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Frequently Asked Questions

 

I invent songs in my head, but I can't play any instruments. How do I go about recording my songs?

Just send us your ideas as MP3s and text files, by uploading them to ourServer. Sing the melody and any other part of an arrangement you have in mind and include full instructions as to the style and/or instrumentation you envisage for the song. If you have no fixed ideas, it may be easier for you to send us a "hate list" of styles that you definitely DON'T want for your song. Otherwise, the melody alone is suffice for us to work from.

I only write poetry and lyrics. Is there any chance you can make songs out of them?

Of course! We can write a melody to any lyrics and arrange them into a song format. We can even make a song in a style of your own choosing. However, some poems don't translate too well to song format, so we may need your permission to adjust the structure of them to fit. We will let you know in advance if that is the case.

I haven't registered the copyright of my song with any agencies. How do I know that you wont steal it when I send it to you for recording?

We don't steal songs. We wouldn't last two minutes in this business if we were to do that. Your songs are protected by copyright whether you have registered them or not. A registration is only one form of evidence that can be used in court. Everyone who you play your songs to can help you to gather more evidence. By sending them to us for recording, we are logging more evidence, such as who sent them to us, the dates we received them, and the dates we publish them on CD or on the Internet. Furthermore, a song is practically worthless until a good team of people get hold of it, record it with an amazing arrangement, then spend many months and a considerable amount of money marketing and promoting it. I, and my collaborators have dozens of perfectly good songs just sitting around doing nothing, so why on earth would we want to steal one of yours? :o)

I sent you some songs for recording and now you appear to have total control over them. Did I pay you good money just so that you could steal my songs?

To reiterate... We don't steal songs! There are a lot of people, however, who come into this business without doing at least the minimum amount of research neccessary to understand what is going on.

We are a music production company with our own record label. Under the law we operate much like a traditional record company, but without holding our artists to exclusive contracts. Unlike a traditional record company, we don't loan you the money to make a recording that we later re-coup from your sales. We believe YOU should be in control of your music. You can therefore choose the contract option that gives you the amount of control you want at the price you can afford.

Some people don't realise that a song, once recorded, can hold as many as 3 different copyrights. The copyright to the song itself (lyrics & melody) will always belong to the author. Even after we've made our production of it, you are still free to take your song elsewhere and get it re-recorded by another producer; or signed to a publisher, or a major record company. So in essence, our deal with you is non-exclusive.

Depending on the contract option you choose, we may own up to 100% of the rights to our recording of your song. This is the phonographic copyright (è) that exists in the sound recording. The money you pay us to record it on our "Joint Risk" contract, barely covers our immediate expenses. It only relates to approx 25% of the total cost of production. The other 75% of the cost is covered by us and is NON RECOUPABLE. We therefore retain ownership of the phonographic copyright in order that we have some chance of recouping the cost of the many unpaid hours of work that our staff put into the recording process. However, you do receive a copy of the recording that is LICENSED to you for various personal and promotional uses. Also, in the vast majority of cases, the recording will be officially released on the Wobbly Music label. So even if you are only using the recording as a demo, it will also have the potential to earn you some royalties whilst you are trying to get yourself a deal with a major record company or publisher.

A third copyright exists in the ARRANGEMENT. This belongs jointly to the people who write the arrangement of the various tracks that make up the recording. Usually, it will be the studio producer and the various musicians involved, who will each hold a share of this copyright. Further down the line, other people may write different arrangements for your song, and those would also have their own copyright.

The phonographic copyright lasts for 50 years. During that time, we have the right to try and sell our recording. In doing so, this will also generate royalties for you as the author and/or artist, which after all, is what you are in business to do! If you are over 30 and think you may be interested in signing a deal with us, please check out our Record Deals.

I want to take up your offer of a free production by signing your "Debut Single" contract. How long will it take?

We put as much time, effort, and skill into our free productions as we do with full commissions. We also give the song all we think it needs, unless instructed otherwise. This can be anything from a basic acoustic arrangement, up to a full band or orchestral arrangement. We use our artistic skills to decide what is appropriate, and our session musicians also add their own unique touches to the sound. That said, our paying customers will always take priority over a free product, so we tend to fit in the work during quiet periods. This can mean long delays between sessions. The musicians who kindly work for us for free on these projects, also have to fit the sessions in between their other work. So, sorry I can't be more specific, but it can take anything from 4 weeks to 6 months for a free project to be finished. If you are in a hurry, you might consider negotiating some kind of deal with us. We are very flexible! For more details please check out our Record Deals.

I want to pay for 3 songs to be produced. How long will this take?

Doing a series of songs at once is always quicker than commissioning your songs one at a time. This is because, in many cases, we can use the same set of musicians for all the songs and they can do all the tracking in just one or two sessions. So whereas we like to allow 6-8 weeks to do one song, a series of 3 songs would take only a couple of weeks longer.

I am thinking of using your production services on one of my songs. I have no fixed ideas for an arrangement, so how many tracks/instruments will you put on it?

We put as many as it needs, and this depends on the type of song, the genre, and the market you are aiming at. A typical pop/rock song for instance would probably have Drums, up to 3 percussion tracks, Bass, up to 6 guitar tracks, up to 3 keyboard tracks, and up to 6 vocal tracks.

I don't see any scale of charges on your site like on others I've visited. Will it cost me more for a full production than for a simple arrangement of guitar/vocal?

Not necessarily. Our charges are based around a set of contractual options that could vary from Zero up to $1000's for a song. The option you choose, will determine what copyrights each party hold, and what percentages can potentially be earned from the finished release. If all you want is a basic guitar/vocal demo, it would probably work out better to go for the "Work for Hire" option, and pay the full studio rates. This may cost as little as one day's studio time (around $267). However, most people go for the "Joint Risk" option, where you pay a flat rate for each song to cover our expenses (currently this is $297), but for that you get a full production, or as much as is required for a song suitable for independent release. For more information, please check out our Record Deals.

I was really pleased with the CD I made at home, but when I took it round to my mate's to play it to him, it sounded terrible on his Hi-Fi. What did I do wrong?

Mixing a song at home is all very well. You may even be lucky enough to have a room which is acoustically sound. Even so, you must get into the habit of setting your system controls to a reference position before you start, and listening to the mix on as many sound sources as possible. After that the track needs to be mastered to bring out its full potential and balance it with the other songs on your CD. If you are already happy with your mix, Mastering may be all that it needs. It's always best to have a different pair of ears mastering it for you. We recommend spending as much as you can afford in taking it to a good mastering studio. However, if your budget is too low for that, we do sometimes master external projects here from as little as $27 per song.

I'm fed up of being ripped off by record companies. How can I release my own CD?

If you've already recorded your CD, and registered copyrights etc with the relevant agencies, it's as simple as putting it up for sale on your website! The Internet has made the whole process much easier than it used to be. All you need to be aware of is that sales are still extremely hard to come by. You will probably spend the first few years after your release just learning about internet marketing techniques! Alternatively, you may be thinking of making a new album, or perhaps you don't already have the necessary society memberships in place to release it on your own label. Wobbly Music can help you with this if you wish to collaborate on a joint venture. For more details, please check out our Record Deals.

I want to promote the songs you produced for me and sell them on the Internet. Can you give me any help or advice on how best to present my own image? I don't want to appear to my potential customers as just a clone on one of those MP3 sites!

We like to give as much help to our signed artists as possible in getting them started on the road to self-promotion. This includes the creation of a unique website, and the use of an email address specific to you. We even include your own private FTP site so that you can give only certain people access to your music for free (Such as publishers and record companies). Meanwhile, you can build your fanbase with additions such as a mailing list, autoresponder and guestbook, and sell your recordings or CDs by linking to them in our record store. If you already own your own domain and website, we will help you by linking to it from our main Wobbly Music Site. Your music news will also be mentioned in the newsletter that goes out to our mailing list. If you have the means to design your own site but don't have a domain, we can host your site on our domain (please email me for details). Alternatively, we can build the whole site to your specifications, ranging from one page (FREE to clients who have commissioned 3 or more songs) to as many as you like. Prices are negotiable. Please email me.

I'm a musician/vocalist. How do I get to work on one of your sessions?

You must register your details on our Database. That is the first place we look when we need a specific talent for a project. If you tend to do a lot of online collaboration anyway, please consider registering as someone who is also prepared to work on free projects. This often leads to more work and we always try to use the same people on our paid projects as those who played on the initial free project. Go to Collaborations and fill in the form.

I played Guitar on a deferred payment session for you. How long before you pay me my session fee?

Its best to think of a deferred payment session as a free session, but with the chance that one day, you'll get a surprise cheque in the post! I wont lie to you and promise that you'll be paid within a certain amount of time. It is impossible to say whether the song you performed on will ever make a profit. What I can say is, that not only do you have full use of the recording for your own promotional purposes, but we, and the client, are also doing our best to promote it and make money from that recording. As all income is administered by Wobbly Music, you can be assured that as soon as the project makes any money, the deferred session fees will be the first payments to be made.

You wrote a great critique on two of the songs I sent you, but you've not said anything about the one you are producing for me, Why?

It is a new company policy in that we do not do a critique on a song we are producing until after the recording has been finished and approved by the client. This is because we believe it is more helpful to you for a critique to point out the things can can be improved upon, rather than the good points. This can have unfortunate side-effects in that some people may misconstrue this to mean we don't like their song and will therefore not give our fullest attention to the production of it. As a producer, it is our job to not only give you a finished recording of a high sound quality, but also to make the song sound as original and marketable as possible, within the contraints given to us. I can assure you that the work we do bears no relation to our personal feelings about the song. We make songs the way we believe your market will like it, not how we personally may like it. However, every production we do becomes a part of us and therefore, to discredit it after that, will be the same as saying our work sucks! If we have been given a free-rein on the arrangement we will point out what changes we've made and why we think they are important. If not, we will point out further improvements that we feel could have been made.

Is it up to you, or up to me, which of my songs you produce and release on your label?

That is a difficult question! Whilst some of your songs may be more commercial than others, the song you choose to give us to work on is ultimately your personal choice. If you have trouble choosing which of your songs is more likely to make money, then send us a selection and we will choose the one we think is the most commercial. We will release any recordings that we believe are a marketable audio quality, but we also have to consider other factors such as the mix quality, the genre (whether it is a style that would be liked by our mature listeners), and the quality of the performances and arrangements. On the whole, these are factors that we can build into almost any song if we are given a free rein on the production of it. Given this freedom, we can guarantee that we will release your song on our label.

Rare situations do arise when we are not given a free rein on the production of your song. Our ultimate aim is to please you, our client, and to make a recording that YOU are happy with. We will take all your preferences and explicit instructions into account when producing and mixing your song. Sometimes the results may go against our criteria outlined above. If such a situation occurs, we will explain our reasons for not releasing the recording, after you have approved our work. If this occurred on a free or joint project, you will have the benefit of a recording you like for your own use, but we will not be in a position to recoup our losses from it unless we decide to do a remix. When you sign our initial letter of authorisation, you give us the permission to do this. If we feel that we could make a strong product relevant to our label in doing so, we may take the time at our own expense to do this. This, we will put down to personal experience. Nothing is "right" or "wrong" in music. It is an artistic endeavour and there will be occasional differences of opinion. If this difference is great, and apparent from the first project we do for you, we will advise that you either continue to work with us under a "Work for Hire" agreement, or you find yourself a producer who is more in tune with your own desires and preferences.

I have already made my CD. Would you be able to release it on your label?

If you have songs that are already recorded and you'd like us to release them on our label, you may find that certain aspects of them don't meet our criteria. If we like them, we will suggest that you sign our Distribution Deal. Please email me with your queries. DO NOT email your MP3's or post unsolicited tapes or CDs. Ask me first! We prefer not to receive CDs and tapes as they take up valuable shelf-space. We have a server where you can upload your material.

Alternatively, there are plenty of independent "labels" or "distributors" that you can pay to "release" your recordings on their site. They may promise you radio airplay, or a CD "sampler" that is sent to a list of record companies and radio stations, or a means of getting your record on "iTunes" or other internet record stores. So long as you pay your money, they wont exclude you. You could send some of them a recording of your cat, and they wont be any the wiser! My advice to you is AVOID THESE PEOPLE at all costs! You would be better off publishing your music on your own site, or on one of the free MP3 sites such as "Soundclick" or "MySpace".

I've downloaded your "Recording Contract - Options" agreement, but I'm now totally confused by all the different deals you offer and have no idea which one would be best for me. Do you have a brochure or catalogue that will explain them in greater detail?

We have gone one better than that and produced a "Comparisson Chart" where you can easily see the differences between all our different deals.