When a single or an album is being marketed, most people only know of it because of the artist or the band performing the music. Many are not aware that most of the work behind a piece of music is done by the music producer, who will arrange everything from booking recording sessions to delivering the beats behind the famous song. Therefore, it is paramount that music producers and artists sign agreements that properly protect each party’s work, rights, and profit earnings, and outline their exact responsibilities.
A music producer is involved in the actual creative process of creating a song or album, as well as the more administrative side. Within the agreement, there will be an explicit expectation that the producer arranges sessions in a studio, hires the necessary equipment to produce the desired sound, takes care of the budget, and gets release forms from the musicians involved. Furthermore, the producer is responsible for delivering a final product that meets the expectations of the record label. This means that the producer must create a song that will fit with what the label was looking for and generates enough profits to offset the costs of production.
It is important to note that one record, single, or album can have multiple producers working on it. This makes it even more important to have an agreement that specifically sets out how fees will be divided, and how much each producer will earn from the recording. The salary range is quite large, and will depend on the record being produced, the artist who will belong to the record, and the credentials of the producer(s).
Something that each producer must also be careful of is their royalty rate. Depending on the work they have done, a producer will receive a royalty rate that satisfies their contribution and is agreed upon by the label. Given that there are different types of royalty payments, a producer agreement should make clear the type of royalty income the producer will receive and how they will be paid. Finally, the rights to the song, or portions of the song-making process, should also be clearly explained in the agreement as this can lead to conflict over who owns the recording, and the respective rights to it. While the aforementioned is not an exhaustive list of the contents of a producer agreement, it does provide an initial start to understanding what a producer might expect from an agreement with a record label and artist.