The producer contract is very similar to the licence contract of recordings in many respects. The producer does nothing other than also produce a tape and transfer the rights to it. Differences with regard to the transfer of rights arise due to the producer’s way of working. They can either produce a tape independently and at their own risk and offer the tapes to a company later. Or the producer is hired by the company to produce a certain band. There is both the artistic producer and the economic producer. Both can fall together.
1.) The producer as “self-employed
Here, the producer usually makes recordings with an artist in his or her own studio. A record company is not involved at this early stage, so the producer works at his own risk for the time being. There are several possibilities for the producer’s financial participation here, on which the extent of the later transfer of rights depends.
2.) Advance assignment of the participation claim
In this case, the producer transfers his rights to the recordings to the artist and in return receives a part of the artist’s future share in the proceeds.
Advantage: The producer no longer has to worry about anything.
Disadvantage: The producer loses his right to have a say in post-production.
3.) Producer – Promise
Here the producer retains ownership of the master tapes and gets a promise from the artist that he will not sign a record contract without involving the producer as artistic producer.
Disadvantage: If, contrary to the agreement, the artist does not involve the producer in the conclusion of the record contract, the producer can only assert possible claims for damages against the artist.
4.) Producer – option contract
Here the producer has the option of concluding an exclusive contract with the artist. The producer must therefore look for a record company for the recordings. In the option agreement he will be given a period of 6 to 12 months to do so. During this time, however, the artist is forbidden to sign a contract with a company himself. In case of success, the producer will conclude two contracts: An artist contract with the artist and a band takeover contract with the company. If the producer does not find a company within the period, however, the option agreement lapses.
5.) The producer as an “employee
The producer also has the option of working directly on behalf of a record company. In this case he only transfers his own rights and not those of the artist. The following points in particular can be stipulated in the corresponding contracts:
- The right of the company to determine which titles are recorded with which accompanying musicians
- Determination of the budget for the production
- assurance of production quality
- binding deadlines
- no liability of producer for delays caused by artist’s behaviour reservation of the company with regard to acceptance obligation of secrecy