Hey everyone. Just joined today, seems like a really cool forum! I have a question I would love to hear everyone's feedback on.

I have been working with a production company handling some of their short films and a few commercial specs. Almost every job I have been underpaid but it has at least been a consistent workflow so I've accepted the fact.

They now want me to design the sound for the Logo that will appear on every one of their productions.

I am curious if there is standard contract for something like this... Do I retain any ownership of the audio and get royalties when they use it? Any contracts out there that I can look at that deal with this?

I'd hate to design something for a couple hundred bucks that gets used in perpetuity and never see another dime for my efforts.

Any thoughts???

Thank You!


If it's a large and wealthy company and they use their brand in many media and occasions, then be sure to make clear where and in which context(s) (e.g. as a part of a designated advertisement or during a campaign) the sound that you make is allowed to be used for the fees that you receive. That way it won't be used in ways that you didn't think it would be used so if you're initially making the sound for e.g. to be used in a designated TV advertisement, then when they sometime decide to put that same sound on e.g. their website or make a new advertisement you'll be able to say: "Aha! Our contract didn't say that using this sound on the website / in a newly produced advertisement was included in the previous fee that I received. Lets make a new contract or modify the current contract and add a new payment for the use the sound on your website / in a new advertisement!".

If it's a brand identity, they won't let you own the rights, but want to acquire/license exclusively the sound to be included in their own IP. Otherwise it would be possible that their company sound logo would be used in another context, which they obviously don't want.

Royalties per use or e.g. per a number of uses may also be negotiable, but depending on how widespread the use is, it may be complicated and cause paperwork (plus they will want to own it, if it's part of their brand). Although if they know themselves, how many uses there will be (e.g. they purchase advertisement space or time in numbers), it may be more feasible.

  • iHuman has it right, but this isn't typically negotiable. If you're designing part of a corporate identity, that's a buy-out. No company on the planet will pay mechanicals or royalties on such work. As a company, they HAVE to own it, otherwise they can't trademark it on their own, which is the entire point of corporate identity work, whether it's a visible logo or a sound logo. Price your services for what they are worth, relative to your financial needs, business model, and/or need or desire for the work and any resulting exposure. – NoiseJockey Jun 10 '13 at 16:11

To both you guys if you are looking for an opportunity to do some sound designing, One of our clients needs some basic sound design for a new iphone app about to come to market.

Check out their needs at: http://contest.vinylmint.com/contest/contest-podium-pro/

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