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Bands not paying studios

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Bands not paying studios

Postby Peregrindlz » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:20 pm

Alright guys, I'm sure many of you have had this problem before.

Had a band in the studio, stupidly I didn't get them to sign anything as I'd known the singer for years; now they haven't paid me.

I know it's my own damn fault for trusting the guy.

But, the band actually have a lot of backing from a major label and are blowing up pretty quickly.

I didn't sign any NDA's, they only have a terrible over compressed Mp3 file.

So my question is.
Where do I stand in regards to owning the recording? If they get very successful could I theoretically sell the track for my own profit?

I'm just wondering what options I have, I was considering taking everything below 500Hz out and releasing it as they don't have any tracks released at the moment, but I think I'll save that as a last resort.
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby James Perrett » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:43 pm

Was it the old "we thought the record label was going to pay" trick? Bands who are flirting with their first taste of success often think that you owe them for the privilege of working with them. However, that sort of band is often the first to be dropped from a label as everyone realises that they're a pain to work with.

Unfortunately you are on shaky legal ground if you go and release the recordings. As I understand it, they could probably still claim that they owned the copyright - even though they haven't paid. Many companies state that they retain ownership of goods until they are paid but I've seen people say that this doesn't necessarily apply to recordings.

When I ran a studio, most of our outstanding debts were paid eventually - often because we refused to do any more work for them until we were paid. The only serious unpaid debt we had was from a certain Spanish label who I learned later were notorious in not paying their bills.
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby Peregrindlz » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:48 pm

It was exactly that old trick my friend, known the guy for years aswell.

I figured I was on shaky grounds in be ears oooh the track.

Their manager did want me to sign an NDA, obviously I'm guessing so the track didn't get Leaked by anyone, might tell them I'm gonna release the track to the public if they don't pay me?

Kinda stuck, need the money really.

Thanks man
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby blinddrew » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:16 pm

Where are you based? Your legal avenues (and copyright law) vary a lot from country to country.
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:17 pm

Peregrindlz wrote:So my question is.
Where do I stand in regards on owning the recording? If they get very successful could I theoretically sell the track for my own profit?

The recording is their copyright because they performed it. In the days of tape, the studio owned the physical tape stock, but the band owned the rights to the material recorded on that tape. I believe the same is true of digits on hard-drives, so if you release the material without the band's express permission you open yourself up to litigation.

However, if they have only received a naff-sounding MP3 copy of the mix you at least have some bargaining chips...

Invoice them for the work and if they don't pay up, 'lose' the files and learn from the experience...

If they make it big one day it might then be worth a conversation with the label about the possibility of 'rediscovering' the files on a long lost archive somewhere for a suitable fee... ;-)

H
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby pax-eterna » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:46 pm

Again the adage is proved...never do business with friends! One or the other always comes off second best.
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby CS70 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:22 pm

You want to know where you stand - if all they needed your studio for was a crappy mp3 demo, then you have nothing and the only thing you can do is to chalk it up to experience.

But if they're interested in the tracks they've recorded - then you have a much better position, as the hard drives where they are stored are yours, and you're not going to release anything to them unless paid.

Have you tried to have a chat with your friend? First thing you can figure out which kind of position you're in, and also tell him directly that you need the money. Second if you understand that he's actually interested in having the tracks, all you have to do is wait until he or the manager asks for them - and simply reply to settle the payment first.
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby James Perrett » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:16 pm

Also, have you tried contacting the people at the label that they are dealing with? I find that proper labels are usually (with the exception of that Spanish one) good to deal with and they may well be able to work out something if the recordings are usable to them.

I even had one well known label pay me without having to send them an invoice the other week. :bouncy:
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby johnny h » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:01 pm

If you do anything underhand then it will not reflect well on you or your business and may end up losing you a lot of goodwill.

Bands are obsessed with their social media status. Not settling their bills is a bad look. You could eventually go public with this, or at least threaten to. Forget about illegally releasing their music and taking the profits for yourself.
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby Dynamic Mike » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:52 am

Can you post on the band's facebook page something like "You guys are awesome, working with you was a blast. Can you let [label name] know I still haven't been paid because these tracks are too good not to release, & your fans really deserve to hear them! I can post a copy of the invoice on your FB page if you think it will help."
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Re: Bands not paying studios

Postby ef37a » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:57 am

If it is a significant sum and you are in UK I would at least start the process through the small claims court.

This could of course end up with the high court sheriffs and being 'a band' they probably have some valuable assets? Beaten up Transits don't fetch much but there are some valuable amps around!

Somewhat moot? I heard on R4 a week or so go that legislation is in progress to combat late payers? There seems to be an inverse relationship between the size of the debtor company and the speed with which they pay!
I would bet the big 'meeeja' people are amongst the slowest?

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