Composers and artists themselves destroy the business.

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This topic contains 51 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  BEATSLINGER 2 months ago.

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  • #30618 Reply

    wetwest
    Participant

    Music1234 & LAwriter

    Just some thoughts. Please know I am not intending to insult anyone’s intelligence and many of this may be common knowledge to you or anyone else.

    It should come down to the contract regardless whether it’s Exclusive or Non-Exclusive. It would be my thought that educating composers and writers is first and foremost and then keeping an eye out for the few companies that are trying to effectively use rights for their profit without the focus being on monetizing the catalog of rights they have and of course distributing the monies as per the contracts and any applicable law. In the long run the bottom feeders along with the unscrupulous will eventually meet their fate and things should find stable and steady ground to exist in between.

    Ultimately when taking an unbiased view it seems the changes that have occurred putting forth the types of deals or licenses that you are mentioning are ultimately down to a few factors. These may be things such as an over saturation of people looking to make money off of music, the subsequent over saturation of content being another, the internet allowing access to quicker easier and more convenient licensing models, the resulting market landscape and devaluation of quality among certain sectors often due to ease of access and piracy and how most solutions have implemented lower royalty opportunities and near forced micro payments to stem the lack of any payment at all and the free market nature of Capitalism combined with of course each individuals requirement to make ends meet.

    The shining light or rather the positive in this, is the sheer gargantuan amount of demand and the new and emerging opportunities that never used to exist. Sad as it is for me to say, Vivendi saw UMG make earnings and was their largest revenue generator and in 2018 they paid dividends to shareholders. Licenses and fees, subscriptions and sync is a healthy and vibrant and important area for them and one they seem hopeful and inspired by. They of course have large volumes of content.

    Not every company is evil nor is every company that offers blanket licenses evil. Many are simply heeding to consumer and customer demand, and if they don’t, in a free market somebody will. In my belief any payment structure from selling subscriptions for access to useable music for no upfront fee is obviously a little grey but ultimately down to in-house policy. Cue sheets should be filed and backend should be paid. The accounting is actually easier then you would think however the calculations and how you divide it is much more complicated. Dividing up streams and downloads via mechanical sales is significantly more trouble. Every single one of these contracts would likely and really should use the net amount minus operating expenses and marketing and advertising. Hosting online files becomes expensive. Marketing and advertising is competitive and also expensive. The administration fees to account and manage everything along with any salaries can also add up. That being said as Corporations who pay dividends know, there are many ways to create the formulas that result in a fair equitable system minus expenses and cost of doing business that would judicially pay a percentage of a subscription fee based on each composers contributions, ie their direct placements and the resulting revenues, and pay it out at the end of the year. The resulting administration work to accomplish, in most cases, is likely to erode any worthwhile money.

    The business of course can be sold at some point, this can happen in any industry to anyone and effect any employee or contractor. The contract you signed into should state that the catalog be sold to an equal or greater Publisher and come with enough for you ensure that your sound recordings will be used to make money that you will be paid on, or at worst leveraged for opportunities and made available to be licensed.

    The secret is in the contract. Plenty of Publishing contracts, where ultimately each library and broker is simply a Publisher at the end of the day, will include the right to leverage the catalog and the copyright therein for interest for current and future earnings. There should also be a clause giving a term that states what obligations and duties the Publisher etc. has in regards to seeking opportunities and ultimately monetizing or furthering the composers or writers sound recordings.

    As said previously the biggest culprit, as in other areas of music, could be the desperation of the composer/writer and the sheer vastness of those willing to waive certain or all rights in an effort to their goals and desires.

    If anyone changes their business model and fails to offer a new contract or opt-in clause, they are obviously caught out and in the wrong and liable. At worst they would have to remove your sound recordings from their catalog and lose the rights to use them unless you have agreed to some contract that states otherwise.

    Cheers

    #30634 Reply

    LAwriter
    Participant

    If anyone changes their business model and fails to offer a new contract or opt-in clause, they are obviously caught out and in the wrong and liable. At worst they would have to remove your sound recordings from their catalog and lose the rights to use them unless you have agreed to some contract that states otherwise.

    I guess you were probably referring to me on this one as it was the exact situation I found myself in. Yes, I agree 100%. You can’t sign music under one contractual / set of circumstances and completely change that without an opt-out IMO. Ultimately, I opted out as I mentioned, but it wasn’t easy and it cut a deep swath in the process.

    The shining light or rather the positive in this, is the sheer gargantuan amount of demand and the new and emerging opportunities that never used to exist.

    This is true. And there may be some hope. Unfortunately all of the “new” style opportunities pay fractions of a cent. In the thousandths of a cent range, where old school opportunities paid (often) hundreds of dollars. Of course, these are in the decline, and the new style opportunities are in the incline, but it’s going to be a loooooooooooong time before the new style opportunities make up the difference. If ever. For an example, about a million youtube plays pays roughly $100. One single TV placement (network) used to pay much more than that. I’m not sure where the upside is in that as we see network TV losing ground to streaming venues who pay (at best) 2% of what TV paid.

    I’m quite active in writing. I have music on literally thousands of TV shows and movies. And am adding (on average) a hundred + new show placements every quarter. And the royalties are still shrinking. I’m not sure where the silver lining is in those new placements. Of course, I think we have our PRO’s to blame for that one. It’s a complex and ever changing business.

    20-50 years may settle all of these irregularities, but I think that will be way past my time in the biz.

    #30636 Reply

    Music1234
    Participant

    The secret is in the contract. Plenty of Publishing contracts, where ultimately each library and broker is simply a Publisher at the end of the day, will include the right to leverage the catalog and the copyright therein for interest for current and future earnings. There should also be a clause giving a term that states what obligations and duties the Publisher etc. has in regards to seeking opportunities and ultimately monetizing or furthering the composers or writers sound recordings.

    Indeed the secret is in the contract. Publishers are in business to EXPLOIT works so they, first and foremost, can earn a profit first. I am not sure if you are advocating for subscription models or not, but I am sorry…I am never going to get on board with that and will be a loud and strong voice trying to convince all composers that if they “give in” to that model and start to participate, and eventually make it “the norm” they will put the nail in the coffin on a career writing music for film and tv and youtube content.

    Wetwest, fair accounting can not be done in sub models. Once you pool 100,000 tracks together and say to a client “take whatever you need for a yearly subscription plan”, the only entity winning is the publisher/ owner of the library.

    Composers interests lie with the concept of 1 license sold for each unique video project. Have a project and need a track? Great, rent my music. Have another project and need another track? Great, rent my music a second time.

    That is the only fair solution.

    Blanket models (which are similar to subscription models) work only when clients are contractually obligated to report cue sheet usage of titles.

    I again advise all composers to never participate in subscription models where the music is being dealt “royalty free”. It is in your interest to be selling licenses at a unit cost per project, 1 license at a time.

    Subscription models threaten to destroy music licensing the same way Napster single handedly destroyed the record business.
    It took 18 years to make a come back. We’re now there. People are giving spotify and apple music, etc monthly fees once again.

    Just think about that….please…..

    #30642 Reply

    LAwriter
    Participant

    ONE Micro Sync @ $25 per sync = approx. (depends on the subscription plan, but I’ll choose a popular one) 555 syncs via subscription. IF, and only if, the publisher can accurately attribute the 555 downloads to you. That’s a HUGE problem as Music1234 pointed out.

    Subscriptions = the death of the industry as we have known it for creative music writers.

    And I know that you (or someone) will say “but there are so many new opportunities now to exploit”. Yes, this is true. But exploiting thousandths of a cent is not a viable business model. Just for clarity, here’s the math I just did for another thread :

    $25 on a front end micro sync = the same amount of back end for 300 mediocre cable placements, 250,000 youtube streams or 5,149,188 (yes, MILLION) streaming placements of :35 seconds on a POPULAR TV show streamed off Hulu.

    Backend placements in a fully streaming world is not even viable for a lunch @ McD’s, much less a “career” path. Micro syncs are nice, but they are by definition “micro”. Worth a dinner @ Denny’s for 2. Not really enough to consider a “career path” either.

    And so it begs the question….what the **** are we doing here? Actually, that’s too pessimistic cause we are not yet 100% streaming. Maybe I’ll ask again in 5 years.

    #30654 Reply

    BEATSLINGER
    Participant

    The obvious thing to me is “The majority of these subscription services aren’t planning on being in business for more than 5 to 7 years. So, they are shooting wildly, and aimlessly because all they want to do is grab as much dough as they can and get out of the game”.

    The veterans already know that this is much like “that Bulls**t culinary/you can be a Chef explosion that happened in the early 2000’s”. Most will get stuck in the lower tiers, lose interest, and fall to the waist-side. The so-called explosion/over saturation of music will become “dated old material” and there will always be a need..

    Once again, if you are a Vet to this business, you will ride this out because of “your/our solid established relationships, and already being in libraries/catalogs that are very well connected”.

    To the new people that are just getting started. You will have a VERY tough time. All I can say is “separate yourself from your peers, and competition by creating High Quality work; and have an even stronger work ethic! I have seen a few young(er) people make it through the ranks to become part of top tier libraries, but their work ethic & hustle is “exemplary!!”

    #30655 Reply

    88Keys
    Participant

    The next generation of filmmakers are now laughing all the way to the bank…literally.

    #30656 Reply

    Music1234
    Participant

    Nothing but calculated, false enthusiasm and desperation to attract clients. This video amounts to nothing more than a scripted plan to promote a stock music site with an exaggerated and “fake endorsement energy” disguised as a vlog.

    Every video maker will behave they in a manner they chose to behave when it comes to buying music licenses. I have to believe most would rather build music budgets into their estimates and charge for those music licenses.

    If writers/ music producers/ composers simply do not participate in these subscription models, then we will have nothing to worry about. If they do participate, they will ruin their careers.

    More faux enthusiasm here too:

    Try to block out the noise. The “1 license sold” for “each individual video project” business is still marching forward and seems to be alive and well. If you stay loyal to only that model you should have a future.

    I am still waiting for some brave music producer to step into this forum and say “I am supplying music to a subscription model, and I am doing quite well each month.” I will remind everyone again. I remember working with a company that paid royalties of $15, $20, $25, $40 per license sold (Just depended on end use). They then switched to “subscriptions”. My last statement was a series of 0.96 cent royalties based on “unknown” accounting calculations.As mentioned before, I pulled my catalog from that site. I’d rather make $0 than watch my music be pillaged for a few extra bucks while the site owners increase their margins.

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