PMA And The State Of The Production Music Business

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  • #25859 Reply
    Art Munson

    Ok, maybe some clarification is needed here. Because Iā€™m at the point this year where my music in exclusive libraries is now killiing the music I have in royalty free libraries in earnings

    I have always done better with PRO income, about 3 to 1. Mainly non-exclusive and some exclusive. I guess what I write does not appeal to most RF buyers, with the exception of P5.

    #25860 Reply
    Art Munson

    Data from an RF composer. I’m not even close to these numbers!

    Follow this link:

    Just multiply the number of licenses sold by $12 per license and you
    can see the data. on AJ, there are at least 30 writers a month selling
    200 or more licenses a month.

    I am often doing 3K a month in RF.

    #25861 Reply

    I have put my very, very best music into the top PMA exclusive libraries over the last 20 years. Those titles are around 40% of my total library. The balance – 60% of my total library are basically in two non-exclusive libraries. In the backend performance world, the exclusives net 10-15% of my BMI royalties. The non-exclusives net me 85-90% of my BMI royalties.

    I would be much better off financially if I had put the 40% exclusives into the non-exclusive paradigm, and been 100% non-exclusive. That’s just numbers, not philosophy.

    THEN, there’s one time exclusive front end payouts vs. monthly non-exclusive sync license payouts for those 40%. Long term (5 to maybe 10 years), I believe the monthly sync licenses would far exceed what the PMA libraries paid me up front – which was fairly substantial.

    On the front end syncs vs. BMI backend – which is an abstract comparison, but one I think is worth looking at, because unless BMI and ASCAP can start monitoring streaming, we very may not have a BMI/ASCAP payout much longer….. My front end sync licenses are coming from only ONE NE library and are gaining on BMI. They are currently around 25-33 % of my BMI backend every quarter. That’s substantial.

    With those numbers, I can’t really see the PMA’s “protect the production music paradigm” perspective any longer. As music123 notes, the numbers just don’t add up to the hype any longer.

    I’m desperately trying to wrap my head around jettisoning everything I’ve tried to accomplish the last 20 years, but the numbers keep slapping me in the face.


    #25862 Reply

    Yes, I have seen some pennies for YOUTUBE on a statement these last 2 or 3ā€¦.Nothing to get excited about

    thanks Music 123. That helps knowing I’m not leaving $$$ on the YouTube table.

    #25863 Reply

    No I wouldn’t advocate pulling out of royalty free libraries. Nor would I join a library that told me I couldn’t contribute to RF libraries, because I have been working very hard to build my catalog in those. I just wouldn’t do one at the exclusion of the other. But again this is based on Pro income from just this past year.

    #25864 Reply

    Regarding RF vs PMA type libraries, my observation is that RF is very much so a “hit track” arena. For whatever reason, 1 or 2 tracks just go on and sell very well and I have to say that different tracks sell better on different sites. For some guys with large catalogs maybe 5 or 10 tracks bring home 50% of the pie.

    TV cue feeding libraries can really place just about anything we write it seems. They are two different markets with 2 different needs, servicing 2 different types of buyers and the PMA needs to wake up to this non threat real fast.

    Secondly, like anything else in life, It takes hard work. Writers succeeding in RF are not only talented, but they worked very hard, had a strategy, and executed their strategy.

    If you want to make money…write hits…Good luck all!

    #25865 Reply

    Chuck asks :

    Why royalty free instead of good exclusives?

    Chuck, that’s an excellent question, and one I wrestle with myself – daily. I don’t have a definitive answer, but the main reason – IMO – is that network and cable TV are fading out, and streaming is becoming the “norm”. At this point, ASCAP and BMI have yet to figure out how to monetize streaming revenues effectively. On my BMI statements, Internet Streaming sources have grown to over 1/2 of my reported income – both domestic and foreign, and although huge in the amount of performances, it amounts to only a couple hundred dollars at best in terms of dollars while broadcast (although shrinking) is 50-80X’s as much. Not good.

    What can we draw from this? Over the next few years – quite possibly – traditional Cable and Network payouts are going to shrink dramatically as technology shifts us over to streaming – because BMI/ASCAP’s current income model is based on Cable and Networks BROADCAST (not streaming) earnings. So…

    When this happens, PRO back end royalties could (and most likely will) be affected dramatically – in a negative way. Front end sync royalties for Non-Ex libs will not be affected.

    So your current observation of exclusive libraries out performing Non Ex libraries in back end returns could flip over quickly as the “composer royalty income paradigm” shifts towards front end sync’s exceeding back end performances.

    If/when front end Sync’s exceed back end performance royalties…..your 4:1 observations will no longer be viable.

    Make sense?


    #25866 Reply

    music123 wrote :

    Regarding RF vs PMA type libraries

    Good points music123! I need a like button as well. šŸ˜€ Is there a way to PM on this site? I’d like to touch base with you and ask you some questions “off-line” if you’re interested. Cheers,


    #25867 Reply

    At this point, ASCAP and BMI have yet to figure out how to monetize streaming revenues effectively.

    ASCAP and BMI have little to do with what streaming pays in comparison to broadcast rates.

    Royalty rates are set by the Coyright Tribunal. ASCAP and BMI only collect as much as the law allows them to collect and/or streaming entities only pay as much as the law requires.

    Here’s a glimpse at how the Tribunal, not ASCAP or BMI, determines rates:

    The royalty floors paid by streaming services are just pennies per customer, per month.

    The theory is that when we start to see 10 million streams of shows with our music in them, instead of just 10 streams here and there, royalties will rise accordingly.

    #25872 Reply

    from a newbie point of view, this is a fascinating and valuable conversation.


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