Home › Forums › General Questions › Original compositions vs public domain arrangements
Tagged: public domain music
- This topic has 8 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 10 months, 2 weeks ago by Art Munson.
My first post! I’ve lurked here for a while digesting the incredibly valuable wisdom here, and my journey toward professional composing has benefited greatly.
A short introduction: prior to writing library tracks, I spent time recording and performing contemporary classics from the 20th century by composers like Terry Riley and Karlheinz Stockhausen. I have bachelors and masterd degrees in music and music technology. I also founded and continue to direct the laptop orchestra known as the Salt Lake Electric Ensemble.
Now, on to the question: I was wondering if anyone has any experience or insight into how well original compositions do vs arrangements, transcriptions, or straight recordings of famous public domain music, economically speaking?
We’ve had pretty good luck with public domain children’s music and Christmas music.bplogicParticipant
Any thoughts on the more famous classical repertoire?MichaelLParticipant
Any thoughts on the more famous classical repertoire?
IMO Unless your doing modern variations, like hip hop Beethoven, and you’re using virtual instruments, your tracks need to be extremely good to be competitive. For example: http://www.audiosparx.com/sa/archive/Classical/20th-Century/Holst-the-Planets-Jupiter/769758CarlesParticipant
@Michael, Thanks for pointing to my work 🙂
@bplogic, Consider though, that my public domain tracks were not produced with any profitability in mind, but those were exercises to learn orchestration (by forcing myself to read the scores and find what’s in there), learn how important expression is (CC controllers fine editing/articulations), and/or for testing and balancing templates.
Some of those mockups took more than a month of work!
Once I’ve realized that gathered quite a few tracks, is when I thought why not try to make some profit from it. (and in fact my only placement so far comes from one of these :D)
If you are in similar case, working on classical renditions for educational purposes and as a secondary thing profitability then it would be fine. Otherwise I think is not deserved the time that producing a well refined rendition can take. And producing low quality renditions would be also a waste I think, as it’s too plenty of these. Consider also that classical is not a good seller genre at all.
An original piece which takes a fraction the time to produce would be much more profitable, or as Art and Michael says, do some sort of arrangement (also quicker to produce) to unusual instrumentation (children/humouresque, rock, electronic, etc.).
just my 2 cents.composerParticipant
Keep in mind that the PRO payment is lower. From BMI:
“Copyrighted arrangements of works in the public domain (classical and popular) will be credited at 20% of the otherwise applicable rate of payment for popular songs for all performances, with the exception of the Live Classical Concert distribution, where no payment is made for performances of arrangements of public domain works.”
Can be profitable anyway, and of course not all licensing involves PRO payments.
not all licensing involves PRO payments.
While we do get some TV placements with our PD tracks, I think most are through RF sites. Much better payout.calliopeParticipant
Astute point. I wondered, would a workaround be to not register public domain tracks with BMI? I’m just learning about establishing a publishing entity and pretty confused tbh.
I wondered, would a workaround be to not register public domain tracks with BMI?
At this point, I register our PDs with BMI and most of them have been placed on TV shows.