Could the traditional artist-client freelance model work for producers and labels?

Hensmon

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I am a graphic and UI/UX designer by trade, here is the traditional modal used when I freelance:

Find a suitable artist for a particular need i.e designing a style of logo, offer to pay them for the creative work, usually within a budget/timeframe. The cost is either fixed or hourly, and you as the client get to dictate or steer direction based on your needs or goals. The degree of direction or input from the client can vary, i.e very specific or very loose (trusting the artist), and the process usually involves back and forth iterations until the final product is agreed upon. This is the same modal used by illustrators, photographers, sculptors and so on…

The client then usually owns the artwork and can use it as they please, either personal or commercial.

Could this same modal work successfully between clients and music producers? For example if you have a particular style of track you want, and you find a producer who could do this, you hire(or commission) them, present your goals/direction, and then pay them a fixed or hourly rate to make it a reality. You as a listener would then own that product (negotiated). If you were a label owner you could then technically sell it.

The benefits for the artist is that are paid upfront, free from relying on royalties, and likely receiving more. The benefit to the label is having more control on the product and full ownership. To what extent does this exist already?
 

TwinSilo

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There’s no reason it couldn’t work. But be aware that copyright laws in US mean that as an artist you own the rights, not the person you create it for. I imagine it doesn’t always work like this and is something found in contracts.

I would guess this type of client relationship exists in the score industry, where producers make effects and music to match the vision of the director. Couldn’t say how much influence the director has. I would guess the musician has the scene and mood for reference.
 
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Recharge

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Isn't that just ghost producing and yeah it could work. I for once enjoy more DJing and I am not opposed to working with ghost producers or artist willing to sell songs. If Tiesto pulled it why couldn't I too. Ideally I wanted just to dj, but I found very quickly there is very limited opportunities for djs that are not producers.
 

Hensmon

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Few key differences from ghost producing. For a start the artist keeps their name on the work, and importantly this isn't some attempt for illusion or marketing. I'm not sure anyone in the art or graphic design world would pay someone to make them a painting just so they could then pretend they were the one to paint it (maybe that happens?)

I'm talking in a professional sense here, where professionals (or passionate people looking to own specific art) come to an agreement together to make something for arts sake, and to be rewarded in relation to its worth. This is how it works commonly amongst creative professionals, outside of the music industry.

Fiverr does have its place, but its mainly just jobs rather than art. Amateurs trying to make small cash from people who dont value art to begin with. Not the same as what i'm talking about, it's a different industry, marketplace and mindset.
 
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Magdelayna

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I assume this happens already when someone pays a music composer to make stuff for TV adverts,game show themes etc.

But if youre asking about producers and labels,that seems just fake that a person is going to pay someone to make music for them,then release on a label,in THEIR name. Where is the satisfaction knowing you never had anything to do with it?

Graphic design is a lot different imo,when you pay someone to make a logo etc.
 

Archon

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I don't think of it as satisfaction, but earning potential. So I pay you 100€ for a track as a label, and if I can master and market it and still make a profit, why not? Everyone benefits, and the risk is only on the label (which is why we won't see it happening).

That said, I do not know if and how this would improve the music itself.
 

Jetflag

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Due to studio/time constraints I often hire an external for the final mixing/mastering part. To actually write a track with a specific style in mind, dunno. I guess it happens within the production circles itself (dude x hiring Orjan to do job Y) but its a very tight circle.
 

Recharge

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Few key differences from ghost producing. For a start the artist keeps their name on the work, and importantly this isn't some attempt for illusion or marketing. I'm not sure anyone in the art or graphic design world would pay someone to make them a painting just so they could then pretend they were the one to paint it (maybe that happens?)

I'm talking in a professional sense here, where professionals (or passionate people looking to own specific art) come to an agreement together to make something for arts sake, and to be rewarded in relation to its worth. This is how it works commonly amongst creative professionals, outside of the music industry.

Fiverr does have its place, but its mainly just jobs rather than art. Amateurs trying to make small cash from people who dont value art to begin with. Not the same as what i'm talking about, it's a different industry, marketplace and mindset.
Artist keeping the name - ok I got it. So that's basically what labels do. I haven't research much into label contracts, but I was send one from a labels, label gets 100 percent of the right of the song, all the costs and you split all income 50-50. As far as my research went this basically the industry standard unless you are Michael Jackson, then you get your lawyers/managers to get you a better deal...

There are some videos on YouTube where bigger names buy fiverr songs for lets say 50,100, 250,500$ to compare what you get for your money. And to be honest above 100-200 you get really well made professional songs.

 
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Magdelayna

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I don't think of it as satisfaction, but earning potential. So I pay you 100€ for a track as a label, and if I can master and market it and still make a profit, why not? Everyone benefits, and the risk is only on the label (which is why we won't see it happening).

That said, I do not know if and how this would improve the music itself.

Oh youre talking about a label buying a track,not an individual? Whose name goes on the track as artist then? And who identifies as that artist haha...its all shady and fake to me lol.
 

Magdelayna

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Artist keeping the name - ok I got it. So that's basically what labels do. I haven't research much into label contracts, but I was send one from a labels, label gets 100 percent of the right of the song, all the costs and you split all income 50-50. As far as my research went this basically the industry standard unless you are Michael Jackson, then you get your lawyers/managers to get you a better deal...

There are some videos on YouTube where bigger names buy fiverr songs for lets say 50,100, 250,500$ to compare what you get for your money. And to be honest above 100-200 you get really well made professional songs.


Labels rip producers off in money terms..the thresholds are a joke. But producers still flock to them cos of the potential glory of beatport number 72 position is too hard to resist.
 
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TwinSilo

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Labels rip producers off in money terms..the thresholds are a joke. But producers still flock to them cos of the potential glory of beatport number 72 position is too hard to resist.

There is more to the role of the label than that. It’s handy for the listener to have someone source, quality check and continue to collect a specific style you like in a single place. Their reach is better too usually.

Artists are ripped off, no doubt. I don’t know what the average split is on a track, upfront or with royalties.
 

Archon

Gagi
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Oh youre talking about a label buying a track,not an individual? Whose name goes on the track as artist then? And who identifies as that artist haha...its all shady and fake to me lol.
So let's say I have a label, and I pay you to produce a track for my label. I own the rights to your track, but still have your name attached to it. You are fully paid, and it's on the label to sell as many copies as possible in order to make a profit.
 

Hensmon

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Yeah Gagi has it right. For example I want more Classic sounding tracks on the TF Label. I could find a producer I like, offer to pay them upfront, let's say $800, and give a certain degree of direction/vision. We'd have some back and forth on iteration, which you'd be more inclined to act upon in order to keep the client happy and warrant further work.

I would then own the track and could sell it on my label. I am thinking about this realistically for an experiment on the TF label. I would offer $500 to artist, plus additional royalties once a threshold is met i.e once I sell 50 copies we then split everything 50/50. My benefit is that I have more control and ownership over the product, the artist benefit is more money than they would usually get relying on royalties alone + all the normal track exposure you would typically get.
 
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Recharge

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Yeah Gagi has it right. For example I want more Classic sounding tracks on the TF Label. I could find a producer I like, offer to pay them upfront, let's say $800, and give a certain degree of direction/vision. We'd have some back and forth on iteration, which you'd be more inclined to act upon in order to keep the client happy and warrant further work.

I would then own the track and could sell it on my label. I am thinking about this realistically for an experiment on the TF label. I would offer $500 to artist, plus additional royalties once a threshold is met i.e once I sell 50 copies we then split everything 50/50. My benefit is that I have more control and ownership over the product, the artist benefit is more money than they would usually get relying on royalties alone + all the normal track exposure you would typically get.

So let's say I have a label, and I pay you to produce a track for my label. I own the rights to your track, but still have your name attached to it. You are fully paid, and it's on the label to sell as many copies as possible in order to make a profit.

So yeah, it's a different label contract where you sign up an artist for X amount of songs/albums(s). You pay the artists in advance and royalties can be a lot less since the artist gets paid in advance. I am guessing most artist will hate getting too constricted unless its for a lot of money.

Let's say you might get some good artists hooked on the idea to produce old school trance. But they might even want to release under another alias/name if it can hurt their let's say more modern sound/look for lack of a better words.
 

Magdelayna

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The only thing id say from a producers point of view - is that you might make a lot more money from streams over a number of years,than you might if you sold a piece for one amount. But thats a bit of a risk and you might just want the lump sum on some music hehe.
 

Jetflag

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Given that up tier remix artists usually ask somewhere around 200 (can speak from experience) you might want to rethink that number idd.