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Hello everyone. It has been a long time hasnt it.

I am in a difficult situation and hoped one of yuo would have thoughts pn it!

I recewntly hired a musician to record a piece of my music. It was the first time my music would have been played by someone else and I was excited. The piece is for two violins viola and cello and I found a musician with good "demos" of himself playing all these instruments. I got in touch ad we agreed a price although no contract. I gave him as much information as possible and he confirmed my notation was accurate. At no point did he anticipate any problems.

Unfortunatly the recordings he sent back had many problems. His intonation was sometimes almost semitone sharp whilst some notes were missed entirely. The timing was very sloppy. And I think worst of all was this. He outsourced the cello part to a friend as he could not play it himself but did not tell me this until after recording was done. If he had said sooner I would likely have ended things there! I had hired HIM on the basis of his recordings andf wanted all parts played by him in the same space and with the same "gear". The cello part he outsourced had many problems as well including some wrong and missed notes and very loose timing. As he was respomsible for the cello part he either didnt notice these mistakes or felt they were acceptalbe.

I told there were too many problems with the recordings and he offered to record any parts ahain. At that point I had lst faith that he would be able to given the poor quality of what he originally produced as well as him having to hire another cellist without telling me. I no longer trusted him.

He has asked for 50% the agrreed rate "for his time". Now I am not happy to share the recording but I assure you I have not exagerated the mistakes and playing issues. Should I have to pay him for his time when what I received was of to poor quality to use? The only point on which I have doubt is that I did not give him a second chance when he offered but his deportment in hiring another cellist and overall poor playing convinced me ther was no point.

There isno contract so I dont know where to go from here. On a personal note it was horrible to hearmy music played badly and has made me question my abilitys however he did assure me the score was acurate and playable.

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If you had made your expectations from him clearly on the outset and he didn't deliver and plus on top of that there was no legal document containing any agreement and responsibilities between you, I do not see why you should pay him. This is from a legal perspective. 

The ethical perspective. You had offered him a job, he had come to you saying that he possessed the skill to deliver the job to your satisfaction. You were not impressed with his delivery, and thus didn't receive from him what you were expecting. It is also possible that he may have exaggerated his skill and ability in his capacity to deliver the result that you wanted. Therefore, even from an ethical standpoint, I don't see any reason why you should pay him.

But if you are a millionaire and you want to put up a smile on a a face of a musician not because you owe him anything, but just like an act of charity, you can do that, and that wouldn't be a problem either.

Its entirely your choice.

Regards

This happened to me. I paid and discarded the recording.
Thank you Saul and Gav. Out of interest Gav - why did you pay if to discrd the recording? Did your musician become unpleasant or threaen legal action? My musician is beginning to hint at legal options and his local freelancr laws.

No contract you shouldn't worry about it

Charles Holt said:

Thank you Saul and Gav. Out of interest Gav - why did you pay if to discrd the recording? Did your musician become unpleasant or threaen legal action? My musician is beginning to hint at legal options and his local freelancr laws.

Hi Charles, I paid because I had agreed to pay. Nobody was unpleasant about it because I paid right away, as soon as the recording session ended. 

Charles Holt said:

Thank you Saul and Gav. Out of interest Gav - why did you pay if to discrd the recording? Did your musician become unpleasant or threaen legal action? My musician is beginning to hint at legal options and his local freelancr laws.

Hi Charles -

I'm not a lawyer but I'll poke my nose in here anyway.  A written contract could have prevented this problem, but you still have some type of agreement in place which could be considered a contract. Did you communicate by email or text or by phone? Was there anything stated about level of quality or right of refusal? Do you have examples of his work that differ significantly from what he did for you?  Does he have a published summary of his qualifications which he may have falsified?

An arbitrator for this case would probably not approve of you refusing to give this guy a second chance. Summing up, there is some type of agreement in place here. If he violated the agreement or misrepresented himself you shouldn't have to pay him. You also have to consider the jurisdiction that would decide any legal action here. In the US this would be small claims court or an arbitrator, either of which would raise the issues I have mentioned here.  And you may need expert testimony to the quality of this guy's work.

Thankj you Ingo. Our agreement was reached by email and there was nothing stated regarrding quality or refusal on either side. I have many examples of his work and this is why I hired him! They are of far superior quality and musicianship.

I dont believe he falsified qualificictions. However the outsourcing would qualify in that regard. He lists cello as an instrument he can play and at no point before recording said there would be a problem. The decision to hire another musicin should I believe have been checked with me.

It's hard to believe that someone would attempt litigation over a small sum of money, especially knowing his case is weak, but litigation usually means uncertainty for both parties. Of course winning a judgement and forcing a payment are two separate functions here at least.

But, to avoid having an aggrieved party lurking in the background for the foreseeable future, following Gav's example makes a lot of sense. 

If you do decide to negotiate a settlement make sure you get a clearly stated written release of any claims by this guy. 

And you have gained some valuable experience in this situation going forward.

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