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Trailer music have bagger fiancial rewards?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Trailer music have bagger fiancial rewards?

Hi,
Edti: I mean Bigger in sted of Bagger !

I read the thread about how many composer on GS forum make a living with making music. It seems that Trailer music is the most profitable.
Why is it so that the financial reward of trailer music is bigger than other styles?

Is it because trailers will be seen in cinemas a lot?
Or else..?

Thanks.
Radiussound
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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StevenMcDonald's Avatar
 

Trailer music certainly has potential to be one of the most financially rewarding, but it's not a rule. It's incredibly competitive and can be brutal with deadlines if you do custom jobs. If you have a good understanding of what's required in trailers, good production chops, and a good relationship with a busy and active publisher, you can potentially make a lot, like anywhere from $5k to $50k per placement/license, especially if you're fast enough to do customs. But on the other side of that coin, there are thousands of trailer tracks out there that will never see a placement beyond perhaps an occasional reality TV underscore for pennies in royalties.

It just depends on your skillset really. Some people make way more than most successful trailer composers by doing TV underscore. It's a totally different ballgame, focusing on large quantities and more genres with a slow buildup of royalties over time (which also lasts a long time, making a good financial safety net).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiussound View Post
It seems that Trailer music is the most profitable.
Not necessarily.

TM has large front end, as Steve mentioned, where BG TV underscore has little to no front end. TV underscore has more backend (royalties), which could last a lifetime, whereas TM has a very limited royalty stream, due to the extremely short amount of time movie ads air.

I feel very strongly that profitability is not so much defined by genre, as much as by the quality of work, and your ability to market yourself and work well with people.

Cheers.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiussound View Post
Hi,
Edti: I mean Bigger in sted of Bagger !

I read the thread about how many composer on GS forum make a living with making music. It seems that Trailer music is the most profitable.
Why is it so that the financial reward of trailer music is bigger than other styles?

Is it because trailers will be seen in cinemas a lot?
Or else..?

Thanks.
Radiussound
To reiterate and expand on what others have said...

Trailer music is not necessarily the most "profitable". It's just that the revenue is front loaded. Also, of a lot of trailer music, the production budgets are 5 to 6 figures per album... sometimes even per cue!

A friend of mine got a gig scoring one of those day time court room reality shows, it was a competitor to Judge Judy and the People's court. He was surprised at just how little they paid up front per episode (it was REALLY LOW) but he decided to do it anyway... When the first quarter of uses showed up on his royalty statement it was $90k!!!! Each subsequent statement was around $100k. He made $400k per year just in his composer royalties from his PRO!!!

I know a composer who make $10k off of a TV Show promo launch campaign, they used his track in 4 out of the 5 promo spots they made to promote a new prime time sitcom on CBS. The promos aired for about 4 or 5 weeks and the actors used one of the promos on all the talk shows (when they show a clip from the show, they showed the promo instead). But the synch license for that promo was maybe $125, maybe less.

So... there is money to be made in all areas of music licensing... it's just the way you make money isn't always the same. Some are more front end license heavy, some are more back end PRO royalty heavy... some are a combination of the two.

As to your question specifically... why are trailer licenses so high... there are several reasons for this...

1st - There has traditionally been little to know back end on trailers... so all the money for the placement needs to be made from the upfront synch license

2nd - Extremely high production value. A lot of trailers use 80+ person live orchestras, lots of live over dubs, top call musicians and top name engineers/mixers.

3rd - The money to pay for trailers comes from the marketing budgets for the movies, not the production budgets. Where a score composer only gets a tiny, tiny sliver of the production budget after all the crew and actors and editors are also paid out... with the marketing budget there is just the ad agency, and the ad buys. So there is more money in play for the music.

4th - There is a fair amount of custom work. A lot of the highest paying trailers you'll hear about are usually custom scores. For example I know from a panel at one of the PMCs, that Immediate was hired to custom score the first Maleficent movie trailer for Disney. They tried for weeks to find music from a library and nothing really hit the mark... so they decided to do it custom. The engineer for that session happened to be on a panel for me and talked about the process... they went to Abbey Road and hired an 80~100 pc orchestra to record that one cue. The engineer told me the production budget was $300k. I have no idea how much of that went to the composer or to the company... but that was $300k for one trailer.

5th - Branding. They are looking for a very specific type of cue with specific arrangements, specific editable sections, specific types of writing and orchestration, etc... most of which won't work across the board for other types of uses... so when you make trailer music, it's pretty much only useable for trailers... there might be some overlap with other industries but for the most part, trailer cues don't work well in TV commercials or as underscore in a Reality show, etc. That has two effects, one of which is the composer and publisher can't make additional money from the cue in other types of uses so they need to make all their money from the trailer licensing alone and two the cues work incredibly well within move trailers and help create a brand identity for each trailer. Most of the time, if a track gets used in a main theatrical trailer, nobody else in the industry will license it for a trailer for at least a year to 18 months... so while you think, "wow, $30k is a lot for a license!!!" that cue may only ever get that ONE license ever in it's lifetime. Or it may not get another license for two years.

6th - another reason for the high fees is to give a certain sense of exclusivity. Knowing that the track is out of the price range of most other types of uses ensures that you aren't going to hear the same cue in a local jiffy lube ad and a franklin mint ad and used as background in an American Pickers episode.

7th - The rights granted. This is a topic most composers don't know much about and never consider. an internet only trailer will pay less than a US territory Free TV and Cable trailer, which pays less than a Worldwide TV trailer, which pays less than a Worldwide theatrical and TV and internet. The licensing is usually "a la carte". so it's not like the license for a big trailer is a flat $30k or something. It's all these smaller licenses added together to give the rights package the film studio or ad agency needs for the spot. When you start stacking rights on top of each other, that is where these big licenses come from. Also length of time has somewhat of a factor and number of drops and number of edits. So for example... using only :02 of your cue (maybe just the ending hit) once in one trailer, is a lot less of a license than if they used that same :02 five times throughout a single trailer. Then what if they use that :02 5 times in the two different theatrical trailers for the same movie, and in two of the TV Trailers, and then in the 3rd and 4th TV trailer they use that same :02 3 times instead of 5? They might do a quote request for ALL of these "drops" combined and ask for 3 or 4 different price break downs... "Price A" being Worldwide, in perpetuity, including Theatrical, TV and internet. "Price B" being Worldwide, in perpetuity EXCLUDING theatrical, including TV and Internet. "Price C" being worldwide, in perpetuity, Internet only. "Price D" being US only, 1 year, Free TV and Cable only....

Or any number of different combinations and rights. I've even seen "promotional videograms" as one of the rights being asked to clear!? That's basically little quicktime clips they send to foreign distributors to try and get distribution in different countries!

Anyway, those are 7 reasons off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more if I think about it for a while and I'm sure some other people can chime in with even more too... but hopefully that give you a sense of why the upfront license of music for movie trailers CAN be so high. But also realize there are trailers that aren't super high licenses as well... the "Own it on bluray and digital download" TV trailers are called "End of run" or "End of campaign" trailers and they don't pay that much for the music... maybe $1200 to $2500 for a full cue... while the first/main theatrical trailer for the same movie probably paid $30k to $60k per cue.

So imagine this huge matrix of pricing structure for all the rights: territory, length of the use (in seconds or minutes:seconds), number of times used (number of drops), length of the license/term, venue/use/purpose, production value, number of additional spots/edits made, etc...

There are a ton of factors that go into the quoting a price... which is why you might hear someone getting a piece of music in an Avenger's trailer for $1000... and then someone else getting music in an Avenger's trailer for $60,000. It's all about the various rights being granted.

Last edited by Etch-A-Sketch; 3 weeks ago at 08:41 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiussound View Post
Hi,
Edti: I mean Bigger in sted of Bagger !

I read the thread about how many composer on GS forum make a living with making music. It seems that Trailer music is the most profitable.
Why is it so that the financial reward of trailer music is bigger than other styles?

Is it because trailers will be seen in cinemas a lot?
Or else..?

Thanks.
Radiussound
Also I will add... as Steve said, it is VERY competitive. Hollywood releases about 600 movies every year. Of those the majority of them will have around 2 or 3 Theatrical trailers, 3 to 5 TV trailers, a few internet trailers, and then an end of campaign trailer or two. Some of the bigger ones will have Teaser trailers, 3 to 5 Theatrical, 5 to 10 or more TV trailers (I noticed Rocketman has around 14 or 15 DIFFERENT TV trailers!!), a bunch of internet trailers, an MOBS (Making of/behind the scenes) or two, a couple of end of campaign trailers and a couple of online streaming service trailers (the little trailers that play as a preview on Netflix or or Vudu or wherever).

So there are a finite amount of placements... and even though it may seem like a lot, it really isn't. And it is very hard to predict what will be needed since all of these ad agencies that do motion picture marketing are trying to come up with new and ingenious concepts for their campaigns that nobody else has ever really done before, so that they can win the pitch/bid to do the marketing campaign for each movie.

That is the other thing people don't realize... the movie studios will do a cattle call brief to all the trailer houses (the ad agencies that do motion picture marketing), and ALL the trailer houses start putting together concept "pitch" trailers... they will all do at least a few... then the film studio might pick two to five ad agencies to continue working and they give notes and stuff... all 5 agencies vying to win the contract. Each agency might make 5 or 6 trailers to submit. So that is 25 to 30 trailers the film studio goes through and reviews... out of that they will pick 1 to 5 as the finals and then they start asking for price quotes on them. After that they might only pick 1 or 2 or maybe 3 to "buy" and then pay for them.

I've had some of my tracks in HUGE trailers that would have been HUGE licenses... but the trailers got dropped by the film studio, not even because they didn't like the music but because they didn't like some other aspect of the trailer (the picture edit, or the excerpts used to tell the story, or whatever). Most of the time you don't even know why it got dropped... It's just some exec in the film studio's marketing dept didn't like the spot that had your music in it for some reason or another and you never find out what it was.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Here for the gear
Very interesting.... Thanks, Derek, for your informative posts about licensing Trailer Music. Seems like it's a niche in the industry that many people know nothing about. Thanks again.
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