Non exclusive to exclusive

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    What are the legalities when you have material signed to non exclusive agreements with a couple of companies but you might want to sign with another company using some of the same material but sign for exclusive?
    Do you have to wait until your term expires? Do you have to notify the companies that
    1. You want to place these songs exclusively somewhere else and
    2. You will not be renewing with them after the term is up?
    If I am somewhat locked into these non exclusive deals then is it wise to, in the meantime, sign with this other company non-exclusively as well? I understand that my work might be better shopped if I choose to go exclusive…and the $ can be better.

    Art Munson

    If you are signed with another company non-exclusively it would not be legal, or ethical, to sign an exclusive agreement with another.

    Dollars generated from exclusive deals are not necessarily going to be better than non-exclusive.

    Rob (Cruciform)

    You really need to read your non-exclusive agreements with a fine tooth comb. It will tell you how to terminate it. They will all be slightly different.


    I’d say get everything cleared up first with the non-exclusive library before attempting to place that same music in an exclusive library. That’s what I did for 2 of my tracks. And either way, the amount of money you could potentially make is always a toss up. Don’t let the exclusive model fool you into thinking you will automatically see more money.

    Tv composer guy

    I’m interested, are there any composers out there that are signing up their tracks exclusively with libraries that used to be non exclusive & have they noticed an increase in placements on tv?

    Or also more interestingly, has anyone who has stayed non exclusive seen a decrease in placements on tv?


    I have switched to exclusive with a library. None of my exclusive stuff has shown up on cue sheets yet. My non-exclusive catalog continues to get placements. I think it will be another six months or more before I see any action from the exclusive portion of my catalog.

    Patience is the key.


    A certain library that a lot of us have music with that’s kinda pushing us in the “exclusive” direction is still getting me placements on my nonexclusive stuff and the last one I found out about the other day was big 🙂 – I just thought i’d throw that in there…I did see a bit of a drop off in placements for a bit but now they seem to be coming back YMMV…i’m nonexclusive until I have ABSOLUTELY no choice but to sign exclusively…and even then (if it happens) i’ll be very uncomfortable about it…Jay

    Tv composer guy

    Hey Jay, by big do you mean network tv placement?

    As I am down in Australia, my royalties take longer to come in & I don’t get access to cue sheets so I mostly have no idea if this exclusive craze is actually affecting people’s income or not.

    I had a huge increase in royalties in my last payout, but that was from jan-march period last year, which I think was just before certain libraries starting changing to exclusive models.

    I’m not a fan of this change to exclusive as it has the potential to seriously effect our income, I would have thought just keeping the original titles of each cue with a prefix at the end to identify the publisher would solve the issue… isn’t that what Crucial Music did & they get major placements all the time, so isn’t that example enough that the issue isn’t non exclusive, it’s the fact that the cues were being retitled.


    @ TvCG – ya it was on NBC…I’m really impressed with this library and if I did sign with somebody exclusively it WOULD be them…I still think they’re going to push stuff that they feel will sell regardless if you’re excl or non…only time will tell I suppose but for me to go exclusive i’ll be bailing on some in store radio stuff that’s starting to make me some $ and everything else i’ve put work into directly and with other companies..i’m not ready to do that for just back end $ – call me crazy but it’s MY music..i’ve put a lot of time,sweat and heart into just hand it to somebody hoping they’ll make me $ scares the hell out of me…I know this sounds corny but this is my life’s work and have been at it and improving/perfecting it for over 20 years…I write songs mainly and occasionally what they call “cues” here – my cues are starting to make me some real $ and my songs are getting placed as well…I really hope this “pro exclusive” thing fades away…it just makes no sense to me as a songwriter/musician 🙁

    Tv composer guy

    That’s very interesting Jay, there’s another example of non exclusive tracks getting used my major networks. I’ll throw another one out there.

    Last year I custom composed tracks for a production on CBS, which aired during prime time. The contract I signed was non exclusive, I got paid an upfront fee, I worked directly with the music supervisor & I collected both artist & publisher share of royalties. I retained all rights to my music & the tracks I wrote for that production are also getting pitched to other productions.

    Pay attention to these examples people, don’t be fooled into signing your life away, if your music is good, people will buy it regardless if its non exclusive or exclusive. A good track is a good track & music supes don’t care where it’s from as long as its clear who the owner is. Please don’t feel pressured into signing exclusive deals if you are uncomfortable with it, there is no real gain in signing these contracts, the only ones who gain anything are the libraries, not us.

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