What are your predictions for the impact on library music?

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  • #34520 Reply
    Mark_Petrie
    Participant

    I’m interested to hear what you guys think will happen to the library music business from the global response to the pandemic.
    Production on films and TV shows has stopped, most likely delaying the release of those. Post production is probably slowed down as well on projects already in the can. There might be a crazy push to get all these projects released once the peak of the virus curve seems past us (maybe in two months?)

    On the other hand, advertising often INCREASES during a recession, as businesses do whatever they can to juice sales.

    I also wonder what this will mean for libraries and composers – will it hurt newcomers more than established ones that already have residual revenue streams? (After all, people will still watch TV).

    How about royalty free? Will a quiet couple of months for the RF sites mean it speeds up the transition to a subscription based model?

    #34521 Reply
    Paul Biondi
    Guest

    Hey Mark – I don’t have any predictions about the music library business but what I do know is this isn’t the first and it won’t be the last disruption. Being well-rounded and adaptable is the best arsenal. Hey, we had DJs, pay to play, Napster, PROs demoting vocal background to background instrumental, subscription models, and more to come that we don’t know about ) and yet, we still make a good living with music.

    I’ve always liked this quote as a reminder that remaining optimistic, even when it’s difficult to do so, is the mindset for being able to spot opportunity.
    “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
    Winston Churchill

    #34522 Reply
    Music1234
    Participant

    “Skate where the puck is going”
    Indeed new shows are not in production and live sports broadcasts are history. These are negatives.

    The positives will be re-runs. Those of us who have music on shows produced in the past few years will see re-runs. And yes, advertising and youtube messaging will change and all corporations will start advertising “during these difficult times….our corporation is ensuring that we will do…. blank, blank, and blank…so you feel confident and safe………..etc” .

    The big dip has occurred in March because the news cycle is so negative, fearful, and shocking, but starting in April media producers will have to produce messages of “how to cope and adapt” and “how companies are implementing safety policies”….etc. So media will still get produced. All editors (our clients) will be editing from home.

    The performance royalties we will get paid reflect the past 6 to 18 months ago so this will help sustain our earnings in 2020 a bit. I suppose we will see declines on Q4 2020 through Q3 2021 PRO statements. Olympics will be cancelled which means all the media that was supposed to get produced and broadcast for the summer games is out the window.

    Bars, restaurants, retail stores, theme parks, hotels….hmmm ( all these extra sources of revenue for PRO’s) I really wonder about that. These businesses are closed so one has to wonder if they will even pay their annual license fees to ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in 2020.

    Key numbers to keep an eye on are what the pros will collect and distribute in 2020 compared to 2019

    If I were to take a guess at it, perhaps PRO’s will see a 20% to 30% decrease in revenue collected in 2020.
    We will not know for 1 year.

    ASCAP collected 1.27 Billion in 2018. I suppose they will report their 2019 revenue in 2 months or so.

    BMI already warned about 2020 revenue in their March distribution. So performance royalties earned in 2021 will be lower I predict. All PRO’s around the globe will see their revenue decline. EVERYONE in the world except Amazon, Wal Mart, Costco, grocery stores, health care, drug companies will see their revenue decline.

    It will be interesting to see if real estate prices crash down. I certainly hope University tuition crashes hard too.

    #34524 Reply
    maxpower
    Participant

    I was thinking recently (perhaps optimistically) there is going to be more demand for content than ever because everyone’s at home. I have noticed plenty of plays recently on lots of best moments/greatest game/top 100 type sports shows, (presumably editors can work remotely and put these programmes together) and as Music1234 says there will be plenty of repeats on TV – hopefully they will be repeats of shows with our music! Most of us who are a one person operation can continue to work as normal. I for one am very grateful for that. I think those of us who have been doing this for a long time – who are self-sufficient and are making a living – will survive it. Anybody attempting to break into this business right now – well it was already harder than ever before and I really feel for them, but my message to anyone would be the same as it always is – if you can, keep on keeping on.

    #34526 Reply
    Michael Nickolas
    Participant

    ASCAP is already notifying members of a decrease in revenue to them and therefore a decrease in royalties to us:

    Q: “Will I still get royalty distributions from ASCAP?

    A: Even while ASCAP offices are closed, ASCAP is still very much up and running and working for you. Our domestic publisher royalty distributions went out on March 20th, and we are working hard to get our domestic writer distributions out in April. Please understand that our U.S. licensee customers and foreign partners have experienced immediate and material challenges in their businesses. As a result, revenue to ASCAP will decrease during this time and, therefore, your royalty distributions will decrease as well. While we cannot put a figure on this right now, we will keep you updated as events unfold.”

    #34527 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    I’m much more worried about other aspects of the business as opposed to a virus based impact. As mentioned, viewership of shows is UP!! As for streaming royalties, PRO moving funds where they like, PRO NON transparency in accounting, subscription models gaining traction, networks feeling that they want to go direct license, production companies trying to take all the publishing of music they didn’t even commission, etc…..that’s what I’m concerned with.

    #34528 Reply
    Music1234
    Participant

    Michael, can you send a link to the ASCAP communications? It would seem to me that payments to us will drop in 6 to 9 months and not on the next two distributions because that revenue should already have been collected and slated for payment in April and July 2020. It will be interesting if they start slashing royalty distributions now. It’s my understanding that we are getting paid for 2019 performance royalties on this distribution and the next distribution. Even the foreign distributions for 2019 and 2018 should pay out normally for the remainder of this year. The October 2020 and January 2021 distributions should show declines. We’ll see what they do soon enough. BMI did not slash 2019 royalties, that’s for sure.

    #34529 Reply
    Michael Nickolas
    Participant

    On the ASCAP website home page, click on the “FAQ on the Government’s Coronavirus Relief Package” link.

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