/song/28391493-bad-day-good-on-hold
Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Re: Single Song Agreement - 01/03/21 09:50 PM

Thank you Marc and sorry it took me so long to respond. A wise man once told me "not to let the highs get too high or the lows too low". I have lived by those words for years now. Just want to let you know that everything you say, I listen. I "chew up the meat and throw away the bones" but with you, there aren't many bones to throw away. Thank you for all that you do.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/01/21 10:09 PM

Hey Donna,

I just saw this today and had forgotten we had talked about it. I was interested in how it had turned out. I hope they do pitch it for you, but what I know about Nashville now and the up and coming artists, not to mention the established ones, getting a song they are not writers on now, is next to impossible. We've just passed into another era. From the "era of the song" to the "era of Celebrity.:" Since few songs are really making money anymore, and given a choice between what an outsider writes and what an artist themselves are involved in, it's sort of like telling all those endless kids on cell phones constantly, "put down the phone and quit getting all your information, putting all your selfies on, and listen to us other people..." Just not something they are any longer interested in.
A thing that I've seen over the past 10-20 years is the dissapearance of songwriters and outside songs. I was warned about this in 1988, and man has it ever come true.

So a thing that I've always mentioned to you and any one interested in doing this...FIND YOUR OWN ARTISTS. That is really the only option now. And they are all around you, I'm sure tonight in some bar or resturant in your area, is someone on a stage playing their songs. Your job is to get out and meet them, and show them how songs should be written.

But always glad you are still at it. As usual, I'm not leaving any BONES, but just a few facts that have finally landed.

MAB
Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/01/21 10:34 PM

MAB!! I miss talking to you!! I have always considered you to be my mentor and have always taken everything you have said to heart. You always told me to "find my own artist", which I have. I had a Top 40 hit song by Indie artist in Australia. 2 coming cuts by Indie artist in UK. 2 coming cuts by a rock/Christian artist here in the US.

As for the single song contract mentioned above, Matt Lindsay has 2 more years on the contract to make something happen. So, I'll let that ride and hope for.....something. I have a new song under consideration by Kirby Smith.

So while I am constantly search for unsigned artists, I still pursue opening some door that someone forgot to lock in Nashville. I will never give up.

Thanks for your input MAB. Nice to hear from you.

Donna

PS. for those songwriters wanting to know how all the above happened: I spend hours every..single..day looking for artists, for opportunities. Having a good or great song and just putting it online and hoping someone hears it and likes it, is not going to happen. Work, work work!
Posted By: Everett Adams

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/02/21 11:43 AM

Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Hey Donna,

I just saw this today and had forgotten we had talked about it. I was interested in how it had turned out. I hope they do pitch it for you, but what I know about Nashville now and the up and coming artists, not to mention the established ones, getting a song they are not writers on now, is next to impossible. We've just passed into another era. From the "era of the song" to the "era of Celebrity.:" Since few songs are really making money anymore, and given a choice between what an outsider writes and what an artist themselves are involved in, it's sort of like telling all those endless kids on cell phones constantly, "put down the phone and quit getting all your information, putting all your selfies on, and listen to us other people..." Just not something they are any longer interested in.
A thing that I've seen over the past 10-20 years is the dissapearance of songwriters and outside songs. I was warned about this in 1988, and man has it ever come true.

So a thing that I've always mentioned to you and any one interested in doing this...FIND YOUR OWN ARTISTS. That is really the only option now. And they are all around you, I'm sure tonight in some bar or resturant in your area, is someone on a stage playing their songs. Your job is to get out and meet them, and show them how songs should be written.

But always glad you are still at it. As usual, I'm not leaving any BONES, but just a few facts that have finally landed.

MAB

I did this years ago, found a number of great singers, I paid the cost of recording and producing records, I had a certain amount of success but most artist that had no money invested in their career were not serious enough to put the work required to get out there and perform. After a while I gave up that idea, cost too much, no way of knowing who was serious or not. If they were not serious enough to put money or work into their career, I would have nothing to do with them, no matter their talent. It takes a lot more than talent to succeed.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/02/21 01:10 PM

Everett, that is why you have to INCLUDE THEM IN THE WRITING PROCESS and usually WRITE WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY, NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY.

"AN AMATUER WRITER WRITES WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY.
"A PROFESSIONAL WRITER WRITES WHAT AUDIENCES WANT TO HEAR."
" A GREAT WRITER DOES BOTH."

The key to cuts now are writing with the artists. If you are past 30 years old, you have to have artists involved in the writing of the songs because they no longer sing what other people want them to. They are not going to allow someone to "put words into their mouths." They have their own words, their own emotions, their own stories and experiences. But they often don'[t have the experience to put it down in a form that other people want to listen to. It is for the more experienced writer to provide perspective, craft, musical abilities, etc. to help them do something they could not do without them.

It is tough. These people all have ego forever. They are all entitled. They feel GOD HIMSELF HAS ANNOINTED THEM to BE A STAR!!! They are teenagers, tweens, and even older people that have won participation trophys and are told by their friends and relatives "HOW GREAT THEY ARE AND THEY HAVE TO GO BE ON AMERICAN (CANADIAN IDOL). And sitting in a room with someone who was not born when your grandchildren were born can be demeaning. But that is all part of it dealing with personalities. It's part of the mountains we all have to climb if we want our music to move along.

But if you wade through the general idiots, you actually can find some pretty good people. And often, if you get one or two under the belt, they will usually start asking for other songs you may have that might work for them. It;s more or less THE DOOR OPENER, getting to know them by writing things FOR THEM, and WITH THEM.

Now, writers don't have to do this. They can do whatever they want to. But unfortunately I just don't hear any writers saying "HEY IM' WRITING WHAT I WANT TO AND PEOPLE ARE COMING TO ME TO CUT MY SONGS ENDLESSLY. AND I'M MAKING A FORTUNE NOW DOING THAT".

Just don't see that any more outside of some scheme in some ad that promises to "make a million in the music business.:" Then, when you find out a little more with them, the "secret" they offer, is STARTING WITH TEN MILLION."

But everyone has to go which ever way they want. I just talk about what I see.

MAB
Posted By: Donna Dutchess

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/02/21 01:21 PM

Hi Everett, I have never paid an aritst for recording or production. As MAB said, if the artist doesn't have the $ to invest in their own career, they aren't worth working with. My job as a songwriter is to write the best I can and get a high quality demo done and then pitch, pitch pitch. This is all I pay for. BUT, working directly with the artists, I can skip the demo expense. I love that.
Posted By: Everett Adams

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/03/21 12:33 PM

I've learned the hard way, just because someone is a great singer does not make him someone special, though some of them feel that way. I thought by helping them financially get started that they would appreciate it and work hard to at least get my money back, but they often take the attitude that they are doing me a favour and want to take all the money from sales. So I'd drop them and they'd fall flat on their face. I have found a way to get my material heard and I'm making good returns without much investment and I don't have to put up with over inflated egos of singers that think they are God's gift to music. He who laughs last laughs best.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/03/21 12:59 PM

Dealing with anyone else, artists, publishers, producers, labels, etc. are ALWAYS a pain. There are two million reasons they can give you for NOT taking a song. Egos are a huge part of it, everyone has a bigger ego than yours and also, in music THEY ARE YOUR DIRECT COMPETITION. But unless you are the artist, have avenues, or own your own label, you need others to deal with, and even if you do own your own label, you still have to deal with others.

Everett, if you have your own sources, good for you. Most people dont. And even if you do, don't expect that to last long. All of these old methods are going away ,just like money in music.That's coming to an end and it ain't coming back. Sort of like saying "I'm waiting for the 8 track to come back." Not gonna happn.
The choice is often, do you want to help an artist get something out there, by working with them, or do you want another song sitting on your laptop, doing nothing,than no one will listen to. It's simply another piece of a puzzle. I've gotten other writers at least a dozen cuts by doing their songs, and in most cases, I paid for the recordings on it. Some I was a demo singer for them, and ended up using their songs in my own shows, or presentations. I once got a cut on a song that the person who cut it had already turned down. My version re-interested him in the song and ended up cutting it on his artist. It's all a crap shoot.

You don't HAVE TO DO ANYTHING. If things work for you, do that. This is what most of the rest of the world is having to deal with. It's not perfect, but if you're looking for perfection, you are WAAAAAAAY IN THE WRONG BUSINESS!

The reason I suggest writing songs WITH THEM is they are part of the process. And it is a bigger challenge when you are writing something with and about other people than just yourself. That gets really boring really quickly, writing about yourself, what you think, what you are about. I ran out of things to say about myself after about a year of writing, I'm pretty boring. But utilizing other people's stories, other experiences, lives, etc. and trying to find a way to write it in ways they didn't think of themselves, is what makes the world go round for me. When you sit across from a woman going through Cancer, and find a way to say what she can;t say herself, makes an impact. I;ve never cared much about cuts, money or any of that stuff when it comes to writing. I've cared about the creative process and TOUCHING people's lives. That I've done.

I'll take that any day.
MAB
Posted By: Everett Adams

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/04/21 10:58 AM

Where I live there are some good singers but they have no ambition to be an artist. Satisfied to sing locally, that's it. A wasted talent, but not everyone wants the life of an artist on the road, I don't think I would either. At my age I'm not going to worry about it. I am mainly into gospel now and I have close to 1800 songs registered with CCLI and churches as far away as Australia and New Zealand and as close as the USA and Canada are using many of my songs. I'm happy with that, I won't get rich but that is not my aim, if I can touch someone and bring them to God, that thrills me to no end. Money is not a good measure of success. Marc I believe you know what I'm talking about. You help others and that is what life is all about, giving has its own rewards.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/04/21 04:28 PM

Everett,

I do know what you are talking about which is why I've always told you to be happy with that, and you should celebrate the fact that you have your work extended far beyond the range you could do on your own. You take EVERY VICTORY, and I have always said that. My comments on this particular thread and all I participate in are in relation to what the original post is. In this case it's about "SINGLE SONG AGGREEMENTS." And my intention is to temper the expectations and show the "other side of the desk. Donna, who I've had many conversations with got an offer of a single song aggreement in a very good company in Nashville. Great and that is a victory. However, all of these have "another side" and that deals with the "INSIDE CUT" which is what the industry is all about.

And in my experience and those of people around me who are involved in this business, much has shifted in all forms of music, all forms of communication, all forms of entertainment,as the Internet has turned everyone into writers, into artists, no matter where they are. But where it really comes into play in sites like this are the expectations of people who look for money or adavancement, and in many cases, that's not going to happen and going to get less as people go forward. One of the ways into the actual music business is writing with artists themselves because that is the only way. Artists, for the most part are all self contained now. They have no interest in listening to anything they did not write. And since the money is all but gone from music as a whole, execpt for the largest of the largest entites. artists, companies, labels, etc. just like everything in our lives and culture now, if they are going to record something, why do anything from anyone else?

So that is the focus of my posts.

Im my personal note, my intentions has always been to assist others in their journey. I quit being involved in the front line music industry being an artist, worrying about cuts, worrying about deals, etc. in 2000. I had aged out, and the focus of the music industry changed. So I changed with it. Now my writing, my performing and my efforts are all focused on help other people achieve THEIR goals. That is on every song I'm involved with, every song I write, every song I record, perform, etc. It is involved in ILLUSTRATING things people can do themselves. I am also educating things that DON'T WORK and in many cases NEVER DID, to save people time, money, and in many cases. sanity. That is what I do.

MAB
Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/14/21 08:25 AM

Good discussion!
Posted By: Sunset Poet

Re: Single Song Agreement - 06/27/21 05:22 AM

Damn. Just saw this. Some "real talk" here.
Congratulations Donna.
Lee Ann Womack sang my personal favorite country song of all time. I Hope You Dance has a heartbeat and bleeds.

I hope that she or someone with that level of talent renders your writing.
Best of luck to your song deal.
Posted By: Marilyn Oakley

Re: Single Song Agreement - 07/06/21 03:31 AM

Originally Posted by Donna Dutchess
Hi Joanne, first of all, I just went on to your website and listened to your music. Love it and especially love your voice!

I don't expect to hear anything soon about the song. The publisher has 3 years, per the contract, to make something happen. After that, the contract can be renewed or void. This same publisher, Matt Lindsay, shared a story: he signed and tried to pitch a song call "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking" to Blake Shelton. For 9 long years, he kept pitching the song and Blake kept rejecting it. Another artist, Joe Nichols cut the song in 2007. Finally, Blake covered the song in 2010 and it reached #1 on the Billboard charts in 2011. So knowing all of this, I don't expect to hear soon and have faith that Matt will get someone to cut the song, if not Lee Ann Womack.. If not, its been a great ride and has spurned me on to write better songs.

Thank you everyone for answering. If you want to hear the song, here it is. https://www.reverbnation.com/donnadutchesssongwriter/song/28391493-bad-day-good-on-hold



First up, Congratulations, Donna. I just wanted to add, a few weeks ago, I had watched I think it was a Pitch to Pro, or something similar, after the fact as I wasn't present when it was live, but anyhow, Matt Lindsay was a very sincere, genuine and a great guy. And one of those that if they believe in a song, the will do whatever they can to try and get a cut. I couldn't even say where it was I saw it. Maybe Brent Baxter, who does the Pitch to Pro. But it's nice to see them live in a video like this where they share stories, life experiences, and answer questions, and you get to see the real person and not just a picture. Know what I mean. All my best to you. ~Marilyn
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