- September 10, 2017 at 2:38 pm #28152
Thanks LAWriter. These are the unfortunate realitites of 2017.
I saw changes 20 years ago, enough to motivate a career change.September 11, 2017 at 10:16 am #28159
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.
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.September 11, 2017 at 10:40 am #28160
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….September 11, 2017 at 10:52 am #28162
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.September 11, 2017 at 10:53 am #28163
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. LOLSeptember 11, 2017 at 11:11 am #28164
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
That was inevitable when upfront money started to shrink. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I could easily equal the upfront money with RF sales and then the rest is profit.September 11, 2017 at 11:12 am #28165
“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 would call the company and ask for a reversion or conversion to non-exclusive in perpetuity. All they can do is say no but why would they? If they are not presenting and pitching the music and you have gone a few years with no royalty income activity on those albums, ask if you can take a shot at making income with them. What do you have to lose? All they can do is say no. People should never under estimate what can happen in any and all markets. in the last year, My father pulled some 1/4 inch tape masters and digitally transferred 30 or 40 tunes. I listened and pointed out my favorites and told him where to sell them, how to title them, and how to keyword them. These were recorded in the 1956 to 1964 era. A couple of those suckers are selling away and I know that one of these days we will nail down a 4 figure or 5 figure license on one of them. NO WAY would we ever give this stuff to an exclusive publisher.
“Ownership=flexibility=longevity”= total control=empowerment=the only way forwardSeptember 11, 2017 at 11:25 am #28166
Unfortunately, I was paid top dollar on all these songs, and there’s no way I can get them back easily.September 11, 2017 at 11:53 am #28167
at least you were paid!September 11, 2017 at 12:10 pm #28168
While I don’t disagree with what you folks are saying , and let me say thank you to LAwriter and others who have a great depth and experience to share, the lack of transparency here is beginning to bother me. What I am hearing is that those of us who are relatively new to this this are doing the wrong thing by submitting to music briefs to exclusive libraries, and that there are many other nonexclusives, it seems to be implied that do such a fantastic job of placing music and paying upfront fees, at least collectively, that submitting to exclusives is a waste of time. Yet, excuse me for saying so, we have no idea really who these other composers are , how well they are doing (or not), what kind of music you write or how “top quality” it is, or the libraries they involve themselves in, that they may just as well be unicorns at this point.
And if I said semipro , it was in the strictest definition of the term, doing something for financial gain but not full time, is has nothing to do , the way I use the term, with the quality of the music put out. Which I am betting on here would consist of quite a number of us. Some of whom are writing some pretty good music.September 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm #28169
PaoloSeptember 11, 2017 at 12:27 pm #28170
when dealing with libraries and a library wants to do a buyout, what do you think is fair upfront money that composers should be asking?
For an exclusive buyout in perpetuity, I think $1k – $1500 up front is “fair” – depending on style, musicians, etc.. Good luck getting that nowadays.
the lack of transparency here is beginning to bother me
Completely understand that Chuck. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it has to be for me at this point. I have a lot of relationships that I don’t want to burn. And burn they would if I speak the truth from my perspective. And just to be clear – it’s only from MY perspective. I do not claim to be a prophet.
I don’t think submitting to Exclusives is a “waste of time”. I just think it’s dangerous long term with their business model based on “back end” – meanwhile, we are staring down the barrel’s of netflix’s gun. How do you think that’s going to turn out? Check out the thread I posted about that.
I DO suggest diversity. Although my take on things today points me away from A level libraries, perpetuity, and up front buyouts, that could change in a few years. This biz is twisting and turning at every moment – so diversification in music, styles, libraries and types of ownership IS in order IMO.
To give some perspective – I have thousands of sync’s, and between my front end and back end royalties, I make enough to own a home, have a modest studio and support a family in LA. That should at least give you a tiny bit of perspective. Sorry I can’t be more “up front”. Cheers, and best of luck in your search.September 11, 2017 at 12:36 pm #28171
I have no problem with your posts, and I think we all benefit from the experience, and thanks for sharing. I think the conversation took a turn though. If you had a blog, I’d be a subscriber. How far off do you see this return to front end payments, are did it never go away , for some of us at least?September 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm #28172
Chuck, please do not doubt the level of experience that you are getting from our opinions just because we are on here being critical of publishers under an alias. If I were to present my real, full name, do you think I could actually present my opinions and experiences on this forum as forthright as I am? As you can see, I and LA Writer are highly critical of the publishers and production companies who want free work from everyone.
I am sorry but these companies DO have “up front” money for music cues just as they have money for actors, directors, producers, editors, assistants, gaffers, production managers, booking agents, etc…
We are just sounding the alarm here on all fronts. If EVERYONE continues to write to briefs for free, that then becomes the norm. Have you ever bothered to ask some questions about these briefs? Such as what show is it for? What network will it air on? Why is there no budget to develop underscores for the show? (There is a budget, the library just does not want to spend any of the money they will charge because there are too many folks fishing/ hoping for back end in 12 months) Can I write cues for the show but still sell them under different titles on RF markets?
Writers need to ask some questions and not be so gullible. Don’t be a “sure I’ll get you some cues” kind of person, every time you get a brief.
I guarantee you that privately these publishers chuckle behind the scenes and say “ahh…no worries, we’ll put out a brief and have 40 cues on our desk in a week, composers are just a dime a dozen” …Not even a penny a dozen I’d say…
The practice needs to end just as piracy needed to end. The music business did find a way to combat piracy with spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services. People are not buying records, but they are buying monthly subscriptions for $10 to eliminate ads. That means people are buying music again.It’s just happening in a different way.
In our world of music for TV, Film, advertising, YT/ internet Videos, Games, explainers, tutorials, podcasts, blogs, etc…there is money for music. That I guarantee you. Composers somewhere along the line decided that they are not only free (for TV show cues), but free in perpetuity. It’s mind boggling how this happened.
Publishers: Change your ways, dig into the budget and do what’s right, pay writers OR, make the deal non-exclusive. Don’t suppress a writers income potential. Create a win/ win situation. As it stands now it’s an “only we win” deal. This is my opinion folks. You decide if you agree or not. I also have some facts to back it up. When I write a cue and release in both markets: direct licensing and NE publisher, I see revenue happening from both sides of the equation. I have video editors buying the tunes for $50, $70, $100, and up for their web videos, then I see 12 to 18 months down the road the same cue going on shows and cue sheets start hitting. Then I see the back end for these cues. Write for all ends. I cant wait 18 months to MAYBE be paid for my works. Nor should you, nor anyone. If publishers need exclusivity, pay up for it. This should become the biggest topic of discussion at the next PMA meeting.September 11, 2017 at 3:19 pm #28174
Can I write cues for the show but still sell them under different titles on RF markets?
Of course that would make it a non-exclusive deal. I have asked this before and the response was an immediate no. I also started a thread on it a while back and many of you thought it was a foolish newbie idea.
I still think if one library has the intestinal fortitude to start a new licensing agreement it would be a win-win. Let us sell on RF sites under a pseudonym and sure, give us a “black” list of competing broadcast libraries we cannot write for.
Who was the first non-exclusive library? Anyone know?