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jimdrake
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#1
9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
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drake.ch
 
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Sync Deals

Hi,

Can anyone comment on common licensing agreements with libraries?

I understand that is common for a music library to ask for publishing royalties as part of the deal.

In the case where it is a new work and you have an exclusive deal and they take 100% publishing, it seems simple. They simply register as the publisher of that work and take any income direct from the collection agencies.

Now, what happens in the case where you split publishing? What about a non-exclusive deal? Is there such a deal where a library takes the publishing royalties when they have placed a song, but not when they haven't?

What happens if you already self-published your own songs and then later get a sync deal where they ask for some or all of the publishing?
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#2
9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
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I believe they re-name the piece of music and they register it with your name and CAE number and theirs.
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9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
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I read about this re-naming thing already.

Is it really legal?

If you are offered an exclusive deal what's to stop you renaming a piece in the same way and giving it to them?
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9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
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I imagine by signing an exclusive contract, you agree to not rename it elsewhere.
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9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
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Retitling a piece of music doesn't change the sound recording and master recording. Exclusivity applies to the sound recording (general melody) and master recording (specific version of a song).
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#6
11th October 2013
Old 11th October 2013
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If you give music to a lib on a non-exclusive basis, you can use it elsewhere, including giving that track in the same exact form to other libs, but with different titles. Nothing illegal about that. There is a push to stop this practice, but it is still legal.

If you give music to a lib on an exclusive basis, you can not use it elsewhere, and you can not give that track to other libs.

It really is that simple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
Now, what happens in the case where you split publishing?
I know of no lib that will give you any part of the publishing. That's how they make their money; they are not going just to give part of their income away. They aren't going to ask you for it; they will tell you the publishing is theirs, period. This is true of exclusive deals, and non-exclusive deals. If some other composer has told you he splits the publishing with a lib, then either:

a) He has done alot of work for that lib, and made that lib alot of money over the course of several years, and they worked out a special deal for a specific project, or

b) he is more than likely full of it.

Cheers.
#7
11th October 2013
Old 11th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
I know of no lib that will give you any part of the publishing. That's how they make their money; they are not going just to give part of their income away.
Hey Jeff,

It's not common but it does happen. Pump Audio for example take a larger share of the sync fee and then split their backend with the writer. So you would get 100% of writer's, 50% of publishing + 35% (IIRC) of syncs.

A trailer label I'm in contact with (but not yet signed to) splits syncs 50/50 + gives 50% of their share of backend, and of course writers keep 100% of their backend. That probably isn't as generous as it sounds though as there is practically no backend for trailers, as you'd know.

But just giving some examples. Some libraries do have this kind of deal as their standard.

Cheers mate.
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11th October 2013
Old 11th October 2013
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Hey Rob

You sure? That almost doesn't make sense.

You mentioned Pump - I went to their site, and I see no mention of publishing. They say that the composer gets 50% of the sync fee (standard), writer's share, but thy say nothing about pub. You sure that they do this?

And for other libs, again - pub is where they make money. I just dont see them giving a composer a portion of the sync, the writers and a share of the pub.

Look, if I am wrong, I will be happy to admit it. Wouldn't be the first time. But I still know of no lib that does this.

Cheers.
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11th October 2013
Old 11th October 2013
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Hey Jeff,

It's on their website. Pump Audio: Artist FAQs

"Pump Audio will grant a license to a customer for a specific use (Internet, television, etc.) for a specific period of time. The customer will report to and pay Pump for the use of your song, and Pump will then, within sixty (60) days of the following June 30 or December 31, send you a check in the amount of thirty-five percent (35%) of any license fees or royalties generated by your music."

(their addition of the word royalties in that paragraph can be confusing, but....)

"Pump then administers the performance royalties owed on the publishing share, of which you will receive 50%. You will receive 100% of the writer's share directly from your P.R.O."

It caused a huge stink with a lot of their writers a few years back when they dropped their sync splits to 35%. IIRC, at that same time they decided to split publishing and that was kind of overlooked. Big discussion about it all on MLR at the time.

As for the trailer label I mentioned, I have a copy of their contract and I'd overlooked their pub split myself until the owner pointed it out.

It's definitely not common and it doesn't surprise me that many people haven't come across it themselves.

All the best!
#10
12th October 2013
Old 12th October 2013
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Well, it appears I stand corrected. Just had a convo with someone from Pump, and he claims that the composer does in fact get 50% of the pub. That is really wierd, tho - first time I ever heard of that.
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#11
13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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Some interesting points, thanks.

What is normally the deal with the ownership of the sound recording?

For the end client to get the sync license, they have to sign a contract for the composition and the recording. So, for the music library to be able to do any work, they must own both.

In the UK the PPL collects each time the recording is played on radio or TV, but I understand that this is not the case in the US.

The Pump Audio deal does not seem to say what happens with royalties generated through playing the recording, but for a non-exclusive deal they must have to re-register the recording and assign new ISRC codes?

Are there any companies like Pump Audio with more UK-centric standpoint?
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
For the end client to get the sync license, they have to sign a contract for the composition and the recording. So, for the music library to be able to do any work, they must own both.
That's not quite correct.... A client obtains the sync license from the publisher. This is for the recording of the composition. Those two aren't separate in a sync agreement because you're licensing a specific recording. The music library doesn't need to own both... they need to have the creator's authorization to exploit (sell) that specific recording. The creator entering into the contract with the publisher (library) signs warranties that they are the creator of the composition and recording, and that they have the authority to assign publishing rights to the library.


Once a song is signed-up with a library.... its simple... the client agrees to the libraries terms and buys the license. They don't have to sign contracts for multiple things.... That's how it works globally.
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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While on the subject...

What are people's views on Pump Audio?

I've had some of my library tracks with similar companies over the last few years, would also signing up with Pump be beneficial in any way?
I'm looking at their site, everything seems to check out, I get it, same as the others, what sets them apart, if anything?
Are they better connected, higher placement rating, higher fees?

Has anyone had any success with them?

Thanks for any input.
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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Pump is old school.... they were landing big placements years before the library boom. They have had many problems though.... They changed from a 50/50 split, to 60/40, to 70/30.... something different now... They also have the reputation of taking months or years to accept cues.

I've got maybe 10 tracks with them and had one placement since the Getty Images acquisition. I have no idea what it was for but the sync fee must have been big b/c my 30% was a few hundred. Still.... no reporting, no performance royalty, etc.... money just deposited at the end of a quarter.

My recommendation is "don't bother." Too many other good options out there these days.

If you're really into this... (and I'm pretty sure you are).... get an account at Music Library Report. Great site! Music Library Report
#15
13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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I would have to agree with Spiderman about Pump. Nine months after I submitted, some of my tracks were still listed in queue to be reviewed. A couple of months later I got a check for a little over $100. I've had a few things on reality tv, and the royalties wouldn't buy me a happy meal. That said, I don't have many tracks with them.

I would also recommend MLR, but take the good with the bad. There are a couple of guys who dominate the conversations, and they seem to be more interested in proving they're right than actually discussing things. And some of the library listings are littered with composers that post every time they get rejected by a library.
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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@jimdrake

You might want to check out MLR Newbie Info. It might answer some questions for you.

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#17
14th October 2013
Old 14th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
If you are offered an exclusive deal what's to stop you renaming a piece in the same way ans giving it to them?
People that aren't actively involved in the industry don't realize how small a community it really is. I heard about this happening recently, where a composer sold a bunch of music to a library exclusively then turned around and sold it to another exclusive library under different titles...

How long did it take for the composer to get caught? About a month and a half. Who reported the composer? The music supervisors did because they weren't sure who to report the use to. When they went back to find the info for the cue sheet, they noticed the same song was pulled with two different names under two different libraries and weren't sure which one they used or if that was a mistake.

And now... all of this composer's music is getting pulled from every library this person has ever submitted to because everyone is now afraid this composer has done the same thing to them...

This also points out a very valid issue when using the non-exclusive libraries. If you have your music in multiple non-exlcusive libraries... there is a 99% chance the music sups are going to notice very quickly. And if they can negotiate the price for the music down, they will. So now you are pitting your own music against itself because each library wants to get the placement and is willing to undercut the other libraries that are pushing the same track. The $100 check you get from a non-exclusive lib for a placement could have potentially been a lot more ($500-$1000), but the music sup started a bidding war over your track between the libraries that you placed it in, and widdled the licensing fees down to almost nothing. And the worst thing is, you aren't aware this is happening, you as the composer just think, "hey I just made $100" instead of realizing, "hey I just lost $900".

Anyway... for some people the non-exclusive retitling thing works for them. But to me, it's a losing and non-sustainable business model for the composer and the libraries in the long term as it devalues the composer's music.
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14th October 2013
Old 14th October 2013
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Knowing music sups will be going through various libraries, I wouldn't want to be wasting their time when they keep coming across the same tracks of mine in various libraries. There's lots of great music out there for these people to check through.

I'm not in any exclusive libraries yet, but if I was I wouldn't want to create a reason for someone to see my name and scroll past it because they're tired of hearing the same music of mine across libraries when they've got to find the right track by 8am to deliver.
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14th October 2013
Old 14th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
People that aren't actively involved in the industry don't realize how small a community it really is. I heard about this happening recently, where a composer sold a bunch of music to a library exclusively then turned around and sold it to another exclusive library under different titles...

How long did it take for the composer to get caught? About a month and a half. Who reported the composer? The music supervisors did because they weren't sure who to report the use to. When they went back to find the info for the cue sheet, they noticed the same song was pulled with two different names under two different libraries and weren't sure which one they used or if that was a mistake.

And now... all of this composer's music is getting pulled from every library this person has ever submitted to because everyone is now afraid this composer has done the same thing to them...

This also points out a very valid issue when using the non-exclusive libraries. If you have your music in multiple non-exlcusive libraries... there is a 99% chance the music sups are going to notice very quickly. And if they can negotiate the price for the music down, they will. So now you are pitting your own music against itself because each library wants to get the placement and is willing to undercut the other libraries that are pushing the same track. The $100 check you get from a non-exclusive lib for a placement could have potentially been a lot more ($500-$1000), but the music sup started a bidding war over your track between the libraries that you placed it in, and widdled the licensing fees down to almost nothing. And the worst thing is, you aren't aware this is happening, you as the composer just think, "hey I just made $100" instead of realizing, "hey I just lost $900".

Anyway... for some people the non-exclusive retitling thing works for them. But to me, it's a losing and non-sustainable business model for the composer and the libraries in the long term as it devalues the composer's music.
Very well said and very true.

I was curious about Pump earlier in the thread, but only curious.
I've looked at their model and won't adhere to it, mostly curious to see if anyone's had success with them.
My tracks are already with a couple of libraries, non-exclusive, but at some point a few years ago, I decided against sending them the new stuff as I was making it.

I have a few clients who contact me with music briefs, and now I just send them my tracks on a case-by-case basis.
If a track fits the description, I send it, along with a few curveball tracks.

Quite frankly, I'd like to see music libraries head the way of the buffalo.
They are one of the reasons the value of commercial music has plummeted over the years.
Supply > demand, and more so every year.
#20
14th October 2013
Old 14th October 2013
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I am exclusive to a few libraries and would never dream of breaking that contract. Legal issues aside, I agree with Amber. Ethically, it's so gross to spam your music over a bunch of libraries. It definitely de-values it.

It's a good thing when you can offer libraries and music supervisors something specific. Your tracks will not have the same worth if they are easily procurable from every library under the sun. They will become stale. Quality, not quantity comes into play here.

Sorry if this is a bit off topic.
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#21
14th October 2013
Old 14th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
That's not quite correct.... A client obtains the sync license from the publisher. This is for the recording of the composition. Those two aren't separate in a sync agreement because you're licensing a specific recording. The music library doesn't need to own both... they need to have the creator's authorization to exploit (sell) that specific recording. The creator entering into the contract with the publisher (library) signs warranties that they are the creator of the composition and recording, and that they have the authority to assign publishing rights to the library.


Once a song is signed-up with a library.... its simple... the client agrees to the libraries terms and buys the license. They don't have to sign contracts for multiple things.... That's how it works globally.
OK.

This makes sense to me.

You transfer, or sell the rights to the publishing, so the music library really is THE PUBLISHER of the song.

But you retain the ownership/rights to the recording, you are THE RECORD LABEL or RECORD PRODUCER, but you license the use of this recording to the music library (specifically only to exploit sync licence fees i guess?).

So in the UK, if your song gets played on TV via a deal like this, you should get paid directly by PRS the composition royalties, directly by PPL the recording royalties and the music library gets paid by PRS the publishing royalties (which the music library then may give you a cut).

Can anyone confirm this?

When the song is renamed, do you get informed of the new name? Because otherwise you could not register as owner of this recording. And logically this recording should have assigned a new ISRC since one ISRC can not point to two song titles.
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#22
14th October 2013
Old 14th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
People that aren't actively involved in the industry don't realize how small a community it really is. I heard about this happening recently, where a composer sold a bunch of music to a library exclusively then turned around and sold it to another exclusive library under different titles...

How long did it take for the composer to get caught? About a month and a half. Who reported the composer? The music supervisors did because they weren't sure who to report the use to. When they went back to find the info for the cue sheet, they noticed the same song was pulled with two different names under two different libraries and weren't sure which one they used or if that was a mistake.

And now... all of this composer's music is getting pulled from every library this person has ever submitted to because everyone is now afraid this composer has done the same thing to them...

This also points out a very valid issue when using the non-exclusive libraries. If you have your music in multiple non-exlcusive libraries... there is a 99% chance the music sups are going to notice very quickly. And if they can negotiate the price for the music down, they will. So now you are pitting your own music against itself because each library wants to get the placement and is willing to undercut the other libraries that are pushing the same track. The $100 check you get from a non-exclusive lib for a placement could have potentially been a lot more ($500-$1000), but the music sup started a bidding war over your track between the libraries that you placed it in, and widdled the licensing fees down to almost nothing. And the worst thing is, you aren't aware this is happening, you as the composer just think, "hey I just made $100" instead of realizing, "hey I just lost $900".

Anyway... for some people the non-exclusive retitling thing works for them. But to me, it's a losing and non-sustainable business model for the composer and the libraries in the long term as it devalues the composer's music.
Some useful info.

BUT if a music supervisor hears the same song coming from different titles and/or libraries, how can they tell if that same song was submitted to two different non-exclusive deals or if the composer re-titled himself and submitted to two exclusive deals?

I see the argument against non-exclusive deals and/or re-titling, but I don't see how people cheating exclusive deals are caught by the music supervisor?

What are the disadvantages of an exclusive deal? Strictly it would mean that performing the song live and declaring properly, or radio play, would give the publishing royalties to the music library, even if no sync deal happens.
#23
15th October 2013
Old 15th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
.....or if the composer re-titled himself and submitted to two exclusive deals?
OK... here are the Facts.

You CANNOT submit a retitled song to two exclusive deals. That's a violation of the terms and is NOT allowed.... EVER.... PERIOD.

Exclusive deals for the the sole right to distribute that recording, and in some cases the contract goes as far as specifying that the library has the sole rights to that melody in all forms AND gives the library the exclusive right to all arrangements. SOME libraries will allow the composer to create edits or arrangements and the terms of exclusivity are limited to that specific recording. Read your contracts or hire a lawyer to help you. This is a real business. Act like it.

IT IS NEVER OK TO RETITLE A SONG AND SUBMIT THE SAME TRACK TO MULTIPLE EXCLUSIVE DEALS.
(all caps... not my style but for emphasis and hopes that people will understand and not f#&$-up in this manner)
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15th October 2013
Old 15th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
OK.

This makes sense to me.

You transfer, or sell the rights to the publishing, so the music library really is THE PUBLISHER of the song.

But you retain the ownership/rights to the recording, you are THE RECORD LABEL or RECORD PRODUCER, but you license the use of this recording to the music library (specifically only to exploit sync licence fees i guess?).

So in the UK, if your song gets played on TV via a deal like this, you should get paid directly by PRS the composition royalties, directly by PPL the recording royalties and the music library gets paid by PRS the publishing royalties (which the music library then may give you a cut).

Can anyone confirm this?

When the song is renamed, do you get informed of the new name? Because otherwise you could not register as owner of this recording. And logically this recording should have assigned a new ISRC since one ISRC can not point to two song titles.
to be more specific... not all library deals give the library publisher rights but all deals give the library rights to sell under specific terms.... SOME deals make the library the publisher of record exclusively and some make the library the publisher non-exclusively (in which case the library will likely re-title the track)

minutia...
#25
15th October 2013
Old 15th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
Some useful info.

BUT if a music supervisor hears the same song coming from different titles and/or libraries, how can they tell if that same song was submitted to two different non-exclusive deals or if the composer re-titled himself and submitted to two exclusive deals?

I see the argument against non-exclusive deals and/or re-titling, but I don't see how people cheating exclusive deals are caught by the music supervisor?

What are the disadvantages of an exclusive deal? Strictly it would mean that performing the song live and declaring properly, or radio play, would give the publishing royalties to the music library, even if no sync deal happens.
The music sups usually know which libraries are exclusive and which are non-exclusive.

If that same situation had arisen but the two libraries were both non-exclusive, instead of notifying both libraries that they have the same track under different names, the music sup would have started trying to get a bidding war between the two in order to see how cheap he could get the music for.

if both libraries had blanket deals, then the scenario would be a little different. But at least from what I've seen, most non-exclusive libraries try to stay away from blanket licenses and focus more on needle drop because of the fact that their music is most likely in other non-exclusive libraries as well... so if they start doing blankets then there is a very good chance none of their placements will ever get reported back to them and might go to one of the other non-exclusive libraries that carries the same song. The non-ex libraries that do blankets, will usually only do a blanket per show per season or per episode, and not across an entire network. And they will only do a blanket if they are the exclusive provider of music for the show/episode for which they are giving a blanket.
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#26
15th October 2013
Old 15th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
The music sups usually know which libraries are exclusive and which are non-exclusive.

If that same situation had arisen but the two libraries were both non-exclusive, instead of notifying both libraries that they have the same track under different names, the music sup would have started trying to get a bidding war between the two in order to see how cheap he could get the music for.

if both libraries had blanket deals, then the scenario would be a little different. But at least from what I've seen, most non-exclusive libraries try to stay away from blanket licenses and focus more on needle drop because of the fact that their music is most likely in other non-exclusive libraries as well... so if they start doing blankets then there is a very good chance none of their placements will ever get reported back to them and might go to one of the other non-exclusive libraries that carries the same song. The non-ex libraries that do blankets, will usually only do a blanket per show per season or per episode, and not across an entire network. And they will only do a blanket if they are the exclusive provider of music for the show/episode for which they are giving a blanket.
I guess I was imagining that a music library may have different deals with different composers. But is it normally that case that a certain library is known by all to work with non-exclusive deals or exclusive deals, and not mix them up?

Sorry I got lost with the rest, what are you meaning by blanket deals and needle drops?
#27
16th October 2013
Old 16th October 2013
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Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
But is it normally that case that a certain library is known by all to work with non-exclusive deals or exclusive deals, and not mix them up?
ps?
It is VERY unusual for a library to mix exclusive and NON-exclusive deals. Actually, I don't know of any libraries that do that. I know ONE, but although owned by the same person, it's actually sub-divided into two distinct and unique libraries.
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#28
16th October 2013
Old 16th October 2013
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Quote:
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It is VERY unusual for a library to mix exclusive and NON-exclusive deals. Actually, I don't know of any libraries that do that. I know ONE, but although owned by the same person, it's actually sub-divided into two distinct and unique libraries.
i guess that makes sense
#29
27th October 2013
Old 27th October 2013
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Originally Posted by bifftannen View Post
I would also recommend MLR, but take the good with the bad. There are a couple of guys who dominate the conversations, and they seem to be more interested in proving they're right than actually discussing things. And some of the library listings are littered with composers that post every time they get rejected by a library.


Truth has been spoken.
#30
28th October 2013
Old 28th October 2013
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Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
I guess I was imagining that a music library may have different deals with different composers. But is it normally that case that a certain library is known by all to work with non-exclusive deals or exclusive deals, and not mix them up?

Sorry I got lost with the rest, what are you meaning by blanket deals and needle drops?
As Bill stated, the library is entirely one way or the other. If I library does non-exclusive deals, then all of their music will be non-exclusive. If a library does exclusive deals with composers all of the music in the library will be exclusive.

Blankets and needle drops are the types of agreements/contracts publishers use to license the music they represent. A needle drop is a "per use" license. For example, if you had a small library of say 500 songs, and NBC like ONE song and wanted to use it in some way, you would give them a needle drop license to use that one song for that one particular use. If they wanted to use that song again for a different use, then they would have to pay the needle drop license fee for that song again.

So, say NBC wants to use your song for an upcoming promo of one of their hit TV shows. You give them a needle drop license to use that one song in that one promo spot for that one TV show. Two weeks later they want to use the same song for another TV show's promo. They have to pay you the needle drop license fee again to use it in this new promo. Then a month later NBC comes to you and asks you to use the same song in a TV show as a source cue. That, again, is another (and differently priced) needle drop license fee.

So... now that NBC has been using your music, someone from their music dept approaches you and say, "hey instead of us having to do all this paperwork to get a needle drop license from you every time we want to use a song from your catalog in our promos, how about we pay you one lump sum fee every year and you grant us the right to use as much music as we want from your catalog?" THAT is a blanket license. And usually each blanket, as with the needle drop, is for a specific type of use. a promo blanket doesn't cover in-show uses. An in show blanket doesn't cover promos, and so on... The blanket license fee is based on how much music you have in your library. So as you add more titles to your library you can charge more money.

So now with a blanket, you give them cart blanche to use anything and everything from your library, for the length of the contract, for the agreed upon one-time fee. When the contract is up, you hopefully have more music to add to the library, so you can go back in and negotiate a higher blanket fee based on the increased size of your library.
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