Full time composers – Share your stories

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  • #37493 Reply
    Music1234
    Participant

    So yes, part of my “story” so we stay on topic is …yes… I have always been a higher priced guy on stock music sites where I can control the price. Any time I experimented with “sales” it failed on every level. I have always fought like hell to maintain non exclusivity with all the companies I began working with over the last 12 years, even with publishers who postured as “our exclusive way, or the highway” I NEVER gave into that and never will. It is a fact that when you have freedom ,flexibility, and control over your intellectual property, you can pursue several revenue streams all within your control and you will make a lot more money. I always tell myself “Thank God I never caved into exclusivity with company X.” Because had I done so, my annual revenue would be 15% of what it is now.

    It saddens me to see guys talk about “mid 5 figures”. you will be stuck forever in 50K land when you put all of your eggs in those exclusive baskets where the Lion’s jaw is in control of your music perpetually.

    Many may say “well we don’t have a choice because the industry shifted to exclusivity”. This is Rubbish, the shift to exclusivity and now the subscription nightmare happened because weak handed composers accepted every deal thrown at them for reasons I can not comprehend. In the end it just comes down to plain old ignorance and fomo. These music publishers were all con artist liars who promised “more placements” , “more attention on your music” , or a ” second and improved revenue stream” (Subscription in addition to sync sales)

    All of those “promises” were and still are nothing but bogus deals (overt extortion) that stripped ownership and control away from the original creator and put publishers and stock site owners in the drivers seat. Who is to blame? Look in the mirror and see yourself.

    What can you do now? Raise your prices immediately because LA writer is correct, people buy what they need and want, not what’s “on sale” for $5. Then upload your catalog to Content ID before anyone else does and never give a music publisher permission to upload your tracks into content ID.

    Here is another story that’s interesting. I recently had a global financial services firm dealing in stocks and crypto e mail privately stating ” we found one of your tracks on AJ and want to use it on a global ad campaign, can we please ask that you verify that you are the rights holder? and Can we have you issue us a license directly? we don’t want any shenanigans for this this project and we do not really trust this site to issue a proper license with this kind of high international visibility.” How pathetic is that? The client can not even trust the stock music licensing platform to issue a valid license for their project! They also don’t even trust that the music they are licensing is held by an account owner that truly owns the music.

    #37494 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    Agreed with all Music1234 said…..

    You want to have a full time career? Forget about music…. (temporarily)

    First….

    Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$, Follow the money, Follow the $$$….

    Music library owner – house in Encono.
    Music library owner – vacations in France
    Music library owner – driving Ferrari or Porsche
    Music library owner – SWEET offices
    Music library owner – company gobbled up by International’s conglomerate for tens of millions

    Composer – renting apartment
    Composer – signing away rights in perpetuity for nothing
    Composer – has to have significant other working 2 jobs to survive
    Composer – can’t afford kids or home in the suburbs
    Composer – giving it away for “notoriety” or bragging rights
    Composer – willing to work a day job cause that’s “just what you have to do to be a starving artist”

    Get the picture? Ownership = $$$.

    Music1234 said he doesn’t know why people give away their creative works for virtually nothing. Actually, I think he does know. They do it for a variety of reasons :

    – it’s the easy way
    – they are too lazy do the hard work – which is MUCH harder than writing music
    – they are too scared to call people directly and create relationships
    – giving music away is instant “success”
    – they can start making “pennies” almost right out of the gate – even though it’s at the cost of big $$ success down the line
    – they are ignorant and too lazy to learn the ropes to long lasting success
    – they believe charlatans selling success on the internet via paid classes

    Aaaannnnnnd a host of other reasons.

    Reality : He who owns the ball sets the rules of the game. Why give someone else your ball for no real return? Doesn’t make sense to me unless they are paying me $$,$$$ for a project.

    Notariety, Bragging Rights, Feel good “success” don’t pay bills long term. Sacrificing your long term goals for short term successes is cool sometimes, but when you’re staring down a long career path, trying to figure out how to get to the goal of long term success and possible retirement….maybe short term successes are not so smart.

    Things to consider……

    #37495 Reply
    Music1234
    Participant

    Music Composer is the $13 an hour dude at Wal Mart all too often.
    Music Library Owner is the King of all con artists, a mobster, pro extortionist, exploiter in chief, a shameful, greedy disgraceful human, nothing to be proud of in all honesty.

    There are other ways to control your financial destiny as it relates to production music, but you have to start by respecting yourself, your time, your value, your skill set, your worth.

    #37496 Reply
    NY Composer
    Participant

    I totally agree with Music 123 , that it isn’t the companies that are screwing us, it’s the composers signing crap deals and establishing new normals for the industry.

    #37501 Reply
    Mike Marino
    Participant

    Can any of you (Music 1234, LAwriter, etc) drop a link to any of your licensing platforms, personal website that you license your music from, etc? I’d like to see what a lot of this looks (and sounds like) in action. Thanks in advance!

    #37502 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    Mike – speaking for me personally, I do not license via a personal website, etc.. I have long standing business contacts that I go through or publishers that sub publish for me or re-title for me.

    #37503 Reply
    Music1234
    Participant

    Mike, Dropping links to our entire business model and telling everyone exactly how we accomplished what we did also goes against Business 101 rules. I too do not license off my own web site. I hang out where the buyers are going every day and it ain’t my web site.

    When all is said and done, LA Writer and I achieved what we did through very hard work over decades, not years. We made mistakes and learned from them. One mistake I never made was signing insane exclusive in perpetuity deals. I have offered a lot of tips and content over the years on MLR. If you go back and read a lot of what I have written, it all comes back to this:

    1. Lower Prices =’s Lowering your revenue, it fails every time.
    2. Exclusivity (without advance payment for your work) = failure, loss of ownership, loss of control, loss of revenue because your tracks are tied up in perpetuity with the Lion’s who ate you up for free. (If a library pays you an advance of say $500 to $1500 per track for your effort, I do not have a problem with exclusivity although I personally would never take those deals unless I knew they were headed straight to an editors desk and solid performance royalties were going to be guaranteed on the back end)
    3. Subscription = $2 per download as opposed to $20 to $50 per sync license. YOUTUBERS got a 90% discount they never asked for 2 years ago. Composers jumped on board and wonder why they only make 4 figures.
    4. Laziness, not wanting to do what owners of intellectual property should do:
    – register your cues at a PRO
    -Join a PRO! Yes, we have people in this business who do not even join a PRO!
    -Upload to Content ID yourself, don’t let the Lions do it, beat them to it and tell them to F__off if they expect that they should do it.
    -DO NOT allow libraries to upload to DSP’s like Spotify and Apple – YOU DO IT. It’s YOUR creation and YOUR property.
    5. Detection services, know what’s going on with your music, take action to collect as 100% writer and 100% publisher when you can. You’d be surprised as to how that can exponentially boost your income for the right opportunities. If the Lion’s jaws already are wrapped around your neck with a strong bite, well you are out of luck.

    AS LA Writer said “Get the picture? Ownership = $$$.”

    Nothing I say will make a difference because music producers have a track record of shooting themselves in the foot every time. For every writer who says “no thanks” to a loss of 50% writers share deal or bogus subscription deal, it seems like there are 10 others in line saying “Hey wait, I’ll give you my music for nothing, and you can even own 50% of it in perpetuity.”

    #37504 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    There is a lot of sage advice on this thread. To add to M1234’s comments :

    LA Writer and I achieved what we did through very hard work over decades, not years. We made mistakes and learned from them.

    This is absolutely true, and really – like it or not – true for everyone. To try to circumnavigate around these realities might net short term gains, but will undoubtable result in long term losses. Learn from your mistakes!!!

    One mistake I never made was signing insane exclusive in perpetuity deals.

    I have made this “mistake”. For the $1k-1500 price tag. Sometimes it worked out, other times not so much. I’ve got one AAA publisher who has hundreds if not thousands of placements for me, and nothing is showing up on BMI. Nothing. Tunesat is overflowing. Somehow they can’t seem to pull it together. Guess they are making too much money to be bothered, At least I got a decent paycheck UP FRONT. To do perpetuity deals with no SUBSTANTIAL (not $200) up front is equivalent to jumping off a cliff. A complete fail IMO.

    Lower Prices =’s Lowering your revenue, it fails every time.

    Um….Duh. Virtually any businessman knows this. Why don’t musicians? M1234 is dead on it.

    Subscription =

    It equals a fail. I’ve never gone down this road, and can see no circumstance that I ever would. I’d rather drive a UPS truck in the snow….

    Laziness, not wanting to do what owners of intellectual property should do: register your cues at a PRO, Join a PRO! Y

    Unbelievable. It’s the equivalent of taking a day job, and working hard, and never asking for your paycheck. Dumb. DUMB!

    Detection services

    I have never done these. BMI ignores them, and honestly, although I know I could probably net some more $$$, I’ve got better ways to make money and increase cash flow. ALTHOUGH, I completely admit that I might be the idiot here…. 🙂

    Much like real life, owning property is one of the best ways to insure long term success. Avoid it at your own peril.

    #37505 Reply
    Mike Marino
    Participant

    Music 1234 – : thumbs up :

    #37509 Reply
    PAMMUSIC
    Guest

    Nothing I say will make a difference because music producers have a track record of shooting themselves in the foot every time. For every writer who says “no thanks” to a loss of 50% writers share deal or bogus subscription deal, it seems like there are 10 others in line saying “Hey wait, I’ll give you my music for nothing, and you can even own 50% of it in perpetuity.”

    I have been working on Library Music for almost a year now, and have just turned down a perpetuity agreement with a new library after reading these threads. So there are some new composers listening. What you’re saying made a difference with me so keep it up! 🙂

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