A Conversation Worth Starting?

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  • #25239 Reply
    Alan
    Participant

    I ran this idea by one of the more popular broadcast libraries that are pushing for exclusive tracks. I wanted to see how they would react.
    Library’s chief concern:
    -Their clients do not want to pay blanket license fees to multiple libraries and get the same non-exclusive music from each library. This is a very fair complaint.

    My chief concern:
    -I do not want to spend 1-5 days creating a track only to have snippets of it placed in a few cable programs that might make me $500 in 3-5 years. A few of my top performing tracks have earned me over $1K in back end (over 5 years), but they are the exception. For me, the combination of broadcast back end and RF sales are what make most tracks profitable. removing either one from the equation makes writing not worth it.

    A possible solution:
    A given library that primarily focus’ on TV placement amends their contract to allow composers to submit the same track(s) to at least one non-competing RF library.

    I told one broadcast library I would be happy to give them all my future tracks semi-exclusively, provided I could submit to only one RF library that does not compete with them for the reality TV market. It was a short conversation, ha.

    IMHO, if the libraries and TV producers would at least discuss this option they may find they get much more new fresh music from us.

    Thoughts?

    #25241 Reply
    Vlad
    Guest

    Your idea is a cool one, but probably pointless to discuss. There is always a flock of new composers willing to give those publishers tons of free exclusive music with the hopes of a placement. And why would publishers waste any time on a track unless they had 100% publishing on it at this stage of the game? That 1-5 days of work is meaningless to most of them, I would say.

    Sadly, the publishers are holding ALL of the cards right now. And I realize this post was rather negative….my apologies.

    #25242 Reply
    Alan
    Participant

    No apologies needed Vlad.
    The only thing I disagree with is that the composers are the ones holding all of the cards. We just don’t play our hands very well. 😉

    What I envision is this conversation:

    A&R rep for the “Score-Mib-Epito-Punks” Music Library speaking to HIST-TLC-NatGeo producers:

    “…Yes, I sent out another music request for exclusive retro-pop-urban-redneck-EDM tracks to all my best composers. The response was not very good because the back end is so low and they don’t want to loose the RF income potential. Would you consider letting them submit tracks to a short list of RF sites like “Pond-Fruit-Loops” that cater to independent video production houses, not TV? We could easily put it in our contract. This would insure you don’t get duplicate tracks from other libraries, plus the composers will send us more material……”

    Maybe I’m naive, but this seems like a win-win compromise to the non-exclusive problems. I figure, if a library can keep list of competitors we ARE NOT allowed to sell through, they could just as easily make a list of libraries we ARE allowed to sell though.

    The only problem I see is finding a publisher who gave a sh!# about us and was willing to go out on a limb and risk rocking the boat. Who was the first library to try non-exclusive?

    #25243 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    For a plethora of reasons, ranging from composers thinking it’s a stepping stone to the big time, that a placement on “XYZ” cable show is meaningful on their resume to believing that they will eventually get that one placement that will pay their student loans…I agree with Vlad.

    “…Yes, I sent out another music request for exclusive retro-pop-urban-redneck-EDM tracks to all my best composers. The response was not very good because the back end is so low and they don’t want to loose the RF income potential

    That’s a lovely scenario but it assumes two things: 1) That idea of “best composers” matters and 2) that the response won’t be good.

    For 15 seconds of wallpaper here and there, if by “best composers” you mean fantastic compositional skills, it really doesn’t matter. Producing something that works and doing it quickly does.

    Also, keep in mind that at least two of the companies that you mentioned score/punks have in-house composers to deal with those special requests.

    The more likely scenario is that general calls go out when they know a show is going into production and its time to fill the hard drive for the new season.

    All that said, backend money of any substance continues to become an ever more elusive goal: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7423321/department-of-justice-deny-consent-decree-amendment

    #25245 Reply
    Mark_Petrie
    Participant

    Something to keep in mind is that the end game for a music library is being bought out by a bigger company for millions. So if the library owners have this retirement plan in mind – and they probably do if they are asking for exclusive tracks – they’ll want to make sure they own all the assets completely. A semi-exclusive deal is not likely to fly for that reason.

    Also – many libraries believe they have to own the rights to all the tracks in their catalog 100% to enter into foreign sub-publishing deals.

    #25246 Reply
    Alan
    Participant

    Ok, ok, I’m still a rookie voicing my dreams.

    By “best’ composers, I was more along the lines of “Hey, you have used a ton of Art Munson’s stuff in past seasons and he has lots of new stuff. He is just hesitant to give it to us exclusively because he loses the RF market …”

    #25247 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    Something to keep in mind is that the end game for a music library is being bought out by a bigger company for millions.

    Absolutely corrrect. I pointed that out years ago, when former retitlers started going exclsuive. Basically, without exclusivity that wouldn’t have any assets to sell beyond their brand/good will.

    Without transferring the copyright, however, they still only have a perpetual license. That’s why you now see some libraries requiring for transfer of the copyright once a placement occurs or even before, which is another discussion completely.

    #25248 Reply
    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    He is just hesitant to give it to us exclusively because he loses the RF market …”

    And the fact that, they (the library), has no skin in the game and the chance my music just sits (which is already happening in a couple of cases).

    Something to keep in mind is that the end game for a music library is being bought out by a bigger company for millions.

    What Mark said!

    #25249 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    I’m seriously re-thinking “exclusivity” and why a composer should even bother in 2016.

    At this stage of the game, the up front payout is not big enough to warrant giving away my creative works, the PRO back end is shrinking and in danger of serious destruction from streaming services, I have to indemnify the Ex libs up the wazoo and the potential downside to that in such a litigious industry could be catastrophic, up front sync licenses from RF libraries are growing very quickly for me, while at the same time back end (BMI) has been stagnant for years. And now – with the DOJ decision – that back end will no doubt become weaker still….

    Why should we put our music into exclusive libs when the payout is not there? Even with A level companies?

    I estimate that sometime soon (maybe 3-5 years) – the up front sync fees that my NON Ex library (which I retain ownership of) will be getting close to the amount of back end that the “EXCLUSIVE big boys” (And I do mean the A team) provide me via my PRO. And I’m barely even scratching the surface of getting my material into the Non Ex libs.

    Plus, I still have ownership. It’s insane to give away your publishing and master rights for such peanuts. The EX libs are becoming as competitive as the NON Ex libs and that means their licensing power is shrinking. Their ability to EXCLUSIVELY get high end placements is a thing of the past. Tiny income streams are becoming larger than rivers for me.

    It’s the elephant in the room that no one (at the BIG libs) will talk about.

    #25253 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    Why should we put our music into exclusive libs when the payout is not there? Even with A level companies?

    That writing has been on that wall for a very long time. Perhaps if we stopped calling RF libraries “royalty free” and refer to them instead as what they are, “direct licensing,” we’ll remove the stigma.

    BTW — my experience is the same as yours. I’m finding that RF fees can in some instances quickly exceed upfront payments.

    Michael

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