The manipulation behind "music briefs" for exclusive libs.

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  • #28130 Reply
    Dannyc
    Participant

    i think the only non-exclusives that really work long term are the top end non-exclusives like crucial. everything else to me seems the name of the game is make a 1000 cues a year throw em out there and hope for the best.

    #28133 Reply
    Paolo
    Guest

    @dannyc

    seems the name of the game is make a 1000 cues a year throw em out there and hope for the best

    I’ve found that veteran composers continue to entertain different approaches because the “1,000 cues and throw em out there…” is’t going be successful for everyone because we all have differing skills and temperaments. I personally follow the philosophy that the cream always rises to the top – write the best tracks I can for that day, keep improving, and the rest will take care of itself.

    #28139 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    It’s good to see Music1234 rolling up his sleeves and getting into the crux of things…

    A few thoughts based on some of the above :

    First :
    -=-= front end is the new back end =-=-
    -=-= 1000 micro licenses crush a paltry back end =-=-
    -=-= Ownership = Flexibility = Longevity =-=-

    I’m rarely submitting to Exclusive libraries anymore – and if I do it’s NEVER for a cattle call brief. I’ll ONLY do it for a personal brief that comes from an actual human at a library that I have a personal relationship with. I cannot be locked down. Not even for good money, but especially not for lousy money or nothing. In 2017, most Exclusive libraries are basing their business plans on a paradigm that’s close to 40 years old – and is dying – because :

    We are staring down at the impending demise of “back end” as we have known and expected it to be. Unless Netflix, et. al die or go out of business, OR, unless our PRO’s fess up and start handing over the real money, back end has a FINITE future as the world shifts over to a completely new and essentially unfunded delivery system. 5 years, 10 years, who knows, but this is a business with a long lead time, and I don’t want music I’m writing today getting placed into streaming services in 3 years when I was “depending” on back end to make money.

    That leaves virtually all exclusive placements in peril IMO. I need room to move. Room to change things up as the industry shifts. And shifting it is. As a matter of fact, I’m looking at other opportunities for my music that are OUTSIDE the music library world. Opportunities that I have seen flourish, and that require OWNERSHIP of my creative works. Which brings me to….

    Non Exclusive placements allows me to retain ownership. Ownership of content is singlehandedly what has made every A level company great. I’m not willing to put my music into the hands of folks that want things to be the way they were 30 years ago, who are unable to come to grips with the reality of the world we live in. (There’s an organization that has a 3 letter acronym that starts with a letter rhyming with Dee that ends with an A that comes to mind.)

    And the real reason I can’t currently tolerate placing music with Exclusives? My sizey PRO statements are filled almost completely with non-exclusive placements. Thousands of them. My last close to 6 figure buyouts from two VERY large A+ level libraries have only netted me a couple hundred bucks in backend after 3-4 years. After an expensive and long term production cycle for those, I can honestly say that it’s a freaking crime, as the music is some of my best, amazing and completely wasted on the A level libraries that hold them. Gone. For “perpetuity”. And although the close to 6 figures I earned to surrender my copyrights and masters was sweet, and bolstered my artist ego, it is long gone, and those works (close to 100) are for all intents and purposes dead to me forever.

    As for the goal of earning a living writing music for libraries : If you are starting now, don’t expect it. As for the aforementioned old adage of throwing out 1000 songs and seeing what sticks??? I’m not sure where anyone ever got the idea that it’s 1000 crap songs. It’s always been about quality. Its just that now, some libraries will take anything. If you’re not getting great placements, it’s because your writing is not up to snuff, your production skills lack experience or your networking skills need honing. Back when ALL libraries were exclusive – it took close to 1000 excellent to great songs in exclusive libraries with sizable up from payouts to earn a living – cause they didn’t accept crap. Now, I would guess that it’s somewhere between 1500-2000. Yeah, gulp. That’s close to a couple decades of work. And the work has to be top notch. Not middle of the road or crap. No one fingered loops. Real music. If you can’t hang, don’t bother. Find another business. If you can’t be extremely prolific in a wide variety of styles, don’t bother. Find another business. if you can’t produce at the level of a major label, don’t bother. Find another business.

    Of course, all of this is predicated on earning a full time living for a family, in a fairly major city. If you’re doing it just for fun, you can throw out everything I just said. That’s all I got. Straight from the Music Library Trenches where biz gets done and music gets placed.

    #28146 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    As for the aforementioned old adage of throwing out 1000 songs and seeing what sticks??? I’m not sure where anyone ever got the idea that it’s 1000 crap songs. It’s always been about quality. Its just that now, some libraries will take anything. If you’re not getting great placements, it’s because your writing is not up to snuff, your production skills lack experience or your networking skills need honing.

    Print this out in bold and tape it to your refrigerator!

    Back when ALL libraries were exclusive – it took close to 1000 excellent to great songs in exclusive libraries with sizable up from payouts to earn a living – cause they didn’t accept crap. Now, I would guess that it’s somewhere between 1500-2000. Yeah, gulp. That’s close to a couple decades of work. And the work has to be top notch. Not middle of the road or crap. No one fingered loops. Real music. If you can’t hang, don’t bother. Find another business. If you can’t be extremely prolific in a wide variety of styles, don’t bother. Find another business. if you can’t produce at the level of a major label, don’t bother. Find another business.

    Nevermind. Just print LAWriter’s entire post in bold, tape it to your refrigerator and read it several times a day!!!

    #28149 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    Nevermind. Just print LAWriter’s entire post in bold, tape it to your refrigerator and read it several times a day!!!

    Thanks Michael – your’e very kind. 🙂 I need to keep the realities of 2017 firmly in my sights as I make decisions on my music. We all should.

    #28152 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    Thanks LAWriter. These are the unfortunate realitites of 2017.
    I saw changes 20 years ago, enough to motivate a career change.

    #28159 Reply
    Music1234
    Participant

    Another spot on statement from LA Writer that is worth studying over and over. I am telling you folks, we are telling you, LA writer and I, and I have to believe Art is on board too, owning and controlling your catalog is where it’s at. If you want to survive long term and be able to shift and pivot with the never ending changing tide, ownership and control of your catalog is the key. Without ownership, how do you pivot to capitalize on where the market may shift next? I know I am embracing the front end a lot more these days. Front end happens sometimes the day I release the cue. Sometimes hours later my intellectual property is printing money directly into my pocket.

    I am a bit more optimistic than LA writer is about streaming. I have to believe that when the world does shift to streaming only (all content is on demand when end users want to watch on phones, computers or TV’s)…I have to believe the PRO’s will develop a new formula where we are paid the same performance royalties. They still will have to shake everyone down for a Billion dollars and get that money into writers hands.

    Today’s TV model is all based on ratings, if the show has 100 million viewers, the royalty is_______if 1 Million viewers only__________. Streaming is so F’d up because how do you measure the viewing audience size? Maybe performance royalties will be paid based on view counts/ streams? I don’t know. What I do know is I don’t want any raw deal surprises hitting me in the future so from here until eternity only I own my creations (I do anyway). Mr. publisher can be my agent and place my tunes, but guess what? I am going to sell them to whomever I want to too. My music is eternally for rent. If you need to borrow my tune, you owe me money. Start thinking along these lines folks. Resist this manipulation from briefs where the deal is “Thanks for your work, high five, we now control the cue in perpetuity, you go home and pray for decent back end 9 to 18 months down the line.”

    RESIST, make them pay you for your labor.

    If you don’t believe in yourself or your music and feel you are a part timer, semi pro, etc. well then fine, odds are that the cue will be received that way by end users:average. As LA Writer said, It’s always been about quality.

    Finally, don’t discount the opportunity that exists at royalty exchange either. Our music now has a value and from my close analysis as I study and follow the auctions of (future) royalty streams that are being sold to investors on this market, one can conclude that our music catalog is worth 5 to 10x the previous years royalty statements.

    When you own and control your catalog, you are much better positioned to cash in on that opportunity.

    “Ownership=flexibility=longevity”…LOVE IT!

    Oh yes indeed, my children some day will inherit a monster sized catalog and hopefully earn passive income for the rest of their lives. Or maybe I may decide to cash out for 5 to 10x my prior year earnings. This is where the flexibility variable comes into play.

    “Ownership=flexibility=longevity”…LOVE IT SOME MORE!

    Writing custom cues to briefs and handing them over to an exploiting publisher to control in perpetuity is absurd. My Goodness, at least negotiate exclusive for 1 year, then after 1 year the cue becomes non-exclusive in perpetuity if you are going to do this!
    Better yet Mr Publisher, just buy the damn cue, don’t tell me you don’t have money to invest in cues. If you don’t have money to buy them, then you stay up late and write them for your client. Quit exploiting composers and composers please stop allowing yourself to be exploited.

    I don’t care if the minimal underscore only takes you 2 hours to produce, that minimal underscore may very well print $300 to $500 in RF within 2 months if you are a pro and produce at a high level. There is always an opportunity cost with this exclusive in perpetuity for free garbage. It’s a risk I am not willing to take out of principle. It’s just wrong and a bad practice. It’s greedy and the greed starts with production companies and then trickles down to the library/ publishers supplying the shows.

    #28160 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    If you want to survive long term and be able to shift and pivot with the never ending changing tide, ownership and control of your catalog is the key.

    Quoted for the essence of the future….

    #28162 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    unless they are an A list library i dont think composers should be giving away their exclusive tracks in perpetuity.

    I’ve got a couple hundred tracks in the BEST of the A list companies that are essentially sitting dead on a shelf somewhere. I could have done better with it on any one of the RF sites. And it’s amazing music. Some of my best. Placing music with a top tier company does not guarantee it’s usage. It’s all about whether or not it’s with a company that it fits well with. The conundrum? Those companies do not want MORE of what they do good with. They have those pipelines filled already. They want to branch out in new directions, and that puts you into guinea pig status if you try that path with them. You’re a science experiment.

    #28163 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    Thanks LAWriter. These are the unfortunate realitites of 2017.
    I saw changes 20 years ago, enough to motivate a career change.

    Haha!! I wasn’t as smart as you Michael. LOL

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