- March 2, 2013 at 7:31 am #8917
@Glen and TV Composer, I’m not sure who you’ve spoken with at your PRO, whether its just a rep who answers the phone or a higher up exec.
I’ve spoken with upper level people at both BMI and ASCAP and they both said re-titling is a bad idea, and advised against it in the light of coming changes.
That was last summer. Maybe their policy is evolving.
_MichaelMarch 2, 2013 at 7:50 am #8921
I have just one more important to make. TV Composer Guy talked about how Apple sells their I-pads and phones in multiple retail outlets. Well, so does P&G, Coke, Pepsi, and Kelloggs. What do all these companies have in common? They want their products in every store possible, world wide, with the most user-friendly shelf space so consumers buy, and buy often. Why should it be any different for composers? Isn’t that what were in business to do? Read the article in this issue of ASCAP’s Playback magazine page 15 of the hard copy: 10 tips from music supervisor Daryl Berg
The question was: “Should I be building my music with a couple of libraries or is it better to diversify?
Berg’s response: “Meaning going out to a bunch of different library companies? I would sell your music to whoever is buying.”
I don’t know about you guys, but I am not getting rich at this profession. I have licensed, sold, or really…”generated revenue” from about 7 different music brokers/ libraries , and sold some tracks myself independently, in the last year and I am not about to stop because some are claiming this approach is not in the best interests of publishers. It certainly is in the interests of composer’s and I will continue to “sell my music to whoever is buying” now and forever.March 2, 2013 at 8:03 am #8922
If re-titling is such a bad idea, why do major (extreme music for example) still using re-titling as a way to make sub-publishing deals with A&E for example? (they split the publishing on the re-title). How is it different then a non-exclusive re-titling deal?
Thanks.March 2, 2013 at 8:31 am #8925
@Glen. I think that you may be misinterpreting the nuances of Mr. Berg’s statement.
I have music in 7 exclusive libraries, and they did in fact buy and pay for my music.
Exclusive does not mean that you write for only one library, it means that you don’t put the same tracks in multiple libraries. In that sense, yes, I would sell my music to whoever is buying.
I’ve been a professional composer for 30+ years. I’ve learned to make money in this business a number of ways. I’m also a lawyer with knowledge of contracts and copyrights.
Right now, there is enough conflicting information and speculation about the future that it warrants caution with respect to protecting your primary asset, which is your catalog.
When you speak of what is in the interest of the composer, you have to consider short term interest v. long term interest. My personal opinion is that re-titling, while attractive in the short term is, at the moment, a potential risk to my long term interest.
Once the issue is resolved, fine, I’ll take advantage of the new normal, and I’ll be able to do so because my catalog will be free and clear of any complications or encumberments.March 2, 2013 at 9:05 am #8926
>If re-titling is such a bad idea, why do major (extreme music for example) still using re-titling as a way to make sub-publishing deals with A&E for example? (they split the publishing on the re-title). How is it different then a non-exclusive re-titling deal?<
@music pro, that’s an excellent question. Sub-publishing has been around for decades,without any problems. As we all know, there are ways to register alternative titles and sub-publishing arrangements with the PROs.
I suspect that the problem re-titling is two-fold:
1) the re-titled works are being registered as original titles and not sub-published titles so that the re-titling library can take 100% of the publishers’ share. In a sub-publishing deal, however, they would only get a portion of publishers share. Imagine if you were the original publisher, and instead of JP, SK and Crucial etc., each being an original publisher of your re-titled work they were each sub-publishers. Everyone would now have only a 25% publishing share (including you). That is the legitimate way of doing it, for which there is no controversy.
2) The other problem is that these re-titling libraries are providing their catalogs gratis to producers. So producers have the same music from different sources, but each source is claiming to own the whole pie rather than just a slice of the pie (sub-publishing).
It’s kind of like trying to a get a gallon of milk from a one quart container, instead of four 8 ounce glasses. Part of the issue is that the Networks, who pay blanket license fees to the PRO’s have figured out that they are paying for a gallon of milk, but only getting a quart, and they’re not happy.
EDIT: I forgot to add that sub-publishing deals are most likely limited in scope. In your example, Extreme enters into a sub-publishing deal with A&E. That arrangement should be limited in scope so that it only extends to shows produced by, or aired on A&E. It would not allow A&E to start the A&E music library and then license that music elsewhere. What happens with re-titling is that composers are entering into multiple deals that look like sub-publishing, only they are giving up their publisher’s share, and deals are limited. All of the re-titlng “sub-publishers” are competing with each other, providing gratis licenses for the same works, which may result in more or less a big “feedback” loop if and when fingerprinting is adopted.March 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm #8931
What happens with re-titling is that composers are entering into multiple deals that look like sub-publishing, only they are giving up their publisher’s share, and deals are limited.
That should only they (writers) are giving up their publishing share, and the deals are not limited in scope.March 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm #8932
MichaelL, I understand what you saying. I know A&E will only use the music for their shows, but it is still under a new title for the same piece of music. So when fingerprinting will be the only way to determine the publisher for that piece of music, then those titles for this Extreme/A&E sub publishing deal will not longer be valid. PRO’s will have to invent another way to do it (don’t they?), and if they do, then re-titling non-exclusive libraries will be able to use it too.
If not, how they will do a sub-publishing deals? The only way I can think about is that they will program the system so that each time a cue is getting played on A&E, then lets say, 50% of the publishing goes to A&E publishing company.March 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm #8933
music pro, in a best case scenario fingerprinting would only be used to detect performances and cue sheets would still be used to identify usage and rights holders for those performances.
As I discovered during my switch from ASCAP to BMI, ASCAP missed at least 75% of my performances because my shows are syndicated and run during odd day parts.
Remember cue sheets only tell your pro that your music was used in a given show. Air date and time information (performance data) is completely different. That information is not on the cue sheet. ASCAP’s method of gather ing performance data, the second half of the equation can be problematic. I’m sure that BMI is not perfect. But my experience is that they are far more accurate at detecting performances.
S0…in a perfect world: the PROS would still use cue sheets for usage and publisher information AND they would use fingerprinting to gather performance data. Under that scenario, it doesn’t matter that digital detection can’t identify the publisher. All it needs to do is detect the proper number of performances, dates, times, and shows.
Implemented that way, re-titling could continue as is…IMHO.March 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm #8934
Thank you MichaelL. I didn’t know that! every day you learn something new. So I really hope it will be just like you said, a hybrid of both. Also, yes, BMI is not perfect either. If it was perfect I probably had quit my job a year ago 🙂March 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm #8935
I think the “elephant in the room” as they say, will be the issue of network blanket payments and gratis licensing, which results in Networks paying multiple times for the same music.
It’s quite possible that the PRO’s would reduce what they charge the Networks for blanket licenses, to compensate for the redundancy, which could then result in lower royalties to composers.March 2, 2013 at 8:16 pm #8936
S0…in a perfect world: the PROS would still use cue sheets for usage and publisher information AND they would use fingerprinting to gather performance data.
In a more perfect world all the data would be embedded in the performance and automatically transmitted to the PROs.March 3, 2013 at 1:27 am #8937
But wait a minute, I think the networks should sit quiet. They are getting tons of music without paying sync fees. If they will pay PRO’s less money and royalties will get much smaller, composers will not going to give them gratis cues so easily, so eventually they gonna pay more, I hope they know it too.March 3, 2013 at 2:10 am #8938
Tv composer guy
I also think the elephant in the room is gratis blanket deals. We arent the ones negiotiating these deals, the libraries are. Down here in Australia, the price of licensing library music is regulated & controlled by our PRO APRA. The licensing fee for any track is the same from whichever library the track is bought from. If i recall correctly, the licensing fees are paid to APRA & are then distributed to each library.
Maybe there should have been something similar in place in America, or maybe if the non exclusive libraries had just retained their cut of licensing fees/blanket deals & not double dipped by taking the publishers share of royalties also, we would not be seeing the erosion of licensing fees & the common practice of gratis blanket deals. These libraries can afford to offer gratis blanket deals as they are still getting paid on the back end & not paying any money for the music they represent.
Again, this is a perfect world senario….March 3, 2013 at 7:47 am #8939
In a more perfect world all the data would be embedded in the performance and automatically transmitted to the PROs.
I have to wonder why the re-titling libraries don’t form an organization, like the PMA, to set standards for themselves, and for writers. More importantly, I wonder why they don’t band together to develop and promote the technology suggested above, that would preserve their business model. Perhaps they don’t look at the “big picture” as much, and /or consider the common good of the industry.March 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm #8940
Thanks for all the input.
My NE library is tied up for up to 5 years,
I meant that I can’t pull all my tracks and go exclusive next year if fingerprinting comes to pass and is a problem for composers… the library many of my tracks are in is a 5-year NE deal.
From what I can glean from this thread thus far, both the NE and E models in their various permutations can work for writers. Some like Coke, some Pepsi. And there’s nothing fatal about drinking both from time to time.