Obilgations: Moral, Actual or None?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Will the Sec, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    A band approaches me and says someone else has recommended me as I wrote them a good march.

    The band secretary and conductor approach me as I am depping for them, and I have a chat with the conductor.

    The plan is to use the march as their signature tune, and feature it on their CD.

    We discuss cost, but for reasons I choose not to divulge, I opt not to charge anything.

    The condutor is delighted.... but then is "moved on".

    The next time I dep with the band, the following year, the march isn't even in the pads, and according to player who'd been with the band since the previous September, had never even been rehearsed.

    So... in this instance, am I entitled to feel narked about it? No material gain, (they were willing to talk turkey and hard cash) but equally, no exposure.

  2. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Seems a bit odd to be offering money for a piece to use as a sig. tune, and then not using it (and I bet if they HAD paid for it, they would be)....

    Id say you have pretty good reason to be more than a little narked
  3. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I would be very chuffed if a band commissioned a piece from me, but I would never under any circumstances do such a commission for nothing. Not because I'm a money grabber, but because I have learned that people only value what they pay for (I know that's a sweeping generalisation and I'm not trying to upset all the many people out there who are lovely and sweet etc, but in terms of organisations, the above is true as a rule in my experience. And besides, there are many different ways of paying for things!)

    I think your band have had a change of MD and the new MD might not even realise that the piece was written with the intention of it becoming the band's signature tune There is also the possibility that the new MD doesn't like it. If you had charged them for the commission - and commissioned works carry a hefty premium - you can bet it would have been glued to the front flap of all the pads.

    Don't let it get to you Will. At least you have had a commission.
  4. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    Hi Will did a FANTASTIC march for us for our centenary and our CD and it is still in the pad, we played it at our centenary concert (in front of Will for its premiere) and it features on our CD where it has had great reviews:clap:
    So keep going Will, you have loads to offer!!:p
  5. barrytone

    barrytone Member

    Obligations: Moral, Actual or none?

    Set the bar higher, can't think of any composer that I know who would take on a commission without being paid. You've put your time and effort into writing this piece, theoretically you could have been composing another piece and being paid for it. I know it's not about financial gain, that's not the point. If someone thinks highly of you as a composer and asks you to write a piece for them, they should expect you to be paid for it and I agree with the other post, had they paid for it they would be playing it.

    I love playing and marvel at the talents of the composers who are so talented and have the ability within them to write such wonderful music. It's a God given gift, everyone who doesn't have the ability, should admire those who are fortunate enough to have it.

    Put this matter behind you, move on and compose music for bands who appreciate it. Know exactly how you feel, your talents have been undervalued, it's a feeling I have recently experienced myself. Resist the urge to take the matter up with the individuals concerned, they obviously don't see it as an issue, move on and carry on with your composing, look forward to playing one of you pieces soon!
  6. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    You said you had your reasons for not charging commission, do those reasons still hold good with the change of management? Is there anything in writing? If the answer to the above is no then maybe you should talk to the new managment, and if they're not interested I would say you're perfectly justified in offering the work to another band if an opportunity arises. A band that will pay and actually use it.:rolleyes:
    Sadly I've never heard any of your work but the word on tMP is that you're the biz so I think you'll find somewhere else to place it.
    (Keep smiling and don't let the *******s grind you down;) )
  7. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member


    If I was you I'd post a thread on tMP about it so that someone in the band might actually think - 'Hey, why don't we try getting that fantastic march out' ;)
  8. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    LOL! Unfortunately, the only occasional tMP member from that band is the departed conductor...
  9. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I would say that the reasons are 50% still there. It would be kinda difficult giving it elsewhere, as the title is a giveaway, and it has been published. (Though no-ones's ever bought a copy...)
    You are very kind. You can hear samples of my work at Thorne's Music, Pennine Music (including a horn solo) and on my Sibelius music page.
  10. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    At the time, I had no reputation as a composer, and the word of mouth was based on a march I wrote for fun for another band. I suspect the going rate for a standard march would be a round £1000, (as Satchmo Shaz found out!) and I could not have justified the fee, in case that which I produced was below par. I should say that I did Shaz's piece for zip as I like her funky playin', but I got a good deal in return in that the piece is on their CD and is being played in public. A similar return in the case stated would have been an acceptable return. OK - anyone else want me to write them a march? Fee negotiable, but above zero...
  11. robcav

    robcav Member

    I've never composed a piece of music but I think, in your situation, I would feel to have been snubbed. To broaden the discussion somewhat, I wonder if those of you who compose commissions, or bands who have commissioned works could enlighten me as to the following:
    1. Once a work has been commissioned by a band and has been paid for, what rights does the band have to control the publication, purchase and performance of the work by other bands?
    2. Who owns the work?
    3. If one band commissioned a work which they intended to record but didn't before it was performed and recorded by another band without the former band's permission but with the composer's assent, would this be legally acceptable?

    I hope I don't sound like a precious, protective type who would want to selfishly prevent other bands from enjoying the fruits of a commission. I'm wholeheartedly in favour of bands commissioning new music as it is one way of keeping the repertoire fresh and of showcasing new composing talent but I'm also interested in the legal aspect of ownership in this circumstance.
  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I did say that there were many ways of paying ;) The above is one.

    Don't get downhearted about it.
  13. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Depends on the copyright agreement. Usually the composer retains all copyright permissions.
    See above
    Depends on the original mechanical copyright agreement. Usually a contract would stipulate that the commissioning band would have first recording rights, but only if undertaken within a specified time frame.

    Not at all... just another example that clearly illustrates the complexities of commissions, copyright and music ownership etc.

    The importance of a binding contract cannot be stressed enough here.
  14. sevenhelz

    sevenhelz Active Member

    Hm, I would discuss this with the new conductor, point out the intended purpose of the piece and ask that they try it out... I suppose you've not really lost anything in finding they don't play it, but as has been said above, featuring your music would be a sort of payment for what was essentially a fair amount of work. Hope they take you on :)
  15. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Will you must feel very let down by the whole situation.

    I think I would speak to the new conductor explaining the whole story and the terms of agreement. He may not be even aware the piece is in the library, let alone the significance of the piece. Therefore a gentle nudge in the right direction may be all that is required.
  16. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Oh, he knows. I told him...
  17. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Ahh well..... perhaps the piece is just plain rubbish then ;)

    - still, if they don't play it at least no-one will ever know :)

    I guess you've done all you can - forget about it, and write something new - and charge lots for it so you can feel good whether it's played or not!
  18. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I would suggest contacting the band, and requesting the return of the original set if they have no intention of using it. You can then rename it and relaunch it for commercial sale. There are many instances of pieces having their titles changed, including at least one march by Gullidge that existed as a military march before being published by the Salvation Army!

    (You're certainly not alone in having this sort of thing happen, as my Dad has been in a similar position on more than one occasion, where hours of work have gone into a project which has then been ignored by the band in question).
  19. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Update - another new conductor has been appointed, and the piece will be played at a concert later in the year. A belated result.
  20. Pops2501

    Pops2501 Active Member

    Chuffed for you Will


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