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Is it ethical to charge for this?

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Ok the situation is this. I was paid by a band to bring out my gear and run sound while simultaneously capturing a 9 track recording of the performance. (a 8 tracks direct/mics also running FOH in a split mixer configuration + a stereo room track. got great basic tracks).


Anyway - they had an opening band, and w/o asking them I recorded them as well in the same format while I was running their sound (unpaid). I mixed it down between sets (no "mixing/mastering" - just a quick level check and bounce all to a single stereo track) and when they were done I told them I how I recorded it and offered to burn them a copy on the spot. (unfortunatly I forgot that my CD burning software wasn't yet installed on my newly setup laptop.. anyway..) so I sent them a CD of the basic mix, they were glad to take it, gave me a copy of their EP etc.


That said - I then say to them "if you're interested in doing any proper mixing or mastering of any of that material, let me know." -my qestion then, of the "ethical/professional" nature is, should I give them the 9 tracks of source WAV files or charge them for it should they ask for them (likely to go and produce them on their own should they not ask me) seeing as this wasn't a service they asked for in the first place, it's like "I took this from you (a recording), wanna buy it from me?" but at the same time, it seems like a good "business opportunity" to give a band a free quality board+audience matrix recording of their show should I be doing sound, as a way to "lure" them into paying business in the form of the mixable source or mixing services?


Get what I'm asking I hope? I like the idea of making bits of money back here and there for my investment in all of this (for the love, not the money) but I don't want to do anything that could be perceived as unethical.




"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."

-- Ernie Stires, composer

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My belief is that you should ask if they will pay for the tracks, or should you destroy them. It is certainly their right to restrict your use of an unauthorized recording, however, that does not give them any right to demand copies of the recording from you. It was a good idea to give them a rough mix in stereo. I wouldn't hand them individual tracks without a fee. If they refuse, and wish for you to destroy the tracks to protect their copyright and control of that performance, you should do it.


I've been in a similar situation, though I wasn't recording individual tracks. Never had a problem with any of the acts I recorded. Remind them that you already put in time and effort, regardless of the fact you would have been set up for the band that hired you, and deserve compensation if they choose to use your tracks with or without further production assistance from you.


I don't see an ethical violation unless they ask you to destroy the tracks and you refuse. Anything else seems ethical and negotiable.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman




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They can ask you to destroy the tracks. IIRC, There is no legal requirement that you comply.


However, visualise you ass in a very big sling, or your face in front of a shit filled fan if those said tracks resurfaced somewhere else.


NYC Drew

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I'm with Neil and Drew on this one - either they buy the tracks or you should wipe 'em. And next time around, I would suggest discussing things in more detail before the gig and see if they want it recorded or not - for a fee of course. :)


I did a live gig once at a 3,500 seat outdoor ampitheater where one of the opening acts was a band I produced. They wanted a live album, so we brought in a third board and some ADAT decks. The headliner was scared to death of getting bootlegged. I had to spend more time that I really had available (especially considering everything else I had to do that day) convincing the headliner that we would NOT be recording his portion of the show and that the board and ADAT machines would be powered completely off except when the other band was onstage. Eventually it all worked out, but the moral is that some people are extremely concerned about such things... and if someone ELSE had done a bootleg of that show and it wound up splattered all over the web, MY butt would have been the one in a sling - simply because I was known to have all sorts of gear there at that particular show. I learned my lesson - It is always best to discuss thngs with everyone involved well in advance.

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