Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive Strategy?

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  • #10115 Reply

    well it’s not like we choose ‘not’ to work with EMI/Universal etc… 😉

    I strongly agree with points 3 and 4 though.

    #10116 Reply
    Art Munson

    I am talking about “in perpetuity” terms…not 3 to 5 years.

    Yes but you have to define “in perpetuity”. In most cases it means “in perpetuity” for the show or project it’s placed in.

    If I am not mistaken, Jp wants cues in perpetuity Art.

    Once again you have to define “in perpetuity”. In JP’s case their exclusive contract is 3 years and “in perpetuity” is for the shows that the music is placed in (IIRC). If they did not have that clause then years down the road the show would have to start replacing music. The last time I looked at the contract that’s what it appeared to me. If you know something different I stand corrected.

    #10118 Reply

    Any company wanting my music (that currently sits in their library and search engine non-exclusively) to move into the exclusive column has to make me an offer. Sure, I’ll go exclusive with you, if you cut me a check for $1000 for every track you want to be exclusively yours.

    , I was going to stay silent in this thread, however…I don’t know you, or your music, but I can tell you that it better be brilliant if you want anyone to pony up $1,000 for it. Those fees are from top tier exclusive libraries, like Megatrax, who do take your copyright…FOREVER. BUT…there are a ton of lesser libraries that pay anywhere from $150 to $500 upfront and still take your copyright..FOREVER.

    So, unless your in that rarified atmosphere of top tier composers and your work is head and shoulders above everyone else…don’t hold your breath.

    Unfortunately, many of the writers here don’t know the type of composers that I, or perhaps “mr composer” are referring to.

    Here’s an example of a great production music composer, who has done over 200 cues for Megatrax. The real deal, not a singer/songwriter, not a beat-maker, not a wannabe pop star, but a library music superstar.


    Here’s another:

    Their music might sound old school to you, but guys like Mr. Wilkerson and Mr. Griffith are few and far between, which is why they command top dollar. Pop, rock, electronica, beat-making are…uh, ubiquitous.

    So, the big strategy question I’d ask anyone, is “where do you fit on the musical food chain?” You’d better know the honest answer to that question before you go all prima donna and demand $1,000 a cue for your music.

    Special note to conservatory cats: Don’t take your pedigree to seriously. Even if your music is academically brilliant it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it works. Too often the highly “schooled” don’t connect with the audience. Mr. Griffith is an example of someone who bridges that gap well.

    Food for thought. Now back to selling my house and searching for the dream studio.


    #10138 Reply

    In response to desireinspires, I should perhaps put this into context. It has taken me 10 years to get to this point and has been achieved by working with just 4 uk based mcps libraries. I would never in a million years consider going the royalty free route, but that’s easy for me to say. Not easy starting out now. Very difficult in fact and people doing so certainly have my sympathy and very best wishes.

    Work with a top lib and one album can happily bring you in £30-50k a year if it hits the right note.

    Personally, I’d rather spend a year crafting one track than knocking em out and stacking them high on the dung heap.

    Chuck out the sample CDs and the plug-ins and craft something beautiful and original with genuine musicality and emotion! People don’t seem to craft or properly compose stuff anymore. It’s more just copy and pasting samples. That’s not composing, anyone can do that. I despair sometimes.

    #10139 Reply
    Glen Petersen

    @Michael L, I am referring to successful “in demand” proven cues that have already paid JP, and the writer, handsomely in up-front placements and back end royalties. Your example above with Mr. Wilkerson is ridiculous. Any guy conducting in front of 35 musicians better be getting paid 20K to write and produce the film cue…not 1K…Michael L…I have participated in sessions with entire orchestras in the studio The budget was 35K!. If a cue has proven to generate up-front license fees and royalties that exceed a few grand…and now a library wants it exclusively….they need to buy you out in my opinion…not just take control of it for free. 1K is a good starting point….if you settle on $500…yes you still succeeded. I am simply encouraging musicians to ask to be paid for exclusive in perpetuity representation. If you keep giving your music to libraries and just keep piling cues and piling cues on “exclusively to them, in perpetuity, for no advance fees” you are a complicit devaluer,a race to the bottomer, a destroyer of our craft, and a slave to the publisher.

    #10140 Reply

    I guess that I would probably fit the “beatmaker” label. I am fairly comfortable with that. I know that I will never be able to command a $1,000 upfront fee from Megatrax or other high profile libraries. But I do make money from my music by placing my songs with libraries that are a good fit.

    I think that by knowing where I stand, I have avoided a great deal of angst and frustration. I am not particularly motivated to become a classically trained performer and do music full time. It would be nice for me to have more time to dedicate to music, but I have so many other things going on in my life. For now, music is a rewarding hobby. I get to make all kinds of cool noises and get paid for my work.

    Ownership, exclusivity, sync fees, etc are pretty much a major deterent from doing more with my talent. I enjoy making a steady income from my day job. I could not imagine relying on a quarterly royalty check and the occasional sync fee to support myself.

    If anyone wants to go full time into music, they have to make the appropriate investments and lifestyle adjustments into pursuing that career. For everyone else, I do not see the need for worry. 🙂

    #10141 Reply

    Mr. Composer:
    Congratulation on your successes
    Quite frankly I find your attitude quite snobbish, and elitist. But with your success I suppose you can afford be that way
    Yes I am one of those people your have “sympathy for” that is just starting out ( 3 years now) and depend mostly RF sites to sell my music. And I appreciate your best wishes.
    I have done quite well thank you, and I will keep writing 2 or 3 tracks a week to pile on the “dung heap” as you call it.
    Maybe someday when I have the success that you and others have had I can be like you and look down my nose at all of us composers who sometimes use loops and samples which of course “anyone can do”

    #10142 Reply

    +1 GaryW !!

    #10143 Reply

    @Desire Inspires….nothing wrong with being a “beat maker” except that it’s a very crowded field. That may be because it takes less investment in time (schooling) and money (equipment) to create product, and it’s part of pop culture.

    @Gary, try not to let guys like “mr composer” get to you. He’s stroking his own ego. There’s plenty of high end library music made with samples (just ask Mark Petrie). AND, there’s nothing wrong with RF libraries. I like that business model more and more, because of the composer’s ability to retain ownership and control of their career.

    #10144 Reply

    Agreed. Sometimes these guys really get under my skin. Happy with what I am doing…

    #10145 Reply
    Glen Petersen

    I cast my support to Mr. Composer in this debate. It’s pretty obvious that the part time hobbyist loop based beat makers have over crowded this market and cause music buyers to sift through heaps of unintelligent noise that I suppose you can tap your feet to because there is a beat and base line…I have seen 2 sides to this business: one where only talented folks broke through in the world of music for TV or Film, and now the other “new music business” where everyone with Garage Band and Acid can slap together rhythm tracks at there office desk on a lunch break in an hour, render, tag, up-load…just to pick up $1000 a quarter…This has not been healthy for music, composers, publishers, free-lance musicians, and it has contributed to the race to 0 and has put many great music creators out of business. Listen to what Mr. Composer is saying. Are you really rewarded by slapping together some drum loops, bass lines, and guitar riffs? Do you really feel as though you have created something interesting, something melodic, with counterpoint and harmony…and does it have any compositional/ artistic value? Sorry to sound like a snob…I admit, I am by no means anything like Mozart or Vivaldi, but I certainly try to funnel in some artistic and compositional value to every piece of music I create.

    #10146 Reply
    Mark Lewis

    I’m sorry to be so blunt Glen but you have no idea what you are talking about.
    You sound scared. You sound like one of these old dinosaurs wishing that Beta had won out over VHS and “those darn cassette tapes will be the end of the music industry, mark my words!!” and “Oh My GAWD, people are downloading MP3s!! for FREE!”

    People are making good money in this new digital age and you can put it down all you want and insult how composers make their music but your old fashioned statements are not going to change a thing.
    You and Mr Composer should just leave us “garageband composers” alone to disrupt your old fashioned industry.

    #10148 Reply

    Let’s not have the debate of ” who makes the best music”. The best music is whatever fits the spot.

    Exclusive or not. I choose not. Music takes time to craft. Exclusive is too risky to guarantee a return. The only guarantee with music is that there is no guarantee, at least with having music in a few libraries I feel I have a better chance of good sales.


    #10149 Reply

    Mark and Soph:
    Thanks. I agree with both of your takes on this. I was just going to post something similar. Yes the debate on what is good and bad music could go on forever……and the way things “should” be. It is what it is now, and I am happy to be able to have all of the resources available now to be able to write, record, and sell tracks. And make money doing it.

    #10150 Reply

    Do you really feel as though you have created something interesting, something melodic, with counterpoint and harmony…and does it have any compositional/ artistic value? Sorry to sound like a snob…I admit, I am by no means anything like Mozart or Vivaldi, but I certainly try to funnel in some artistic and compositional value to every piece of music I create.

    OK…now I see where you’re coming from Glen. I’ve been writing library music for 30+ years. With the exception of cues for which I retain ownership and/or publishing I have always been paid upfront. But…I’ve got to agree with Mark, you sound like you’re drowning in this new fangled world. It is what it is, and to be Darwinian about it, you either adapt or die. On a certain level, consumers are less interested in the types of music you mention, particularly counterpoint.

    As far as business models go, I applaud the the independent spirit of libraries, like MusicLoops. After studying the “new” library world for a few years now, I’m shifting my entire focus in that direction.

    Backend money from libraries like JP is like the siren on the rocks. Who knows what the future of broadcast TV is? If things move to streaming, backend royalties will likely diminish greatly. (think of what internet royalties pay now).

    It’s a brave new world. I’m an old pro, not an amateur or hobbyist and I’m lovin’ the possibilities.

    @Mark … 😀

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