We don't particularly like contracts, or lawyers, we think they give off too much negative energy.
However there are times in life when covering our metaphorical (or actual) backsides may be a good idea - regardless of whether we live in a clothes-optional hippie commune (we do).
When commissioning music there are two main ways to avoid indecent exposure: The work agreement and the licensing agreement.
These should be dated and signed by both parties.
Work Agreement for indie games
The work agreement should set out in writing answers to the following questions:
- what are the requirements for the project?
- what is the expected timeframe for completion?
- what remuneration ('creative fee') will the composer receive in exchange for the work hours?
- what happens in the event of the brief changing unexpectedly?
- What are the circumstances under which the work agreement maybe terminated (e.g. 10 days notice)?
Its also a good idea to put into writing that...
- the composer will not talk about the project before it is released. This is called a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)
- the composer agrees to abide by the 'composer pledges'
- you the developer agree to read and consider the 'friendly advice'
Licensing Agreement for indie games
The key points to be set out by a licensing agreement are:
- the game(s), platform(s), and trailer(s) that music will be used for
- the agreed remuneration ('licensing fee') for using the music
- information on who owns the copyright of the work: who gets paid if the game's soundtrack is sold online?
If you've considered the above points carefully and agreed upon them with the composer in writing you can be confident in the knowledge that you're both starting on solid ground. That's the boring bit over and done with, now the fun begins :)