cabfe

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Hello everybody !

I got lucky enough to get the attention of a talented composer who expressed his desire to compose songs for my game.
Since I'm still undecided on whether I'll make it a commercial one or not (have to talk to a lawyer first, among other things) he gave me two options:
-if the game is free, the music will be too.
-if the game is commercial, he doesn't want to be paid on a per-song basis but rather on a percentage of the sales.

We haven't talked numbers, so I don't know what % he'll ask for, nor how many songs he'll compose in the end.

Anyway, that's where I need your advices.
I have no experience in commercial products and, after reading some developpers' blogs about their struggles with some publishers cheating about sales figures, I'm a little scared.

Do you think this type of contract is a good idea or should I insist on having a classic per-song purchase?
How can I be sure to have a fair contract with my composer? I'm not even sure myself that I won't have problems getting paid.

There's also a potential issue with rights management. Will he keep the rights on the soundtrack? (we haven't talked about this yet)
What are the consequences if he does?
 

That's a lot of question, sorry, but I'm totally new to this and maybe someone here has the experience I need.
 

Andar

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Basically if the composer is offering to work for royalities only, you're extremely lucky - this kind of contract is usually considered to be bad for the composer, and most professionals want some money up front (which you would have to provide out of your own cash).


If you go with this, you should make sure to agree that this is a percent of the money you get after all other fees (like the publisher's fees) have been deducted and not based on the sales figures.


As for the rights and exclusivity - that depends on the contract. But if you want the rights then you usually have to pay more compared to him being able to use the songs for other purposes (or sell them independently as a game-soundtrack-CD).


As for the publishers - there are always good and bad people in every business. It's your responsibility to research before signing any contract to make sure that everything is OK.


And while there are publishers who cheat their developers, there are also developers falsely claiming to be cheated because they don't really know how everything works. For example the point above - percentage of the money before or after reducing other fees.
 
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cabfe

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Royalties, in my case, is surely beneficial for me as I don't expect a million copies sold from an unknown developper (but, well, who knows how lucky I can be?).

My composer doesn't seem interested in making money with this soundtrack. He just wants a fair reward if I sell the game, which is natural.

Good point on the fees. I didn't think about it but that's definitely a point not to overlook.

I don't mind if my composer keeps the rights on his music. I don't intend to sell the music as a separate product and music isn't even encrypted in RM anyway.

As long as it doesn't prevent the release of the game, that's fine.

I guess I'll just have to make some research on publishers before signing anything then.
 

Andar

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no, please research both publishers and contract wording - even for the contract with your composer. There are too many cases where a misunderstanding lead to a later parting, and that's the moment when it needs to be decided who gets to use what and how it's compensated or paid. There are cases where such a break between former friends lead to cancellation of everything, because none of them could continue without the other's agreement and all work was lost as a result.
 

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