Subscription Survival…..

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  • #29926 Reply

    Some subscription survival talk, OK? 🙂

    At this point, my faith in production music as a career is on wobbly legs. This weeks topics have been brutal for my fairly optimistic spirit.

    I suppose I’ve been living in a state of blissful ignorance as I’m not really in that many libraries. Just ONE REALLY GREAT one, and a couple other so, so ones. Probably a lot less than most of you. The reason this is so shocking is that I’ve been looking to branch out, as my #2 has softened significantly over the last few months, and BMI is starting to be hit with more and more streaming and less network / cable performances (which BTW are freaking BRUTAL even beyond subscription madness…..)

    I’ve been thinking it’s time to expand. Well, I WAS thinking about it. Now, I doubt it’s worth the effort in light of what’s shaking…

    Even though I was I was hit smack in the face by having my contract broken, and my music put into a subscription plan @ a couple of years ago, I’ve essentially been living unawares – and caught with my proverbial pants down around my ankles I’m afraid.

    In pondering what this means for us, I do think there’s some merit in this :

    Mark said :

    We should be differentiating unlimited download subscriptions from ones that have a cap.

    I think there’s some merit to that – although I do think that “unlimited” is an overstatement. Let’s call it stupid giveaway downloads vs. logical cap downloads.

    The subscription library Mark was found in was :

    Upon studying their subscription plan, it really doesn’t seem to be a subscription in reality – more a play on words in the popular topic of “subscriptions” from a users perspective. Essentially, it just gives users who purchase large numbers of licenses a discount if they pay in advance :

    Not too bad, and really, (although I don’t know the split), better than AJ as he mentioned. I don’t really view this as a subscription, even though they call it one. More of a costco approach of, “buy more, save more”. So….not tooo bad. If they were all like this (they’re not), I wouldn’t have so much of a problem.

    An the other side of the coin (I won’t even justify a link) :

    The Prodigy
    $9.99 / month
    50 Downloads of Royalty Free Music or Sound Effects per month
    Only 20 cents per Track
    No Hidden Fees
    Cleared for YouTube
    Customer Support
    Royalty Free License
    Upgrade, Downgrade, or Cancel at Anytime!

    The Action Hero
    $19.99 / month
    100 Downloads of Royalty Free Music or Sound Effects per month
    Only 20 cents per Track
    No Hidden Fees
    Cleared for YouTube
    Customer Support
    Royalty Free License
    Upgrade, Downgrade or Cancel at Anytime!

    The Super Hero
    $29.99 / month
    250 Downloads of Royalty Free Music or Sound Effects per month
    Only 12 cents per Track
    No Hidden Fees
    Cleared for YouTube
    Customer Support
    Royalty Free License

    This is complete and total INSANITY!!! Especially as the license is worldwide, in perpetuity, with no limits to any type of broadcast.

    That’s $10 a license / track (with a 50/50 split Mark???) compared to a $0.10 cents a license / track with no split (who cares anyway), because the publisher bought out the contract up front. Neither good. One is crazy, the other just bad for composers….

    So…where are we headed in this whole mess?

    At this point, as mentioned, I’m on wobbly legs. And I’ve perhaps been one of the biggest proponents of being able to make 6 figure income annually in the prod music market.

    With Streaming and Subscriptions I think that’s in the past. I have no idea where this music is coming from that’s going into these libraries. Maybe folks who live in Indonesia with a laptop and internet connection living on $20 a month?!?!?! I have no idea if people are so desperate to make ANY money in the music business that they will sell their souls and futures for a couple of puny licenses….

    One thing is certain, we have only seen the beginning of this. If one of the Big Guns PMA’s follows suit…..which I suspect is in the wings… the house of cards topple…..


    #29929 Reply
    Art Munson

    I think we need to be nimble and try to think outside the box. I’m for pushing the blockchain idea and I’m following that technology. It will allow us to control our copyright, track our music (and get paid) wherever it’s used. We will still be struggling with low prices but what if we are just doing bigger numbers?

    When we lived in Nashville there was story going around about a famous songwriter who told his publisher they could look after the dollars and he would look after the pennies. He was very wealthy, so the story goes.

    In the meantime I keep writing, submitting to a few sites, submitting albums for digital distribution and searching, searching, searching…

    #29934 Reply

    @LA Writer. Just hang in there, Your voice and wisdom are needed. Keep contributing here, there are a lot of people listening. It may not seem that way but there are. Throughout my period of dancing in the digital licensing game, it has been challenging, filled with hard work, but I have seen growth. So there is some positive take away here. 2018 will be interesting. I am definitely concerned about revenue growth slowing or potentially being threatened by these ridiculous give away pricing models.

    For the writers who are reading and want to make a difference, there really are things you can do to make an impact. It’s so easy to say “well this is kind of out my control so I will just sit back and hope for the best.” Sorry, but “hope” and “laziness” and “inactivity” will not make a difference.

    What can you do?

    For starters, take the time to remove your music assets from companies that do not send you money. I personally come to some conclusions about companies that do not pay me: They either lost the battle to the competition and do not have the money to market the site, they are just too small to make an impact, the owners of the site are not putting in the effort it takes to compete, or…they may not be 100% truthful about what is being sold or somehow have decided that all assets in their ecosystem are for them to deal as they see fit.

    By not removing the assets (from sites that are NOT PAYING you) you empower them to divise other business models – like subscription models. These companies are sitting on thousands and thousands of tracks and the temptation to just “dump” and grab as much money as they can is clearly there (with the subscription model)

    The bottom line is that during this very long and involved discussion not one writer came on here and stated anything positive about the model. No one chimed in and said “I am involved in this model, and I am getting paid well every month.”

    No one can explain how accounting can be implemented fairly?

    It does not take a rocket scientist to discern what does in fact work – just look at the ratings section on this site and it’s clear which models work for production music writers.

    If you do not remove your assets from sites that are not paying, you may simply be undercutting yourself without even knowing it. Indeed we all uploaded away 10 years ago to figure out which music sites would make us money. The results should be in for many of us.
    I know which places make me money, those are the places I will work with, the others, sorry…I am out. I will not be a lazy enabler and just say “ah screw it…I took the time to send these guys my tracks…they still send me $10, $20 a year, I’ll just keep the music there anyway.”

    Sorry folks but THAT IS the problem right there. That kind of thinking IS the problem.

    If you have good music and are a professional in this business, remove your catalog from companies who are not paying you. If 3 years have gone by and you are still getting $0 to say $100 or $200 a year from a company Is it really worth it to house your assets there while they cook up a new subscription dumping model to devalue you? THINK hard about what I am saying. Please.

    What else can you do? Don’t participate in these models. Spread the warnings to others, talk about it, write about it, link colleagues to this knowledge base, put pressure on publishers to not engage in these models.

    I only see things from within my own Prism: if anyone has another side of the story to tell about these models and how it can be healthy for writers long term, I will listen.

    #29936 Reply


    You are right on removing music from companies that aren’t producing income. I am now making a list of my libraries that are on the chopping block. It is sad that so much time + energy goes into getting music to some libraries that literally flat out fail to produce income.

    #29937 Reply

    Does Amazing Music Tracks still take 25% of the writer’s share of royalties? They did when I got my offer.

    #29941 Reply

    In the last 24 hours, I have removed all my tracks from 3 libraries. More to come… If we all act together we CAN make a huge difference. Thanks LAwriter and Music1234 We can weather this storm and we will see much better days ahead.

    #29943 Reply

    I have finally come to the point of searching for good music libraries and frankly, the more I research/read the more I am confused. I am about ready to subscribe and dive into the (current, hope) report on music libraries but is it going to help anything? How honest and detailed opinions/experiences will I find? It is not $20+ bucks, it’s the time I will have to spend to go through something not worth it. Someone from the business told me that the selection is too personal to make any recommendations. Yes, in the end, it will be my decision who to try to go with but isn’t it better to start following someone’s recommendations at the beginning rather than start blindly?
    Whether I will find/land somewhere or not, it will not stop me from making more and more music, but unfortunately, the luck of some reward slows me down from time to time.
    Any suggestions?

    #29945 Reply

    @music matters – I have requested removal from 3 or 4 in 2018 for sure. Seriously, why bother letting our very important intellectual property sit with an entity who is unable to pay us? or simply is not paying? or just does not have the ability to attract customers. Times always change, and ownership of our assets allows us to change with the times!

    Jerzy, if you are looking for short cuts…provide some links to your music here with an e-mail where you can be contacted, and maybe a nice pro, veteran can guide you somewhere.

    I kind of agree, part of the problem with subscriptions may very well be young writers not knowing what else to do! So they sign in and hope for a positive outcome. This enables and perpetuates the problem.

    #29946 Reply
    Art Munson

    Someone from the business told me that the selection is too personal to make any recommendations.

    True, to a point, but there can be a general consensus that might help steer you in the right direction.

    #29948 Reply


    I am about ready to subscribe and dive into the (current, hope) report on music libraries but is it going to help anything?

    You’ll find that specific feedback about a library is rooted quite a bit in personal preferences and experiences. BUT looking at trends is also helpful – what folks tended to says about certain deals, types of libraries, submission guidelines, contracts, etc.

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