Home › Forums › General Questions › Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive Strategy?
- This topic has 287 replies, 32 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 3 months ago by Dan W.
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?
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.gdomeierParticipant
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.More AdviceParticipant
@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.AdviceParticipant
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.
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.More AdviceParticipant
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.AdviceParticipant
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! 😀 😉Mark LewisGuest
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?MichaelLParticipant
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.
I’ve gone full on exclusive myself, even with non-ex libraries. When I just started this biz was when all these ex/non-ex confusion/debate started, so I had the chance to choose to treat all my tracks exclusively signed as opposed to parking them everywhere. I’d rather play it safe now than to have to try to fix things later on down the line. Nobody really knows what the future holds, personal choice I guess & being mainly an instru writer, I can churn out tunes pretty fast.Mark LewisGuest
Ah I see, thanks for the explanation MichaelL
The level of caution that I detect from some of you is really overly cautious.
A friend of mine and I were recently talking about re-cutting our old “improperly mixed and mastered” songs as instrumentals for licensing opps in the NE and RF library world. Because my friend is not as knowledgeable as I about these areas he called a rep at BMI. BMI is his PRO and he asked…”If I publish my songs with a publisher what do I need to do? and what do I need to know?” The BMI rep said “Just make sure the publisher you sign on with gives the songs and tracks new title’s so you can keep your original title for your pub co and within your control.” ….You see, as of 2 days ago, BMI was advocating retitling!
We really should stop the worrying and fear mongering in these threads. It’s OK to re-title…really, it is…many of my tracks have been “retitled” and there has been no chaos or confusion or fighting amongst publishers about who placed the cue. 2 different NE publishers are sometimes placing the exact same cues for me every month. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?TV Composer GuyGuest
I agree with Glen. I have spoken with my PRO & they have also said the same thing & have no problem with having your music represented by different publishers.
Think of it this way, Apple don’t sell their products exclusively in one retailer, they wouldn’t have as large a market share if they did & profits would not be as high. Understandably though, they don’t sell the same product twice & call it 2 different names, this is what is wrong with the re title model. The publishers/libraries should never have called them completely different names, they should always have just put a prefix on the title so they can claim their share on their placements
In regards to digital fingerprinting, cue sheets will still have to be filled out as there will always have to be a paper trail. You can’t rely completely on technology, what if the detection software crashes for a day, no placements would be recorded & who would get paid?
Yes there are some hassles with non exclusive deals, I have had cues of mine that I placed in TV shows directly with music supervisors that have later been incorrectly assigned a publisher by the PROs, even though on the cue sheet I was the publisher. The mistake was rectified with a few short emails to the music supervisor & the affected library.
Everyone just needs to relax & go about their business how they feel. If you want to just do exclusive, then do that, if you want to do just non exclusive, then do that, if you want to do a mix, then do that. Make your decision & own it.
For the record, I do both exclusive & non exclusive & also deal directly with music supervisors. I have had the most success with dealing directly with music supervisors (every time I have been given licensing fees).GlenGuest
Amen tv guy.