Ever gotten screwed out of a guarantee? Ever produced an album for a band or label that didn’t pay you? Ever engineered a session and had to hound the singer for 14 months to collect your money? Ever played for-hire onstage or in the studio, only to be told that funds are tight and you’d have to be paid in installments?
What do you do in a situation like that, short of bringing the debtor before Judge Judy?
Some folks wait patiently. Some folks apply periodic pressure. Some folks exact revenge.
Such was the case when metalcore band Altitudes stiffed their sound engineer after a few weeks in the studio. Dan, of Dan’s Lab Studios, took tracks from the band’s sessions and created an EDM remix that is anything but hardcore (show below).
The band later stated:
“Basically we just weren’t financially stable at the time but we WERE planning on paying him back. after seeing this its crazy because we never thought he would act in such a way. Were not sorry because our intentions werent to let his hardwork go un paid for. Thats all I have to say. Thank you to the ones who care!”
Bands, labels, club owners, promoters: balance your checkbooks!
Well, here’s a tip from one musician to another: DON’T HIRE OTHER PEOPLE IF YOU CAN’T PAY THEM! Or, if they’ve already done work for you, pay them ASAP via credit card through PayPal, and then work your OWN ass off paying down your credit card debt. Don’t make it someone else’s problem!
If, through some gross oversight or total last-minute curveball of life, you’ve found yourself in this situation and you can’t find any way to pay the person, have an honest conversation with them. Explain what personal, professional, or financial circumstances lead up to this point, and discuss your options together. They might still be pissed, but at least they won’t feel left in the dark — unless they were counting on your payment to keep the lights on (which can be the case for many musicians and engineers that pay the bills session-to-session).
Have you ever been stiffed while working in the music industry? Have you ever been guilty of not paying someone the fee they were promised? What did you do to resolve the issue? Let us know in the comments section below.
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[“Pay Up” image from Shutterstock.]