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Sticking to Your Guns on Commercial Rights

If you have made it clear in multiple ways, through your gig description, your requirements, etc., that commercial rights are a requisite for any order intended for other than personal use, then you need to do your very best to "stick to your guns" and require the commercial rights extra. Here's a process you can use to succeed more often in collecting on what's coming to you: In your gig description, include something like this: "Unless this order is solely for your personal use, commercial rights must be added, otherwise your order will be delivered with a watermark tone." If an order comes through without the required commercial rights, send them the commercial rights extra, and answer it right away like this: "Thanks so much for your order! Here is the required commercial rights extra." Just that much. Don't get wordy. It's a straightforward, "gotta include it" statement that includes the word, "required." Now, give them some time. If the gig timer gets down to about halfway until "due time," send the following follow-up message: "Hey there! Time's getting a little short, and I'm looking forward to working on your order. So that I can deliver your recording without a watermark tone, please accept the commercial rights extra I sent earlier. Thanks much." The wording doesn't threaten a watermark tone. It doesn't say, "Look, if you don't pay up, I'm going to watermark your audio." Instead, it asks for their help in avoiding having to watermark it. It puts you on their side. It's a subtle difference, but it's a tangible one. Between the first response, including the word "required," and the followup message, the odds are good that you'll get your commercial rights. And, if you do a great job and the buyer comes back to use you again, odds are they'll just add commercial rights at the start. BUT...

If they don't, you need to be consistent and follow through on what you say. Near the end of the gig timer, deliver a watermarked version of the file, along with a message something like this: "Looks like you're busy and didn't see the commercial rights requirement, and our gig is almost timed out, so here's a quick send of the voice-over with a watermark tone. When you see this, just request revision, accept the commercial rights, and then I can re-deliver the voice-over in the clear." This one-two technique is a money maker if you are consistent with it, and stick to your guns!

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