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  • in reply to: What does "exclusive license" really mean? #33497

    +2 for Art

    Speaking from my lawyer side (and no this is not legal advice) – it depends upon the contract. You have to look at the contract terms really closely to decide what you can and what you cannot do. There is no such thing as a “standard contract”.

    If it is a handshake agreement, the agreement is as good as the paper its written on.

    Be careful what you do. Your copyright/publishing rights are probably the most important IP you own.

    in reply to: Musicians Fear for Livelihood Without Streaming Residuals #33463

    Just got this e-mail this morning and it details the calculation.

    Thanks for the update. Congrats on you pensions! You were part of that “Golden Era”.

    in reply to: Musicians Fear for Livelihood Without Streaming Residuals #33462

    I am afraid that there are too many hungry young writers that charge forward so fast and will sign any contract presented to them.

    Bingo. That’s the dilemma. However, that issue also determines the value of your music, or my music. How are we differentiated? If we are not differentiated, the value of our music is the same – almost worthless. Law of supply and demand.

    There are reasons why purchasers will pay more for yours or my product than the “hungry young writer”. Why was an Earle Hagen or John Carpenter hired instead of a novice? If dollars was the only concern, they would have been on the street at their prices.

    Maybe those low compensation areas are to be left to the hungry young writers and the pros simply say no. At that point, the “Oligarchy” can decide whether to lure the pros in at higher prices. If the differentiation does not matter, the prices will not go up. If the quality is needed, the prices would rise. The market decides the price. The Oligarchy may be the primary purchaser, but if there is no supply of quality product, the price necessarily will go up to meet the demand.

    There is a huge difference between world-class product and novice product. The market will pay the difference if the world-class supply is controlled by the pros. Will the $48 payment of downloads change your life if you don’t get it? Maybe the answer is to say “no”. If enough people say “no” the prices will rise. We control the supply. If we do not give them the music, there is nothing to sell. I suggest that if 30% of the quality music went away, prices would rise. The market is over-saturated of quality music. We can correct that problem.

    At my point of life, if I am competing with the novices, I’m in the wrong area.

    in reply to: Musicians Fear for Livelihood Without Streaming Residuals #33456

    What you are describing is what the unions brought to the table in value. If content providers refused to provide content unless the “Oligarchy” agreed to pay x, there would be a break in the downward spiral.

    Lucille Ball and Dezi Arnaz were the first to break from grips of the studios when they refused to give up their publishing rights and licensed all of their shows. Max Steiner learned in his later years that he actually had that power and refused to work unless he kept all of his publishing rights. He taught Earle Hagen and Henry Mancini the same lesson. Once they became a popular commodity, they refused to work unless they kept the publishing rights. Law of supply and demand again at work.

    What if the production writers got together and withheld their material unless they got reasonable compensation? Where would the Oligarchy find content? Of course, it can be argued that there are so many writers that would “cross the line” that it would never work. When I was with Local 47, there were about 50,000 members, but only about 1500 were high enough quality players to do the studio work . It was those 1500 which had to stand together. The others didn’t really matter. Likewise, it is the writers who are competent enough to provide quality content which would have to stand together. The Oligarchy could not survive on inferior product.

    The Oligarchy has a lot of currently licensed product. Refusing to provide new content would take awhile to feel the pinch. However, screen writers did it. https://www.wga.org/the-guild/going-guild/join-the-guild Why not commercial music writers?

    in reply to: Musicians Fear for Livelihood Without Streaming Residuals #33452

    I would gladly voluntarily report my royalties and sync fee income and pay union “work dues” if that lead to a pension at the age of 67 or so.

    I got a notice last week from AFM that it is seeking federal protection as the amounts it has in the pension fund are not enough to cover its liabilities. Effectively, the pension fund is bankrupt. While my pension was not huge, it was enough that I was looking forward to getting it. Kiss that goodbye.

    in reply to: BMI, Tunesat, and how you did it….. #33441

    The PRO’s will use a model that maximizes their bottom line. Here’s an example of my experience with BMI:

    I have a composition that was a minor hit about 15 years ago. I knew that commercial radio was spinning the song thousands of times. A spin on commercial radio is good money. I saw royalties on my statement for less than 1% of the spins. I knew what the spins were because I was following all the radio stations playing my tune and they were giving me their playlists with the number of spins that were being reported to BMI.

    IMPORTANT: All the spins that I was trying to seek royalties on were actually reported to BMI.

    I challenged BMI on this and I was going in totally documented. The result? BMI’s “policy” at that time is that spin royalties were paid based upon their “samples” of radio station plays. Their “samples” were final and not appealable. The fact that I had thousands of documented spins reported to BMI did not matter. BMI got the royalty payments from the radio stations and in many cases zero went to me.

    I firmly believe that unless the composer is affiliated with a heavy-hitter publishing house, the PRO is not the composer’s friend.

    in reply to: Musicians Fear for Livelihood Without Streaming Residuals #33439

    This is not something new. The demand for replay residuals is what nuked the musicians in the 1980’s. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/01/15/us/167-day-musicians-strike-ends.html

    The history goes back decades before the 1980-81 strike. Music is considered a “performance” in the same way actors perform. The actors guild several decades before had taken the approach of a small wage but royalties on the performance if the movie became popular. The musicians’ union, on the other hand, chose the route of getting a higher wage but no residuals – the recorded performance was a buyout.

    By the time the ’70’s came around, we had great wages for the day and lots of work. Granted, only a small percentage of musicians got the good work, but if you were in that elite group it was an amazing life.

    However, some musicians got greedy – especially the string players. They wanted the high hourly wage and residuals. The producers wanted no part of it. They were paying lofty wages and were not willing to add residuals on top. The line in the sand was drawn.

    The union voted to strike. I voted against the strike. The producers in response took the work to Europe. They found that they could get the music performed for only 10% of the cost in the U.S. At the time, a three hour date for a L.A. studio orchestra was roughly $25,000. London Symphony, $2500.

    Remember all those movies in the early 1980’s, such as ET, that used the London Symphony? That’s why. After 167 days, the union went groveling back to the producers. We “went back to work” with a twenty percent cut in pay and no residuals. Oh, and by the way, 90% of the work was going to stay in Europe.

    Now with the advent of all the technology that came around, it was probably a matter of time anyway that the studio work would go away. However, that ill-planned strike hastened the demise.

    At the time, the technology was very expensive. I had a choice of going the technology route and paying a boatload of money to get in. I knew that the equipment would become outdated and almost worthless in just a couple of years. I decided to not go that route. I moved away from music being my primary source of income. Looking back, it was the right move for me.

    There is lots of music out there with people willing to pay for it. However, it takes a lot of business savvy to sell the music. To be successful, the musician also has to be a skilled merchant. The unskilled are the ones who get taken by the business people. Law of supply and demand. Lots of artists out there who don’t understand business and are giving away their work for next to nothing. Why pay a lot of money when you can buy something that works dirt cheap.

    However, the biggest weapon the musician has is their work. There is only one person that can write and perform that person’s song or cue. It can be imitated but it is not the same. A cover of a popular song is almost never as good as the original.

    If your work is really top quality, there will be those who will pay a premium to use it. Again, law of supply and demand. The supply of your music is you and only you. If there is a demand for your music, there is only one place to get it. The right combination of artistry and business savvy is what it takes.

    in reply to: Negative People on Music Library Report #33405

    @LAwriter- The early 80’s was the end of the golden era. I was lucky enough to be there in the ’70’s where it was really hopping and be one of those “6%” at Local 47. Actually did pretty well. The TV/Film strike in 1981 nuked the musicians. It was the biggest mistake the union ever did. That decade was a transformation period. I personally did not see a future and decided to change gears.

    I have continued on a relatively low level and even though I do not put in a lot of effort, I have a enough success to make it fun. I have another career now that puts the food on the table

    I have received very good information from this forum, and very good direct tips from some of the members. The negative writers are a stark reminder that it is not easy to be financially successful in music. However, it was tough in the Golden Era too. Unless there are personal attacks on other members, the negative posts actually add value.

    While my experience is pretty dated, I think it still applies. Assuming that one has the requisite talent, success in the business primarily comes from extensive work in building relationships and being politically savvy. We used to go by a saying “no matter how good you get, there are 20 people that came into town yesterday that can blow the doors off of you.” It kept us humble.

    Once you have the people in the positions of power liking you personally, it is developing a reputation that you can do the work and do it well. You show up on time. You are consistent. You don’t alienate others you are working on the project with.

    Hope the comments keep coming.

    in reply to: PMA Libs. for Americana Tracks? #33006

    It’s interesting how wording and posturing is so important. You are giving very good insight and appreciate all your guidance.

    in reply to: PMA Libs. for Americana Tracks? #33004

    Do you have new music that is “Completely free of anything previous?”

    Yes, certainly.

    Me personally, I would not submit anything that could even remotely be attached to a separate relationship.

    I appreciate that insight and will follow it.

    Not sure about anyone else’s journey with the majors, but the paper-work is super tight/a lock down. Especially when it gets to Uni******. I don’t know about all of The Majors. BUT, “Be prepared to sign over exclusives with NO reversion”.

    That was my experience back in the day too. I assume that they haven’t changed. I have resigned to myself that a “lock down” will be part of the next step. Memories of days past roar back as I reacquaint myself with this world.

    That part goes against my grain, however. My first experiences on the high level music business was with Earle Hagen. Earle was adamant about keeping the publishing rights – and he had the reputation to do so. I was always admonished about never giving up the publishing. The publishing rights to Andy Griffith, I Spy, Mod Squad, and Dukes of Hazzard were all his.

    That’s what made JP enticing when I started jumping back in. The contracts really didn’t tie up the recordings forever, nor did I give up the copyrights.

    I know that in today’s environment and where I am at, that keeping the publishing is unrealistic – at least at this step. At my age, I doubt I will move on past that step, but one never knows.

    Query: Do I even mention the current JP relationship and that I want to move?

    in reply to: PMA Libs. for Americana Tracks? #32997

    Very good points. I have a good portion of my material with JP on both non-exclusive and exclusive basis. However, all my exclusive is at a point where I can terminate. There is some notice period, which I will need to review. I think it is 6 months or less notice. My non-ex can terminate immediately. So, it sounds like this is something I need to disclose up front. Right?

    I do have good material that is totally available too. Also, of course, JP does not own the copyrights, just rights to the recordings themselves. Nothing stopping me from doing a new recording of the same composition.

    in reply to: PMA Libs. for Americana Tracks? #32995

    Trust Me, it really works!!

    Thank you so much! I can tell you have good real-life experience in this.

    How much to send? Reading their sites, it seems like the preferred platform is Disco. In the “old days” we would send three examples. If they were interested, they would ask for more. Is that still the norm?

    What to send? I have a choice of material that has had good placements, or material (I personally prefer) that has not been placed yet. I will certainly note my bigger placements in my email, but not sure what is the best strategy to get them interested. Any thoughts there? Any insight will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    in reply to: PMA Libs. for Americana Tracks? #32990

    just a quick FYI. Just about ALL of The Majors have a ‘Submissions Email” on their websites.

    Based on your experience, will one really get anywhere with the majors, like Universal or Warner, submitting cold on the website? Haven’t done it for quite awhile, but I always thought it was a relationship game.

    in reply to: Quick orchestration experiment #32988

    I really like it. Went on your Soundcloud site and listened to some of your other tracks and they were very strong too.

    Can’t help you much on where to place them, but I think you should be pretty competitive.

    in reply to: Moving to ASCAP, BMI in 2019 #32737

    Throughout my career I have been with BMI. Don’t know if it’s better or worse than the other PRO’s, but I do get a check every quarter.

    BMI and ASCAP are the most accepted PRO’s in the US. I would affiliate with one of them if you are planning to do work in the US.

Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 63 total)

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