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If an album has ten songs with ten different producers, how much will I get?

An RP visitor asks how the share of the producer's royalty is divided on an album with several different producers. Clearly some will get more, others will get less...

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Question from an Audio Masterclass visitor...

Ok..Here's my question..

Producer royalties--- Let's say that an album has 10 songs on it with 10 different producers. How much royalty will each producer get?

I am having a problem with term 2% blah blah blah. Is that number divided by each producer. I have been told that I may get 1% and another producer on the same album may get 2% and so on, each producer negotiates their own percentage.

Thanks so much

Luv the site, Sput

David Mellor responds...

OK, I think I'm just about understanding that. It is common for producers to get a percentage of royalties, rare for engineers and remixers.

As a producer, if you aspire to greatness, then you should be looking for a royalty of around 3% of the suggested list retail price. On a successful record, that adds up to a lot of money. And it's probably fair to say that on many records it is the producer who is the one person who contributed most to the record's success.

As a new producer, then you should seek 1%. Any less than that and the label is trying it on. If the label suggests a fee, then you should consider whether it is worth accepting this to perhaps get more work in the future.

But if an album has ten tracks with ten different producers, then the situation is more complex. Let's consider the case when it is a single artist rather than a compilation of multiple artists.

How the money is divided up depends on agreements with individual producers, and how the label wants to creatively manage its accounts. For instance, it could say that there is 3% to divide between all the producers on the album. That wouldn't be too clever though because some producers might be willing to settle for less.

A more practical method would be to take the suggested list retail price, divide than by ten, then apply a percentage for each song according to the individual producer agreements.

It has to be said however that it is becoming more common for producers to create a finished master, then license it to the label. There is more scope here for the producer to achieve a bigger slice of the pie, usually at the expense of the artist who has to accept less than they would if they were signed directly to the label.

In matters legal and financial, there are seldom simple answers. Expect more on this topic.

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By David Mellor Tuesday November 1, 2005
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