Legal question


Silver Member
Correct, the majority of studio players are a "work for hire" situation, which means they are paid-off with no recourse with regard to the product, not even to expect a credit (although that's fairly unheard-of since the ghost-drumming days of the sixties.)

The bigger question is, would anyone actually play such a signature part on another artist's recording of a different song?

Anyone remember The Youngbloods' "Get Together"? That poor drummer will forever be known as the guy who nabbed Ringo's part from "In My Life", "All I've Got To Do" and "Anna".

It probably helps if the signature part is on a song that's not too well known. Like Bonham playing Charles Conner's intro to "Keep A-Knockin'" on "Rock and Roll".

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Get over it and move on. It doesn't matter.
At this point, I'd have to go with this ^^

And in reality, what are the odds of the songs actually becoming anything after being released? There's a gamble that they might become something, but in reality, there are a million bands on this planet looking to get their stuff heard. Last I checked, there are untold number of artists with original songs on iTunes, and even though people can buy their music, it's obviously not enough sales to garner anybody's attention. Sometimes I believe you have better odds of getting struck by lighting twice in the same spot.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Unless there's a contract, a lawyer can't help. Handshakes and regrets are not what they deal in.

IF the music sells, and your parts are still on there, and there are profits, and they are not cutting you in for your share, and you can prove all of it... then you should contact a lawyer. But only if the reward justifies it.

This is really frustrating, if I contribute to a record I sure as hell wouldn't want it released without my consent.

If the band decides to release the songs and start profiting from them, isn't OP entitled to some of the earnings unless there was a written contract beforehand?

Makes me think, I should write a contract with my current band, but proposing that will certainly feel weird since they're all really nice people.
My thoughts exactly. But I'll just leave them to it, and learn from this situation.

Anon La Ply

Without a contract, you have no legal claim.

More importantly, it's presumptuous - and somewhat arrogant - to suggest that they should delete/replace your tracks. Were you going to pay for that? Do you really think they should pay for that? Anyway, it's up to them, not you, if they want to replace the tracks.

Do you believe that Mike Portnoy's tracks should have been replaced after his acrimonious split with Dream Theater? (etc etc for the countless number of groups whose drummers left. Heh, Zappa, McCartney and Steely Dan would have a field day with that!!)
That's what I was thinking. You don't undo work you've done after you leave a job either. What's done is done. Ethically, you should be paid if the recordings make money but the music industry is feral and there are many stories of people being screwed even when they do have a contract. There might be tricky clauses or loopholes or maybe one party has deep pockets and will win any war of attrition. Either that or they are so feral and hopeless, it's like trying to squeeze blood out of a stone.

Daniel, while you say you are embarrassed to be associated with the band, there was obviously a time when you weren't embarrassed, when you and your bandmates pulled together the arrangements, rehearsed and then laid down those tracks. You must have believed in the band back then so, unless they have taken to publicly promoting cruelty or war etc, why would you be embarrassed? It's part of your musical past and history. Be proud of the good bits and learn from the things that didn't work. If anything, I'd want to make sure my contribution was acknowledged.

Some of my old music is a bit naff in hindsight but that's how it goes. Not everything we play is fabulous. Trial and error. Best to move on - onwards and upwards!


Senior Member
Even if there is money at stake here, after lawyer and court fees, there would probably only be....what....7 dollars left?

Drummers already don't make money in the music biz anymore, especially when lawyers are involved.


Platinum Member
They're free of charge (and self-interest), though.

I for one would save the lawyers for serious sh#t.
A lawyer will get you squared away for next time...and be able to analyse the verbal contract.

You record me and try to sell it without my expressed permission, there's a case.


Platinum Member
You record me and try to sell it without my expressed permission, there's a case.
Clearly not. Given some of the high profile celebrities that get caught up in so called "stings" by various tabloid newspapers et al. Caught not only with their pants down but without a leg to stand on, so it would appear.

I don't see any recourse in those situations. Why is this any different?


Platinum Member
A lawyer will get you squared away for next time...and be able to analyse the verbal contract.

You record me and try to sell it without my expressed permission, there's a case.
In these cases though, consent was given at the time of the recording.

When you agree to show up to the recording studio to play music with your band for the purpose of recording a demo/album/single/whatever, you've given your consent.

Rescinding that consent is the issue here.

And on the lawyer, it's pointless. Paying money to try to get a percentage of $0 profit means you're just out the lawyer fees. Unless the band has an actual profit (not just sales, but sales that exceed costs), then it is a pointless exercise.

And even money was no issue, no one forced you to record those parts. You willfully gave them to the band at that time.


Platinum Member
In the nicest possible way...drop it. There is no case here. You might possibly have some kind of right to prevent them using those recordings, but frankly...why bother? Are you really going to lose out in any way? Use the drum parts again, they can't stop you.