Just wondering if anyone has experience with getting screwed out of payment for something they scored. I produced music for a 30 second spot late last year for a production company who was hired by a large, nationally known corporation. I had worked for the production company before and had no real problems with them. So when they called me back for another job, I was only too happy to oblige. So I scored the spot, under a tight deadline (of course), and delivered on time. THe production company was happy with the music, the end buyer was happy with the music, happy ending right? So I send them the mastered wav or aif or whatever it was at the time and I am assuming they used it. The spot was only being shown in the North East USA so I dont know for sure if it was actually broadcast. Anyway, when sending the right release for buyout of the music, I stated clearly that they would have exclusive rights to the said music upon full and complete payment of XXXX. Now it's been 7 months and after literally dozens of phone calls, letters, emails, and now an ultimatum from my attorney, I'm not hearing anything back from them. The last time I talked to them, I spoke with the producer who hired me for the job. She said I should write to the CEO to get it taken care of. After a letter back from the CEO saying that he was sorry and embarrassed by the situation, and that he was sure he wanted to work with me again, and that they were about to have a meeting to figure out how to pay multiple debts that they owed, I havent heard a damn thing. That was like a month and a half ago. Like I said, since then, my attorney sent them a letter prompting them for full payment before it gets nasty I guess. I dont know what the specific wording was now. Anyone have stories or advice? I'm not a member of ASCAP or BMI or anything else. I live in Illinois, the production company is in RI. Any help would be wonderful. I'm out a good amount of money over this and it's of course, jamming up my own financial situation pretty good. Thanks,
Someone I am working with right now told me the other day that one of his providers of music was not going to release their tracks to him before full payment was made. He was offended by that, and I told him, what other way is there to make sure "they" don't get stiffed.
I understand the dilema, and that is,... they aren't going to pay you in full until they hear the final product. How else are people like "us" supposed to provide a source for the music? Even if it is a low bit rate MP3, that is still good enough for some of these companies that are looking for someone little like us to take advantage of.
An escrow account would be a good idea in the future in the event that you sense something is fishy. The escrow company would not send the music until the client has sent their money, that way, both parties are assured of satisfaction.
Just my thoughts. I am proud of you for contacting an attorney to assist you in getting your deserved pay. Another thought, even if they didn't use it, that is no excuse for them to not pay you. It sounds like they have other liabilities to other music/talent providers too.
For future reference, we place a brief clause in a letter of agreement stating that rights don't transfer until payment is received. Our attorney has told us that this way we have some measure of clout, in that we can issue a cease and desist order for use of the music until we get paid.
Production companies don't want to explain to THEIR client why the spot has to be pulled off the air. I've only ever had to mention the possibility once and somehow, miraculously, the check was on its way.
Good luck. I think most of us have been there at one time or another.
Had the same thing happen years ago. An ad agency hired us to score a 30 sec national ad, then stiffed us saying they were in financial trouble and on the verge of bankruptcy.
We threatened to bring the matter to the attention of the client ( a boat manufacturer), and explain that they could not use the music. They replied, "You can't do that!", then sent us a check for the full amount.
They do not want their clients to know that they don't pay their bills.
After a phone call between my attorney and the production company, we supposedly have an agreement that will get me paid by the end of this month. I cant begin to tell you how great it is to know this attorney I have. He has righted numerous wrongs for me like this one. Unbelievably good guy and really more of a friend than anything else these days. Hope this thread helps somebody else too. He might have spent an hour or two total on this for me which, if he does charge me (and knowing him he wont) would still be money well spent.