Colab advice please

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  JD 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #31972 Reply

    JD
    Participant

    Hi folks,
    I currently have a guitar student, a lady who sang a huge pop hit in the 90s.
    She is writing an album in Spanish.
    She has asked me to help with pronunciations and phrasing on the songs.
    She is not a native Spanish speaker and I haven’t yet heard the songs.
    I write songs in Spanish myself.
    My thoughts are that if I help with lyrical and pronunciation corrections, alternative lyrics that might rhyme better, construe meaning more clearly or flow better, this is effectively a collaboration.
    If a whole sentence or phrase is just wrong in Spanish and would need re-writing then that too would be a collaboration.
    If lyrics and sentence construction are essentially correct then I can just charge an hourly rate as I do for teaching her.
    To be honest I don’t want to get involved in a collaboration on the album as I want to use my time focused on my licensing writing, her songs may not be geared to this market so unless there is a goal of making money on it it could be a massive waste of my time.
    Just wanted to get thoughts and suggestions from you all on how to handle it as although I have collaborated with others in the past it has been a 50/50 agreement where we both got together and wrote songs from start to finish and both used our recording facilities to make it happen.
    Would appreciate any thoughts.
    Thanks in advance.
    JD

    #31997 Reply

    JD
    Participant

    Further to my original question, does anyone have any experience of translating songs and how this applies to song ownership of the original composition?
    Thanks
    JD

    #31998 Reply

    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    To be honest I don’t want to get involved in a collaboration on the album as I want to use my time focused on my licensing writing,

    I think you answered your own question there.

    I had a slightly similar situation with a very famous actress who had a hit TV show at the time. She wanted to record an album and had a record deal with a major label. All she had were lyrics and I and a partner were to write the music. Funny thing she didn’t think we deserved writing credit! We dis-abused her of that notion fast!

    If you want to do it I would go for both writing credit and payment. These things can turn into a nightmare very fast, at least in my experience.

    #31999 Reply

    BEATSLINGER
    Participant

    If you want to do it I would go for both writing credit and payment. These things can turn into a nightmare very fast, at least in my experience.

    Glad that someone was able to give a result. At the end of the day, anything that you put time & energy towards is “Business”.

    The older I get, the more I am looking towards having less regret, and bitterness towards others. It just about always can be avoided when people are upfront & honest.

    #32000 Reply

    Paul Biondi

    I’ve had this experience with artist/songwriters wanting my help. As long as they have both the lyrics and melody I consider myself a hired troubleshooter helping with things like chord substitutions, changing chord voicings for better voice leading (on guitar) suggesting alternative song structures, etc. And I’m paid by the project or by the hour.

    #32002 Reply

    JD
    Participant

    Hi Paul Biondi, sorry missed your response.
    That’s very helpful to get your experience, gives me a good guide on how to deal with and structure my approach.
    Thanks very much
    JD

    #32004 Reply

    Paul Biondi

    you’re very welcome JD – happy to help.

    #32001 Reply

    JD
    Participant

    Thank you all responders to my question.

    You are right Art, I think I have answered my own questions! When you say (if I do it) to go for writing credits and payment, do you mean immediate payment for the time spent coaching her on pronunciation etc
    Plus a cut of the writing? If I go down that path I will have to assess what contribution is needed and what split is right. Does anyone have any advice on splitting ownership for this kind of thing. I have a feeling my contribution would be substantial so probably 50/50 would be right?
    When I met this lady for our first lesson, she told me about her album she is writing. She excitedly asked if I would help her with it. I was non committal as I didn’t know her at all. The motive of her wish to learn Flamenco guitar (which I teach) was obviously to learn guitar but also singing. I do sing but don’t teach it. In any case she is already a great singer but I don’t think she speaks Spanish. My gut feeling is that the album could be be a ‘vanity project’ and may not be focused on making money. She gives me the impression she doesn’t need money as she mentioned that she doesn’t work (but does not seem skint!)
    Right now I don’t know what she is proposing so I will have a frank conversation with her to get more clarity, if it turns out to be co-writing partner that she needs then I don’t have time to gamble on it (she mentioned something about it being a ‘healing’ album) . If it is just to advise on Spanish pronunciation then I can charge my hourly teaching rate .
    I have come across a scenario in the past where I was contacted by someone wanting me to compose and record some children’s songs in Spanish. They had looked up musicians union rates for teaching and expected me to charge along these lines with no understanding or mention of song ownership/royalties.
    Even if my student has been in the music business I can’t assume she understands the ins and outs of what she may be asking.
    It will be clearer to me when I, a) read her lyrics and b) find out what she wants.
    I am happy to not get involved if it is co-writing her album as it may be a can of worms I don’t want to open!
    Thanks for your patience reading my ruminations, bouncing off you good people is a great help.!!
    Thanks. JD

    #32011 Reply

    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    I am happy to not get involved if it is co-writing her album as it may be a can of worms I don’t want to open!

    I think it could be a lot of aggravation but that’s my 2 cents worth. On the other hand if she was a big name artist it might be worth it. I worked for a very successful songwriter that wrote with a very big name singer/actress. He was very frustrated and at one point mentioned throwing a chair across the room. That song went on to win an Oscar!

    #32031 Reply

    JD
    Participant

    Haha!Thanks Art, maybe funny in retrospect but not at the time!
    JD

    #32560 Reply

    JD
    Participant

    Hi folks,
    Just giving an update on the thread I started a while back.
    Things with the student I described above are working out well for me.
    I asked her if the songs were already written (which they are) so we agreed that any guidance I give on pronunciation/accenting in Spanish would be as a ‘consultant’.
    We agreed that this would charged at my hourly teaching rate so now we do 1 hour guitar class followed by 1 hour consultancy on her songs.
    I and she are happy with this arrangement, no problems so far.
    All the best.
    JD

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