Forum Replies Created
Art – my point is, I don’t think it deserves a new topic, but I’m unsure about the “definition” of “on topic”. IMO composer f’s comment was “on topic” but argumentative. So…. go figure. I’ll continue to browse and mostly keep my mouth shut. I value what you’re doing here and don’t want to derail…. Cheers,
I have thoughts on all of this, but honestly, I’m not sure if I can stay “on topic” enough. What seems on topic to me has been in the past honestly described as off topic, so I will refrain so as not to derail the conversation.
I will say I enjoy the topic and discussion, and believe it’s one that should be discussed openly and candidly.September 30, 2016 at 9:29 pm in reply to: What to do when a film company doesn’t pay the tab on an exclusive agreement? #25957
First, you should contact an entertainment attorney. That’s the only REAL way you are going to get solid, legal answers. I’m not sure what country or state you are in, so there are so many variables that it’s difficult to comment. Also, keep in mind I’m about as far from being an attorney as you can get, but…..All that said….
You own the copyright. I presume you also own the master (sync) rights, and granted that to them in exchange for the ENTIRE payment, which they did not make.
You mention they are “distributing” the film, but I find that just boarderline insane. I don’t know any distribution outlet that would touch the film without ironclad contracts with all these things neatly and tidily taken care of.
If it’s in distribution, that puts you squarely in the power position. You can stop their film from seeing the light of day – ESPECIALLY if their goal is to sign it with a larger studio for distribution. You might just want to wait, and then pounce when they try to get real distribution?
Or, what I would do, I’d have an attorney draft a cease and desist style letter saying that due to their default on the agreed upon contract, they do not have permission to use your music in their film. Please remove your music and pull down all copies or risk legal action.
When they apologize and agree to send a check (and believe me, they will), mention that your attorney is handling these matters now, and that the agreed upon contract is null and void since they didn’t pay. Then let your attorney negotiate a new contract for you which includes his fees, a significant “raise”, and whatever else you feel is fair.
Keep in mind one thing – do you ever want to work with/for these people again, and how tied into the industry are they??? Cause they are NOT going to be happy with you if you lock down their film – even though you have every right.
>>>>If they are working professionals, I’d send the above letter and hope for the best, then drop it if they don’t pay you<<<<
Word gets around quickly and it’s a small industry. If you shut them down they will almost certainly tell all their associates what a $##@!##$ you are. Of course, they would be liars, but that’s how this industry is, and people will remember the scenario – and you. If you don’t see anything positive happening with them or their associates in the future, go ahead and set your attorney on pulling down the film, and then do whatever you like with the music you created.
Again, please consult an attorney and don’t take anything I say as legitimate legal advice. It’s just how I’d handle things.
BTW, I’ve see things like this happen on MAJOR Hollywood blockbusters where a staff attorney at the studio wouldn’t treat a composer fairly, and refused to budge on the composers reasonable requests. Eventually, time moved forward and the film was dubbed with said music in place, and when it was ready for release (2 weeks out and trailers had already been announcing the film for a month), the composer made a call to the director who went ballistic on the studio and music supervisor for not taking care of business. The legal team came to the realization that they screwed up and that the Composer still owned and controlled several songs in the movie, and hadn’t signed the miserably one-sided contract they tried to ram down his throat.” FIX IT!!!!!- was the order of the day. You have NEVER seen such @$$ kissing and apologies to the composer. LOL When something is ready for release and the details have not been taken care of, oy!! Their butt is in a serious place of hurt. This could have cost them 10’s of millions as the film might not have been able to be released or it could have cost them dearly to buy out the composer.
To his credit, the composer played cool, cause it was the long term industry-wise thing to do. He literally could have asked for a $500k license for each song and it would have been paid. And the legal team for the studio would no doubt have been fired. But he didn’t and now, they love him for being reasonable and not playing hardball.
Keep that in mind. I told you this story so that you can see the positive of helping the producers get their stuff together. It can work in your favor if you are a reasonable person.
You have the controlling position. Stay calm, act responsibly, take the high ground, and get good council. Who knows, you might end up being a producer on the film with partial ownership. LOLSeptember 20, 2016 at 11:11 am in reply to: PMA And The State Of The Production Music Business #25866
music123 wrote :
Regarding RF vs PMA type libraries
Good points music123! I need a like button as well. 😀 Is there a way to PM on this site? I’d like to touch base with you and ask you some questions “off-line” if you’re interested. Cheers,
-LAWriter-September 20, 2016 at 11:05 am in reply to: PMA And The State Of The Production Music Business #25865
Chuck asks :
Why royalty free instead of good exclusives?
Chuck, that’s an excellent question, and one I wrestle with myself – daily. I don’t have a definitive answer, but the main reason – IMO – is that network and cable TV are fading out, and streaming is becoming the “norm”. At this point, ASCAP and BMI have yet to figure out how to monetize streaming revenues effectively. On my BMI statements, Internet Streaming sources have grown to over 1/2 of my reported income – both domestic and foreign, and although huge in the amount of performances, it amounts to only a couple hundred dollars at best in terms of dollars while broadcast (although shrinking) is 50-80X’s as much. Not good.
What can we draw from this? Over the next few years – quite possibly – traditional Cable and Network payouts are going to shrink dramatically as technology shifts us over to streaming – because BMI/ASCAP’s current income model is based on Cable and Networks BROADCAST (not streaming) earnings. So…
When this happens, PRO back end royalties could (and most likely will) be affected dramatically – in a negative way. Front end sync royalties for Non-Ex libs will not be affected.
So your current observation of exclusive libraries out performing Non Ex libraries in back end returns could flip over quickly as the “composer royalty income paradigm” shifts towards front end sync’s exceeding back end performances.
If/when front end Sync’s exceed back end performance royalties…..your 4:1 observations will no longer be viable.
-LAWriter-September 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm in reply to: PMA And The State Of The Production Music Business #25861
I have put my very, very best music into the top PMA exclusive libraries over the last 20 years. Those titles are around 40% of my total library. The balance – 60% of my total library are basically in two non-exclusive libraries. In the backend performance world, the exclusives net 10-15% of my BMI royalties. The non-exclusives net me 85-90% of my BMI royalties.
I would be much better off financially if I had put the 40% exclusives into the non-exclusive paradigm, and been 100% non-exclusive. That’s just numbers, not philosophy.
THEN, there’s one time exclusive front end payouts vs. monthly non-exclusive sync license payouts for those 40%. Long term (5 to maybe 10 years), I believe the monthly sync licenses would far exceed what the PMA libraries paid me up front – which was fairly substantial.
On the front end syncs vs. BMI backend – which is an abstract comparison, but one I think is worth looking at, because unless BMI and ASCAP can start monitoring streaming, we very may not have a BMI/ASCAP payout much longer….. My front end sync licenses are coming from only ONE NE library and are gaining on BMI. They are currently around 25-33 % of my BMI backend every quarter. That’s substantial.
With those numbers, I can’t really see the PMA’s “protect the production music paradigm” perspective any longer. As music123 notes, the numbers just don’t add up to the hype any longer.
I’m desperately trying to wrap my head around jettisoning everything I’ve tried to accomplish the last 20 years, but the numbers keep slapping me in the face.
-LAWriter-September 19, 2016 at 1:42 pm in reply to: PMA And The State Of The Production Music Business #25848
MichaelL – the “PSS We don’t accept music from composers with music in RF libraries” is pure and simple…well, I won’t say it. It’s the same $#@! that I’ve heard from other PMA libraries in the past.
Absolutely infuriating. IMO. There’s no way I’d let any music out for $125. If they multiplied that figure time 15 or 20 they might be able to pull off that kind of attitude, but $125?!?? I don’t care how good their rep might be. An attitude like that will seal their fate longterm as the industry starts to turn backwards and head the opposite direction.
Art, Music123 – in light of staying on topic, would you mind commenting on my recent post in the “other” PMA – music biz thread? thanksSeptember 19, 2016 at 9:43 am in reply to: PMA And The State Of The Production Music Business #25838
Since this has been changed over to a “state of the production music business” thread, I have something to discuss that’s on topic and that’s been on my mind for awhile.
I think that as up-front master rights payments get smaller and smaller, and as ASCAP and BMI are loosing their grip, the “get paid sync upfront, and performance backend” paradigm is loosing it’s allure.
Sure, I’d rather be associated with huge well known libraries, but more than that, I’d rather earn a living. The big libraries (virtually all of whom are PMA) are failing at that right now. Even $2k is not enough for me to produce a track, pay musicians, pay production staff, build a studio, pay the bills, and net a profit for “writing” the cue – unless the back end is phenomenal. And those “phenomenal” back end days are long gone from my perspective. ESPECIALLY with netflix, streaming, etc. looming in the shadows.
Oh wait – they are not in the shadows anymore… So…
So let’s talk about the old school paradigm of sign your creative copyright and masters away to the big company and let them control your destiny because they have your best interest at heart vs. the new school paradigm of retaining and managing your own copyright :
Old School Strike 1 – upfront payouts dismal, and not appropriate for the degree of work and creativity going into a musical product.
Old School Strike 2 – backend is shrinking consistently, BMI and ASCAP are completely ineffective in getting even 1/10th of what they should be from streaming services, and in a few short years streaming WILL be virtually all that matters. So….steeeerike 2!
Old School Strike 3 – None of the “biggies” I’ve ever been associated with will split sync’s with me. To boot, they are mostly doing blankets which would be a joke anyway. Then, they want my music in perpetuity even if they do not perform. Meanwhile, royalty free libraries are paying real money – although small – UP FRONT sync’s which at this point in time, I think is the future of royalties – AND I can control my copyrights if they do not perform, or move my music, or change things up, or try different musical distribution directions.
Seems like a total no brainer to me, and yet, I’m still having a hard time leaving the PMA and it’s associated libraries in the dust.
Any thoughts? Am I crazy? Am I writing music that is out of touch with the times? Am I just having a writers mental breakdown? Love to hear any of your thoughts on this, cause I have 4 huge projects that were originally envisioned for the “mainstream” that I am considering keeping the masters and copyright for, and putting them into what is becoming a good thing – non exclusive libraries.
Thanks for any thoughts.
MichaelL – I agree! Mentoring is critical. Unfortunately, the “intern” debacle has made most composers qualified to mentor not want to go there. I’m grateful for the opportunities I had.
MusicMatters – agreed as well. I’m not sure why the PMA is courting composers. It’s been a publisher only organization in the past. And I agree that our “expectations” are unlikely (as in a snowballs chance in hell) of being addressed. Still, as I asked earlier – the question remains – why?
Music123 – Great stuff!! Where’s the like button? 😀