The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Do all the Major Music Libraries pay up-front-money for tracks?
Old 4th November 2016
  #1
Gear Head
 
NFL's Avatar
 

Do all the Major Music Libraries pay up-front-money for tracks?

Hi all!

I wonder, do all the Major Music Libraries pay up-front-money for tracks?

Or will they do that only if they ask for a full collection (album-style collection) ?

And; does anyone know the current submission response time, like circa, generally speaking?

As to possible deals, what is fair these days if one gets upfront-money, no part of the sync and writers share of the backend?
Or should one expect to get a little bit of the sync too, even if one gets upfront paid?
Or is that perhaps dependant on how much one is paid?
(thinking exclusive deals here)

Is $ 1000 per track the ballpark for upfront if a Major Music Library likes a track and wants it? And then no sync-fee sharing and just the writers part of the backend?

Also, would like to mention I have found the threads here on Music Libraries very informational, thank you very much to all contributors
Old 4th November 2016
  #2
Mrx
Gear Addict
 

Depends what you mean by major music libraries. I've heard some people refer to a major library by how big the size their catalogue is.

If by major you mean companies like Universal or Killer tracks then yes, some of them pay upfront and also offer a slice of sync fees. Some of them don't. How much depends on each library. Some of them just offer a buyout fee. Don't know how much it is these days as it varies.

What's fair is 80% to the composer and 20% to the library There used to be a standard deal which was 50/50. Most libraries would pay a fee upfront. Around 12 years ago that changed and instead of the 30-50 usual suspects of music libraries you now have 1000s so it's a lot more competitive. Consequently the deals have changed. I still think 50/50 split on sync fees is fair and I don't do deals that offer less.
Old 4th November 2016
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

There's not a standard rate set for all libraries. Every single library I've worked with has offered me a different deal. Sometimes the library themselves offer me more than I previously received from them for a new project. Sometimes I've gotten $800 upfront for a track, sometimes $100, sometimes $200, $250, etc. Most of the time if I've gotten upfront $, they took the sync. But a few I work with pay an advance or pay a relatively small sum and the sync is still split 50/50. Hope that helps you.
Old 4th November 2016
  #4
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
It's all over the place regarding up front's. Most if not all MAJOR companies want 100% of the sync royalties in my experience.

One thing is for certain, as up-front sync buyouts get smaller and smaller and smaller each year, the desire for me to sign away my assets gets less and less and less.

$100, $200, $350 = no way for an exclusive sync / publishing buyout --- unless I have 50% of sync's, and even at that, most of these libs are making blanket deals these days, so that 50% may not really net you anything substantial.

Honestly, there is no standard here. It's all over the map. A major boutique (but very successful) PMA library offered me no money up front for a buyout, and 0% of the syncs. Ummmm, my answer??? Thanks, but no thanks.

Perhaps the more important question is this : Is the big library business model failing, or are libraries getting greedy? Why are creative buyouts getting smaller all the time? Even $1000 is too small IMO, unless their track record is spectacular and you KNOW they are going to sell the crap out of your titles. And most libs are not willing to put out $1000. One thing is for certain, very few composers are getting rich in library music these days.
Old 4th November 2016
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Is the big library business model failing, or are libraries getting greedy?
Both, me thinks.

I do think the business is going to implode upon itself in the next 4-5 years, if not sooner. There are too many libs, too many composers, and too much music out there for this to be sustainable.

Cheers.
Old 5th November 2016
  #6
007
Lives for gear
 
007's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
Both, me thinks.

I do think the business is going to implode upon itself in the next 4-5 years, if not sooner. There are too many libs, too many composers, and too much music out there for this to be sustainable.
This. ^

I've had a similar reply in a similar thread a while back.

These days the supply is far outweighing the demand.
Yet, while the demand is high and will keep increasing, the supply will do the same, only by 20 fold, and compounded each year.
They will always parallel each other, although the supply will go off on a tangent, eventually inundating the entire marketplace.
This will devalue the art and craft of what we do even more and leave the greedy middlemen with so many options with where to get their music from.
The 20 year old bedroom 'music makers' of tomorrow will want the exposure and will take whatever sync is offered to them.
This will catch on, spread like wildfire, and while agencies and libraries will love the s#it out of getting music for so cheap, it will be the end of the road for many seasoned composers.

We are actually very close to that moment, I'd say we may have already crossed it.

All that said, the bubble can burst so hard it may yield a positive change for the better.
Old 5th November 2016
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post

I do think the business is going to implode upon itself in the next 4-5 years, if not sooner.
Cheers.
Please elaborate on what you mean by this. It can mean a variety of TOTALLY different things.

Music publishing will always be there, and library music will be in need for the foreseeable future in my opinion. It's hard to understand what you mean by the business imploding on itself. Right now, the business is thriving and growing from what I observed while at the PMC this year.
Old 5th November 2016
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
These days the supply is far outweighing the demand.
luckily for us, music publishing has never been governed by the law of supply and demand. One man's trash is another man's treasure. While there are seemingly millions of pieces of music available for licensing... the thing to remember is that not all of them actually work for the specific placement the client is working on right at that moment. Maybe there are 6 that work...maybe there are 40... but the entirety of the marketplace does not work for the spot at hand...

other industries that are governed by the law of supply and demand are not like that... you go to a super market and you look at oranges. All oranges are the same whether you buy the Chiquita brand orange, or the pacific coast fruit company brand oranges, or Carter Fruit Company brand oranges, etc. All oranges are the same.

Music is not like that. not all music is the same. Even music within the same genre isn't the same. There are SOOOOOO many variables that for the most part each musical work and it's physical recording are unique in a sea of millions of other unique musical works and physical recordings.

What has been happening in recent years with the demise of the traditional record label model, is tons of people and entrepreneurs have been flocking into music libraries. Publishing has traditionally always been an extremely lucrative business, but also a very difficult one to navigate. There are more failures than successes in publishing. For some reason all of these people that know nothing about publishing think that they can somehow jump into the "library" world and make a fortune. But it doesn't work like any other industry... so unless a person has been specifically educated and mentored in music publishing, there is a 99.99999998% chance of failure.

And that is where we are at now. There are tons of new catalogs popping up all the time. And there are tons of new catalogs filing for bankruptcy all the time. The companies that actually understand the industry and how it works will continue to survive. While everyone that gets caught up in the race to the bottom will bottom out. Those that understand how to value and price their copyrights and intellectual property appropriately, will stay afloat and be successful.

It's very easy to follow the normal retail sales philosophy of "to stay competitive we have to be at least 10% cheaper than everyone else." But that philosophy doesn't work with music publishing.
Old 5th November 2016
  #9
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
The production music delivery and production "industry" is at it's most volatile point in the many years I've been involved. If one were to believe that in 5 years things would be "the same" as they were 20 years ago.....well....one would be wrong. Put your eggs in a traditional basket and hope for the best??? The long term successful composer better be able to change hats, paradigms, and industry shifts as quick as a chameleon can change colors.

Things are changing daily. There are huge paradigm shifts at work in the tech industries and new era music production worlds, all the while traditional paradigms are struggling to stay current and forward thinking. It all adds up to a big ?????

Among other mundane things like how to write and produce amazing music, we now have to wrestle with and decide how to adapt to :

- The use of Libraries & Licensing vs. Custom composed music for episodic TV.

- Royalty "free" vs. Exclusive libraries.

- Paid for content vs. "free" content for film companies. 10 years ago, this was unheard of. Now it's a solid reality that's not going away.

- Experienced pro's vs. the onslaught of "newbies" (who may not be "new" to music, but are "new" to this side of the biz, cause pundits say it's the only thing that pays anymore....) 10 years ago artists wouldn't touch writing for a library. Now, it's all the rage.

- What was traditionally fair upfront sync buyouts vs the trend of low cost, low end, low expectation up fronts that are being sold to us as being the only "pro" situations. (ie: Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive)

- Big studio's with huge infrastructure vs. laptops in bedrooms.

- Micro vs. PRO - the very real reality of total music dollars shifting from back end PRO royalties payouts to "front end" micro sync royalties.

- "Local" PRO's (country to country, ASCAP, BMI, etc.) vs. the potential of a "global" PRO

- traditional publishing models vs. publishers splitting their publishing with TV production companies for the CHANCE of backend.

- overall traditional philosophies on business (i.e.: this is the way we've done it for 30 years) vs. new skool go getters who are willing to break any and every rule to get their piece of the pie. This is a hotbed of activity right now.

- the possibility of copyright being eradicated via the creative commons vs. traditional copyright wars (although - thankfully - this seems to be calming down a bit)

- newbie entry level gigs vs. taken over by algorithmic music making software. As if the race to "bottom" could go any lower....

- the continued devaluation of music vs. the traditional elevation of music artistry

- the offshore globalization of music vs "made in the USA for USA" - or EU for EU music. It's a lot easier to compete for livable wages out of Uzbekistan with kracked plugs and libs than it is out of LA or NYC or London -- and talent is worldwide.

And then the real elephant in the room.....
- streaming and it's tenths of a cent payout vs. the dollars or quarters of network and cable. (We know who is going to win here....)


So hey......Happy Thanksgiving folks. I'm still happy to be kickin' it, but the older I get, the more I realize I don't know #@!$%^!!! It's a bumpy ride. Hold on....

Last edited by drBill; 5th November 2016 at 03:49 AM..
Old 5th November 2016
  #10
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post

<snip>
Music is not like that. not all music is the same. Even music within the same genre isn't the same. <snippity>

It's very easy to follow the normal retail sales philosophy of "to stay competitive we have to be at least 10% cheaper than everyone else." But that philosophy doesn't work with music publishing.
Etch - while I agree with you 1000%, what I'm seeing is lowered expectations on the other end of the paradigm that we serve. Directors, producers, etc. who are so beat down that they are not willing - or in many cases are unable - to pay a fair fee for the use of music they need. This is where things go south, and where traditional thought goes flying out the window. As the old guard makes way for the new generation, this accelerates exponentially.

For the high end Super Bowl spots, blockbuster feature films and/or other high end, high dollar projects, you're 100% right. It's business as usual.

But in 2016, there's a huge chasm where the "middle class" composers used to sit and thrive at. It's a vacant black hole now. In a very real sense, what's left is high dollar realities up top and crumbs on the bottom. And there are guys thriving down there as well. But it ain't on a traditional playing field.

The upper and lower levels will thrive. The middle class - much like America itself - is in decline.

Just my observant $0.02. -- adjusted for streaming realities, now $0.0003257.
Old 5th November 2016
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Let me share my experience. I am just starting out, so there is a lot of searching libraries, submitting music and all that for me. And it means I don't have the insights of the people posting above, being in the business for years. So take my answers as one particular experience of one particular guy. Probably nothing you can safely generalize, but it's how it has been for me so far.

"I wonder, do all the Major Music Libraries pay up-front-money for tracks?"

No, they don't. Some do apparently, some do not. From my correspondence with one particular library I got the impression that it depends on where you stand as a composer. With new ones they have never worked with they probably won't pay upfront. For established composers they know well they probably will. I guess it depends on the library, on the project, and if you are trying to establish a relationship with them or already have successfully done some projects with them.

Or will they do that only if they ask for a full collection (album-style collection)?

I don't know if full album or single tracks makes any difference on upfronts.

"And; does anyone know the current submission response time, like circa, generally speaking?"

For me they have been between one day and never so far. Generally speaking it can be anything between the two.

I can't comment on the deals with upfronts, as I don't have landed one yet. A fair deal without upfront seems to be you keep the writer's share, they keep the publisher's. 50/50 split on everything else. Though I have been offered considerably worse deals, I didn't take them on, even if I could have really needed the opportunity.
Old 5th November 2016
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Etch - while I agree with you 1000%, what I'm seeing is lowered expectations on the other end of the paradigm that we serve. Directors, producers, etc. who are so beat down that they are not willing - or in many cases are unable - to pay a fair fee for the use of music they need. This is where things go south, and where traditional thought goes flying out the window. As the old guard makes way for the new generation, this accelerates exponentially.

For the high end Super Bowl spots, blockbuster feature films and/or other high end, high dollar projects, you're 100% right. It's business as usual.

But in 2016, there's a huge chasm where the "middle class" composers used to sit and thrive at. It's a vacant black hole now. In a very real sense, what's left is high dollar realities up top and crumbs on the bottom. And there are guys thriving down there as well. But it ain't on a traditional playing field.

The upper and lower levels will thrive. The middle class - much like America itself - is in decline.

Just my observant $0.02. -- adjusted for streaming realities, now $0.0003257.

Yep, that's my experience over recent years.
Old 5th November 2016
  #13
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NFL View Post
Hi all!

I wonder, do all the Major Music Libraries pay up-front-money for tracks?
If I may ask, who are the 'major music libraries'?
Old 5th November 2016
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
This. ^

I've had a similar reply in a similar thread a while back.

These days the supply is far outweighing the demand.
Yet, while the demand is high and will keep increasing, the supply will do the same, only by 20 fold, and compounded each year.
They will always parallel each other, although the supply will go off on a tangent, eventually inundating the entire marketplace.
This will devalue the art and craft of what we do even more and leave the greedy middlemen with so many options with where to get their music from.
The 20 year old bedroom 'music makers' of tomorrow will want the exposure and will take whatever sync is offered to them.
This will catch on, spread like wildfire, and while agencies and libraries will love the s#it out of getting music for so cheap, it will be the end of the road for many seasoned composers.

We are actually very close to that moment, I'd say we may have already crossed it.

All that said, the bubble can burst so hard it may yield a positive change for the better.
Change is definitely happening, as it always does.

But for me personally, there are no signs of a slowdown.
Old 5th November 2016
  #15
007
Lives for gear
 
007's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Change is definitely happening, as it always does.

But for me personally, there are no signs of a slowdown.
I didn't suggest any signs of a slowdown but hey, good for you nonetheless.

Old 5th November 2016
  #16
Gear Head
 
NFL's Avatar
 

I'm already in an library where they for exclusive, ask for one year.
(got in some songs many years ago)

Can I ask, would that be the idea to be considered fair, for exclusive; either upfront payment and then no sync sharing, and the writers share of the backend, or no upfront, share the sync, keep the writers share of backend, and have a time-limit with reversion option for the track?

Last edited by NFL; 5th November 2016 at 10:52 PM.. Reason: grammar
Old 5th November 2016
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by livide View Post
Please elaborate on what you mean by this.
I will refrain from getting into details, but I feel very strongly that the business is just too crowded to sustain itself in this manner. Something has to give. And it will. As the ol' saying goes... only the strong will survive.

Cheers.
Old 5th November 2016
  #18
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NFL View Post
I'm already in an library where they for exclusive, ask for one year.
(got in some songs many years ago)

Can I ask, would that be the idea to be considered fair, for exclusive; either upfront payment and then no sync sharing, and the writers share of the backend, or no upfront, share the sync, keep the writers share of backend, and have a time-limit with reversion option for the track?


Reversion clauses seem to be more prevalent in publishing venues....

As far as exclusive libraries are concerned, I'm not aware of any doing reversion clauses. Perpetuity is the name of the game.

Traditional paradigms - in perpetuity up front buyout of publishing and master rights (no sync sharing), 100% of writers to the writer. There are exceptions.
Old 5th November 2016
  #19
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
I will refrain from getting into details
Tease......
Old 6th November 2016
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
I will refrain from getting into details, but I feel very strongly that the business is just too crowded to sustain itself in this manner. Something has to give. And it will. As the ol' saying goes... only the strong will survive.

Cheers.
Better be good at multiple things/have multiple avenues, so if slows down, you can go 10x harder in another avenue or your choice of different avenues.
Old 6th November 2016
  #21
Gear Head
 
NFL's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hacker bilk View Post
If I may ask, who are the 'major music libraries'?
I was thinking of the ones owned by EMI, Sony and BMG, and similar libraries.
Old 6th November 2016
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Etch - while I agree with you 1000%, what I'm seeing is lowered expectations on the other end of the paradigm that we serve. Directors, producers, etc. who are so beat down that they are not willing - or in many cases are unable - to pay a fair fee for the use of music they need. This is where things go south, and where traditional thought goes flying out the window. As the old guard makes way for the new generation, this accelerates exponentially.
I hear this all the time... But if people do their research (as they are supposed to), you will find the cases where you should bend, and you will find the cases where you should not bend.

it's not that they are unable to pay a fair fee... it's just that they don't want to and do not see the value... Next time we talk in person remind me to share some personal stories about this. I probably shouldn't put them up online.
Old 6th November 2016
  #23
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
I hear this all the time... But if people do their research (as they are supposed to), you will find the cases where you should bend, and you will find the cases where you should not bend.

it's not that they are unable to pay a fair fee... it's just that they don't want to and do not see the value... Next time we talk in person remind me to share some personal stories about this. I probably shouldn't put them up online.

Oh I agree... There are those who use the "my budget is destroyed" excuse all the time. Those are fairly easy to pick out, and I give them no quarter. I've got some fun stories in that vein as well. And no, putting them online would not be good...... The times when I "should" bend are happening, much more often than they ever used to though.

Some (actually, most) of my longest term clients, from back when I first started writing just don't have the budgets they used to. And I still want to work with them, cause they are loyal clients and long term friends and they have done much for me over the years. There is zero doubt that their budgets have changed drastically for the worst - on all fronts - not just music.

The times have changed. If you are blessed enough that it's not hitting where you live, that's awesome!!! But a fairly large percentage of my clients no longer have the budgets they used to. Sign of the times.....
Old 6th November 2016
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Oh I agree... There are those who use the "my budget is destroyed" excuse all the time. Those are fairly easy to pick out, and I give them no quarter. I've got some fun stories in that vein as well. And no, putting them online would not be good...... The times when I "should" bend are happening, much more often than they ever used to though.

Some (actually, most) of my longest term clients, from back when I first started writing just don't have the budgets they used to. And I still want to work with them, cause they are loyal clients and long term friends and they have done much for me over the years. There is zero doubt that their budgets have changed drastically for the worst - on all fronts - not just music.

The times have changed. If you are blessed enough that it's not hitting where you live, that's awesome!!! But a fairly large percentage of my clients no longer have the budgets they used to. Sign of the times.....
That is just the nature of the industry though. The work and money doesn't really go away.. it just goes away for them.

I have noticed that since the first few months I moved out here.

I'll give you an example... Ed Cherney and Elliot Scheiner were at one point some of the best most sought after sound engineers and were working on all the hit records... Now, not so much... Now it's Manny Maroquin, Serban Ghenea, etc... So to Ed and Elliot, all the money, budgets and work have dried up and the industry is hurting... but to Manny and Serban there is tons of work and the industry is growing... It's all about perspective...

When I was pitching my TV show... I came across the guy who created and produced full house... he was huge and had a ton of hit shows... now, not so much. Times change. Just because the times change doesn't mean the industry is bleak or about to die... it's just changing. Out with the old guard... in with the new.

Aaron Spelling at one point was the king of TV... now it's JJ Abrams Chuck Lorre. And at some point it will be someone else. The money doesn't go away, it just shifts to someone new. That has always been the nature of the industry and it always will be. I would say that your longtime clients are in the twilight of their careers and that is why their budgets are dwindling. It's not the industry as a whole. It's just what they can contribute to it.

It's kind of brutal to say... but that is just how this industry is. At one point in time EMI was the biggest record company and music publishing company in the world... a few years ago they were on the verge of bankruptcy and sold their publishing to Sony and their labels to Universal. It happens... It doesn't mean the industry as a whole is imploding. It's just changing.

Last edited by Etch-A-Sketch; 6th November 2016 at 04:35 AM..
Old 6th November 2016
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Tease......
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDDDD.....

Loving it.

- Chevy Chase
Old 6th November 2016
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by livide View Post
Better be good at multiple things/have multiple avenues, so if slows down, you can go 10x harder in another avenue or your choice of different avenues.
Absolutely.
Old 6th November 2016
  #27
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Just because the times change doesn't mean the industry is bleak or about to die... it's just changing. Out with the old guard... in with the new.
That was kind of my point. Maybe I didn't express myself well.....

The industry is growing, but the money is going elsewhere - mostly into high tech industries who don't have the long term experience and value of music that the old guard had.
Old 6th November 2016
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
I'll give you an example... Ed Cherney and Elliot Scheiner were at one point some of the best most sought after sound engineers and were working on all the hit records... Now, not so much... Now it's Manny Maroquin, Serban Ghenea, etc... So to Ed and Elliot, all the money, budgets and work have dried up and the industry is hurting... but to Manny and Serban there is tons of work and the industry is growing... It's all about perspective...
But (in my experience) at the same time the budgets are being slashed.
there is a move to use 'the new guy', but the new guy is offered less money than the old guy was when he was new.
There simply is less money in the system. The money has been dissipated through a million different avenues. Also the top echelon who control the money have learned they can pay themselves more by forcing tougher deals on everyone below them.
I hang around younger musicians all the time and it's a fact they are being paid less than i was when i was their age.
I hang around younger film composers too, and they are being offered smaller budgets than I was when at their stage.
Old 6th November 2016
  #29
Gear Addict
 

NFL, reversion clauses seem to be rare. It's understandable that they would be a headache for the library. For us writers that means better make sure you trust the library to actually place your song before signing it away. Especially if there is no upfront.
Old 6th November 2016
  #30
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NFL View Post
I was thinking of the ones owned by EMI, Sony and BMG, and similar libraries.
What about audioloops, musicjungle and pond5? I thought they were supposed to be the bestest?

Now I'm confused
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump