Meaning the writer can’t just get this kind of deal and pitch some random songs to the publisher. They must be the songs that publisher will be able to work with them. During this kind of deal, the writer usually gets a monthly draw or advance on royalties – ranges from $0 to several hundred thousand dollars. The range is extremely wide because it totally is up to the writer on how much and what kind of quality of songs they will write. The more and the better songs they write, the publisher can do more and more for them and they can get a fatter pay cheque. Another benefit for this kind of deal is that when they writer writes something that the publisher knows they can pitch it and it has potential, the publisher will cover the cost for the demo – although half of the payment is recoupable – and the writer doesn’t need to pay for the demo, and just will pay their share after the song gets a cut. Another good benefit of staff writer type of deal is that the writer will be just in charge of writing awesome music and the publisher will be the one doing the admin work, pitching for the songs, contracts, etc. The writer will be just writing!
Single Song Contract. Basically, consider it as project basis kind of collaboration. Publisher signs rights to one song at a time. Even there can be times that the publisher is signing a couple of more of songs from a writer, but it is considered as single song contracts, just happened to be a few at the same time. Important thing here is that in this kind of contracts, the publisher is signing the songs’ rights but not signing the songwriter. In this type of contract the songwriter agrees to give the publisher exclusive rights to pitch the song for a specified period of time – usually 3 years – but completely depending on the agreement and there is no law about it, else than what the publisher and songwriter mention in the written agreement. If the publisher gets the song recorded, they get a percentage of the publishing on the song. Ranges from 50% to 100%. If the song is not recorded within the specified time, the writer should get the song back free and clear, but there are times that the contract’s period finishes and the song is not recorded but the publisher and the songwriter decide to renew the contract again and give it another try. Sometimes the publisher will pay for a demo if there is not one. If so, the cost usually is recoupable. Sometimes the publisher will reimburse the songwriter for half of the existing demo cost if the songwriter already has one and they have the receipts. All of these I just mentioned are the usual practices in the industry, but nobody is obligated to follow these, and each agreement might have its own terms and conditions, completely different than the examples I mentioned here. This type of contract is an area where many writers get ripped off. always have a lawyer look over a single song contract. always. This is a playground where many of the scammers lurk, simply because there are no exact laws about single song contracts and all information you can get are “practices” and there is no publisher who is “forced” or obligated to follow these practices.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with 20 years of experience in songwriting, music production, mix and mastering. He has written and produced more than 5,000 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.