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Producer needs help working with feature rapper

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Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby sohala21 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:54 am

Hello, I am a Hip-Hop producer who contacted a rapper and the rapper has created rap vocal on top of my music. So I have created a song. I contacted him online.
I did not sign any contract with him but he told me in an message that he has given me right to use the vocals any way I please.
Then can I release the song under my name, Sohan,
even though I am just the producer and someone else is rapping on the song.
I did not sign a contract with him so is this legal.
-------------
If the song becomes popular then can he claim that he is the rapper if he has proof that he did the rap. And collect the revenue a rapper would collect?
--------------
My other option is to feature him in the song. So lets say his name is
IceIce and my name is Sohan then the song would be by
Sohan feat. IceIce

-------------
So in this case, since I did not sign a contract, would he automatically get 50% and me
as a producer 50% of the artist royalty?
(I am not happy with the 50-50 split because I wrote the lyrics, and I also did the rap and gave it to him and he just copied me exactly and just gave me a copy vocal track).
------------

So it would great if someone could answer those 2 questions or suggest me if I have any other option. Thanks.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby blinddrew » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:04 pm

This will probably depend on the law in your country, but in general, there will be a copyright on the lyrics, and there will be a copyright on the recording.
What tends to vary a bit is where the law stands on the copyright of composite parts - i.e. the does the recording of the rap have its own copyright?
If he's given you the rights to use this then you should be ok, however it would be good form to credit the performer for their part.
Performing rights royalties also vary from region to region so you'll need to do your research on this side of things as well.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:16 pm

Or you could go back and get him to sign a contract before you release the track, details to be negotiated between the two of you?
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby blinddrew » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:36 pm

That would be a good option ^^^. Get everything written down and agreed before moving to the next stage. :thumbup:
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby sohala21 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:42 pm

Thanks, everyone for responding to my post,

It is not possible for me to get the rapper to sign a contract because I met him through this freelance gig website caller Fiverr. So I am the rappers client and I paid him to rap for my song. In this website the rapper is not allowed to directly get in touch with the client. I can only talk to the rapper through Instant Messaging (IM). And you can not sign a contract through Instant Messaging (IM). In the IM, the rapper says that I can do whatever I want with the vocal track.

Also how do you sign a contract with a remote person. It may be possible but must be a lot of hassle and the rapper will not want to go through the hassle.

Thats why signing a contract is almost impossible.

So my option is like I wrote before:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Then can I release the song under my name, Sohan,
even though I am just the producer and someone else is rapping on the song.
I did not sign a contract with him so is this legal.

f the song becomes popular then can he claim that he is the rapper if he has proof that he did the rap. And collect the revenue a rapper would collect?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
my other option is: to feature the rapper on my track
But I don't like this option because like I said before:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So in this case, since I did not sign a contract, would he automatically get 50% and me
as a producer 50% of the artist royalty?
(I am not happy with the 50-50 split because I wrote the lyrics, and I also did the rap and gave it to him and he just copied me exactly and just gave me a copy vocal track).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks to Blinddrew for answering my question but
other insights to how I can solve the problem would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby blinddrew » Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:37 pm

Electronic signatures and email confirmations are legally binding in a lot of countries now, but fundamentally you still need to check the legislation in your country because it differs from country to country, especially regarding performing rights.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:42 pm

The website you made the arrangement through must have some T&Cs which, hopefully, will cover the situation but making the contract through their pm system should be just as legal. So check their T&Cs first and if nothing obvious there contact their support for advice.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby sohala21 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:08 am

Thanks everyone for the responses.
I can not get interactive support from the website. I guess I have to get premium membership.
Like Sam Spoons suggested through pm system of the website and the description of the services the rapper posted he can specify that he gives up all right. That should be legal.
But what rights does the rapper have, he did not write the lyric or the music or do any production, he just gave a vocal track of him rapping. So he has no copyrights. I guess he has performance rights.
So how would he give up the performance right. Can someone give up performance rights or transfer it. What should he write, "I give up all performance rights" or "I give up all rights to collect revenue from my performance".
Also If i release the song myself under my name with the rappers name as feature artist. How would he collect his share of the the revenue, lets say from iTunes....

I guess these are very complicated issues. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:53 am

On the face of it, the rapper was a hired musician and has surrendered all rights to you in exchange for a financial reward.

But as Goethe once wrote, the devil is hiding in the details. If the rapper has written to you, saying that you may use the rap in whatever way you feel fit, that looks pretty much like a de facto surrender of rights.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby CS70 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:50 am

blinddrew wrote:Electronic signatures and email confirmations are legally binding in a lot of countries now, but fundamentally you still need to check the legislation in your country because it differs from country to country, especially regarding performing rights.

I would guess only if they are signed in the cryptographic sense?

Everyone can spoof a regular email..
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby CS70 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:46 am

sohala21 wrote:So in this case, since I did not sign a contract, would he automatically get 50% and me
as a producer 50% of the artist royalty?
(I am not happy with the 50-50 split because I wrote the lyrics, and I also did the rap and gave it to him and he just copied me exactly and just gave me a copy vocal track).

You have publishing&songwriting rolyalties and master recording royalties, which are two separate streams.

For the former, they're often split 50% between people creating the music, they lyrics etc and the publisher. For the first 50%, when you register the song you indicate the percentage split between composer, lyricist, arranger etc. If you have done all these jobs, you simply write yourself on all (or just 100% on one role), otherwise you have to agree a percentage for the various steps. If you haven't agreed, there are often default rules. For the second 50%, if you are independent you also indicate yourself is the publisher. If you are both songwriter etc and publisher, you will get 100% of these.

For the actual recording, the master rights owner (the label or often the recording artist nowadays if he/she is independent) will receive the master royalties and split with the artist. In turn, either may have decided to split with the producer (or not), for example the master owner pays the producer a fee and the artist gives some percentage of their royalty cut after costs . Sometimes even the mixer guy wants a some little cut, but it really depends.

Things get complicated when there's more than one producer, for remixes and in any situation in which further splits have been agreed; and it's important to distinguish between pre-costs and post-costs cuts (and what are these costs! Old record companies had ludicrous costs baked in their standard deals).. I've dabbled into these things only as an independent, which makes things much easier as you always have 100% of all (even if the "all" is little :D), if you have more complex arrangements probably you want someone truly expert at this to look into your contracts.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby sohala21 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:00 pm

Thanks CS50 for you great reply. It cleared a lot of things for me

CS70 wrote:You have publishing&songwriting rolyalties and master recording royalties, which are two separate streams.

For the former, they're often split 50% between people creating the music, they lyrics etc and the publisher. For the first 50%, when you register the song you indicate the percentage split between composer, lyricist, arranger etc. If you have done all these jobs, you simply write yourself on all (or just 100% on one role), otherwise you have to agree a percentage for the various steps. If you haven't agreed, there are often default rules. For the second 50%, if you are independent you also indicate yourself is the publisher. If you are both songwriter etc and publisher, you will get 100% of these.

In terms of publishing (the second 50%), I am going to put the song out to iTunes, spotify etc with Distrokid (like a online label where get 100% of my sales income), so I am independant, I'll get 100% of publishing.

In terms of songwriting (the first 50%), I am the composer, arranger (I made the beat) and I wrote the lyrics, where it gets tricky is the melody. In a regular song there is a melody but in a rap song there is the rap flow which is based on rhythm and some melody. In one song I actually did the rap flow and told the rapper to copy it exactly. But still the rapper might have changed it a little bit by accenting some words etc. So does the rapper own any part of the songwriting credit. You can compare that to when a singer sings the melody, does the singer get any songwriting credit?

So based on the information above does anyone have any opinion on if the rapper gets any songwriting credit if there is no contract. I have copyright of the song with me doing the rapping exactly (almost) as the rapper did it.

CS70 wrote:For the actual recording, the master rights owner (the label or often the recording artist nowadays if he/she is independent) will receive the master royalties and split with the artist. In turn, either may have decided to split with the producer (or not), for example the master owner pays the producer a fee and the artist gives some percentage of their royalty cut after costs . Sometimes even the mixer guy wants a some little cut, but it really depends

So in term of the actual recording, the master rights, I currently don't have a independant label or anything, but I created the master and I own it. I am the producer, the mixer, the masterer, I just got a vocal track from the rapper, which he legally said I could use whatever way I choose, and mixed and mastered in with my beat. The song is going to put in iTunes as
The name of the song By Sohan (Me) feat. The name of the rapper

Now this is the main question how do I split the Master royalties with the Artist, if there is no written contract.
So does anyone have any opinion how much legally I have to give to the artist, what percentage of the Master royalties, if there is no contract.

Any response will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:58 pm

I would say that you don't have to split any royalties with the rapper at all. You paid them for the job and that's it. The UK Musicians Union site says

At present, session musicians will not typically receive royalties from sales and streaming services, unless it is stipulated in their recording agreement.

However, in the UK they could possibly receive payment from PPL

PPL collect ‘Equitable Remuneration’ for performers, when their recorded music is broadcast on radio or played in public spaces. This is a statutory right, and is not determined by a recording agreement, nor can it be bought or sold. For this reason, PPL revenue for performers is not the same as a ‘royalty.’

It is clear that you are the sole writer so you receive any writing royalties.

However, I don't know where you are based so it is possible that the law where you are is different.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby sohala21 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:20 am

I am based in the US.
I guess SOS is an European company.
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Re: Producer needs help working with feature rapper

Postby blinddrew » Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:54 am

If you're in the US then it's ASCAP, BMI or SESAC for the performing rights side of things (rather than PPL in the UK). Probably worth doing a bit of research on their websites or dropping them a line. There may even be state-level differences for some rights.
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