Hiring musician Advice please

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Ermytarya
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Hiring musician Advice please

#1 Post by Ermytarya » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:40 pm

Hello!
First of all i apologize if i posted this in the wrong part of the forums!! Image

So am planning on create a visual novel, and i been thinking i would like to hire a musician to create custom music for my visual novel, but i have never hired one! so i dont know how exactly the thing works!

i would appreciate if you could enlighten me!, thanks beforehand! here are my doubts:

-If you hire a musician for a music tracks (BGM) and then later i want to sell the ost of the visual novel, would i have to pay the musicians fee aside of what i payed for creating those custom tracks?

-Will the musician be able to sell the music that she/he created for my game?

-Also how you avoid of being frauded, i remember in the rpg maker community there was a guy who was offering music that did not belong to him, of course it got caught, but is there a way to avoid this? (That person even had a soundcloud with "music samples" but almost none belonged to him, No, that did not happen to me,it happened to another person whos project was just a demo and people pointed it out, still bad thing to happen.) I am really afraid of that happening to me D:!
Hope my concerns are not too stupid!
Well thats all, for now i think. Image kbye

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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#2 Post by mikolajspy » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:51 pm

Ermytarya wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:40 pm
-If you hire a musician for a music tracks (BGM) and then later i want to sell the ost of the visual novel, would i have to pay the musicians fee aside of what i payed for creating those custom tracks?
Depends on the agreement you made. Some might want to have royalty split (not reccomended), others are fine with higher commercial rate one time.
Ermytarya wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:40 pm
-Will the musician be able to sell the music that she/he created for my game?
Also depends on agreement, but I guess it's better to have music exclusive for your project, if you're going to pay for it.
Ermytarya wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:40 pm
-Also how you avoid of being frauded, i remember in the rpg maker community there was a guy who was offering music that did not belong to him, of course it got caught, but is there a way to avoid this?
Huh, that's a tough one. Check if he has any opinions from somewhat trusted users (several posts), did he took part in other projects in the past, and so on.
But in the end, you can never be sure, unfortunately.
You can always ask for written agreement, with real personal data and there stating that the work is original, otherwise provider (musician) will be hold responsible for anything.

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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#3 Post by rito » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:02 pm

Payment stuff depends on the creator so your best bet is to talk it out beforehand. Also think if you want a non-disclosure agreement while the game is being made, if the musician can post tracks they did for your game as samples in their portfolio, etc. NDAs and such can make it more expensive.

Sadly I don't have any advice to give on avoiding fraud other than what mikolajspy has said. A friend of mine who does music commissions often does voice calls with clients as he's composing--maybe ask if that's an option!
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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#4 Post by Ermytarya » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:39 pm

mikolajspy wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:51 pm
Depends on the agreement you made. Some might want to have royalty split (not reccomended), others are fine with higher commercial rate one time.


Also depends on agreement, but I guess it's better to have music exclusive for your project, if you're going to pay for it.

Huh, that's a tough one. Check if he has any opinions from somewhat trusted users (several posts), did he took part in other projects in the past, and so on.
But in the end, you can never be sure, unfortunately.
You can always ask for written agreement, with real personal data and there stating that the work is original, otherwise provider (musician) will be hold responsible for anything.
Thank you! those answers where insightful!!
Yes, i think writing down as some sort of contract, its a good idea to deal with that sort of things happening! so i dont have to deal with such messy thing!

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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#5 Post by Ermytarya » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:42 pm

rito wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:02 pm
Payment stuff depends on the creator so your best bet is to talk it out beforehand. Also think if you want a non-disclosure agreement while the game is being made, if the musician can post tracks they did for your game as samples in their portfolio, etc. NDAs and such can make it more expensive.

Sadly I don't have any advice to give on avoiding fraud other than what mikolajspy has said. A friend of mine who does music commissions often does voice calls with clients as he's composing--maybe ask if that's an option!
Oh! am glad i can ask the musician to not post stuff before i finish the game!
Well, i suppose i will pick a musician that have worked for other people here in lemmasoft when the time comes, i bet that lowers the chances to run into shady people.

Thanks!

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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#6 Post by D.ray » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:21 pm

Composer here. I may be able to expand on this a bit.
-If you hire a musician for a music tracks (BGM) and then later i want to sell the ost of the visual novel, would i have to pay the musicians fee aside of what i payed for creating those custom tracks?
That depends on the kinda of agreement you decided on at the start. Usually there are 2 common forms of contracts, music license agreements, and work for hire agreements. It gets a bit complicated since there are variations and stipulations that can vary within those agreements, but I'll keep it simple.

Basically for a music license agreements, you pay a composer for x amount of tracks at x amount of money. The composer keeps the copyright to all the music, but grants you an exclusive license, or permission for you to use the music created exclusively in your game and promotional material. This of course also means they won't reuse the music they made for your for another game either. You should still mention you want exclusivity though, just in case. They can however sell the music they created and profit from it.

However, If you wanted to sell the music, that would not be possible, unless you asked permission from the composer to do so. If you did do this, you'd probably have to negotiate a buyout of their music, or negotiate another form of compensation

The 2nd form is a work for hire commission with the purchase of the music's copyrights included. This means the composer will compose the music for you knowing they will give up all rights to the music to you. In general, this will cost you more since the composer will lose the right to make money off the music, i.e they can't sell it. In addition to this, they also lose many other rights to their music. They pretty much give up all legal ownership of their creation and all future benefits that may come from it. This type of deal is usually common when composing for triple A games. The upside for a composer for taking such a deal is that their name and reputation grow, which leads to more future commissions and at a higher rate.

There are variations to both of those forms, and what particular rights each party can have, which is usually negotiated upon.
-Will the musician be able to sell the music that she/he created for my game?
Not if you approach composers with the intent to own the copyrights to their music, or at the very least mention you want exclusive rights to sell their music. Even If you find a composer who won't agree to a buyout for their copyright, you can probably still negotiate an agreement where they keep the copyright, but grant you permission to sell their music.
-Also how you avoid of being frauded, i remember in the rpg maker community there was a guy who was offering music that did not belong to him, of course it got caught, but is there a way to avoid this?
This is pretty rare. Stealing someone else's work and claiming it as your own is career suicide for any legit composer, artists or creator. Many of whom spend years honing their craft, building their reputation, and networking. This is so rare I would not worry about it. You should be screening any potential candidates by demanding certain things anyway, like examples of their work, what games they have worked on, and any other important factors you may want to consider. You'll hire someone suited for your game this way, and reduce the risk of dealing with someone shady.
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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#7 Post by Ermytarya » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:39 pm

D.ray wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:21 pm
Composer here. I may be able to expand on this a bit.

Basically for a music license agreements, you pay a composer for x amount of tracks at x amount of money. The composer keeps the copyright to all the music, but grants you an exclusive license, or permission for you to use the music created exclusively in your game and promotional material. This of course also means they won't reuse the music they made for your for another game either. You should still mention you want exclusivity though, just in case. They can however sell the music they created and profit from it.
Good to know i can tell them to make the music exclusive for my game, because there is no point on hiring a musician if he/she is gonna sell the music i commisioned to another games, in that case it may be better just use free resorces.
However, If you wanted to sell the music, that would not be possible, unless you asked permission from the composer to do so. If you did do this, you'd probably have to negotiate a buyout of their music, or negotiate another form of compensation
So this only allow me to sell my game with his/her music on it, but not a separated ost? did i get it right?

I have another doubt, if i pay for a music track for 1visual novel i am making, but i also want to use that same track for a second visual novel will i have to pay him/her again?
The 2nd form is a work for hire commission with the purchase of the music's copyrights included. This means the composer will compose the music for you knowing they will give up all rights to the music to you. In general, this will cost you more since the composer will lose the right to make money off the music, i.e they can't sell it. In addition to this, they also lose many other rights to their music. They pretty much give up all legal ownership of their creation and all future benefits that may come from it. This type of deal is usually common when composing for triple A games. The upside for a composer for taking such a deal is that their name and reputation grow, which leads to more future commissions and at a higher rate.
This sound good, but i doubt i will get enough money to pay for something like this. I am just happy as long as the musician dont sell the music for my game to some other project, the idea of hiring a musician its to avoid to sound too generic. :d

Not if you approach composers with the intent to own the copyrights to their music, or at the very least mention you want exclusive rights to sell their music. Even If you find a composer who won't agree to a buyout for their copyright, you can probably still negotiate an agreement where they keep the copyright, but grant you permission to sell their music.
So , if the musician can sell the music of my game as the ost of my visual novel does that mean i have right to ask some part of the ganances since is selling it as a soundtrack of my visual novel?


Thank you this was really helpfull!

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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#8 Post by Kinmoku » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:25 am

Good thread! I'm wondering the following:
D.ray wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:21 pm
Basically for a music license agreements, you pay a composer for x amount of tracks at x amount of money. The composer keeps the copyright to all the music, but grants you an exclusive license, or permission for you to use the music created exclusively in your game and promotional material. This of course also means they won't reuse the music they made for your for another game either. You should still mention you want exclusivity though, just in case. They can however sell the music they created and profit from it.
This seems like a good deal for everyone, but with a snag: How can the composer sell the OST along with the game, for example in a Steam bundle. That's where most OST sales would be made if the option's available, but splitting the Steam revenue for potentially forever seems like a lot of work. No doubt an accountant would need to be involved.

Perhaps the only way to sell an OST alongside the game is as you mentioned in the second option: Buy all the rights, but for an indie that can be quite costly. Maybe I'm missing something about Steam and itch.io... Maybe there's a way for the composer to directly get their OST revenue even if it's listed alongside the game? :?

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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#9 Post by D.ray » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:59 pm

However, If you wanted to sell the music, that would not be possible, unless you asked permission from the composer to do so. If you did do this, you'd probably have to negotiate a buyout of their music, or negotiate another form of compensation
So this only allow me to sell my game with his/her music on it, but not a separated ost? did i get it right?
Yes. You would only have the right to do so, if before hiring them, you made it a requirement that you would have the right to sell their ost, but that they could retain thier copyright. Otherwise you would need to go for a work for hire agreement, where you buy the copyrights to their music and then are free to do whatever you want with it.
I have another doubt, if i pay for a music track for 1visual novel i am making, but i also want to use that same track for a second visual novel will i have to pay him/her again?
When you hire under an exclusive licence agreement, the music that is created is only to be used for the game you are creating and not any other game. If you wanted to use the same music again in another game, you would have to ask the composer permission to do so, and probably pay another fee. That's assuming they even agree for you to reuse their music since they could just say no.

If you want to hire a composer to create music for you, which you can sell as an OST and reuse in another game, it's probably better to just do a work for hire agreement. You can probably find someone who can do this for you, if you state what you want from the start. It might be pricer than just doing a licence agreement, but if selling the ost and reusing the music is something you want, it's easier to just go that route. It avoids a lot of legal redtape and is one of the reasons major game studios operate like that.

I should state that reusing music commissioned for one game in a completely different game is really strange. The only situation where this would make sense is if the other game is a sequel or continuation of the first. However, even in that scenario, there would probably be completely new music tracks composed by the same composer (so they were probably hired again), or they were probably compensated in some form for having their old music used again.

The other possible situation is that the game is released in chapters, so the same tracks may appear in future chapters as they are released, however since it’s still the same game, there would be no problem with that instance, or any additional fees needed to be paid..

I would advise against selling the same ost that was used for 2 entirely different games, since that makes you come off as a shady and cheap game dev. The whole point of hiring a composer for an ost is that the music is entirely original and exclusive for that one game, and not to be reused. If you reuse it for a completely different game, it stops being an original soundtrack, and then if you sell it while reusing it for another game at the same time, you'll just come off as desperate and greedy among gamers and composers.
Not if you approach composers with the intent to own the copyrights to their music, or at the very least mention you want exclusive rights to sell their music. Even If you find a composer who won't agree to a buyout for their copyright, you can probably still negotiate an agreement where they keep the copyright, but grant you permission to sell their music.
So , if the musician can sell the music of my game as the ost of my visual novel does that mean i have right to ask some part of the ganances since is selling it as a soundtrack of my visual novel?
This is possible. You would have to negotiate this. Usually 2 things are common. The 1st is that composer can sell the ost where they want and they get all the profit, you do not. It doesn't matter if the ost is for your game, the composer still retains the copyright, which entitles them to sell and receive profit from their work.

The 2nd thing is that if you wish to sell the ost bundled with your game or through the same site, say somewhere like steam, you can split the profits from the ost sales from that bundle or site.. This is actually pretty common. Usually a combination of both things happen. The composers gets to sell the ost on sites like itunes or bandcamp, and they receive all the profit from that, however they also sell their ost bundled with the game, and any ost sales sold from that bundle or through that particular site is shared. How much that percentage is has to be negotiated.

Of course, you can still negotiate to receive a percentage from all ost sales, or where and when the composer can sell the osts, just be prepared to receive a lot of resistance or to compromise frequently. As a composer, I would never allow the ability to sell my music to be taken over, or to hand over a majority of the profits from my music to someone else.

From my experience, coming up with fair terms is more beneficial to both parties. If you hardline a composer and try to take control or majority profit of their music, be prepared to pay and arm and leg as compensation, or be denied permission entirely. Likewise, smart composers won’t be greedy and agree to split profits from osts sale since a majority of the ost sales typically come from where the game is sold or bundled.
Kinmoku wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:25 am
Good thread! I'm wondering the following:
D.ray wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:21 pm
Basically for a music license agreements, you pay a composer for x amount of tracks at x amount of money. The composer keeps the copyright to all the music, but grants you an exclusive license, or permission for you to use the music created exclusively in your game and promotional material. This of course also means they won't reuse the music they made for your for another game either. You should still mention you want exclusivity though, just in case. They can however sell the music they created and profit from it.
This seems like a good deal for everyone, but with a snag: How can the composer sell the OST along with the game, for example in a Steam bundle. That's where most OST sales would be made if the option's available, but splitting the Steam revenue for potentially forever seems like a lot of work. No doubt an accountant would need to be involved.
No, it’s actually not. The revenue would be split based upon a dollar goal, or time elapsed. For example, once the total amount of osts sold reaches $100, the revenue is split, and the composer gets their share. If it’s under the $100, the revenue isn’t split until that dollar amount is reached. There can be other conditions set, like say if the 100$ isn’t reached within 90 days, then whatever revenue has accumulated is split regardless.

Another agreement based on time can be made where the revenue is split quarterly throughout the year. So about every 3 months, the accumulated revenue is split. This is similar to how composers and musicians receive royalties in the music industry. It also makes sense since you’re only splitting the revenue 4 times a year. It is totally doable without an accountant. And I doubt anyone would be complaining for going through some formalities in order to receive continued profit.
Kinmoku wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:25 am
Perhaps the only way to sell an OST alongside the game is as you mentioned in the second option: Buy all the rights, but for an indie that can be quite costly. Maybe I'm missing something about Steam and itch.io... Maybe there's a way for the composer to directly get their OST revenue even if it's listed alongside the game? :?
It is possible for an indie game to use a work for hire agreement and obtain the music copyrights. The amount you end up paying will be determined by the composer you hire, the amount of tracks you want, the duration of the tracks, and how complex or unique you want the tracks to be. If this is the route you want to go, it may be worth getting estimates from composers.

I don’t know about iitch.io, but I believe steam doesn’t allow splitting of revenue or multiple accounts to receive payments. It goes to one account, and whoever is in charge of that account has to split the revenue with anyone else who has a stake in the profits. However, I think banks may have a way where you can setup an account and then split the amount coming in by percentages or set dollar amounts and have it distributed to anyone owed. This is like doing an automatic electronic payroll. Unfortunately I don’t know much about this process, but it may be worth looking into.
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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#10 Post by J-Ray » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:26 pm

A very helpful conversation... from musician's point of view as well.
Sometimes, unfortunately, it takes so much complex paperwork instead such a simple thing as being honest on both sides :)

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Re: Hiring musician Advice please

#11 Post by Ermytarya » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:56 pm

D.ray wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:59 pm
I would advise against selling the same ost that was used for 2 entirely different games, since that makes you come off as a shady and cheap game dev. The whole point of hiring a composer for an ost is that the music is entirely original and exclusive for that one game, and not to be reused. If you reuse it for a completely different game, it stops being an original soundtrack, and then if you sell it while reusing it for another game at the same time, you'll just come off as desperate and greedy among gamers and composers.
Well, i didn't look at it that way, until now that you mention it. I was thinking in the case of a sequel.
If you put it that way, i think you are right!
Now that i think about it, i haven't seen any sequel of games use the exact same music track, only remixed versions of it , but not the same.
I agreed with you, new music for sequel will make the game feel like a really new one, thanks for the insight!

The 2nd thing is that if you wish to sell the ost bundled with your game or through the same site, say somewhere like steam, you can split the profits from the ost sales from that bundle or site.. This is actually pretty common. Usually a combination of both things happen. The composers gets to sell the ost on sites like itunes or bandcamp, and they receive all the profit from that, however they also sell their ost bundled with the game, and any ost sales sold from that bundle or through that particular site is shared. How much that percentage is has to be negotiated.
I did a quick search about it, and i saw what you said, the composer sell the music in his itunes, but the company also sell it as soundtrack in their site.
Its just i am used if i pay for something then it's mine, i see that music does not work like that. Its more like paying for a game, you only buy the right to play it, but you do not own the the game itself.

I am beginning to understand how it works, thanks for the patience reading through my EngRish and answering my questions!

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