Worst Case Scenario.

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  • #8216 Reply

    What with the world economy being less than secure and some companies struggling and going out of business.

    What would happen to a composers work if a library they had work in went out of business, with no prospect of them being taken over by another company.

    Just in case anyone panics,this is a purely hypothetical question.


    #8217 Reply

    I think about this kind of thing alot. That’s why it’s best for us to get with multiple libraries. There will inevitably be some libraries that don’t stay around, or stop getting clients.

    #8218 Reply

    Thanks Nathan,I thought it might just be me being over concerned but the thought that my music or in fact anybody’s music is stuck in a legal vault that we don’t have access to, in perpetuity does not fill me with a lot of hope.


    #8221 Reply

    Our resident music attorney, MichaelL, will hopefully chime in but… My *GUESS* is if you had tracks in an exclusive library that goes out of business or is OBVIOUSLY not able to live up to their side of the contract in good faith anymore, there probably is a (reasonably) simple way to declare the contract null and void. I would think this would be especially true if there was evidence they were no longer a functioning business.

    However, I am NOT an attorney and this is a guess.

    For many reasons in addition to this one, it’s usually a good idea not to have all your eggs in any one basket anyway.


    #8222 Reply

    The lawyers’ answer….it depends.

    A lot will depend on what is in the contract. A well written contract should contain a clause that spells out what happens if either party is not able to perform its side of the bargain.

    A lot also depends on what is meant by exclusive. If you’ve entered into a exclusive “representation” agreement, but have not transferred ownership of the copyright, I would argue that you are free to move on, and put your tracks elsewhere, something like a reversion clause.

    If, on the other hand, you have transferred ownership of the copyright, you are somewhat SOL, because it’s no longer your property. Moreover, the copyrights that the defunct library owns would be counted as part of its assets and could be liquidated to satisfy its liabilities. In other words, your tracks could be sold to pay the company’s debts.

    The worst case scenario under that circumstance is that, absent a contractual clause spelling out continued obligation to you in the event of a sale, the new “owner” of your tracks may not owe you anything.

    In best case scenario you have an opportunity…foot in the door…with the new company.

    My personal, not legal, advice: if you’re going to sign tracks exclusively be very selective about the companies. I know that’s hard to grasp, when most writers are falling over themselves to get into libraries, but you really need to be careful. Get a lawyer to read the contract.

    DO YOUR HOMEWORK…check the company out. See who has skin in the game.¬†There are plenty of established and reputable exclusive libraries, like Megatrax, DeWolfe, KPM, etc. And then, there are the companies who know that they can take advantage of desperate composers.

    WIth respect to Royalty Free libraries, most have no ownership interest in your music. If they go out of business, they’re out of business. Hopefully, your tracks are in other libraries.

    There are two RF situations in which things could / would be more complicated: 1) you sign exclusively, 2) you assign your publishing to the RF company.

    Again, it’s all going to depend upon what is in the contract. Who is the publisher of your music, if the company goes under?

    RF companies pop up like mushrooms, and they fade away just as quickly. Personally, I would stick with the established companies.[Removed by moderator].

    Be prolific and don’t be precious!



    #8223 Reply


    Thanks Michael.( the other one!!!!) : )


    And of course,thank you “Advice”.

    #8224 Reply

    OK…I have to make an addendum to my answer. Art removed a portion of the answer, I assume because I named companies by name, and it looked like an endorsement. I understand completely.

    However, the way it reads now, it may look like I am recommending established exclusive libraries over royalty free libraries, in general. That is not the case.

    I’ve been through the worst case scenario. I have several hundred tracks that were in a small exclusive library, that have changed hands a few times, for which I will never see another penny.

    The advantage of high-end exclusives is access to high-end placements. That’s great IF you write and produce high-end cues. The bar is pretty high.¬†There is, however, no particular advantage to being “exclusive” if the library isn’t well connected.

    If you write “functional” music, that works well for a variety of clients, I like the RF model. I like the RF model because you retain control of your catalog. You’re not doing desperation deals and selling the cow for a handful of beans. You’re building something of value…your catalog.¬†

    Whether you put your tracks into exclusive libraries or RF libraries, I think that in most cases established companies, with a track record, are the safer bet.

    (Although, I don’t see any undue risk with putting tracks into new RF libraries, if you retain ownership, other than the time you spend uploading and tagging.)


    #8225 Reply

    Hi Michael,

    I am sorry to have been the cause of any extra work for you,I think your post was a shining example of somebody trying to help others with their knowledge and experience.

    I took the names mentioned as they were meant, as examples and not endorsements but like you I understand Art wants to keep MLR as neutral and not to appear to show bias but thank you again very much for your input.


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