This letter will explain the 3 ways you can choose to be compensated for participating in this instructional series and if your paid royalties what the payout timeframe is and how your sales will be verified so you know you’re not being short changed.
I suggest reading the two articles “Invitation to Record” and “Royalty Payments” if you haven’t already. In summary these articles explain how you could be compensated either through a cash payment, trade for services or royalty payments or a combination of all three. If you choose to be compensated through cash the amount for these sessions is flexible and is based on the players or teacher’s skill, style of music, desirability and need for this project. So far, the base rate has been $300. per session. I may be willing to trade you for your sessions by making a CD or an audio file that can be uploaded or a performance video by filming you or your band. The two articles “Making a Recording” and “Making a Performance Video” explain the details. The third option is being compensated by royalty payments at a percentage of your sales. Again, the percentage and the number of years these will be paid are negotiable and will be determined by your skill and or desirability for the project. The base percentage is 25% and the time frame you will receive these payments is seven years. The amount you receive is the negotiated percentage less the credit card transaction fee, which is 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction. So, if a song sells for $9.99 the fee is 59 cents and the net is $9.40. If your percentage is 25% your take is $2.35.
If you receive cash or I have made you a CD or performance video and are also going to receive royalty payments the cash amount paid or the fair market value of my services, which will be negotiated before we begin, will be deducted against your royalty earnings. This will be done either at the full amount until your balance is paid off or at a percentage so you can start receiving some money immediately. These royalty payments will be distributed to you in check form every January and July 1st or every $2000.00 whichever comes first.
Ronald Reagan was famous for saying when discussing US and Soviet Union relations “trust but verify” and it should hold true for us if your receiving royalty payments. On the back end of the Word Press site for theverybestpianoinstruction.com I can bring up the page that shows all my orders which list what song or course was bought, the date and the amount collected. We might run a promotion and sell things for a discount, do a giveaway or songs can be sold in groups at discounted prices and all these dollar amounts are reflected on the order page. I could invite you in and bring up these pages for your review but this system of verification does not work because I can delete any orders from the page at will.
The next method of verification is thru the credit card company Stripe which I use at checkout. Just like the order page mentioned above I can log into my Stripe account and view all the pertinent information filtered by date, player and course number. The Stripe company allows one to put all this information on an excel spread sheet, I could then save it and email a copy to you. Unfortunately, I can delete any column or row on this excel spreadsheet that list your course or song so as a way to verify your sales this also will not work. What is not allowed in the Stripe Payment Page is removing, deleting or hiding any of the transactions, or payments received, which make looking at this Payment Page the only verifiable method of showing what songs or courses sold and the dollar amounts owed to you. The drawback is you or your representative have to come to me or I to you.
The course structure and paywall used in The Very Best Piano Instruction’s website was designed by a company called Lifter LMS. I recently contacted Lifter LMS and asked if they developed a verifiable way to show the instructors how many of their courses sold, I thought if I needed it their other customers would also, but they said no, but possibly in the future. They said the relationship between the course instructors, which is you, and the owner of the online training school, me, should be one of trust and reciprocal good intentions. As I said in one of the other letters, I would not cheat you in any way but by meeting once or several times a year depending on the volume of sales to verify your revenue is good business practice. For you to feel anything but certain your getting what’s owed will make our relationship strong and healthy.