Monday, October 19, 2009

Can you compose me a song (or 3-4) ... for FREE?

This news entry is somewhat different from the usual news you find here. There's no new song or video to announce this time. No, I just want to share a little rant with you, that's it. So what is it, Sonny is pissed about? Here we go:
Since I am a very nice guy, I share my music, videos and other art with you, mostly for free. Even tho a donation is allways appreciated, I usually do not ask you for money to enjoy what I produce. Well, some people seem to think, that because of that, I must live in Cockaigne, where everything is fluffy and free. But I can assure you: I have to pay rent, electricity, online costs, webhosting etc. and I have to drink and eat and work for it. That just as a bit of information for you.

From time to time, with a increasing frequency, people ask me for "a favor". Some ask me to do something at their homepage, some want me to build a bassline, a drumpattern or some graphics or video stuff.... and of cause for free. Nobody ever had the idea to offer me some cash for my works and usually this is ok, as it is small "favors" which do not cost me a huge ammount of time. So usually I just help out and get more or less credited for it. That's 100% as I love to help.

But then there are those who expect me to do huge ammounts of work for them... also for free. The absolute "bestseller" amongst this is the request "Can you build me a reggae riddim on FL Studio and send me the flp-file (projectfile)?". I usually keep cool if I get such requests, even tho I am tempted to ask the person what the fuck he thinks what ammount of work he just asks me to give away for free. Those requests, may it be for composing complex drumstyles, complete songs or even a whole album concept allways come in with no offer for what I get in return. People expect me to edit their musicvideo for free or even produce a whole musicvideo for them.

What do those folks think? Don't they realize what massive ammount of work is behind all those things? Do they think I am just on this planet to fullfill their dreams? Many of those folks even leave no doubt about, that they want to make money using the services they expect to get from me, like that guy who runs a relatively successfull website with a radio on it, and asked me to create a jingle for his online radio show... for free... while he generates a good income from his website and radio ventures. Do those folks think I am stupid?

Why am I writing this newsentry right now? Easy: Yesterday I got a mail which (from my point of view) put the cream on the cake of impudence. A guy wrote me, that he likes my music (this is how it allways starts) and that he does a site about boardgames. I don't want to go into the details, but the bottomline was, that he asked me if I could do 3-4(!!!) original custom tracks in orchestra style for some videoshow to be played in the background while people talk about a certain boardgame. The fact alone that CUSTOM COMPOSED SONGS should play in the background makes my toenails roll up. This is like using a painting by an old dutch master as toiletpaper... after the dutch master custom painted the painting for just the purpose to serve as an asswipe.... hillarious... eh?

Ok, but never mind the usage and that the site linked at the bottom of the mail was literally screaming THIS IS A COMMERCIAL SITE AND I STRIVE TO MAKE SERIOUS CASH WITH THIS! What did this guy think? Did he think that it is the work of about 5 minutes to create a quality orchestral music piece on todays digital equipment? If so, why doesn't he do it himself. If it is such an easy thing....
The reality is, that a minimum of several hours of work is required to create a quality music track, regardless of its genre. But orchestral tracks require a huge ammount of more work than, for example, a simple pop-techno piece. I plan a minimum of 4-8 hours alone for composing and arranging plus the time for mixing the final result. And can you, dear reader, understand that one must give me a GOOD reason to invest such a huge ammount of my creative lifespan? For me it is clear, that simply giving me credits on some website is not that kind of a GOOD reason.

This is why I indeed do contracting works for music- and video production, graphical works etc. For such tasks as composing complete tracks, producing musicvideos, creating complex graphical artwork etc., I have hourly rates I work on. A good ammount of cash IS a great reason to invest time and work. I think we all live in the same world, right? I think there's nobody living on this planet who doesn't know about the fact, that serious work costs serious cash in our beloved capitalist system. And especially people, on whose websites I only need to take a look and I see that they run a business should know the price of artistical craftmanship. So I cannot really understand how one could make me an "offer" like the one I got yesterday.

To set it clear once again and for all: My free works available for download on several websites are free to use EXCEPT FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. If you make money with my works, I want my share or hell breaks lose. So, you can use my music as a soundtrack for your holliday videos on YouTube, you can burn them on CDs and give them as a gift to anyone, you can play them on your online radio etc. But once you make serious cash with using my music, don't forget to give me my share.

If you want me to make something special for you, if it is not much work AND it is for non-commercial purposes, you'll most likely have me doing it for free. BUT: If it is a huge load of work, such as producing whole tracks, producing your music video etc., please mail me for my hourly rates, terms of service and other business stuff. This is ESPECIALLY the case, if the usage of my works generates money for you. So consider this, before you mail me, asking me for "a favor".

Another important note: The term "crediting someone" seems to have become a somewhat magical spell for some people. They think that "crediting" pays all bills. Friends and neighbors: I meanwhile have so many people, websites etc. crediting me, that your crediting is nice but just one amongst a huge load. So don't expect the magic sentence "we credit you on our website" to work at me. There's still things I do for crediting, but it must not be too much work.

Long text. I hope all of you out there now know a bit more about me and my handling of "requests for favors". If you feel tempted to ask me for a favor, please keep in mind that I am not a rich wealthy guy who can spent hillarious timespans on making your dreams come true. If I find your name amongst the donators for, chances are bigger that I will do even bigger stuff for free for you. But if you wanna make sure that I'll work for you, just make a contract with me and pay me.

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