I do music production on contract for other companies. The client contacted me representing a production house, asking me if I could make some music for a car commercial. We signed contracts, and I whipped up some sample tracks for him.
Client: These are great! Just make them a little longer, and we’ll be good to go!
Me: Those are sample tracks, the real product is the full length. How do you want to work out payment? I’ll take checks or by PayPal, but checks will take a little longer to confirm payment for me, since I have a policy of not sending the tracks until I get paid.
Client: Wait, what? You must be new to this. You pay us to use your tracks. You’re a professional, you should know this. Isn’t that how this works?
Me: Absolutely not. You pay me for the rights to use this track once and only once in this commercial. I don’t do work for free, and there’s no way in hell I’m paying someone to use my tracks.
Client: But that’s $600! I can’t afford that!
Me: Then you shouldn’t have signed the contract. No money, no tracks.
Client: Can’t you do this for free? I knew you in college! I was in your history class!
Me: That’s nice, but that still doesn’t give you a discount on my music. Why is this such an issue anyways? You supposedly work for a big-budget production house. It costs more to record the voiceover than my tracks cost.
Client: Well… yes, but it’s not for the production house. This is for my class.
Me: …excuse me?
Upon further questioning, the client did not actually represent a big-budget production house at all. Rather, he still was in college, retaking a film production course, wherein he had to get original music for the project he was making. He failed the last film class for stealing music without permission, and was going to be expelled from the college if he didn’t pass.