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scripps networks

Composers – Beware of HGTV, The Cooking Channel, Food Network, DIY, Travel Channel, any Scripps Networks Shows


Why should you, as a composer care? From what I have learned, and experienced, Scripps demands that all of the music for it’s shows be “direct licensed”. In other words they do NOT pay any performance royalties to composers. How do they get their music? Most likely from libraries that do a blanket license with the shows producers which, in most cases, means that you, as a composer, will not share in any of those blanket license fees. To be fair Scripps is not the only company that refuses to pay PRO monies. I believe ESPN is another company and their are probably more.

How will you know if your music is being used on these shows? You will probably never know unless you happen to be watching and recognize your music or have a Tunesat account. Occasionally these shows will air internationally and you will see some performance monies though it will be miniscule. This makes it more insulting as they do not have to pay in the U.S. but are forced to in other countries.

Music libraries have different points of view on this dilemma. Some refuse to work for any shows that air on Scripps Network. Others feel that because some production companies have shows on both Scripps and non-Scripps networks they they have to take the bad with the good. One library has gone so far as to start paying their composers a small royalty for any Scripps shows that happens to use their music. Certainly a step in the right direction and I applaud them. But really, shouldn’t Scripps be stepping up to the plate? I think the lack of respect for composers and their music is appalling!

Your thoughts?

Scripps Networks – BMI Performance Royalties


I just got off the phone with my contact at BMI and the word is that last week they finalized their settlement with the Scripps Networks. For those of you who don’t know, Scripps has not been paying performance royalties but that is about to change. BMI is collecting cue sheets and music use documents to pay everyone, payment is retroactive. If you have had music running on Scripps then you should be letting BMI know the shows you have been on even though, theoretically, they will pick them up from the cue sheets and other docs.

My contact said they should start distributing funds 3rd (but most likely) 4th quarter this year (2010). I’m not the official word for BMI just passing on the info from my source. It’s best to contact your BMI rep.

Tunesat fingerprinting, Scripps Networks and BMI royalties.


I wrote this post on another blog in May of 2009 and thought it would fit well here.
I recently signed up for Tunesat’s trial period. For those of you who don’t know, Tunesat is a service that monitors (according to them) all shows, on 100 Networks, for detections of your music.

You start by sending them your music (after signing a contract), currently via a DVD (no FTP yet), and they “fingerprint” it to compare to their monitored networks. For the trial period they will run a scan on Q2 2008 and also 45 days going forward from the day they get you into their system. The cost for the trial period is 50 cents per piece of music and 20% of any monies you recover. In my case I sent them about 150 cues for a fingerprint cost of $76. You are provided with an account page at Tunesat with a list of the detections that include the name of the channel, show name, episode name, date/time, cue title (title you submitted to Tunesat), duration and finally a “Listen” link to hear the detection (with dialog). They started monitoring my cues on 05-07-2009 and to date (currently 05-29-09) they have “detected” about 500 uses of those cues (Q2 2008 scan will be in about a month). The point is to check for copyright infringement, shows that that are using your music and not reporting it and/or cross referencing against your cue sheets.

Many of the shows detected were on Scripps Networks which has not been paying any performance royalties.

Though I have made my living for many decades making music in various capacities, I had very little knowledge of music libraries. In 2004 my wife and I made a deal to write and produce about 100 cues for a TV production company. Through a series of miscommunications and lack of knowledge, on everyone’s part, we ended up with a lousy contract and learned that most of the shows were for Scripps Networks. One thing we did insist on is the ability to re-use the music which they agreed to, as long as we re-titled.

I know all about the controversy regarding re-titling but for us it was the only game in town. I submitted our completed cues to many, many libraries and the only ones interested were those who offered the now typical “re-titling” option (BTW these libraries were found submitting through the Film Music Network). I was not going to let the music sit on the shelf so I went for it. How the re-titling controversy will play out is anyone’s guess.

In 2006 I placed our music with two different libraries. Over the course of the last three years one library has done an excellent job of placing the music but the other has never placed one piece. I was curious. Was the one successful library a fluke and/or the other library inept or dishonest? I will know more about this aspect when the Q2 2008 scan is run but I have learned that the library that has done well for us has placed some of our cues with Scripps. This I did not know and I made sure to let them know. To say that they were surprised I knew this is an understatement! But the nature of the business is that they (like many other libraries) supply a hard drive of music to production companies and from that point it’s hard to know where the music ends up. I do think that now, with a service like Tunesat, I can at least let them know I know.

Now to a hopeful sign. The whole Scripps issue with BMI has been bugging me since I found out about it in 2004. I had called BMI a number of times in L.A., N.Y. and Nashville and few people knew what I was talking about. When they did they had no clear answers except that BMI was negotiating with Scripps. After observing all of the Scripps shows on Tunesat and getting more incensed I started calling BMI again. After a series of calls I finally got through to a couple of people who got right on the case to get me some answers. Today I got a call from BMI saying they were a few months away from finalizing a deal with Scripps and that Scripps was deciding what shows would be on a blanket license or per program. BMI also said payment would be retroactive.

I’m always the “infernal” optimist so I would like to think this will happen. Needless to say I will keep on my contact at BMI and hope for the best. The person at BMI did state the Scripps was not their longest running negotiation but (as she said) there are a lot of lawyers involved!

As I find out more about Tunesat, Scripps Networks and BMI I will update.