Originally Posted by Hugus Maximus
Apologies guys if I've not realised a shift in the status quo.
I'm obviously behind the times with all this!
However the idea of actually sitting these 3 words together in the same sentence really troubles me:
"royalty free music"
Does this phrase simply refer to the buying out of Mechanical Rights? (ie Performing Rights are still payable?) I think I understand where you're coming from and really understand that this is a very tough specific market we're talking about.
When I score movies for american production companies, the contracts are on average 85 pages long and have clauses that infer that if I die whilst scoring their movie, they will sue my family for my non completion. (dictating that one carries an insurance policy incase such an event incurs them extra costs!)
It's taken me years to understand the complexities of sync rights / licensing / so called grand rights etc ..... it really is a minefield that chiefly expensive lawyers profit greatly from.
But even in serious sync contracts that threaten my family's financial well being, I haven't been aware of any clause that says I am to provide "royalty free music". (.... yet!)
I do wish there was a better phrase to describe what's actually meant here .... that's all. Sorry if I've not quite got this right yet but does the following explain what's going on here?
"allowing mechanical rights usage for a one off fee"?
SEASONS GREETINGS TO YOU ALL .... WHAT A GREAT FORUM!
Hugus - you need not be afraid or worried about that phrase. You must understand where it comes from. It is a Music Library term. Traditionally, music libraries would pay you a flat fee up front to produce a product (music) for them. Then, they would own the publishing and the master rights. In turn, they would traditionally license your music to as many places as they could. Each license would generate revenue for THEM - not the composer. Any further income from the composer would come thru their PRO via writers royalties.
Again, traditionally, the library would send all music applicable to the client for a yearly low fee, and when the client found a piece they wanted to use, they would call the library for a SPECIFIC "license" and pay an additional fee.
This license traditionally used the term "needle drop" which referred to a specific, one time, limited and well defined license. There was a contractual limit to what they could use the music for and how long they could use it for. IF they had a new use, they would have to call up and get a new "needle drop" license. (Needle referring to when libraries distributed on vinyl, but the phrase stuck (and still sticks) although some companies started referring to "Laser Drops" in the CD era.)
So...these were the traditional big, well invested companies. Smaller companies started to form and wanted in on a piece of the pie. One of their strategies was "Royalty Free Music" or "Buyout Music". You could BUY music from them (license really) and pay a ONE TIME ONLY license fee and then use that music as many times in as many fashions for as many of your clients as you wanted.
Hence the term "ROYALTY FREE MUSIC". ie: No more royalties due after initial purchase.
The term DOES NOT mean stolen music or music that is not paid for. It DOES NOT mean there are no performance royalties. It simply means, no more money paid out from the purchaser after the initial purchase.
In BOTH Royalty Free music and Needle Drop Music Library's, producers and users of the music are required to fill out cue sheets so composer and publisher (now the music library) get paid their performance royalties.
The music business in in a constant state of change. We've got to change with it to continue to make a living. Is "Royalty Free" Good, Bad, Indifferent? Depends on your perspective. I make a lot of my income from both ROYALTY FREE and NEEDLE DROP libraries.
I hope this explains clearly what is meant by the term.