Reference Vocals: Is It Worth it?
July 7, 2010 8:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm doing reference vocals for a couple of team songwriters who have recently been signed under a music DJ who works for a major record label. The tracks are good, these guys know their pop music, however they have no money to offer me at the moment. The only things they can offer me is free studio time, access to their songwriters, some music tracks and connections in getting my music to the right people. When I get paid depends if their boss likes the vocals or if an artist picks up the song. Is this a common tactic among new songwriters when they cannot pay their vocalists? How can I make sure I'm getting the best end of this deal or should I walk away?
posted by InterestedInKnowing to Work & Money (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd say:

1) Get the IOU in writing, and/or the studio time - with specifics;

2) Even if they only pay you $20, that could possibly change the way you are seen and are treated, by them and by others -- even $1 makes you a "professional" rather than some free singer;

3) Sounds like a pretty OK deal.
posted by amtho at 10:27 AM on July 7, 2010

Basically consider it as if you'll never get paid AND your vocals might get used anyway.

If you have use for the studio time, use it - go in with a plan of exactly what you want to record, record it, and keep your masters. If you've got someone who can work sound equipment and mastering, bring them in as well.

This isn't to say the folks are necessarily sketchy, but small music scenes tend to work on informal networks and agreements made by one person may not be honored by others, things transfer ownership, etc. relatively quickly.
posted by yeloson at 12:39 PM on July 7, 2010

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