well known site to be giving out gratis licenses 4 tv – should I be skeptical?

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    A well known (and un-named) licensing website that I think most of us are familiar with is apparently launching a new website very soon that will be giving out free artists’ music for blanket licenses in tv / film …(I am leaving them unnamed because an email sent out by them had asked for confidentiality, so, I will not reveal the identity of the parent company out of respect for them …)

    This email said that they will not advertise it on any of their current websites. This to me raises eyebrows, to say the least. Why would a company not advertise one of its’ sister services? That just seems odd – unless of course there is a certain reputation, both good and bad, that might proceed them in the licensing industry (which I am inclined to assume is the case.)

    Not only does the issue mentioned above cause me to raise eyebrows, so does the following.

    1. They will be giving away “gratis” licenses. No sync fee in order to air one of their artists’ cues, further devaluing what we do AFAIC … and I personally believe it will continually devalue the cost of a music license more and more into the future.

    2. The wording used by this company makes it clear that a client is only required to file one cue sheet at the initial licensing stage in order to download the track – so… : what is to stop this music supervisor or editor from using the track again in a future production without filing anything with the corresponding PRO? (Which unfortunately happens all the time, and services such as tunesat exist …)

    3. The “parent” company will only allow their artists to participate if the artist allows this unnamed company to re-title and take over publishing of ALL of the artists material on all of their sites.I.E. – If I wanted to allocate only 2 or 3 of my hundred plus cues to their new service, I would only be able to do so by handing over my entire catalog and have them re-title and collect the publishing. (I own and maintain all of my own publishing through this website currently.)

    4. This company already takes a larger than 50 % licensing fee, which is more than just about any other libraries I work with. Collecting the publishers share drives their cut up even more – which I feel is already approaching the astronomical side.

    Basically this is my take so far – they are forcing their composers to hand over publishing if they do decide they want to participate, even by including only 1 track.
    If the artist decides to participate, those tracks must remain available to this new blanket licensing service “in perpetuity” while the composer is actively involved with any of their other currently operating websites.

    So, as it would seem to me – If the composer decides that they are dissatisfied with the decision to participate in this new service, by allowing networks free licenses to their music, the parent site is essentially punishing their composers by forcing them to terminate their relationship with them entirely.

    Does this seem to be unethical, or am I just being paranoid? If so then do most of the more experienced composers see this as more of a “assimilate and survive or perish” scenario and see it as an opportunity in disguise?

    Personally, I am weary about participating to say the least. If anyone has had positive experiences with any libraries that have done gratis licensing I would really appreciate hearing about it.

    If anyone also thinks this is unethical, or at least questionable, then please chime in. They reply here frequently, and do pay attention to these forums.
    I can only hope they notice this post and re-consider the value of their composers, and entertain the idea of offering terms that don’t punish the people whose backs they built their entire business is built off of.

    Admittedly a Skepticalinquirer.

    Art Munson

    There are too many variables to make an informed decision one way or another. Since you cannot reveal the name of the company or the email you got, I cannot take your words for face value. I am not calling you a liar, but there could be some misinterpretation on your part.

    It sounds like this deal is not one that you would participate in anyway, so you should not even worry about it. Each individual composer will have to weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for himself/herself. It just seems weird that you would jump to conclusions and panic about something that doesn’t even affect you.

    Should you be skeptical? Absolutely not.


    To skeptical inquirer,

    If Art would like, he can move this link to the coming-soon site http://www.MusicCult.com.  AudioSparx confidentially announced the formation of Music Cult to give our composers an early opportunity to assign to us the PRO publishing administration for their entire catalog of tracks at AudioSparx, and to opt in for sales at Music Cult to further enhance their streams of income.

    As our thoughts have firmed up, we recently decided it definitely will be advantageous to reveal on the Music Cult site that AudioSparx is an affiliated site, since our name carries some nice weight in the industry and among our 260,000 registered clients.  Anyone visiting the new site will notice (a) a similarity in artistic design, features and videos, and (b) both sites share many of the same great composers, musicians, bands, orchestras, and (c) for-pay sync license prices at Music Cult to use a track in any production will be identical to the prices set for the same usage at AudioSparx.

    BLANKET LICENSE ONLY OFFERED TO MAJOR STUDIOS AND NATIONAL BROADCASTERS — We MAY HAVE many more for-pay sync licensing sales at Music Cult than we do the “gratis blanket licensing,” since the majority of our new clients WILL NOT be major production studios or national TV broadcasters, and thus would not qualify for the blanket license usage.  We have no plans to just roll over and give our composers music away unless we expect to receive cue sheets and nice ASCAP, BMI or SESAC backend PRO monies for our composers, and for AudioSparx in return for handling your publishing administration. The site was created to remain competitive with other sites offering blanket licenses, and we intend to pursue collection of the proper backend monies for our participating composers.

    PRICING STRUCTURE SAME AS AUDIOSPARX – After several composers expressed concern over pricing and as we tried to envision what types of scenarios will play out with new clients, we opted to offer the Variant Pricing sync license fee structure identical to AudioSparx pricing.  Hence if one of our present non broadcasting clients finds your music on Music Cult, he would have to pay the same sync fee he would pay over at AudioSparx.

    MUSIC CULT CONTRACT LENGTH RUNS CONCURRENT WITH AUDIOSPARX CONTRACT — The contract length for Music Cult runs concurrently with your AudioSparx Agreement (which has a 5-year contract requirement).  If a composer has been with us three years with two years remaining on his 5-year contract, then his music would be required to be for sale at Music Cult for only two years.  If a composer joins AudioSparx today and opts in for Music Cult, then we would get to sell his music for five years on both sites — IF HE OPTS IN for representation at our Music Cult site.

    AUDIOSPARX ONLY RECEIVES BACKEND PRO MONEY FOR TRACKS WE PLACE FOR YOU — We would remain publisher of record and collect the publisher’s share of any backend monies earned for so long as a track we place on a big TV show, for example, gets picked up and runs in syndication for the next year or 5, 10 or 20 years etc., which does happen occasionally.  We accept both exclusive and non exclusive tracks for the new site, and certainly we are “not forcing” anyone to sign up.  Early response has been very positive, and we are planning for this site to be a big success.  I urge you to log into our site and click the KB tab and read the article about Music Cult if you still have any concerns.  As new questions arise, we always address them in our KB articles.

    AudioSparx is one of the most aggressive competitors in this business, always developing new sites and ideas about how to feature our composers, getting your name and music out there into the world at large.  At AudioSparx, you have the option to be represented on our FIVE different websites (not just one site, like our competitors’ sites), including our newest in-store streaming music site:  http://www.radiosparx.com and the upcoming http://www.musiccult.com.

    Also, please read this article in our FAQ, which lays out all we do for our composers to justify our earnings:

    The Relationship between AudioSparx and Our Vendors

    If you have further questions, please click the CONTACT link at the top of our AudioSparx website and we shall respond promptly.  Thanks, Art, for having this wonderful forum and for allowing us to come here to answer any composer questions related to AudioSparx and our affiliated sites.

    Cheers to all our composers and friends, and have a great, creative week,




    @ Barbie

    If skepticalinquirer is correct this paragraph is the deal killer for me.

    “The “parent” company will only allow their artists to participate if the artist allows this unnamed company to re-title and take over publishing of ALL of the artists material on all of their sites.I.E. – If I wanted to allocate only 2 or 3 of my hundred plus cues to their new service, I would only be able to do so by handing over my entire catalog and have them re-title and collect the publishing. (I own and maintain all of my own publishing through this website currently.)”

    1) I could not /would not turn over all of my publishing to AS. because I have three publishing companies of my own, two with BMI and one with ASCAP.

    2) I do not participate in retitling.


    3) I would consider setting aside some exclusive tracks, for which AS could have publishing, without retitling.





    A further clarification re Music Cult participation:

    We are NOT asking to administer publishing for all of your tracks everywhere in the world. To participate in Music Cult, we are only asking for a non-exclusive publishing arrangement ONLY for all tracks that you have uploaded to AudioSparx.

    Regarding publishing administration, if you have us administer publishing non-exclusively for your catalog here, then we do register your tracks are re-titles, with “AALIBRARY” appended to the end of the title.

    On the other hand, if  you have us administer publishing exclusively for your catalog here, then we do NOT re-title your tracks when we register them at the PRO.

    If you elect to participate in Music Cult, then all tracks you have uploaded to AudioSparx will be participating. For example, if you bring AudioSparx a catalog of 20 tracks and check the box to have your tracks at Music Cult, all 20 will be offered there for both synch licensing and gratis blanket licensing.

    If you bring us 500 tracks, all 500 will be listed on Music Cult. Many of our top selling artists have checked the box because, logically, they want all of their music out there earning streams of income, and they don’t have time to go through a library of hundreds or several thousand tracks and check individual boxes.

    As for us, we are trying to offer our new clients all of the best music our composers bring to us. We welcome either exclusive or non-exclusive tracks, both types of tracks can participate at Music Cult and our other web sites.

    For sync licensing sales at Music Cult, if your buyout at AudioSparx is $1500, your buyout price at Music Cult will be $1500, and so forth. Both Music Cult and AudioSparx will use the exact same for-pay pricing methods and parameters.

    I reiterate that we plan to have a lot of for-pay sync licenses at Music Cult, which is a win-win for everyone…



    Art Munson

    I have a silly question: What is the purpose of MusicCult.com?

    I really do not understand the point of signing with MusicCult if I already have songs with AudioSparx. What would be the difference between the two sites besides a different web address? It looks like all if the songs and info from AudioSparx would be on the other site too. What is the benefit to composers for signing up on both sites?



    First of all I dont think Audiosparx is unethical in any way. Personally I have found them very upfront in any dealings I have had with them and also I am quite successful with them.


    I dont think Music Cult is different from many libraries out there in offering gratis licenses, this is an evolving/evolved business model. It doesn’t make any sense for Music Cult to give gratis licenses with no expectation  of backend either, they would make no money  !! There is surely a big impetus for Music Cult to handle this correctly or otherwise they are shooting themselves in the foot and also severely jeopardizing AudioSparx sales ?

    I do have AS handle the publishing for me so that part is not an issue, it may be for some though. I do think a possible idea WOULD be to allow composers to assign some of their catalogue as Exclusive and have only that portion of their AS tracks included in Music Cult. Personally I am leaning towards ticking the box,I cant see a huge downside for me. This is still a non-exclusive deal albeit  with a 5 year term.

    This is a business after all and everyone has to take a measured leap of faith sometimes.

    The great thing about this site is talking about these things in the open and getting feedback not only from the library involved but also composers.


    I am only chiming in because Barbie commented, thus opening things up….

    I agree that Audiosparx is great, straightforward, and I give them kudos for opening up this dialog.  Barbie in particular has been really helpful to me and has offered advice on more than a few occasions that worked out/proved best.  I trust her.

    That said, I struggle with this decision even after seeing several different explanations.  I think I would prefer to allocate only a handful of tracks from my catalogue to that site, or make some Exclusive to the new site.

    And my cursor hovers above the box as well.

    Art Munson

    This thread should really be in the MusicCult library listing. Unfortunately there is no easy way to move this thread so I’m closing it. Please go here for future comments: https://musiclibraryreport.com/m-to-m/musiccult/.

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