Cue Sheet Success Stories

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This topic contains 51 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Daniel 1 month ago.

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  • #15189 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Just to shed a little light on the PRO’s perspective, an ASCAP board member once said to me “anybody can fill out a cue sheet.”

    Then he continued, “you might be honest, but there are a lot of people who aren’t. So, we rely on our survey.”

    The bottom-line of the discussion was that cue sheets are viewed as vulnerable to fraud and abuse. So,they are subject to verification by the survey.

    Given the number of mistakes on the filing end, and the number of missed performances on the PRO’s side, there’s little doubt that money falls through the cracks.

    #15190 Reply

    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    If I’m not mistaken, even if cue sheets were turned in now, I wouldn’t get paid because it’s past the threshold that BMI would pay out for.

    I believe once you open a case your good.

    #15191 Reply

    More Advice

    The good thing about cue sheets is that at least they show information and progress being made for writers. In fact, ASCAP shows all of them in our on line accounts. BMI does not, nor does SESAC. How can you guage your success by just waiting for that next statement to arrive? I like seeing the cue sheet count go up each week. It shows that one’s writing efforts pays dividends.

    BMI writers need to ask that BMI display cue sheets in the on line accounts of writers. I personally have not noticed a difference in royalties between ASCAP and BMI when I compare notes with my co-writer.

    Mistakes will get made, but I’d like to hope that 97% of the info is accurate. I just don’t see a better solution than a human being with a stop watch timing every cue after the show is edited and entering the data as to who the writer and publishers are.

    #15192 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    I just don’t see a better solution than a human being with a stop watch timing every cue after the show is edited and entering the data as to who the writer and publishers are.

    The editors on my shows take the timings of the cues from the smpte time code embedded in the edit.

    I haven’t seen, or used, a stop watch in 25 years. 🙂

    In fact Network editors have the catalogs of exclusives, like Megatrax, in their system, searchable with Soundminer software, and cue sheets are generated electronically with Rapid Cue software, which is used by both ASCAP and BMI.

    #15202 Reply

    yzzman1
    Participant

    This is interesting. All of the replies have great feedback in them. However, the question I posed referred to cue sheet “success” stories – situations in which you were “successful” in getting cue sheets filed when they were not filed correctly, on time, etc……and how you went about it. Perhaps the lack of replies indicating success stories on this subject suggests one or more of the following? (based on feedback and other things I’ve read on MLR)

    1. Most of the time it’s a lost cause?
    2. It can be done but it’s too much of a hassle and most composers don’t bother?
    3. Many composers are unaware of many uses of their music and the appearance of the cue sheet/PRO payment is the only way they know their music is being used?
    4. Because certain PRO’s use their own surveys as an equal companion to cue sheets (in order to be paid), composers often feel they don’t get paid so much of the time that they feel defeated before they start hunting down cue sheets – and don’t try because of that?
    5. Payment is often so little that composers sometimes feel it is not worth the trouble? (Although small payments can add up a lot over time)

    Just some thoughts. It seems this is a true uphill battle for one or more reasons.

    For me personally, I have had success hunting down one cue sheet recently…..after TuneSat’s detection and having the deadline pass for my PRO…..I used the library at an intermediary with the production company. The royalty it paid was a grand total of about $14.00. And although the amount was so small – it just felt right to get paid something in the end.

    Granted I’m just starting to get more frequent tv placements now, and I can see where consistently dealing with this could get quite daunting. But it seems if we don’t fight the battle – no one else is going to fight it for us…..not the PRO’s, not the libraries, not music supervisors, not production companies.

    However, I can see where down the road if I continue to keep getting tv placements (very thankful if I could be so lucky to continue doing so)…..the battle could get quite tiresome and take away greatly from the music making. How I feel now may not be how I feel down the road?

    Thanks for everyone’s replies. I really enjoy reading other’s experience.

    #16798 Reply

    sb

    Well i had a problem with Bet who’s was extremely late(over a year), luckily i had a friend who was an exec there and it got rectified.. The second part of the ordeal was that the person who was in charge of the cue sheet submissions at bet contacted a higher up in the royalty dept at BMI.. I was given the contact and info, spoke with her she told me that the cue sheet was submitted and that the back royalties will be rolled over into the next distribution date.. She told me if i didn’t get it call her immediately.. So i will know next week..

    #16803 Reply

    P-9

    Just a few facts
    ASCAP, BMI and SESAC does not have a survey system. All 3 use a third party company called T.M.S (used to be called Tvdata). This is a paid service which lists all channels and everything they air all over the world. Tunesat also uses this service.

    Cue sheets are not generated automatically with Rapidcue. Rapidcue is a proprietary system created by BMI and adopted by ASCAP that nobody likes at the production company level as it is poorly created and cumbersome to use.

    The 9 month threshold for filing a claim is subjective to the circumstances.
    If a cue sheet is submitted 2 years late you can (not will, but can) be paid for it with all airings going back to the first if the person at the PRO does a thorough job of matching the cue sheet to all TMS airing data.

    There are people/companies like Don Jasko and Barry Massarsky who audit the PROs as a business and they have had success for many years. You can do the same, if you can get your cue sheets, by comparing PRO statement information to what is listed on the cuesheet. By the way, what is listed in your member access at ASCAP is fraught with mistakes. If you were to compare the original cuesheet with what ASCAP has you would find major differences.

    hope this helps a bit

    #16805 Reply

    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    Thanks P-9, great info that everyone should be aware of.

    To everyone reading this. I can personally vouch for P-9. He’s been in the biz a long time and knows what he’s talking about.

    #16807 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    To everyone reading this. I can personally vouch for P-9. He’s been in the biz a long time and knows what he’s talking about.

    +1

    #16808 Reply

    Musicmatters
    Participant

    Thank you P-9, that really is very very useful information. If all these three PRO’s use TMS, how would you compare them in terms of accuracy and fairness of their reporting. It has been claimed many times in this forum that BMI has a better payout than ASCAP, would you agree with that ? Thank you 🙂

    #16809 Reply

    Desire_Inspires
    Participant

    I haven’t fought to get any royalties. In the past, I just relied on ASCAP and the production companies to do their job and get cue sheets filed correctly. I didn’t know or wonder about it until a year ago.

    I do have the free version of Tunesat which has shown me placements. To listed with my PRO. But I haven’t chased anything down yet.

    #16810 Reply

    P-9

    SESAC is the most accurate followed by BMI with ASCAP a distant third.
    SESAC is also the most willing to listen and help as apposed to trying to explain away problems.

    All 3 PROs are way under-staffed when it comes to royalty distrubution.
    There is not an evil boogy man trying to keep our money, but the system used to pay royalties is old and held together with chicken wire and duct tape.

    #16811 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    There is not an evil boogy man trying to keep our money, but the system used to pay royalties is old and held together with chicken wire and duct tape.

    LOL!

    Yes, lagging far behind technology, and the way business is being conducted.

    If you think the PROs are behind /understaffed…the copyright office is in the stone age, held together with chewing gum and rubber bands.

    If you want to register copyrights electronically, their preferred browsers are Explorer and Netscape!?!?!
    They can’t handle Safari or Chrome!

    Technology changes at a far more rapid pace than these bureaucracies can keep up with.

    #16814 Reply

    Steve

    @michaell is right, copyright.gov is a joke. The eCO website operates as if it is currently 1997. Tech support on that site is also a joke. I submitted a ticket with a clear, concise question and got a response from them that said I needed to call their office. I called, was on hold for a long time and was eventually told (basically) “yes, that’s just the way it is, it’s very confusing, we get that question all the time.”

    If PRO’s are understaffed and behind the times, as I am certain is the case, that’s the fault of the PRO’s, unless I’m misunderstanding something. What can be done to fix that?

    #16815 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    I called, was on hold for a long time and was eventually told (basically) “yes, that’s just the way it is, it’s very confusing, we get that question all the time.”

    @Steve. What was the question? Did the answer work?

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