Composers and artists themselves destroy the business.

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This topic contains 52 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  musicvine 7 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #29861 Reply

    Art Munson

    Art – perhaps a sticky or sub forum or some place where people can go find libraries doing this and report libraries doing this?

    Not a bad idea but need to think about it as all subscription sites are not the same. Some allow wholesale downloading while others are more restrictive. How to delineate in the listing between the various types?

    See what I did here –

    #29862 Reply


    I would say maybe create an easy to find, attention getting list near the ratings button below. Or even just e-mail blast your entire list of folks here? The more “informational” (negative/ warning) press about these models the better I’d think.

    Be warned all writers: any of you who take an “Ah I don’t care what these folks do” attitude, you are 100% complicit in allowing it and inching closer to the nail in the coffin on your ability to earn from production music.

    I really wonder how all those folks who sold out to Epidemic feel. They really are clueless as to what they signed away. ignorance is the problem folks. Ignorance needs to be prevented.
    Education and guidance is what is needed.

    To all young writers please know that tracks can very easily go on and earn Tens of thousands of dollars even over $100,000 if you can wait things out a few years. This does not happen in buy out opportunities nor within subscription models. You have to hang onto your ownership of the asset to give yourself a shot at the surprise big pay day. You really never know when it can hit. If you put out good quality you better keep those assets attached to your hip. Even if you make looped beats OWN THEM! You never know man, really. I have seen more bizarre things on my statements to justify what i am saying.

    When you give your music to a company that does not pay you money (royalties, sync fees, whatever) after a certain time frame, it’s probably a good idea to write to them and remove your music. Don’t be lazy and nice!

    #29863 Reply


    Yes. Young guys should know that IT IS STILL POSSIBLE to make $100k + writing for library music after a few years. BUT, you have to work hard and make wise decisions. (I’m sorry to say that most young guys I meet are not willing or capable of doing either.) We have the control, and I have not seen a subscription model that I would call a “wise decision”. Well, maybe wise for the library owners, but not from a composers perspective.

    If these subscription models are allowed to flourish, the only winners are the end users and the libraries. The thought of a lucrative career, or really ANY career in writing production music is gone. Out the window.

    Hey, with thousands of placements – many of which are running in syndication – I’ve got enough momentum to carry me through well into retirement, but young guys should not be so chill about where they put their music.

    We are the ones who enable these types of opportunistic models to work.

    Just say no.

    #29864 Reply


    See what I did here –

    yup. I see what you did. IMO, semi-helpful, but I read right over it the first time. I actually had to be LOOKING for it. If it was in RED font, bolded and big maybe…. 🙂

    If it was my site, and it’s most DECIDEDLY not, I’d emblazon a massive scarlet letter style warning to any library approaching this style model. If proven successful for composers, I’d consider removing it, but leaving a less invasive warning such as the one you have done above….

    Then again, I’m probably not a level headed as you Art. Haha!

    #29865 Reply

    Art Munson

    If it was in RED font, bolded

    Red now. If they can’t see it now they aren’t paying attention!

    #29866 Reply



    #29867 Reply


    Art and all other experienced veterans, I would be willing to launch a “Basic Training” thread and write about the basics: for all to know:

    What is a publisher? What role do they play?
    What is a music copyright?
    What are PRO’s? What do they do for writers and publishers?
    What are stock music licensing sites?
    What is the difference between a stock music licensing site and a music publisher?
    What are the various business models to license music?
    Advantages and disadvantages of both?
    What are digital service providers as it relates to streaming (spotify, apple music, I-tunes, youtube, deezer, tunecore, cd baby) etc? How can one make money on Streaming platforms?
    What is the Harry Fox agency and how does it or can it apply to you?
    What is Sound exchange and what does it do for songwriters, artists, composers, musicians?
    What are the SAG and AFM unions and how do they play into the business?

    and so on….

    Really, it’s ignorance that also helps destroy our business. It’s predatory business models and people that ruin the business. It’s hedge fund investors that find manipulative ways to exploit artists and ironically, they too know very little about the business but decide to “get in this space” just for fun.

    Word does travel fast in ether.

    I do believe we can make a difference and I will gladly write a few thoughts each day about our business of music licensing and production music.

    Ignorance needs to be resolved.

    #29868 Reply


    Hi guys,

    I think adding a field for subscription models in the library database is great and an important info to have! And it’s also important to highlight this info – the red, bold warning should get everyone’s attention.

    Yet the implementation is a bit confusing right now: The warning message now appears on EVERY library page, regardless of them using a subscription model or not.

    @Art: Is there some way to only show this message if the status for the field is actually ‘YES’? Or maybe change the wording a bit?

    Anyway, here’s another NE-library with a dirt cheap subscription plan that had approached me when they started last year. I declined the offer…

    And here’s a quote from their email, ‘describing’ their subscription model:

    [The subscription service…] is designed to provide all of our artists with some regular monetary compensation, regardless of whether or not your tracks are chosen for license. In short, a percentage of each subscription will be held over and divided among ALL artists to ensure that everyone is compensated at some level for their work. Additionally, when your music is chosen to be downloaded and licensed from the subscription pool, you will receive a fee per ‘downloaded track’ (single-use, single project). Calculations are based on how many users we have, and how many tracks they download, each month. The more your tracks are downloaded, the more you get paid. Needless to say, the more subscribers we have the better it will be for all artists.

    @music1234: Thanks for bringing up this important topic!

    #29869 Reply

    Art Munson

    The warning message now appears on EVERY library page,

    Duh, you are right. I didn’t think that through. Plan B, will put in notes section. Thanks for letting me know!

    #29872 Reply

    Art Munson

    Art – perhaps a sticky or sub forum or some place where people can go find libraries doing this and report libraries doing this?

    See upper right, of any page, under Access Music Libraries.

    #29874 Reply

    Art Munson

    Art and all other experienced veterans, I would be willing to launch a “Basic Training” thread and write about the basics: for all to know:

    Music1234 – Go for it!

    #30573 Reply


    The answer was “… the composer will not collect performance royalties because our offering is royalty free.”

    I’m pretty sure I know the company being discussed and this does not appear to be true. I spot checked a few artists and found their names and songs posted on the site registered with PROs on the ASCAP and BMI sites and the company has publishing entities that are also registered. The person you spoke to may not have understood your question, or perhaps misled you. It appears to me that at least the songs I checked are PRO registered and they do collect performance royalties. I can’t confirm that, but it certainly seems to be the case given what I found.

    As for the number of subscriptions. The have a counter on their site that, if true, indicated 609 new subscribers in the last 7 days as of a few minutes ago. If that’s real and the count held steady, that would be perhaps 87 new subscriptions per day and 31,755 subscribers per year. In terms of income, that’s about $4,286,925 annually. Split between the 26 people in the company (as per the LinkedIn page), that’s $164,881 each. I’m sure that’s not how it breaks down in terms of revenue sharing and some are probably making much more than others. Also consider that this company has “pro services” that offers custom scoring and enterprise agreements. If true, they boast a list of major corporate clients. That’s a lot more revenue.

    But in any event, if the above numbers are real, I’m not seeing how this is a bad deal for a composer who gets in and is paid a salary. That term “salary” could be misleading and it might just be that they consider purchasing the tracks a “salary”. From what I got out of a NAB interview with them, the co-founder stated that “several” artists are given a salary. He didn’t say “all” of them got a salary, so they probably have some people on work-for-hire commission since there are a decent number of composers there now. Even without performance royalties – which I personally would not give up and it appears they are keeping them – those numbers aren’t bad and a salaried composer might not care if he’s getting a regular check with a solid, stable income… for now at least. Time will tell.

    There is a point where you can’t fight the system. Subscription models are becoming more and more common and customers aren’t going to look back. This is especially true in royalty free (RF) as I don’t think this is going to migrate to the traditional licensing models or the major libraries any time soon if ever. But RF has opened that door and customers aren’t going back inside. It is definitely catching on as it’s mostly what I hear about in the videographer forums and their library reviews. I see a trend where RF libraries trying to fight subscription models have raised rates. Good luck with that, but I think the barrel of your gun is pointing at your foot.

    I suspect the subscriptions will take over RF and that if this is to be profitable for composers, this specific library’s model seems like a good one. The massive distribution of mediocre music through non-exclusive agreements with endless libraries and “marketplaces” must die. That is what caused the extreme market saturation. The industry needs to be returned to professionals and exclusive agreements on cues. Professional composers as a whole didn’t kill the industry, naive professionals, newbies and hobbyists did. They killed the industry with the help of greedy RF business models lead by “asset marketplaces” that intentionally exploited their hard work using a “bulk sales” model and treating music like e-commerce. Many small RF libraries popped up and followed suit and that’s when things went off the tracks.

    When something like the subscription model comes along, we have to avoid those who will abuse us and take a look at each library specifically without judging them as a whole because some of these models are good while others could spell the absolute end of RF for professional composers. There are DEFINITELY subscription models out there that intentionally exploit our work, and if we support those, or allow new composers and hobbyists to support them, we’re done because it will be 100 times worse than the current situation. We’re going to have to review these subscription models and make it a point to educate musicians on which to avoid and which to support. I don’t see where we’re going to have a choice.

    #30574 Reply


    I spot checked a few artists and found their names and songs posted on the site registered with PROs on the ASCAP and BMI sites and the company has publishing entities that are also registered.

    Just to clarify, I found information at ASCAP and SESAC, not BMI as I have not yet confirmed anything at BMI. I think there’s enough evidence to prove these guys aren’t leaving performance royalties off the table.

    I just ran the ASCAP publishing entity to see how many songs were listed that are on the site in question and there are 243. All of those I checked were verified as being posted in the subscription service. There are many more songs and I didn’t attempt to check everything. Some might be BMI and a BMI publishing entity might not be obviously linked to the library name. But since there are at least two publishing entities I can confirm, and have confirmed that at least songs in the subscription service are registered, it seems reasonable to assume all songs are registered with some PRO or another.

    I also noted that the number of composers listed on the site is “inflated” since some are there more than once – real name plus “performer name” alias. Some work in teams, which was mentioned in the NAB interview, as evidenced by their songwriting credits in ASCAP. Some of the contacts for the publishing entities are also composer names. So, I suspect these “salaried composers” also double as company staff members with administrative and managerial duties.

    Basically, this is not an RF library that recruits tons of composer as we’ve seen with the typical RF model that is strangulating the industry. It’s a musician’s collective, and I think it’s a smart one. This is probably a good way to go if you’re able to pool a good number of musicians who can work together well. It’s basically the same as a custom music house that has a subscription library when you consider their pro services. So, yeah… I’ll take this over a bunch of non-exclusive agreements any day. If they wish, they could also put together some themed sets and distribute those through a more traditional library model. This is a smart adaptation, in my opinion.

    #30575 Reply


    Last post on this and confirmation that they are getting performance royalties. Here’s an excerpt from their licensing agreement:

    “In the event User arranges a public performance of the Video in connection with any medium that retains valid performance licenses from the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (“ASCAP”), Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”), or other applicable performing rights society, User shall deliver to Artist a music cue sheet with regard to the Video within sixty (60) days of the initial commercial broadcast of the Video.”

    #30576 Reply


    I’m pretty sure I know the company being discussed and this does not appear to be true.

    Never let facts get in the way of a passionate arguement. 😀

    I suspect the subscriptions will take over RF

    Maybe. You have to factor in consumer psychology. East West, Avid, and others have jumped on the subscirption bandwagon, yet many still buy their products. People still buy cars, even though leasing might allow them to drive a car that they couldn’t normally afford.

    Subscriptions, obviously, are a moot point with respect to libraries that already give content away in pursuit of backend money. Regarding RF libraries, the watershed is long overdue. We’re already seeing consolidation of sales in a few major players.

    The RF libraries that survive will most likely offer both options, thereby broadening their consumer base. If I had a crystal ball, I would guess that non-subscription content will be highly curated, better quality music that offers buyers some form of added value. Not everyone going to McDonald’s orders from the Dollar Menu. People are willing to pay more for something that they perceive to be better or to their advantage for any number of reasons.

    We’re already seeing the curation effect in RF libraries that are increasingly rejecting new uploads. That offers customers added value in itself because it spares them from having to search through mountains of crap.

    Also among the RF survivors are like to be the “ecosystem” companies that offer a variety of visual content along with music and SFX. To a degree, those systems are self-sustaining.

    For subscriptions to work on a longterm basis would the music have to be exclusive? It seems unlikely that consumers would subscribe to multiple libraries offering identical content.

    Interesting days ahead.

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