Royalty free libraries…..

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  • #15844 Reply
    Chuck Mott
    Guest

    Pondering for the most part , my next steps. I am wondering if I should treat my royalty free submissions completely separate from other nonexclusive libraries for any reason. I realize they serve two functions, but are there any reasons why I shouldn’t pitch tracks that are otherwise in RF libraries to nonexclusives. Considering starting a pitch to NE but wondering if to some NE’s that tracks that are in RF land are untouchable. Not the lowball sites necessarily…..but on one hand I see RF with TV logos splashed across their pages, libraries that consider themselves RF but have been “chosen” to pitch to specific shows. Other RF that do no such thing. Wanting to start pitching to some more NE libraries but if you are submitting to both how you determine which to pitch where.

    #15860 Reply
    ChuckMott
    Participant

    To put another spin on the question, can I get some thoughts from folks here as to how they allocate their tracks. For example, do you have a clear system for what you allocate to RF and what you allocate to other NE sites. My thinking being for a variety of reasons I am having some hesitation wanting to submit RF tracks to NE libraries for a variety of reasons . Or is my anxiety over that unfounded…….This on the cusp of reaching out to more RF sites for stuff I already have out there.

    #15861 Reply
    Advice
    Participant

    You may need to put some tracks in both types of libraries to “test the waters” and see where your niche lies.

    One thing I’ve learned is the types of tracks that do well in broadcast libraries such as BG instrumentals for cable reality TV shows, don’t always sell well on RF.

    Personally, I have no problem putting tracks in both conventional NE libraries and RF. I usually fully re-title the version for RF to minimize “competing with myself” out there. Some even use an artist pseudonym on RF sites.

    YMMV

    #15862 Reply
    E Double-ya
    Guest

    I’m a recent entry into this business as well. I used a pseudonym when I tried out a RF library this winter, and gave them tracks exclusively. I’m glad I did because I’ve decided it’s not a very fulfilling route, and I don’t have to worry about it “tarnishing” my name. (Many libraries look down on RF composers).

    I’ve had to let those handful of tracks go in terms of working with other libraries, but I can live with that. It was an experiment and I learned from it without doing any damage.

    The key to RF it seems is quantity. The more uploading you can do, the better. I had a “respectable” start with about $100 in sales over a month and a half or so and no tracks going unsold. At some point every week I’d make a really simple upbeat track, and do it start to finish within a few hours. I felt like speed was a necessary part of the exercise in deciding whether the route was viable for me.

    If you can upload multiple tracks a week over a long period of time, and they’re the right fit for the library, there can be a decent snowball effect (unless you get lucky with a track that takes off). It’s the Walmart of music. You are looking for lots of small sales, so quantity in addition to quality is very helpful.

    With regards to re-titling you have to be careful. Content ID systems can really screw that up these days. If you give the track to another library that runs content ID to track royalties, they will go after your re-titled RF track – and then the buyer is ticked off when their revenue is interrupted. ie: RF libraries count YouTube creators as a major base and they expect to keep their ad revenue. AdRev matches the re-titled track in another library to a video and then takes the ad revenue from the creator. Then things get ugly with you in the middle because you signed an agreement with the RF library not to register the title with any royalty companies. That’s just one example but there are other similar issues you should consider in mixing RF with Performance collecting libraries.

    Anyways, I’ve seen RF work really well for some people. It probably could have worked well for me if I really wanted to get into it for a couple years, but I just couldn’t take any more ukulele. Plus I have a moral quandry with feeding that system, but that’s another discussion…

    #15865 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    Then things get ugly with you in the middle because you signed an agreement with the RF library not to register the title with any royalty companies.

    Plus I have a moral quandry with feeding that system, but that’s another discussion…

    Once again we have half true information combined with oversimplification, and general lack of understanding.

    There are a handful of RF libraries who require that you not register your titles with a PRO. The best, and in my opinion, most professional, have no such requirement, and DO require broadcast users to file cue sheets.

    In the middle are some RF libraries who do not require the customers to file cue sheets, BUT will provide your PRO information for clients who “understand” the business and know that filing cue sheets doesn’t cost them anything.

    If you are referring to libraries like “AJ,” and others that are PERFORMANCE FREE (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH ROYALTY FREE) then yes, they are for bottom-feeders.

    On the other hand, if you have some “moral-dilemma” with a company like AS, P5 or PT, your are perhaps off base. As an attorney, I have much less of a dilemma with their business approach than the NE retitle model. Which is another discussion.

    My experience, in speaking with top tier library owners and execs (and I don’t mean NE libraries), is that most of them have a clear picture of where various business models fit in the food chain.

    There is concern about the new PF (performance free) model, because it’s bad for everyone. Additionally, the top tier exclusive libraries do not like writers who participate in retitling. If I was going to use a pseudonym to do anything, it would be if I were going to play the NE retitle game.

    But as far as “looking down” on RF composers goes, the more pragmatic recognize the practicality of RF as another revenue stream. In fact, at least two traditional exclusive libraries that I am in, market some of their content through Royalty Free portals.

    Yes, you are often surrounded by crap in RF libraries. But, if your work is good, it really doesn’t matter.*

    _Michael

    * This may only apply in the US. The UK is very different.

    #15871 Reply
    dave
    Guest

    Hey michael are u an attorney? I had absolutely no idea. I’m sure you’ve never mentioned it.

    🙂

    #15872 Reply
    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    Personally, I have no problem putting tracks in both conventional NE libraries and RF.

    I agree.

    I usually fully re-title the version for RF to minimize “competing with myself” out there. Some even use an artist pseudonym on RF sites.

    Tried all that over the last 6 years or so and (for me) I don’t find it makes much difference.

    I don’t have to worry about it “tarnishing” my name. (Many libraries look down on RF composers).

    Not really a big deal at this point in time, at least for me. As long as you can write I don’t think “tarnishing” your name is an issue.

    #15873 Reply
    Advice
    Participant

    (Many libraries look down on RF composers).

    I don’t think that’s true. Libraries look for good music from reputable people. Period. If you send a traditional library some tracks and you also happen to be an RF composer, they’re not going to turn down the tracks simple because you write for RF libraries as well.

    And think about it. Many successful composers who make a living at this have a diverse portfolio with tracks in RF, NE, and Exc libraries.

    #15875 Reply
    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    And think about it. Many successful composers who make a living at this have a diverse portfolio with tracks in RF, NE, and Exc libraries.

    Yep, true for me.

    #15876 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    @Dave….yes, I am an attorney, with a particular interest in copyrights and intellectual property.

    I am about to join the Copyright Society of the US.
    That will help me keep on top of developments regarding copyright law, as well as give me the opportunity to discuss issues relevant to composers, with other professionals.

    Besides my normal PITA personality 😉 it explains why I look at what people say very closely.

    As I say to my wife…”At least when I read a contract, I can tell had badly there’re trying to screw me!” 😛

    Cheers from the dark side. (HA…lawyer joke)

    _Michael

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