PCAM is a great UK based organisation, that aims to help all media composers get treated and paid fairly for their work.  They have all sorts of resources on their website and are well worth joining.

Recently they published a set of Guidelines for Music Production Companies and Freelance Composers for one-off advertising projects and we thought it would be a good idea to share it on our blog.

The purpose of the terms and conditions outlined below is to provide guidelines for good working practice between Music Production Companies and freelance composers working on a “single project” basis — that is, where the relationship is not an exclusive one. They are designed to protect both parties and, insofar as is possible, to standardise such working arrangements. These terms and conditions are recommendations only.


  1. To pay the Composer a ‘demo fee’ wherever possible, such a fee to be non-recoupable in the event that the commission does not proceed to a ‘Final’ recording.
  2. To pay for the ‘hard’ production costs of the recording (i.e. session fees, porterage etc) in the event that the work proceeds to a f inal recording, such costs to be d iscussed and a greed in advance between the two parties wherever possible, and where necessary to be s ubject to and defined by the advertising agency/client’s music budget.
  3. To pay to the Composer the full Writer’s Share of any Licence or Synchronisation fee paid by the advertising agency / client, both at the time of and subsequent to the commission. Any variations upon the full Writer’s Share (i.e. 50%) must be clearly set out and agreed in advance between Production Company and Composer, includingwhere applicable, any reasonable administration deductions.
  4. To take no more than the full Publisher’s Share of the work and to ensure that the Composer retains the full Writer’s Share due to him/her.
  5. To register the work correctly with PRS for Music and to ensure that the Composer has adequate details of the registration to allow him/her to pursue any royalty queries directly with PRS for Music if necessary.
  6. To inform PRS for Music of any overseas synchronisation licences generated by the work, both at the time of and subsequent to the commission, and to use best endeavours to monitor and track royalty income due from the licensed territories.
  7. To provide the advertising agency with full and correct Composer details.
  8. To provide the Composer upon request with a hi gh quality copy of the final film, subject to the Confidentiality clauses below.
  9. To pay the Composer promptly, and not more than 10 working days after receiving payment from the advertising agency.
  10. To credit the Composer when the work is reproduced on the Production Company’s show reel and/or website.
  11. The Production Company, having paid for the demo recording, is the beneficial owner of the recording. Should the demo not be chosen for the purpose originally commissioned, but be chosen for another project for which the Production Company has put it forward, all duties of both the Production Company and the Composer shall apply to the new project.


  1. To ensure that all work undertaken for the Production Company is original and does not infringe any third-party copyright (this to include any samples used in the recording).
  2. To maintain full confidentiality regarding the project, including, without limitation, Composer’s own involvement.
  3. To deliver any commissioned work in the format agreed and in good time to meet any agreed deadline.
  4. To make any changes to a demo and/or ‘final’ recording as may reasonably be required by the Production Company, advertising agency and/or its client.
  5. To make him/herself available as may reasonably be required to attend production and/or briefing meetings with the Production Company and/or advertising agency.
  6. To maintain full Client Confidentiality (see clauses below) throughout the production process and at all times before the final commercial goes to air.
  7. To ensure that any musicians and singers used in the production sign PCAM Artist Release forms.
  8. To use on his/her show reel only the ’on-air’ (clocked) version of the commercial unless otherwise specifically agreed in advance with the Production Company, no such usage to take place prior to the commercial being broadcast.

9. To credit the Production Company when the film is reproduced on his/her show reel and/or website.


“Confidential Information” shall mean any and all information relating to the advertising agency, its clients and/or their projects that is disclosed to the Composer by the Production Company or the advertising agency, including without limitation all films, recordings or other creative material and any other information of a confidential or proprietary nature.

  1. (i)  The Composer must treat and safeguard as strictly confidential all of the Confidential Information and may not reproduce, copy or use all or any part of it in any way for his/her own or any other purpose.
  2. (ii)  The Composer will not disclose the Confidential Information to any third party or publish all or any part of it in any way.
  3. (iii)  Upon the written request of the Production Company or the advertising agency, the Composer will immediately return (or, if so requested, destroy) all Confidential Information, together with any copies, extracts or derivations.
  4. (iv)  The Composer will inform the Production Company immediately upon becoming aware or suspecting that Confidential Information has been disclosed to an unauthorised person.

I thought there are some great points there – admittedly mostly common sense, but always good to repeat for rookie composers.  Let us know if you can think of any more points worth adding…