Forum Replies Created
- October 7, 2017 at 10:16 am in reply to: Do you give up writers share to those who demand it? #28506
I was once asked by a company to split 50/50 on the writers and 50/50 on the publishers. I kindly declined.
50% writers and 50% publishers? Isn’t that essentially the same as giving up publishers and getting 100% writers? I mean dollar wise that is? I’m not sure where the problem is with that. The dollar figure would be the same. But its a weird split that’s for sure – a deal like that would make me feel that the publisher didn’t really know what they were doing. I’d probably decline too, but not because of the split – because of the ignorance of the deal.
re: writers splits with entities that didn’t write a note –
First, I have to admit I haven’t read the article yet, but on one hand, I have turned down offers like this and on the other hand, I know people who have become very successful doing offers like this, so I’ll give my thoughts first….
Who likes giving away money? No one of course. But in any business, it TAKES money invested to make money on the bottom line. Spending hard earned cash on promotion, advertising or having expensive cars built for the business by WCC is the backbone of promotion and business in the USA – and successful businesses have learned how to successfully balance “money spent frivolously” with their bottom line profits. This is really no different from my perspective.
The reason for the recent trend of splitting of writers with publishers that I have seen is not due to writers being ignorant, or publishers being greedy – it’s because of production companies now wanting part – or now the trend is all – of publishing in order to do a blanket deal and use the music production companies music exclusively. This results in the music production company ending up with NOTHING – which of course is not a good business model. 🙂 So – they want part of the writers share. And that is ONE of the cutting edge issues that face us as writers.
Of course, that exclusive use of one music publishers catalog by said production company is fantastic. And also of course, the production company requiring the publishing share is disturbing. But it’s becoming inevitable in the current market from what I’ve seen. When one or two successful production companies pull this off, the others will follow – or at least try to follow, and in the current market of extreme competition, they will almost certainly get a PIECE of the pie. It ends with the business model CHANGING. And those who can change and be smart survive. Those who can’t change get led into the ice age.
So…if we find ourselves in the middle of this cauldron, the question becomes, are you willing to give up a little to gain a lot? Or….are you willing to give up a lot to gain a lot? And perhaps most importantly – WAY more important than feeling the insult of someone taking your hard earned income — can you quantify what the little and lot is and can you quantify whether or not it will benefit you financially in both the long and short time?
The above scenarios can be a horrible, or awesome deal. It really just depends on the situation. Some of the highest paid library writers I know who are making way over 6 figures have been doing deals like this for over 10 years. Probably closer to 20 years with music production companies that are well connected. It has worked out fantastic for them.
Way better than for those who have been trying to get their music into the top tier A level exclusive libraries that are working the old school traditional music library business models.
Would it work out fantastic to do the same type of deal with a startup on-line music library company? Very doubtful.
I think you have to judge the situation. If the publisher has a captive production company that is putting out multiple popular shows using ONLY their music, and the production company takes part or all of the publishing, but in turn puts the music to use immediately, often, and with great placements…..then I’d consider it. I’ve seen precisely that deal pay off houses, send kids to college and buy really nice cars for writers I know.
Personally, I’d never do it exclusively even though some of the guys I know have. If offered, I’d only with a re-title where I keep the ownership of the master and original title.
But what said, a wise man who has built and sold MANY music libraries, made a lot of money once told me : you can’t spend or eat percentages. You CAN spend cash from placements.
Thoughts…. We had better be thinking 10 years down the line instead of ten years ago. That will give longevity and success.
Now…I’ve got to go read that article.
Interesting enough how some members say they use a same bed track but change a melody around a little and use that as another track.
I’m not sure who is saying that, but if the tracks are placed exclusively, that’s very dangerous ground.
In this biz, the one thing that must be guarded more than anything else is “relationships”. I’d have a VERY hard time explaining that to any of the people I work with.
Why not just write a new track? If you have to, use the same template, arrangement, form, groove, or whatever, but start from scratch.
No, they are a vocal version and instrumental version of the same song.
Thanks for the info @Music1234. I’ve seen that. I suppose that’s a start, but not very transparent in terms of how those incomes get distributed. For instance –
BMI states foreign revenues to be $294M, and streaming / digital to be $163M.
Let’s round up foreign to 300 million, and round digital revenues down to 150 million for easy math. Essentially, digital is providing 1/2 the revenue that foreign is. Right? (I know this is not scientific, but this is an INDICATOR pointing to a huge discrepancy.)
OK, assuming the above, why is my foreign royalty more than 20X’s greater than my digital royalties this qtr? That’s a fair question, no? My placements are pretty well distributed across all venues. And BTW, that was for a very poor foreign quarter, and a very “good” (makes me wanna barf to even type that) digital royalty quarter. Normally it would be closer to 50X’s more.
Here’s the double headed problem IMO — 1.) BMI is moving money around where it doesn’t belong, AND, 2.) Netflix, et al are not paying their fair share. Put the two together and we have a serious problem as shows start to move over.
Solutions? Who knows, but SESAC is looking pretty good to me now. I would already have changed over, but missed my date by a couple of months.
Just so I can be upfront, and honest. My viewpoint about My PRO losing out on money just like I am; is because I am with SESAC..
Aaahhhh. Cool. Makes perfect sense. Congrats.
Thanks for the thoughts Beatslinger. I appreciate your thoughts as well.
regarding this :
While WE Composers/Writers are losing a LOT of Money; so are OUR PRO’s!
I can’t agree with this. The PRO’s are working for us. (SESAC excluded) They are non profit, and no matter HOW much or little they collect, all their salaries will be paid in full, promptly, with nice cost of living increases. They have no skin in the game.
Unless there is TRANSPARENCY in reporting, we will never know though. Netflix says they are paying MORE than their fair share. So….who to believe? BMI has been sucking off funds that were generated by network and cable and putting them into their favorite areas for YEARS. I suspect they are doing likewise with streaming royalties, because there is :
no history of payments because streaming is brand new
no transparency of what they are making from streaming
no accountability to writers.
We however will be the ones who hold up their salaries – at our expense. I don’t know if you saw it or not on another thread, but a buddy of mine who was expecting huge royalties (15-20K I’m guessing a quarter) had a major network put his show onto Netflix. All seasons. His royalties plummeted to between $300-400. This is for a 5 year series. Talk about panic’d.
We’re long past due to figure this out. Long past. Unless something happens very quickly, those coming up will not make it.
BTW, just for reference, what PRO are you with? ASCAP? BMI? Other?
Sorry, it looked too much like spam to the spam filter. Seems long posts are the most problematic. I’ll contact the developer and see if there is a work around.
Weird. Losing posts again. I’ll try a third time….
I agree with most of your points, but they seem completely off topic and/or ignoring the elephant in the room. I don’t see how they pertain to the original post, and I don’t understand how – if we consider them 100% accurate – they apply on how to structure our business models – which is essentially what John was asking.
You’ve obviously been around long enough to see the changes happening in the industry.
If you don’t mind, I’ve got a couple questions as they relate to your (apparently) back end based business business model :
1. How long (if ever) do you think it will take until streaming becomes the dominant form of content delivery?
2. How do you view streaming royalties in 2017 as compared to Network/Cable royalties in 2017.
3. Do you think streaming royalties will “change” for the positive and if yes, please give us your reasoning for this.
For a long time I believed streaming royalties would “get better” as more people switched over to VOD, but at this point, I’ve gotten several examples with empirical data that point quite the opposite. Depending on the future of cable/network and government and the powers that be at the PRO’s, if all goes streaming, royalties as we have known them will be gone. The only hope at that point will be for work for hire as the OP suggests, or for sync royalties and retaining ownership to our own works.
If Cable and Network stay the same and as profitable as they have been for the last 50 years, then we have nothing to worry about. Celebrate the few hundred extra that streaming brings. BUT, if profits and accounting are any indication, Network and Cable channels advertising income is definitely in the decline, as their contributions to PRO’s started going down a couple of years ago after 50 years of steadily rising.
Interested to hear your thoughts.
The business overall is affected by a myriad of things. Technology being at the forefront, global competition, changing business models, etc. following quickly. And upfront payouts (work for hire buyouts) – which is what the JohnA (the OP) is suggesting – are definitely affected. In the film biz, in the TV biz, and in the library biz.
Back in the day $2000-3000 a track up front payouts were not unusual. Try to find that now. Normal, TV Films paid out $80-100k for music. Features much higher. Again, in scarcity these days.
Perhaps you don’t have the time in to have seen the differences? Unless we’re living in a bubble anawares, we’re all affected, whether we feel it or not.
There is one library offering as little as $100 to purchase a track and doesn’t seem to be having problems getting composers.
Exactly. And that’s why you won’t be seeing $2000 a track payouts anytime soon….
I have had one PMA library that’s well connected offer to buy me out for $0 per track for a package I developed over the course of a year with great expense. All I would get is backend. Hahahahaaaa!! That’s the last time I’ll ever speak to them about a project.
Personally, I don’t even know how they could offer it with a straight face. Obviously they get SOMEONE to take their contract. And how do you compete against free?
I’ll answer my own question. You KEEP YOUR COPYRIGHT and work it yourself. Guaranteed you’ll do better than $0.
Unless I’m misunderstanding – which is possible – I don’t get your proposition. Work for hire has always been around – and probably always will be. It’s how TV and Film production companies work when they hire composers to work specifically for their needs. It’s how high end exclusive libraries work. They buy you out with an up front payment.
I think the only thing in question is HOW MUCH they pay and whether or not it’s worthwhile. In most circumstances – other than the very high end TV shows and Films – it’s not enough for 2017.
I will not give away a copyright ofor a good piece for $500. I can make more than that “OVER TIME” by working it myself. $1000? Maybe. $1500 is getting closer. Aside from top TV/Films, and maybe a library or two, who is offering $1500 for a piece of music? I can give you the answer if you don’t already know.
Budgets for TV shows and Films have dropped drastically in the last decade due to massive influx of competition (everyone wants to be a film composer, right?) and available music (libraries everywhere offering music for free, and even splitting publishing with the production company). That said, films usually need a dedicated composer, and TV shows can certainly benefit from one as well. But don’t fool yourself, the availability of composers and massive amounts of music definitely plays into how much said composers get paid. (Reality TV is pretty much gone for dedicated composers.)
It’s not unusual for very experienced film composers to take on a FEATURE film with an all-in budget around $25-35k these days. That is horrible pay IMO for the amount of work, and talent, and experience it takes to pull it off. With an hours worth of music, that comes in around $400-600 a minute. Episodic TV is pretty much just as bad. Best case you might be pulling in around $300 a minute – with production companies hoping that by season 2 you have created a “library” for them to music edit things together – so that they can edge you out of creating new works. Note, these are all-in budgets much of the time – composer pays all costs which can be very high (musicians, engineers, editors, etc.).
That money might look good at first glance, but it’s not great pay when you have to hire musicians, a mix engineer, orchestrator, music copyists, assistant and maybe a music editor just to survive the schedule.
The workaround is that those guys are DEPENDANT on the back end to make such low pay scales work. That’s how it’s always been and the production companies know it. Unfortunately, we are in a season of change with streaming taking over, and music being given away for free. The old school paradigms may or may not work depending on your situation and needs. And it’s pretty much out of your control.
That’s my opinion – but not everyone needs the same amount of money to live. For instance, it’s more inexpensive to live in India or Iowa vs. Los Angeles, etc..
So….what’s the answer? IMO, not going back to the old school model you suggest. We need something different in 2017. However, if we could get buyers of music to up that pay scale (it’s not going to happen in this climate and probably never will) then I would agree with you completely. Pay me fairly up front for the work I do for you instead of me hoping for some backend to make the gig worthwhile….
$500-$1000-$1500 won’t make it though.