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Terrible clients

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Step
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Terrible clients 2013-05-13 10:38:13 Reply

Clients who run away with your music and don't credit you, clients who take ages to respond, clients who keep changing their mind, clients who never finish what they were working on, clients who pay you in the form of candy floss... I'm sure we've all had our fair share of clients, commissioners and developers who are an absolute pain to work with.

What kinds of things do you hate to have to put up with when making music for other people? Also, best not to mention any names, but do you have any predicaments and stories you want to share as well?

DISCUSS.

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alternativesolution
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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:00:39 Reply

At 5/13/13 10:38 AM, Step wrote: clients who never finish what they were working on

DISCUSS.

I created four exclusive tracks already for a game developer who has decided to drop the project without a single word to me. No development has been made on the game since, and it seemed like a pretty damn good one, too.

I want to say time and effort were wasted, but I ended up making some pretty cool stuff

BUT STILL

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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:03:21 Reply

At 5/13/13 10:38 AM, Step wrote: What kinds of things do you hate to have to put up with when making music for other people? Also, best not to mention any names, but do you have any predicaments and stories you want to share as well?

DISCUSS.

I'm mainly a Skype-dependent due to my current status as "freelance" composer for anybody having a good offer to make.
Most of the time I find myself talking to people that go AFK for no reason, reply after hours or don't reply at all even if they appear as "online". Attempting to have a normal conversation with them becomes impossible due to how sparse their own schedule is and how inappropriate their ways are. It is already a challenge due to time zone differences, even worse when you work for some development team and most of the time they completely ignore you. Teamwork, huh? They should tell you beforehand: "Hey, thanks for joining, we're going to absolutely ignore your workflow and ideas. Have a nice day", I would have be more than satisfied instead of this falseness.

Fortunately, not everybody is like this, but from my experience the exceptions to the rule are pretty rare.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:06:16 Reply

At 5/13/13 11:03 AM, ForgottenDawn wrote: I'm mainly a Skype-dependent due to my current status as "freelance" composer for anybody having a good offer to make.
Most of the time I find myself talking to people that go AFK for no reason, reply after hours or don't reply at all even if they appear as "online". Attempting to have a normal conversation with them becomes impossible due to how sparse their own schedule is and how inappropriate their ways are. It is already a challenge due to time zone differences, even worse when you work for some development team and most of the time they completely ignore you. Teamwork, huh? They should tell you beforehand: "Hey, thanks for joining, we're going to absolutely ignore your workflow and ideas. Have a nice day", I would have be more than satisfied instead of this falseness.

Fortunately, not everybody is like this, but from my experience the exceptions to the rule are pretty rare.

Amen to that. I had a similar experience with someone who wanted a full soundtrack for a fighting game he was working on. Initially there was enthusiasm -- I wasn't too comfortable with M-rated games (and still am not, to a great extent), but he was willing to bring the rating down to T for my sake. Great. Until I started working on the first track but I never heard from said developer since. Add to that the challenge of timezone differences and university work: at the time I was asked for this soundtrack I was in Year 3 of my law degree.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:09:33 Reply

A while ago I made a thread where I said how not (not) handle musicians.

I basically summed up my bad experiences. It's still pretty much the same.

I've never been paid in candy floss before. That'd be pretty cool actually since I never got paid at all.

I'm working on a game project that's not going very well. I was told to make 10 songs, and I have made 9 so far. I've been sending e-mails every week, but never gotten direct answers to any of my questions. Last thing I heard was I was supposed to make 25 more songs, but I haven't seen anything about what they did, or what the game's supposed to be like. I therefore have put it on halt until I see some actual work from the other people. They said they would send me a demo April 20th, but guess what. Still nothing.

At the moment I'm working for someone else on a pretty interesting game project. I'm supposed to get a demo of the game today, that I have to send to other people. I really hope to get it or I will look like a fool. But I have faith... For now.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:14:56 Reply

Someone who has owed me money for months...also not allowing any creative freedom when they arent paying me, those kinds. I rarely ever get business though even though i have no job and am struggling to survive on a daily basis due to a sickness i've had for months.

I wish I could get more freelaance business though, but other than those experiences, one time worked for this rich dude when he said he couldnt pay me...heh thats funny. He treated me like crap and he's a famous animator, that's all im going to say. He eventually replaced me without warning even though i worked hard for him and did good. Also on youtube there's been a couple popular youtube channels who werent too keen on crediting me every time they used my "intro" music.

It's stuff like that, that made me inspired to start "The Dish Out", a youtube show that features underground content. I promised to myself and the staff if we ever got big, we would help out the underground artists and not screw people over. Not meaning to advertise, but that's mainly my experience with people in the past.

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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:19:38 Reply

At 5/13/13 10:38 AM, Step wrote: What kinds of things do you hate to have to put up with when making music for other people? Also, best not to mention any names, but do you have any predicaments and stories you want to share as well?

DISCUSS.

I've had many offers from people who've asked for music, then repeatedly asked for it when doing no work of their own and just BSing stuff they've "done" without showing any actual progress. Then they flip to a different project and complain that I haven't finished the music for it when I wasn't even asked about it.

Of course, that's the kind of thing that happens when I actually have a person asking me for music... Most of the time I'm just ignored. :( I've asked a few developers who explicitly stated that they would want a musician or are looking for a musician, but they apparently did not read my emails or thought that it would be worthwhile to say "I've already found a musician/your music isn't what I'm looking for". ...or say anything, for that matter.

It IS annoying. On the plus side, sometimes doing this can get you to make some of the best work you've done because you are working to satisfy someone else. I don't know, sometimes that helps me, sometimes it doesn't. Maybe it's just the idea coming from someone else that I think is good and that's why.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:20:53 Reply

well i was asked to do some work writing some music for an indie mmo but i got bored and gave up pretty quickly and now i am avoiding the situation entirely, not even logging into my skype because i don't feel like tackling the issue head on or at all.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:26:42 Reply

Yeah I agree that it's annoying to have developers you work with not notice the word 'instant' in 'instant messaging'. Alright I'm not saying I want 100% exclusive and immediate attention for every message I write, but my point is that people should have the decency to set themselves to 'Away' when they're AFK, and answer within a decent time when they're NAFK (yes I thought of that acronym just now, maybe it'll catch on). Not to mention that the acronym 'BRB' is there for a reason. This counts for all kinds of IMing but it's especially important when you're trying to get your ideas across to a developer who seems to be less likely to answer in a decent time than it is likely for a sloth to win the Olympics.

It's also sad when you make free music specifically for someone and they end up dropping the project. I've made music for more unfinished projects than finished projects. One time a guy asked me to make a song for his animation; I made the track, he never used it. He contacted me months later promising me he'd get back to work on the animation and simultaneously asking me for another song for another animation. I made another song for him. He told his friend about me, who asked me for a song as well, and I made a song for his friend. None of the songs were ever used. Months and months later, I got another PM from him asking for more music. Needless to say I didn't make any more music for him. He's a nice enough guy but... I'm not a free music generator :(.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:27:00 Reply

I've decided to not make music for a living quite recently. One of my 3 or 4 reasons was because of the clients!
Not only am I owed around $500 but everyone asks for the same damn music! Haha


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:28:19 Reply

At 5/13/13 11:27 AM, MetalRenard wrote: everyone asks for the same damn music! Haha

WAIT WAIT let me guess. Epic orchestral or epic metal intro music. Right?


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:38:34 Reply

At 5/13/13 11:28 AM, Step wrote:
At 5/13/13 11:27 AM, MetalRenard wrote: everyone asks for the same damn music! Haha
WAIT WAIT let me guess. Epic orchestral or epic metal intro music. Right?

O_O...okay thats just creepy. One time i had a guy email me and i sent him some music, said it's exactly what he needed, said he was making the game and wanted more music but havent heard from him fro months. Granted this wasnt a paid job but...whats creepy I mean is, thats EXACTLY the kind of music he asked me for. Is that what all the creeps like? I just find it a jarring coincidence...

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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 11:42:21 Reply

i love how most clients have no idea how to communicate with musicians. you have to learn to decode each different persons fake music jargon.

I certainly don't expect everyone to have a working understanding of music theory and the common terms, so its really more of a fact of life as a composer... but it can certainly be amusing trying to figure out exactly which "boom" or "whish" needs to be "happier"

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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 12:00:40 Reply

At 5/13/13 11:28 AM, Step wrote: WAIT WAIT let me guess. Epic orchestral or epic metal intro music. Right?

Or techno. One of my clients keeps mentioning techno at random occasions. I quote:

"Happy retro music with a vibe to it. (Techno)"
"Epic Techno boss music with a awesome vibe to it."
"(It's a ice world) So some Music with Jingles and clashes but minor clash along with a crunch sound with a tiny bit of Techno."
"(Still an Ice world) So same music from previous level with a bit more Techno than before along with a tiny bit of dub."
"(Lava world) Some music like Techno/Bass and has some amazing theme to it. I would love something like To Story 2 (PS1) Music from the level: Elavator hop (Search on youtube)"
"Boss music for lava level. (Techno and alot of Bass)"
"Firenado, Something that soothes the player with a fast track of techno in background."
"Jungle: Drums & Bonjos. Slowly moving in with some Keyboard techno."

I asked this guy 10 times what he means with techno, but he doesn't explain. I also told him not to give me vague technical instructions. I want him to tell me what to do and why, but not how to do it.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 12:00:58 Reply

i haven't had any problems since i stopped working for spec
actually the only real trouble has been people using stuff without asking me :v


p.s. i am gay

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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 12:07:34 Reply

At 5/13/13 12:00 PM, midimachine wrote: i haven't had any problems since i stopped working for spec
actually the only real trouble has been people using stuff without asking me :v

yeah you could say lots of people did that to me on youtube...one of them being the youtube channel Trade Chat. Very famous, when I tried messaging over there, no response, even emailed them multiple times :/

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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 12:20:00 Reply

Clients who ask for stupid music. I had a client who was creating an obviously cute game and he wanted rap beats -.-

Also, clients who ask for more than we agreed on. I ended up doing twice the amount of songs for a client. It really wasn't THAT much of a difference in song count in the end but it was my first gig and it just kind of annoyed me.

But other than that my clients have been pretty cool :D Most of the bad clients I feel are people who aren't very experienced or have no idea how to run a team.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 13:00:30 Reply

At 5/13/13 12:20 PM, stunkel wrote: Clients who ask for stupid music. I had a client who was creating an obviously cute game and he wanted rap beats -.-

Also, clients who ask for more than we agreed on. I ended up doing twice the amount of songs for a client. It really wasn't THAT much of a difference in song count in the end but it was my first gig and it just kind of annoyed me.

Yes, that's another frequent problem, when they ask for unfitting music or their overly bad taste overwhelms my personal advice which should, in any case, prevail since you hired me just for this purpose in the first place.

Some people just don't know how to properly communicate with people like us. Not saying this to discriminate other people at all, but it bothers me that what's evident to me is totally irrelevant to their ego even if you tell them repeatedly.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 13:07:34 Reply

If you're going to freelance yourself to do any amount of work for a developer or anyone for that matter, you should make up yourself a Heads of Agreement which will bind them to the agreed terms for using your work.

Cover the basics:

1. Payment form (are you omitting payment, Royalties based or a one-time payment) for using your work.

2. Crediting rights (they need to guarantee you being listed somewhere within the project / product)

3. Termination of contract (Voids the right to use your work if the project fails to release, that way they can't just take your work and use if for something else)

4. Limited rights to use (Determine to what degree they can use your work, in just this one project, future releases or revisions of projects, or for any future project)

It's not that hard to put together a heads of agreement but it's worth having a legal-binding contract to cover your own ass in case all the horror stories from above become your problem as well.

Honestly, if they can't even agree to signing something as simple as this, then it's not worth your time anyways, this is a minimum level of professionalism and if they can't meet that, they'd drop the ball somewhere down the line.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 13:12:37 Reply

UGH I just finished scoring this short film that I slaved over the music for and honestly wrote some decent stuff for this guy. I was showing the music to some peers and everyone was liking it a lot and the director's only comment EVER was "make it more song like." I was writing the most song like music I possibly could while making it work with the picture! So what it eventually came down to was that in reality it wasn't my music, what he wanted was a name that people would know. So, he went and licensed this song THAT WAS ONE RIFF FOR SIX MINUTES!!!! It was the lamest thing he could have done and I almost blew up on him. He only ended up using like half of the music I wrote for him because he was obsessed with this dumb song. This project was done over a month ago and I still fume when I think about it.

/endrant

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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 14:10:44 Reply

At 5/13/13 01:12 PM, DamienFleisch wrote: This project was done over a month ago and I still fume when I think about it.

My sincerest condolences.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 15:11:48 Reply

"Can I use heaven road for my intro music?"


At 3/27/11 10:22 PM, sugarsimon wrote:
the brilliant songs who create a production for music
Wat

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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 15:49:59 Reply

At 5/13/13 01:42 PM, Cabbster wrote:
At 5/13/13 01:07 PM, Cross666 wrote: If you're going to freelance yourself to do any amount of work for a developer or anyone for that matter, you should make up yourself a Heads of Agreement which will bind them to the agreed terms for using your work.
Hm. Good idea. So a person would make a terms of agreement, and copy paste it to the developer in a message in order to make it binding?

Ideally you'd have it on paper. Type one up, print it out, sign it, scan it and send it to them via email and then have them sign scan and email back or fax it or snail mail it.

Seems like a lot of hassle, but like I said, it's really the minimal level of professionalism you both should take. If they can't do that much, why bother.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 16:11:57 Reply

At 5/13/13 03:49 PM, Cross666 wrote: Ideally you'd have it on paper. Type one up, print it out, sign it, scan it and send it to them via email and then have them sign scan and email back or fax it or snail mail it.

Seems like a lot of hassle, but like I said, it's really the minimal level of professionalism you both should take. If they can't do that much, why bother.

I agree on this. I always ask for a formal contract, you never know what's gonna happen.
It's merely being cautious and have a proof just in case somebody would bother you in the long run.

Speaking of which, when somebody wanting your music appears annoyed or pissy at your *legitimate* request for a contract/ToA, he/she shouldn't even be worth of your time to begin with, unless it's a work performed as a hobby. That's my simple and effective policy.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 18:23:55 Reply

At 5/13/13 11:28 AM, Step wrote:
At 5/13/13 11:27 AM, MetalRenard wrote: everyone asks for the same damn music! Haha
WAIT WAIT let me guess. Epic orchestral or epic metal intro music. Right?

Yes. And chipFECKINGtune. FECKING CHIPTUNE. GAH!
haha

As for contracts, I always write those up but there's no way it's worth taking someone to court over a few $, even as much as a few hundred. If it was thousands, sure. The very best way to cover your ass is to insist on payment upon delivery of each track you make or partial payment as you progress through the project. For a 15 minute sound track, make them pay for each 5 minutes as you finish them.
This is why I'm only owed $500 and not something closer to $2000!


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alternativesolution
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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 18:42:53 Reply

At 5/13/13 06:23 PM, MetalRenard wrote: The very best way to cover your ass is to insist on payment upon delivery of each track you make or partial payment as you progress through the project.

What exactly do you do when the developerinsists on paying you for an exclusive track before the game is done, and then decides just to not make the game? He was very particular on having it only being used in his game for a certain amount of time after release. However, seeing as how it does not appear he will ever be using it ... I'm probably just going to pay him back for that piece, although I'm inclined to keep it for the effort >__<


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 18:51:33 Reply

Nah, it's his fault, not yours, that the project won't get finished. Therefore that money is yours to keep. You fulfilled your part of the deal, the rest is not your responsibility.


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 19:31:23 Reply

This is such a great thread! Thanks OP for making it!

At 5/13/13 06:51 PM, MetalRenard wrote: Nah, it's his fault, not yours, that the project won't get finished. Therefore that money is yours to keep. You fulfilled your part of the deal, the rest is not your responsibility.

Yeah, Renard is right. You completed a service for him; you had to go through the labor costs and any overhead, etc. If he doesn't want to use it or can't find a use, PERHAPS negotiate a slight reimbursement on the terms that you are now free to use the piece completely (i.e. sell it yourself or reuse it in another project), but that can be hard if the piece is too particular.

Worst experience I have had was my very first game score. I was licensing out music for a little game that was coming along beautifully. The developer was very skilled and the game was coming along great. Suddenly contact became sporadic and he vanished from the interwebs, website, game, and all. I did get a free music streaming thing he made in flash and script library he developed related to that, which was pretty cool. So all in all, I've hardly had anything bad.

Sometimes I've worked with people who are extremely picky. I had a case where I actually had to export an 8-bar passage, instrument by instrument, send it to the client, and let him pick which parts he liked and didn't like. It took about a hour to write the piece whilst in a call with the developer but about two hours of back and forth to make tiny adjustments. Drove me insane. XD

My only real pet peeve with writing music is when someone links me to, say, a final fantasy track on youtube and asks if I can write something like it. I have to explain to them that, 1. my style is completely different, 2. I am American and have completely different influences than the composer for that, and 3. wouldn't you rather have something a bit more original sounding? Sometimes I get my revenge and get them to listen to some Philip Glass. >:D


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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 19:41:39 Reply

At 5/13/13 11:42 AM, amilbyleckie wrote: i love how most clients have no idea how to communicate with musicians. you have to learn to decode each different persons fake music jargon.

Oh lord. That reminds me when I was doing a sound design gig for a game developer, and he forced me to get the demo of FL, even though I'm a Live user, because he liked the way Fruity Limiter sounded, "whatever that is", and that he "engineered" a sound himself. That means he layered the samples... does not even know what an equalizer or compressor is.

I've decided I don't want to pursue a career in sound design for games or movies, but just for music. So much more fun, and after all, music is the reason I began to learn sound design.

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Response to Terrible clients 2013-05-13 20:31:30 Reply

Ok thanks, you two. I guess I know what I will do now.


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