The PMA is asking for your input!

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  • This topic has 60 replies, 14 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by Paolo.
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  • #25733 Reply

    The Production Music Association is an organization of music libraries and composers. It actively promotes the value of recorded music, offers unique professional development opportunities, and aims to maintain industry-wide standards for production music.

    We’d like your input.

    Although 70% of TV and almost all of advertising and radio uses licensed music, music library work remains a little bit under the radar. To break down that barrier, we are beginning to assemble educational resources for composers which relate specifically to writing for libraries.

    Would it be helpful to have a point of contact at the PMA you could use as a resource? What questions do you have about libraries? What doors do you wish were open? What guidance do you feel is missing? What thoughts do you have about the art and the business of production music?

    If you write for libraries already, what do you know that should be more broadly shared? If you don’t write for them already, what would you need to know before you jumped in?

    I’m part of a composer committee within the PMA, and our goal is to strengthen the connection between composers and publishers. Please post your thoughts below.

    Footnote: If you’re interested in writing for libraries, I strongly suggest you attend the Production Music Conference next month.

    (original post by Jeremy Borum)

    #25736 Reply
    Art Munson


    #25740 Reply
    Michael Nickolas

    Ok, I’ll jump in with a few thoughts. The market is so crowded with composers, it is very difficult to get a response from a PMA library when making a blind submission. I recently was shopping a completed multi-song project, with alts and timing edits, focusing my shopping on PMA library members. 80% of libraries submitted to never responded. But who could blame them, given the amount of blind submissions they are probably receiving. If a point of contact at the PMA could assist in getting submissions heard, then that would be a useful resource.

    Thoughts on the business – well, what really bothers me is backend payouts by the PRO’s. I’ll get an ASCAP statement 45 pages long, with a payout of $1,000. It’s discouraging. You would think one could make a living off of the number of placements it takes to fill up 45 pages, but no. Perhaps the PMA could advocate on this topic.

    #25741 Reply

    Thanks for posting. Most people here would love to work with more libraries as I would myself and I will be attending the conference as well. I think the biggest hurdle between this group and the PMA is the Exclusive vs Non Exclusive model. Often, at PMA events Non exclusive licensing and re-titling is looked down upon which makes many of us uncomfortable. Maybe the PMA should begin to accept that as a viable business model, specially for composers who are starting out. Also, many of the good PMA libraries remain totally inaccessible, maybe you could address the issues surrounding that. Thanks again

    #25744 Reply
    Art Munson

    FYI, I am on the Composer Advisory Committee for the PMA so I encourage everyone to leave there input!

    The committee is made up of, Timothy Edwards, Richard Friedman, Jeremy Borum and myself.

    #25748 Reply

    I think I can speak to exclusive vs non-exclusive. I have recently discovered, having founded a library myself recently, that foreign sub-publishers will not accept anything that is non-exclusive. It’s two things to me: it’s not greed but wanting to have a catalog like no other library has (increasing it’s viability in the marketplace) and also wanting to do business worldwide. I hope this helps shed some light on the exclusive vs. non debate a little. My own experience has been doing a ton of research to learn what fit’s with what library, how much reach a library has and does the client (shows) use the kind of music I am making. That helps cut through the “kiss it goodbye” pile.

    #25752 Reply

    Sure! Happy to share.

    The impression I’ve gotten from the PMA events I’ve attended — and I completely understand this — they’re focused on preventing the further erosion of music licensing fees by these libraries banding together and not under-cut each other.

    Also, after speaking to several composers who already write for top PMA libraries, they’ve shared that the amount of music they can contribute to any one particular PMA library continues to dwindle.

    What doors do you wish were open? What guidance do you feel is missing?

    So I’m not sure what benefits or opportunities exist for composers joining the PMA.

    offers unique professional development opportunities,

    I would be interested to know more about these opportunities. Can you speak more to this?

    #25753 Reply

    Some concerning issues I see from PMA libraries are increasing demands for exclusive representation in perpetuity for no upfront fee for the cues or album. There clearly are some PMA libraries out there courting inexperienced , young writers who willingly sign cues over for exclusive representation in perpetuity for $0 from the publisher. Then they sit back and hope that royalties and sync fees come through 18 months later. I understand the overseas sub publisher argument to a certain extent, but how can you expect writers to get enthusiastic about that deal when (for example) those same exact cues can start generating meaningful income from royalty free markets immediately?

    Speaking of RF YOUTUBE licenses, What is the PMA doing to one day service the $30 to $70 license sold to small business customers that make up the RF market? Do you not realize that this market is monster sized and our statements look a lot better when we see $20, $30, $20, $20, $25- fifty times every month verses 70 pages of $1.21, $0.79 , $0.01 from BMI and ASCAP? So you want exclusivity from us so we can get a zillion pages of 10 cents but simultaneously sacrifice 1K to 4K A MONTH from RF markets? This is why we like and need non-exclusivity. We need to be selling in both markets to make a livable wage. PMA shouts out “hey guys only distribute through one catalog so we don’t confuse the market.” The reality is that the more distribution a writer has for their music, the more money they make.

    What are the PMA and PRO’s doing to obtain a massive sum of money from Google/ YOUTUBE to increase the royalty pool for YOUTUBE “performances” of our music?

    Finally, I keep hearing that ABC, NBC, and CBS do not like non-exclusive libraries because they may hear the same cue in two different places and get sued by one publisher claiming it’s theirs. Are you guys really litigating over background cues that pay $1.76? How are these networks, music supervisors, and film editors getting their profits disrupted from non-exclusive stock music? The answer is that they are not. They are inundated with lots of free music and should be grateful for it. They have a lot of choices and a lot of great music so what’s the problem? Just credit the publisher on the sheet where you found the cue and who cares if you (by fluke) heard it in another catalog. IF PMA Catalogs want exclusivity, then they should buy the music from the composer for $750 a cue. If networks need exclusive music, hire a composer to do an original score.

    #25756 Reply

    Thanks Paolo! If you (or anyone reading this) could “build” what your membership would look like what benefits or opportunities would you like to see?

    Q: What doors do you wish were open? What guidance do you feel is missing?
    A: “So I’m not sure what benefits or opportunities exist for composers joining the PMA.”

    #25757 Reply

    Q: What doors do you wish were open?

    To piggyback on what Music123 said….
    I started a thread earlier this year

    A Conversation Worth Starting?

    PMA needs to understand most of us cannot make a living from PRO only, yet so many libraries insist on exclusivity. If one library would,out of respect for the composer, agree to let us sell our tracks on ONE and ONE ONLY non-competing RF site, I think it would be a game changer.

    Do any of the libraries that supply music to TV and film really have clients that sift through RF sites shopping for $40 tracks? I don’t think so. And do the video producers that do shop on RF really use PMA level libraries?

    The composers all seemed to feel it’s impossible, I disagree. I would expect the non-exclusive model would have been considered laughable no too long ago.

    How about this TAE Music, ask your customers how they would feel about it. Would they really have a problem if the music they bought from you through a blanket license was also available on a RF site, as long as they were NOT getting the same music from another blanket license they bought?

    #25760 Reply

    Not sure if this is a question to pose, but here’s what I’d love in a library deal. Perhaps it sparks a conversation:

    – $1000 upfront re-coupable advance, per track
    – 50% of licensing
    – ability to sell music to public i.e. iTunes, CDBaby
    – Never sharing writer’s share unless someone actually co-wrote the track with me
    – no other re-coupable expenses. Some libraries seem to go nuts with this

    #25762 Reply

    Q: What doors do you wish were open? What guidance do you feel is missing?

    Hey TAE Music. Here are a few things that would move the needle for me:

    1) a process that absorbs composers into the PMA universe, leading to opportunities to write for PMA libraries.

    2) Each month, a library is prepared to add new composer(s). Libraries listen to composer’s tracks and choose or recommend to another library.

    3) opportunities to participate and contribute to new releases. from relationships that have built from numbers 1 and 2 above, libraries invite those composers to participate in upcoming releases.

    4) and anything else that benefits both the composer and the libraries – adding to the revenue streams of both parties.

    #25774 Reply

    Alan you make some good points about non competition in the RF markets verse PMA TV Show markets. Cues being made available to TV show editors do not disrupt what is happening in RF and RF does not disrupt what is happening on TV shows. Why? Because PMA libraries are selling blankets to produce 20 episodes in exchange for access to the entire catalog. TV show production companies would never shop on RF markets and pay $40 to $100 a cue for their shows. It makes no economic sense for the production company and would be very time consuming buying cues 1 at a time.They need tens of thousands of non-watermarked cues in all styles to cover any type of scene that may be happening so this is why they make deals with PMA libraries who already have what they need on hard drive next to the editor.

    If anyone knows of a show that is exclusively sourcing music from RF please fill us in, that would be an interesting development.

    A RF buyer from my perspective is, 98% of the time, simply a small business that needs a track to promote their business. Example, I just sold a new release to a small real estate company most likely so they can do a little promo video and market their service on YT and Facebook. So I like Alan’s idea of cues in 1 PMA library while also in RF, but even so…why just 1 RF catalog? We should be able to upload to more than 1. More distribution = more money for composers. Every company manufacturing any product wants mass distribution. It’s no different for our music files.

    #25775 Reply

    Alan and music123,

    I think that you are confusing libraries like JP and SK, who are not PMA members, with PMA libraries, like Megatrax, 5 Alarm, Killer, Firstcom, etc.

    Alan, your argument has the most validity with libraries like JP and SK, but not so much PMA libraries. (especially if they’ve paid an upfront fee /WFH).

    One of the PMA libraries that I’m in actually markets its older tracks through an RF portal. If I put those same tracks into an RF library they’d be in direct competition. Not only that, many liubraries market through the use of youtube videos, so the potential for PMA library clients to discover your tracks in RF libraries exists.

    On the other hand, it should not matter to Gratis customers of non-PMA libraries that your music is being bought and paid for by others.

    #25776 Reply

    FYI, I am on the Composer Advisory Committee for the PMA so I encourage everyone to leave there input!

    Art this is great. Although I don’t know the others I know that you know the issues that hold us back from working with PMA libraries.

    This may be something you guys have tossed around but I’l mention it anyway. This woudl be a worthwhile benefit PMA can offer to their member composers:

    Tip Sheet a “music needed” list is in a password protected directory on the PMA website. It’s available to approved composers who’ve either gone through a screening process (before joining) or are already writing for PMA libraries.

    The assumption is that PMA libraries are operating as exclusive, however a summary of the exclusive essentials should be outlined. I.E: exclusive; $500 advance; 3 year revert if track has earned less than $____. When details are listed, composers becomes part of the partnership with the libraries allowing composers to also choose the libraries they see offering the best financial arrangement.

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