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Topic: Starting a multi-composer company

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  1. #1

    Starting a multi-composer company

    Hey guys -

    I am posting this here, as I don't really see a 'business' area, and it's more relevant here than off-topic.

    A composer friend of mine and I are talking about starting an audio production company here in Austin. Our goals would be to provide music composition, sound design, v.o., and audio post to film/game/television/radio productions.

    We've each had success on our own with projects, and we feel that together we can do better than individually. Our goal is to eventually become a sort of 'media ventures lite'. We still would keep our normal jobs until we could go full time, or part time salary. Apart from composing ourselves, we would work contractually with outside composers as needed.

    I was curious if anyone else on this forum has tried this, and what your thoughts are? The few people we've told so far in the film community have expressed interest in it, and it's being well-received so far.

    Thoughts/concerns?

    Thanks,

    Eric Doggett
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    Eric Doggett
    MoonDog Media
    www.moondogmedia.net

  2. #2

    Re: Starting a multi-composer company

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Doggett
    Hey guys -

    I am posting this here, as I don't really see a 'business' area, and it's more relevant here than off-topic.

    A composer friend of mine and I are talking about starting an audio production company here in Austin. Our goals would be to provide music composition, sound design, v.o., and audio post to film/game/television/radio productions.

    We've each had success on our own with projects, and we feel that together we can do better than individually. Our goal is to eventually become a sort of 'media ventures lite'. We still would keep our normal jobs until we could go full time, or part time salary. Apart from composing ourselves, we would work contractually with outside composers as needed.

    I was curious if anyone else on this forum has tried this, and what your thoughts are? The few people we've told so far in the film community have expressed interest in it, and it's being well-received so far.

    Thoughts/concerns?

    Thanks,

    Eric Doggett
    Seems to be working well for Hans Zimmerman.

    Best of luck!

  3. #3

    Re: Starting a multi-composer company

    You lucky...it´s being so hard here in Brazil!!!
    Leo
    Leandro Gardini - classical/orchestral composer

    Pacific Ocean - http://www.pacificocean.com.br

  4. #4

    Re: Starting a multi-composer company

    Eric,

    I would recommend that you speak with an accountant friend or someone else who owns their own business about tax benefits, write-offs etc. This can be a big factor in the success of your business. Also think about incorporation as this can have benefits as well.

    Do your research because success in this business does not neccessarily depend on the quality of your music.

  5. #5

    Re: Starting a multi-composer company

    You probably already thought of this, but i would make darn sure that i felt comfortable having the future of my livelyhood intertwined with the life of another human being. This is presumably someone who you will be making a lot of important decisions with, so hopefully you have an established track record of successfully reaching consensus with him on a variety of issues.

    I shudder to think of what a PITA it could turn out to be if he turned into a gnarly coke fiend or ran off with the company till (granted extreme circumstances, but hopefully you get my point).

    just my 2 cents,

    john
    John DeBorde

    Composer of Music for Film, TV and Interactive Media

  6. #6

    Cool yep

    Hell yeah that'd be awesome.

    2 heads are better than one, especially if your respective strengths lie in different areas. For example if your forte is composing, and ya mate's forte is mixing / production, it would work especially well.

    Also, it'd be cool...

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,073

    Re: Starting a multi-composer company

    Do your research because success in this business does not neccessarily depend on the quality of your music.
    Yes, and I intend to prove that to be true....


    But anyway,

    I think it can definitely be beneficial if you're hooked up with the right person. I know of team that book fairly big jobs around town. One of them told me that it was nice to have the other around for those days you just
    ain't "feeling it".

    Seems like you could almost get things done twice as fast!?!?!?

    Now you have time to go to the beach...




    KID-

  8. #8

    Re: Starting a multi-composer company

    i would make darn sure that i felt comfortable having the future of my livelyhood intertwined with the life of another human being
    That's a good point. Even hugely successful companies like Media Ventures end up in legal battles.

  9. #9

    Re: Starting a multi-composer company

    Well, the good part of it is:

    1. Less competition

    2. Diverse styles for different clients

    3. Added benefit of being able to build your own music library

    4. Share advertising and promotional expenses

    The bad things are:

    1. You gotta have pretty clear contracts and trust with your partners

    2. You gotta share the profits

    3. You gotta share your clients that you worked hard to get

    4. You still have to buy a copy of a sample library for each guy


    I do believe that in these days of stiff competition, dropping budgets, and overall though economy we've got to stick together. I would suggest that you do a test run, see how things go and re-evaluate after about 6 months with very little strings attached. If it doesn't work out everyone can go their separate ways and peace!
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  10. #10

    Re: Starting a multi-composer company

    The principles of taking on a partner are no different in music than in any other business. A key issue is who is the company head. If you go 50/50 (altruism), than that means decisions are deadlocked. You won't always agree, but someone HAS to be the leader who has the responsibility and accountability to make whatever business decisions are necessary. And there are a lot, including budgetary and tax filings. Then there's defining each person's role BEYOND the music, because those chores MUST be taken care of.

    If neither of you has much business sense, then your expectations of the other will be wildly skewed. You are both best to invest $50 on NOW DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS (two copies) to see what your individual strengths are and how they complement each other. You would also do well to do a temperments study to see if they clash or complement. For that, look at a book called PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME. After you've done the test and have a score for each of you, look at the companion title, DO WHAT YOU ARE to determine the kinds of activities your temperments have mostly been successful at.

    All told, you may spend $100 in finding out this information, but remember, you're finding it out before you put out the sign that says, OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

    Of chief consideration is your ability to build and sustain teams. It's not enough to have people of complementing talents. You have to match moods to make sure everyone at least starts out liking each other, can work together and pull together, and are available for the same hours. This is especially true if you're both married and have family responsibilities. If yes, than get real and face up to the fact that some days you WILL work AND babysit. You can't get around it.

    If you start a partnership, you should also create a termination of association agreement and to determine if you should incorporate or at minimum form an LLC (limited liability corporation). If you both start the business, then rent space, and suddenly, one walks away because he can't stand the structure (meaning he's a total solo artist that can't function in a team atmosphere), then to who does the responsibility of paying the rent fall to?

    You're asking the right questions, Eric, but do your homework. The wrong association can set you back by years. In the end however, bear in mind that someone MUST be the leader: 51/49. If you can't agree to that basic percentage, don't do the deal.

    If you're not sure: DON'T.
    Peter L. Alexander
    www.professionalorchestration.com
    www.alexanderpublishing.com
    Learn it right the first time.

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