Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive Strategy?

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  • #8884 Reply
    erock
    Participant

    I’m a relative newbie in the library game.  After reading some threads here in which posters volley back and forth over the future of libraries, I’m wondering how I should position myself for the future.

    I have about 40 tracks now (not counting versions) in non-exclusive arrangements.  I have a few other tracks I’ve held aside with the intention of placing them with a publisher… maybe 4 or 5.

    Is this a good approach?  My NE library is tied up for up to 5 years, if Tunesat or anything else make it such that NE libraries languish I’m screwed.  All that music will wither.

    Should I bag NE and just write fewer tracks but hopefully place them Exclusively?

    What’s a composer to do?

    Thanks,

    Eric

    #8885 Reply
    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    Hi Eric,

    This has been discussed at great lengths here and everyone has an opinion. Personally I’m not worried about my non-exclusive tunes “withering” away. Most of mine are signed non-exclusively.

    BTW this is my opinion only and not meant as advice. You should do your own research and consult an attorney for guidance.

    #8886 Reply
    gdomeier
    Participant

    Eric, we appear to be a similar stages in this business.  I have most of my cues as non exclusive.  I also have an exclusive deal with another publisher that I submit cues to.  Those are mostly custom type requests.

     

    So far, the non exclusives are working well for me.  The custom/exclusives are starting as well.  No reason not to have cues in each type.

    #8887 Reply
    More Advice
    Participant

    @erock – Never, ever…and I mean never sign an exclusive contract unless you will be given some kind of compensation or guarantees of placements. Almost all of my music is in the NE arena and I am making good money in that arena.

    Exclusive, (in my experienced and educated opinion – I have been doing this for 20 years!) is so bad for 3 reasons:

    1. You basically are transferring ownership of your music to the publisher, they control all the cards and they may never place the track.

    2. You can not shop your composition around and make money on your own.

    3. Exclusive Publishers are not buying cues anymore because insane composers are giving their hard work and property to exclusive publishers (in perpetuity…FOREVER)  for free, out of desperation,  and this practice has to stop!! As long as everyone keeps doing it these guys are just gonna keep laughing at composers!!

    There are no advantages to Exclusive Libraries, I have experimented with a few cues in the semi exclusive arena (Meaning…they are exclusive for 2 years and after 2 years I get them back!) I am making a lot of cash with NE cues and very very little with E cues.

    #8897 Reply
    Advice
    Participant

    Never, ever…and I mean never sign an exclusive contract unless you will be given some kind of compensation or guarantees of placements.

    I would say that holds true more if the deal is exclusive in perpetuity (e.g. no reversion in 2, 3, or 5 years). It is not realisitc to expect in today’s market that you will get upfront money JUST because a deal is exclusive. I agree, however, that giving away tracks forever with no payment isn’t generally a good deal unless there are special circumstances.

    Also, you used the term “semi-exclusive” to describe exclusive deals with reversion. My understanding is the term “semi-exclusive” means the deal is exclusive only to film/TV pitches or only with respect to other music libraries. Deals like these can be good for some because they can put tracks in a library and still pitch directly to sups, sell their tracks as artists on iTunes, etc.

    🙂

    #8902 Reply
    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    My understanding is the term “semi-exclusive” means the deal is exclusive only to film/TV pitches or only with respect to other music libraries.

    That’s the way I understand it also.

    There are two general types of exclusive deals. One where you give up your copyright in-perpetuity. The other where there is a limited term to represent the music exclusively but copyright ownership does not pass.

    #8904 Reply
    More Advice
    Participant

    I interpret Semi-exclusive as “exclusively represented” in the library music business by one library, but the  composer of the cue can can also privately shop the cue themselves.  The writer can not send the cue to another library, and after an agreed period of time, 2-5 years usually…the composer get’s the  cue back and once again becomes sole owner of the cue, or agree to sign on for another period of time.

    #8905 Reply
    Advice
    Participant

    I interpret Semi-exclusive as “exclusively represented” in the library music business by one library, but the composer of the cue can can also privately shop the cue themselves. The writer can not send the cue to another library, and after an agreed period of time, 2-5 years usually…the composer get’s the cue back and once again becomes sole owner of the cue, or agree to sign on for another period of time.

    I think you are combining two different concepts into one here. Yes, your description of semi-exclusive as far as only one LIBRARY representing the cue while the writer can shop it on his/her own is correct. However, whether or not there is a reversion is a different concept. There are semi-exclusive deals out there both with and without reversion clauses.

    I hope I don’t have to change my name to “Bad Advice” now,  LOL! 😀 😉

    #8909 Reply
    Mark Lewis
    Guest

    My NE library is tied up for up to 5 years,

    You’re tied to a Non-Exclusive library for 5 years? Wouldn’t that mean they are not Non-Exclusive?

    if Tunesat or anything else make it such that NE libraries languish I’m screwed.

    I must have missed the thread that explained how Tunestat is in a position to make non-exclusive libraries go away or languish. What is the potential issue there?

    #8910 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    I must have missed the thread that explained how Tunestat is in a position to make non-exclusive libraries go away or languish. What is the potential issue there?

    @Mark…there is an abundance of half-informed analysis flying around. As you know, the writers who will be affected most by fingerprint technology, like tunesat, if adopted by the PRO’s, are those who participate in re-titling.

    Unfortunately many writers fail completely to differentiate between various non-exclusive business models and lump everything into one pile…. a library, is a library, is a library, which is a huge mistake. As such, they don’t realize that strictly RF catalogs shouldn’t suffer at all when fingerprint technology becomes the norm.

    On the contrary, RF writers might actually gain by receiving royalties for performances that might otherwise go undetected.

    Let’s not forget Musicsupervisors (Gael MacGregor) business model, not RF, non-exclusive AND non re-titling.

    In sum, fingerprint technology may make re-titling go away, but it will not spell the end for non-exclusive RF libraries like yours, or for the Musicsupervisors model, nor will it spell the end for the exclusive catalogs that Jingle Punks, Scorekeepers and others are developing.

    I’ve been very cautious, watching this trend for a few years, and building my catalog. My personal choice, at this time is to not re-title. If additional technology develops that allows the PRO’s to handle re-titling, then, I’ll do it. It will be a lot easier to put cues into the re-title model later, if  there’s a work around, than it will be to sort things out, if re-titling collapses. Just my opinion.

    _Michael

     

     

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