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Old 01-13-2019, 09:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Royalties for gold album/number 1 from 15 years ago

Hi,

I am writing on behalf of a semi well-known Canadian musician. A brilliant artist but no business savvy and he's completely broke despite a very impressive music catalog.

In 2003 (yes, a long time ago...) he wrote and sang on a track with a very well-known band in Brazil. His singing and songwriting part is one third of the track time.

The track was released on an album and also as a single. The album went gold. The single reached number 1 in the billboard charts in Brazil.

At the time he got an advance (about $200 Canadian dollars). He did not sign a contract. The band has never been in contact with him again.

He has never received any royalties. Yes, a lawyer... I written to some asking if they would take up this case for a contingency fee but no responses yet. So I wanted to ask for general advice here - is it reasonable that he would seek royalties so late? Would they be back dated? Any other opinions/information?

I'm not a music professional, so please cut me a break if these are naive questions

Thank you
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Old 01-13-2019, 09:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You can ASK for whatever you want. I think it's more than reasonable to ask for royalties, but since he wasn't under contract, it will probably be an uphill battle involving lengthy litigation, which will probably result in a lump sum verdict in his favor, but much smaller than what he originally requested.
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for your reply. This situation has happened to him multiple times. People assume he's a multi-millionaire when he's broke. It's shameful.

Can he register with ASCAP, SoundExchange, etc. for these songs when there's no agreed upon splits? In ASCAP, for example, you have to enter all artists regardless of contracts, etc. What percentage split do you put in though if none contractually agreed on?

Thanks again readers
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It wouldn't hurt to try. If he's got a lawyer and plans on taking it to court, then it would behoove him to show that he is serious. If no split was agreed upon, I would assume [1 / total # of band members].
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Old 01-14-2019, 05:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like he's ****ed.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If he only sang and/or played on the recording, he might only be entitled to whatever the agreed upon fee was for his performance. If there's no contract, then it comes down to his word versus the word of the other band members as far as what the fee was.

If he was also involved in writing the song (lyrics and/or music) then he would be entitled to royalties from the song.

https://aristake.com/post/songwriter-royalties

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But above all, most importantly, YOU have to figure out how to collect the songwriter royalties for the songs you write (and co-write). It is not the artist's responsibility. Not the label's responsibility. Not the other artist's manager. YOUR responsibility.
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