Do you have a Music Lawyer?

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  • #7720 Reply
    Mark Lewis

    “but wouldn’t someone who’s willing to pay a licensing fee know better than to simply buy a track on Amazon and then try to use it on their video?”

    My answer would be no, not always. You’d be surprised at what people do and the complete ignorance of copyright laws that a substantial percentage of people have out there.

    Also, simply un-checking an option that you checked when you signed up with CD Baby doesn’t mean that Rumblefish will immediately and diligently go out and remove your music from the Youtube ContentID system, quite the contrary.
    Once it is in there it is difficult to get it removed. Uploading your music to Youtube is the easiest way to see if your music is still being flagged by the contentID system.

    But in the end it is up to you what you do with your music, I’m just stating what we have found in our experience of licensing music for the last 14 years.

    At we don’t accept any composers that have their music available for $0.99 elsewhere. To us it means that they are not serious about creating a valuable catalog of production music and there are plenty of great composers out there that do value the integrity of their catalog so there’s no real need to deal with a music catalog that has the potential of causing us problems.

    #7721 Reply

    At we don’t accept any composers that have their music available for $0.99 elsewhere. To us it means that they are not serious about creating a valuable catalog of production music

    Mark…with complete respect to you, I disagree, to a point. It’s not all black and white.

    All of the successful composers that I know, at various times, wear different hats to earn a living, including: composing, teaching, performing, scoring etc. When they compose, they compose for all sorts of purposes including: production music, film/video scores, games, commercial releases, industrial theater, etc etc, etc. To say that a composer is not serious about any one of those elements because they do the other is an over generalization.

    One of my first professional gigs was composing for the NFL music library around 1978.  Since then, I composed hundreds of production music cues for half a dozen exclusive libraries. I also composed 200 cues for a royalty free library 15 years before you started Music Loops. I left my law practice, and invested a lot of money, specifically for the purpose of producing a high quality and valuable production music catalog. I think that qualifies as serious.

    But…I have music on CDBaby too. The music in question is from three CDs that were commercially released in the 90’s, when I was a smooth jazz/new age artist (one of the other hats). It was never intended to be production music. Because there is sometimes a place for those genres in the production music world, I put some of my commercially released music into libraries, not the other way around.

    I apologize for talking about me way too much, but the point is to illustrate that you cannot assume someone is not a serious composer of production music simply because they put music on CDbaby or iTunes, etc. You could easily turn it around and argue that someone isn’t a serious artist if they license their music through libraries, which would also be an over generalization.

    That said, I understand your position.  A lot of “artists” who do not compose production music, specifically, try to license their “songs” in as many ways as possible through various libraries, and CDBaby etc. They take the shotgun approach, because every self-help guru tells them that’s what you have to do. There is, however, a distinction between  being a professional production music composer and being a songwriter. It is a completely separate skill set, and not everybody gets that. (If I could set up an MLR just for production music composers I would.)

    When writers assume that libraries, especially royalty free libraries, should be a dumping ground for anything and everything that they do, without understanding or regard for the specific library’s business model and needs, it is a headache for the library and a problem for the business in general.

    I don’t agree with an all-or-nothing generalization that would prevent composers from diversifying their revenue streams. Conversely, I don’t think composers should blindly shotgun their entire catalog. That only leads to problems for both the library and composer.

    A professional writer should/would only submit music to a library that meets its criteria. To do otherwise, shows that the writer didn’t do their homework regarding the library’s needs/expectations, and is either oblivious, or doesn’t care, which doesn’t speak well of the writer. Conversely, by eliminating writers because they diversify might, in the long run, deprive a library of representing a valuable catalog.

    The balanced approach, as I advocated in previous threads, is for writers to divide their catalog. Put your music where it’s appropriate, and more doors will open. You’ll be regarded as a professional, and libraries, like Music Loops, might not find it necessary to adopt policies that will limit your opportunities.






    #7722 Reply
    Mark Lewis

    Sorry, but in business things sometimes need to be black and white.

    Out of our 130 composers I have had 4 composers enter their music catalog into CD Baby to “diversify”.
    When they do this I am immediately hit with complaints from all of our customers who have licensed their music in the past that their youtube accounts are now showing copyright flags and they are no longer able to earn revenue from their video content that contains legally licensed music.
    I have had to hire lawyers to contact CD Baby.
    I have had many dealings with the legal dept at Orchard Music because of it.
    I have had to give refunds to loyal customers who trusted us that they have the legal right to use the music they’ve licensed from us.
    All because a composer wanted to “diversify” and earn a few more pennies from their catalog.

    I don’t need that hassle or expense, I don’t need the loss of time, energy and most importantly a customer’s trust. I don’t have to deal with it so I don’t.
    Believe me, there are plenty of great production music composers out there that have no intention of trying to sell their music for $0.99, there is no shortage of them and there is no reason to figure out how to work around a “diversified” catalog just so a composer can join the library. There are plenty of libraries out there that don’t care what composers do with their music and that is where diversified composers should go.

    And Michael, my comments were meant in the most general sense possible, I was in no way directing them at you personally. I would have hoped that a few composers might have learned something from what I said, whether they take my advice or not is inconsequential.

    This will be my last response to this thread as I think it has gotten way off subject.
    Sorry about that Art.


    #7723 Reply


    Im pretty sure that what I wrote is 99% in agreement with your views, with the exception that I think it’s possible for someone to be a production music composer AND to have a separate and distinct catalog of non-production music for sale elsewhere, with the emphasis being on separate and distinct. If the two catalogs do not overlap,  there is nothing for you to work around.



    #7735 Reply

    I don’t use CD Baby, although I know my music is on iTunes from another source. They have since made changes and no longer go through IODA/youtube.

    Here’s the scoop: as a professional musician for over 30 years, I have decided to compose and perform my own music. I politely presented my work to many music library’s (non-exclusive) and awaited their approval. I don’t have a hidden agenda nor do I wish to cause any waves whatsoever. When told my entire library was being removed from a highly recommended music library, I was very disappointed. My intent has been to find the right place for my music and certainly never to take advantage of anyone. I know, ignorance is no excuse.

    If I really wanted to create waves, I would ask why do non-exclusives want my music exclusively but not willing to pay for it?

    (BTW, my IODA paycheck was $12.26 for 128 songs sold in 12 months.)

    Ruth Polcari @ Cari Live Studio.

    #7736 Reply
    Dan P

    Hi Cari:

    I think you have answered your own question!

    One track sold @ said site would make you more money than you made from Ioda.


    #7737 Reply

    Thank you, Michael, Mark, Cari, and everyone for chiming in. And sorry if my initial question pulled us too far away from the original topic. This conversation has given me plenty to chew on, and I value all of your input.


    Michael, if you’re open to it, I’d love to continue this convesation off-thread if possible (I’m at [email protected]). Your back-story and overall approach greatly interest me. I’m at an exciting-yet-scary juncture in my life: ready to take a new path.


    #7738 Reply

    I’m at an exciting-yet-scary juncture in my life: ready to take a new path.

    Hi Matt,

    There’s a lot of that going around. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been there. Now is now different.

    20 years ago, I wanted to move to the country and write music. One problem…there was no internet. That’s all changed. So…we’re downsizing and getting rid of excess baggage, and moving to the country.

    I’m “going to be “hibernating” for a while. Part of the time I’ll be putting finishing touches on the house, getting rid of “stuff”and packing. The rest of the time I’ll be shedding with software and tutorials.

    You can reach me via PM. I’ll be happy to answer your questions to the best of my ability.





    #7745 Reply

    Moving to the country and writing music–that sounds pretty awesome, Michael. Will PM you as soon as I pay for member status. Might be a day or two as I ponder the options (1 week vs. 1 month, 1 year, or even a lifetime subscription…)



    #7747 Reply

    So…we’re downsizing and getting rid of excess baggage, and moving to the country.

    @ Matt, don’t miss the important part. We’re dumping the bling and focusing on what’s important to us. As my wife puts it, living authentically,  For us, that means scaling back, so that we have the freedom to focus on creative endeavors, with less economic pressure. At the end of the day, stuff is just stuff, and it doesn’t feed your soul.

    I hope to hear from you. I think Art’s having a membership sale. Is that over?



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