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ARRANGER

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One who orchestrates or adapts a musical composition by scoring for voices or instruments other than those for which it was originally written. He may write simple piano and vocal arrangements or complete band and orchestra scores.

On new, previously uncopyrighted material, arrangers usually work free-lance as "work for hire" employees for a record company or producer, or for a music publisher or printed music licensee. Many professional arrangers are AFM members. However, the value of the arranger is so unique that there is no set scale payment for their services. Instead, the fee is negotiated and usually includes copying and other related expenses. The fee may run as high as 5 to 6 percent of the total recording costs.

The contract they sign states the fee (usually a flat one-time fee) and/or other compensation they are to receive and that the arrangements are considered as works made for hire. This eliminates them from any right to receive royalty payments since the employer secures the copyright and receives the entitled royalties.

When an arrangement of public domain material is made, the arranger may receive royalties as would the writer of a new song in that he may split the mechanical royalties with the music publisher and also receive performance royalties from his performance rights society.

Modern arrangers are highly trained and skilled in music theory, sight reading, ear training, composition, harmony, and computer and electronic enhancement. They are familiar with instrument ranges and technical limitations. This training may be formal or via private lessons. Arrangers sometimes work under extreme pressure with ridiculous deadlines to meet--often overnight. Arrangers use the trial and error technique and are writing and rewriting constantly. See Cross-links: ARRANGEMENT, HEAD ARRANGEMENT, ORCHESTRATOR, ORCHESTRAL SKETCH, ABRIDGMENT OF MUSIC, CONTRACT- SONGWRITER/PUBLISHER CONTRACT clause #10, DISTORTION, COPYRIGHT LAW under "Derivative Work," "Work Made for Hire," and "Fixed."


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