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OK then, that’s cool. That wouldn’t entice me to join though.
Group health insurance or retirement benefits might though….
But seriously, you mentioned earlier what the PMA is “NOT” interested in. And I’m curious with that in mind, why they want writers to join. Especially since they have traditionally been publishers only. Thx.
Oy! It seems I have struck a raw nerve – again.
Sorry TAE. Art asked me what it would take to entice me to join the PMA. I honestly thought the PMA was for publishers only – as it used to be. So…I tried to answer that as truthfully and as on point as I could. The items you say it’s “NOT” about is exactly what it IS about for me. I have not just randomly found this thread and decided to post – this is something that has been on my mind for years. There should be room for all perspectives.
If I have offended you, please accept my humble and sincere apologies.
-LAWriter-September 18, 2016 at 11:55 am in reply to: PMA And The State Of The Production Music Business #25799
Thanks Art! I hope this brings about good discussion.
Art – thanks on all points. Appreciated.
Traditionally I was told that the PMA was for publishers only, and therefore, even though I have writing relationships with many large PMA libraries, I passed on joining – because I couldn’t. I’m not a publisher.
Evidently this seems to have changed. I will no doubt join, but I would not join to “get” something like seminars, education, access, etc., but rather to stand in solidarity with fellow writers. If this is a “publishers inviting writers in for second class status” then I’m not really interested. I have all the connections I need.
So….. what would entice me to join? (Sorry, I know this will inevitably drift into the A category somewhat)
1. The number one thing would be a shift from publisher perspective to a writer / publisher perspective. To be fair – there needs to be an equality between the two if they are opening it up. Writers vs. Publishers equally balanced in terms of leadership and direction – not a publisher direction with writers support. Not word only, but in deeds. Although we kind of play on the same team, there has traditionally been a business vs. creative bias, with the business side being in control. As is evidenced with US politics, to be effective for all, there needs to be balance. How about a non-publisher, writer leadership every other leadership cycle. I know this cannot happen overnight, but if I saw evidence of change, I’d be ALL over it.
2. A zero tolerance policy (at least on the books) for bias against anyone who writes “outside” the specs of what the PMA deems “acceptable”. No more behind doors blackballing. In other words, no back room politics against those who choose to also write for non-exclusive libraries. There was (is?) long standing leadership (past tense perhaps) bias against anyone who wrote non-exclusive titles. I definitely get the sense this is still the general party line.
3. Coming to grips with reality in 2016. i.e.: Non Exclusive and royalty free libraries aren’t going away. How can the PMA stay relevant and create better opportunities for me as a PMA writer? Among other things, perhaps by :
4. Inclusion of legitimate Non-Exclusive libraries that are working to help writers and grow their businesses legitimately. From a WRITERS perspective, the shift is moving away from “BMI/ASCAP” back end to smaller front end sync’s. Why? Because there are so many uses for music now that BMI and ASCAP do not seem to be able to monetize. (At least not efficiently) I for one do not want to leave money on the table.
5. No more preaching AGAINST other business paradigms that are outside the PMA’s party line. If they work hard to make the PMA paradigm superior, and no slamming of others is necessary. If they accept all writers independent of who they have written for in the past, this will strengthen the organization. Strength is created by forward thinking outside the box thinkers, not by shrinking into the past and locking doors.
6. Sorry, I know I’m overlapping a bit….A more forward thinking view of the industry, and less of a protectionist holding on to the past attitude. There IS a balance somewhere. A good example for them to look at would be the Musicians Union in the early 80’s. Look at what happened to them. They went from being a strong union that supported ALL of it’s members to a (fairly) impotent organization that is biased towards a few hundred individuals who are at the very top of the industry who can still operate in 1960’s / 70’s paradigms. The rest of musicians – including long standing members – have moved on. The film industry went offshore. The membership languished. The total income, work dues, etc. became a small percentage of what it was in the past. That’s a fail IMO. I don’t want to see the PMA follow suit. Honestly I don’t.
7. If they want to embrace and protect the Exclusive music paradigm, I’m AOK with that, but they need to also take a writers perspective if they want BOTH sides of the team to support it. A little fairness goes a long way if you want a membership equity… A reversion policy is long overdue with libraries in general. A fair and equitable buyout fee is woefully lacking. A split of sync fees is becoming standard, but I don’t generally see this implemented in PMA libraries. I could go on and on…. but…. In other words, if they want WRITERS to join, then need to represent writers interests too. I don’t know, maybe this is impractical. I mean, if the DNC asked republicans to join and vote their direction, do you think they would actually represent the views of conservative republicans. Or vice versa – repub vs. dem. No difference between the two – but I think you get my point. If I’m joining an organization, I don’t want to feel like I’m fighting against them, and traditionally, this is exactly what has been going on. Pub vs. Writer. It’s a long standing battle.
8. I know these thoughts would require a huge restructuring of the organization….so….. Practical easy things? Um….how about a list of every associated library with detailed description, contact info, link to their website, what they are currently looking for, etc. You know, a good resource for WRITERS.
Best of luck with the integration of writers into a publisher focused organization. I hope it works out fabulously. Time will tell.
-LAWriter-September 18, 2016 at 10:28 am in reply to: PMA And The State Of The Production Music Business #25794
There is no doubt that the production music world is changing, and that those who insist on blindly holding onto the past will be swept away by the currents of a changing society and its demands, the technological gale force winds which have changed music production to the core, and the ever escalating game of politics playing at a much higher level on the money food chain than music will ever attain.
To me this is highlighted and evidenced by the current push and demand for “exclusivity” while upfront payments for the “right” of exclusivity are dropping perilously — even to the point of no upfront payment. Those asking for perpetuity and exclusivity without serious up-front investment want the opportunity to have their cake and eat it to as dad used to say….
My perspective – if anyone wants exclusivity for my musical works, they had better be willing to pay dearly for it. For me to crawl under the covers with them and sign on their dotted lines, they had better have a vested interest sooo heavy that they are willing to not just put it on their ever-growing easily stocked shelves in case someone MIGHT want it, but instead, they had better be out there beating the bushes hard in an effort to monetize my investment for them. Because that’s what it is. MY investment for THEM. In the real world, I don’t just work for them – they are working for me.
In 2016, even $2k is not enough for a creative work to be signed away in perpetuity and exclusively. Making music full time at a top level is expensive, and there are too many new exciting options in a rapidly changing world to have my music tied up exclusively with someone not willing to pay upwards and over $1-2k for a piece.
I’m sorry, but for the PMA associated libraries offering nothing up front (and yes, I’ve been offered just that for an incredibly difficult and expensive project I created by a highly touted boutique PMA library) there is no way. It is sad for me to say, but after many years of being associated with some of the biggest libraries in the game, I am not finding the PMA libraries too appealing at this point in time – they are quite often too far behind in the amounts they pay out, and too out of touch in their ability / willingness to get out and get quality placements for my music. It takes a lot of money to live in LA in 2016, and shrinking up front payments, along with shrinking (per play) BMI/ASCAP payments do not make the old model as appealing as it used to be.
If music libraries want to play in the exclusive world, they need serious, hard core capitol to invest – not a warm friendly pie in the sky promise in hope of placement – at no up front cost to them. If that is too hard of a game to play, then find another business. I can’t finance their gameplay. You can only squeeze experienced quality composers so hard before they don’t want to play anymore.
The options in the non exclusive world, including multiple non-ex libs, forays into the music for the general public world, and private use of music for my own projects is too great to hand it over for the “possibility to play in the exclusive world” with no guarantees, no upfront buyout money, and perpetuity demanded. It’s embarrassing. I thought PMA membership demanded more.
Yes, 10 years ago the real-life possibilities outside the traditional music library world were somewhere between dismal and a joke. No longer. Up front “tiny” sync fees are becoming a major player in comparison to BMI / ASCAP fees which are shrinking (as least in a per play perspective). For me, the only thing keeping my BMI/ASCAP alive is huge amounts of music being added to an already large amount of shows in circulation / syndication, and placements with libraries that I’ve got long term relationships with.
I don’t know the answer for the PMA, but from my vantage point, they seem to be in a very precarious position as the world changes around them. They are wise to reach out and seek advice from composers. I hope they can listen and read between the ever contracting lines…..
It seems that was my “rant” that got deleted Art. Honestly a bit surprised, and a little disappointed. IMO there was good stuff in there for the PMA and writers to think about. But I suppose maybe those are the things they don’t want to hear?
Just so I know where you are headed this time : is the intent of the original question looking for :
A – ways for the PMA to be more relevant, better equipped to meet market demands, ways to equip libraries to be more successful in a changing market, ways to better equip to advocate for composers?
B – are they looking for what benefits would entice composers to join the organization?
Two very different questions, and I suppose I focused on the former rather than the later. I’ve got lots of thoughts on both, but they require an open mind, which personally I find critical to longevity in this business.
These unexpected and pleasingly large BMI blips used to catch me by surprise. But I finally figured it out. At least for my earnings.
For those of you who have a good portion of their royalties based on US Cable TV shows, note that the annual NCTA (National Cable TV Assn) payment is made this quarter (Q1-2016). That amounted to the difference between last quarter and this quarter for me. It’s always a nice surprise! Actually, the percentage of “pages” (always a good indicator for me) of royalties for Q1 2016 went down 5% for me, but the NCTA made up and over last quarter for me.
Of course, for every person “up”, I run across another that was “down”. LOL It’s hard to figure out.
Of note – BMI and ASCAP have to do something about the Internet streaming or we are all dead in the water in 5+ years…..
2016. Music that is not mastered fairly loudly will fall short in comparisons. If your track is up against another and not as loud – you (often) lose – even though the production, composition, performance, etc. may be better. The people choosing music in 2016 are getting younger and younger. Somehow, I seem to be getting older and older…. 🙂 Go figure.
These younger folks are not used to hearing dynamic range in music. They are used to loud and smashed. After losing some tools to upgrades, I ended up going much more analog in my mastering chain. A VariMu is helping a lot.
Get em loud! It’s about making the cut when the music is auditioned unfortunately — NOT how it’s going to sit under dialog. I used to never compress / limit orchestral recordings. Those days are gone now. Even stuff I submit to Disney needs to be mastered pretty hot or it gets bounced back for remixing / remastering.
Saddens me to say it, and I often like the music less after mastering, but it’s the reality in 2016. And yes, I’m licensing LOTS of cuts each month.
Yeah, I remember those days…. 🙂 Things will level off. Probably even turn out more like a roller coaster (up and down) than an uphill climb you’re currently on. When you’re starting out, it’s not hard to double your income every year for a few years. I had times where growth was up to 80% a quarter. Unfortunately, when you hit a certain stage, it just CAN’T hold that kind of growth. Wish it could…..
20% annual growth for normal business (of course music is anything BUT normal) would be considered exceptional if you could keep the growth up for years.
Music has value. IMO, it’s got a pretty long shelf life. Certainly more than 5 years. I’ve got music making me money from films and shows I did over 20 years ago. Those things hit syndication or end up playing foreign forever….. Then again, I don’t tend to write trendy EDM that’s passe in 6 months – I balance things out over music that (I hope anyway) stands the test of time.
So – to the OPs question – I think a valuation has merit – I just don’t think my banker will value it as much as it will actually earn…..
John – let us know how it works out for you. I’m intestred.