Originally Posted by Pat Petrillo
In general, if you are being paid to do a session, you are being paid to create a part for a song, much like a guitar player doing a part or solo. If the artist already has a groove and direction they want you to play, that's one thing. If they say "what do you think the groove/feel/direction should be on this song?", then you are being asked to contribute to the writing of that song, in my opinion, and a "point" or royalty of that song should be negotiated. If the artist starts the song as a shuffle, and you change it to an up tempo funk groove, and they like it, and it's a hit, then you've created a very important part of what makes that song work.
Interesting. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't hold up in court though. As you say, it comes down to what contractual agreements were made, but that aside we're really talking about who owns the rights to the song or songs in question. Now that has nothing to do with assigning points, so it could well be that DeVitto has a case. But I remember reading that it was the producer who told him what kind of beat to play on "Just The Way You Are." I guess I question just how much input DeVitto had to the way the recordings were made.
Everyone who records thinks that their part is valuable to the song's musical or commercial success, but nothing in the contract means nothing in the bank.