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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10107
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I am a recording producer. A voice artist arrived on time to

Customer Question

I am a recording producer. A voice artist arrived on time to a session to learn he had not been sent the full details by his agent the day before.
The impact was that the time booked (the 'call' time) started approximately 30 minutes later, as I as the producer had to explain to the voice artist what his work was to consist of.
There was no issue from the voice artist raised, and once fully briefed, he carried out the work very well.
The voice artist was confirmed at an hourly rate with his agent. After the session was completed, I communicated with his agent that the session started those approx 30 minutes late and while there was no issue at the booking fee rate, I would expect to not be charged for those first 30 minutes, especially since the agents failed to pass on the required details of the work involved.
The agent refused and insisted that regardless of the reason, Industry Practice states that the Artist will be paid from the call time. Our company, which has existed for 45 years, produced and created over 9000 sight and sound productions, and never had a dispute before, took the view that Industry Practice is something that is done regularly by a large segment of an industry without objection.
Industry Practice is therefore at best working guidelines, but should there be a dispute or an 'objection', the two parties have a right to disagree. In this instance, our MD in the spirit of compromise, offered to split the difference of the fee for those 30 minutes. The Agent accepted and we believed that was the end of the matter. Weeks later, using the same argument again, the agent has claimed that Standard Industry practice gives the agent the right to expect the remaining half of the fee for those 30 minutes.
Can this be what Standard Industry practice is meant to be? Thank you for considering the above.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.

Buachaill :

1. Standard "industry practice" or the usual way parties do business in an industry is at best evidence of terms upon which parties contract. It is not binding. For example "industry practice" would also mean that the agent would pass on the required details of the work involved so that this half hour would not be wasted at each session taking up the time of other people as well. Ultimately, as you are paying for a service, you set the terms upon which you operate and upon which you pay. So in future, get this agent and his artist to sign an agreement defining when work starts paying, is it when the guy arrives or when he is told the required details of the work involved, or whether the agent should tell the artist in advance. Get them to sign the agreement so there is no dispute in future. As regards XXXXX XXXXX work, once there was a compromise whereby half the monies for the 30 minute period were paid, then neither party can go back on that compromise agreement. That is just the law. However, you need to tie things down for the future and not be hit with this "industry practice" idea which is so nebulous that it only causes disagreement.


Thank you. I expected a reply of this sort, it makes most sense. And that is separate from the compromise agreement that was paid to the agent acting on behalf of their Client (the voice artist).

Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10107
Experience: Barrister 17 years experience
Buachaill and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry, I've just returned from a recording session and have one further related question to your summary. I hope you will be able to answer as part of your advice.


Doesn't English contract law have implied terms by Custom. So if one party could prove that something is customary within a certain industry (industry standard), including by the introduction of witnesses, then a court could treat that as a term of the contract?


Thank you again.




Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Other.
I waited for Mr. Buachaill to respond to my follow-up question but no response as yet and I'm having to complete my information needs.
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I am a lawyer experienced in entertainment industry matters and I will try to help you with this.

You are quite right in that custom and practice can be treated as an implied term of a contract. However, in this case, the artiste, in my opinion is technically in breach of contract, arising from the failure of his agent to instruct him, similar to a musician turning up to a session unrehearsed.

I think you are right to query the wasted time. It is industry practice for the artiste to be paid from the call time but not where there is wasted time arising from the fault of the artiste, via his agent.

Happy to discuss further.

Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much. This fills in the 'gaps' that I hadn't first queried.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

One further question for completeness -


Would my company have needed to exchange in writing that the voice artist is required to show up fully aware of the role and background that was provided by me to his agent the day before the session to imply/confirm the session can only start at the 'call' time.


Thank you again


Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
No, because that is where there is an implied term that the artiste knows what he is to do. There is no requirement for this to be in writing unless that would be a usual thin to do.

I hope this helps. Please leave positive feedback so that I am credited for my time.

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