Royalty Free Libraries. Should You? Who's Right?

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  • #14783 Reply
    Edouardo
    Participant

    its important to be ready to adapt to what is a very fast moving industry and world.

    +1

    #14789 Reply
    Chuck Mott
    Guest

    My plan has been modified to work on choosing some select royalty free libraries, maybe start with adding 150 or so tracks, then trying to expand and branching out from, doing a mix of NE and exclusive. My understanding is royalty free is a misleading term that in that the royalties come in the form of back end payments. My assumption, looking at this business, is similar to the stock market, diversification being the way to go. Am I wrong…I have been an active musician playing in cover bands for like 30 years on and off, writing the occasional song over the years, dabbled in recording off and on but have been pretty committed for the last 2 years to recording, for the last year posting songs of which I have around 40 now (not counting alts)…..hope I am on a good track here.

    #14791 Reply
    Chuck Mott
    Guest

    Art feel free to remove the question addressed once I read the entire thread. Great topic and posts.

    #14792 Reply
    euca
    Participant

    @More Advice, That is a nice payout from your foreign royalties. But I have to say it is a bad example. Ascap royalties from the Netherlands pays out once a year, so the $2500 you received from that country is over the course of a year.( If I remember correctly you are with Ascap) So it comes out to $208 per month. I have and still do make $208 a month from my top 3 tracks in RF. So it basically balances out.

    Don’t take this the wrong way, I strongly believe in PRO income and it is much larger than my RF income. I actually prefer working in the PRO model. I am just pointing out that it isn’t the best example.

    Beyond that, congrats on the nice foreign payment!

    #14793 Reply
    Edouardo
    Participant

    @Michael: What message didn’t get through?

    #14799 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    OK never mind “never mind.”

    I do not now, and never have, put music into any royalty free library with the expectation or for the purpose of generating back-end royalties.

    If composers put cues into traditional RF libraries in the hope of generating backend royalties, they are sorely misguided. Back-end royalties are not the focus of RF libraries. It is the occasional icing on the cake. Is this news?

    The business model that threatens back-end royalties is the new “performance free” model, in which the composer receives no sync fees, no sales, no backend…no further remuneration beyond a tiny upfront fee, maybe up to $200 (which is far from worth it). This is completely different from RF libraries, as we know them.

    It really helps to take the time to understand the nomenclature and distinctions between business models, how they function and who they service, however subtle.
    You even need to understand the subcategories within business models…e.g. RF libraries that do promote actively to broadcast producers, those that don’t and those that charge reasonable license fee and those that don’t. You cannot lump all RF libraries into single pile anymore than you can put all composers into the same pile.

    It’s all about multiple revenue streams, which I believe requires multiple catalogs, and even different products. I believe that composers should put appropriate material into the proper business model to get their music / product to its most likely consumer.

    Different types of music will perform very differently across business models. Obviously, if you have a limited catalog, or you are a one trick pony, this won’t be easy.

    Don’t forget that in the RF world, you live and die by metadata / key-wording. If your language skills fade after the fourth key word, or if your imagined use for your cue is way off base, don’t expect to do well. If YOU don’t market your music well YOU lose.

    So…because of the variables (controlled by the composer), and different purpose and/or focus of the RF business model, comparative analysis is of little value. If you go to a baseball game expecting to see tackles and touchdowns you will be similarly disappointed. We are talking about apples and oranges.

    There are no guarantees, roadmaps and/or shortcuts to success in the library business. Know your own strengths, diversify and market accordingly, i.e, put your music where it belongs.

    Best of luck.

    _Michael

    #14801 Reply
    woodsdenis
    Participant

    It really helps to take the time to understand the nomenclature and distinctions between business models, how they function and who they service, however subtle.
    You even need to understand the subcategories within business models…e.g. RF libraries that do promote actively to broadcast producers, those that don’t and those that charge reasonable license fee and those that don’t. You cannot lump all RF libraries into single pile anymore than you can put all composers into the same pile.

    How come you can say things clearly in one paragraph when it takes me five LOL. Anyway + 1000, this is really important.

    #14802 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    How come you can say things clearly in one paragraph when it takes me five

    I spent many many hours in, and a lot of money on, law school. I guess that’s why some legal documents are called briefs. 😉

    #14803 Reply
    Edouardo
    Participant

    @Michael, thank you so much for this great advice!
    I did feel there was gold in what you were about to write.

    Actually, I have started to sense this differentiation recently and in the scope of my upcoming batch of cues, have started to write music aimed at specific markets (understand by markets, those addressed by the different RF library categories).

    Yet, I still will submit them in all categories of RF businesses that I work with, i.e. that follow certain ethical business guidelines that preserve our profession: Even if I write a track for Library A’s market and because of this, the chances of licence sale in Library B are smaller, they still exist…

    #14808 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    So it comes out to $208 per month. I have and still do make $208 a month from my top 3 tracks in RF. So it basically balances out.

    Actually, euca, it depends on how long you’ve already been getting $208 per month, and how long you continue to get $208 per month.

    If MA’s 3 cues are one and done in the Netherlands, you may already be ahead of the game.

    One year’s performance is a very short time to judge any business model. My experience with library income over 35 years has been:
    1. upfront fees (7 exclusives)
    2. royalty free sales (going back 30 years)
    3. back-end money (3 out of 7 exclusives)
    4. sync fees (2 of 7 exclusives, one US and one UK)

    In my experience it’s a long term game, and many cues go through a “life-cycle.” Much of what I produced has aged out, and is ripe for “recycling.”

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