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Happy BMI Day!
Old 28th June 2019
  #31
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFulford View Post
Sure, the main steps are

1) Tunesat everything
2) Learn how to make and navigate your statements through excel "pivot tables".
3) Combine all of your statements into one giant CSV file.

Think of it as treasure hunting. I had a well paying cable show first air Q1 2018 with four instrumentals of mine. The entire episode was never paid out. The PRO didn't try and put up a fight because the ENTIRE EPISODE never paid out!! Those are the low hanging fruit.
I'm afraid that Tunesat costs would far outweigh any additional payouts BMI would make. Not to mention the time involved. But I'm open to hearing more stories of success!!
Old 28th June 2019
  #32
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFulford View Post
Sure, the main steps are

1) Tunesat everything
2) Learn how to make and navigate your statements through excel "pivot tables".
3) Combine all of your statements into one giant CSV file.

Think of it as treasure hunting. I had a well paying cable show first air Q1 2018 with four instrumentals of mine. The entire episode was never paid out. The PRO didn't try and put up a fight because the ENTIRE EPISODE never paid out!! Those are the low hanging fruit.
This would be an awesome walkthrough/tutorial for your Youtube channel if you were to really dig in to the details of your process.
Old 28th June 2019
  #33
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehrenebbage View Post
This would be an awesome walkthrough/tutorial for your Youtube channel if you were to really dig in to the details of your process.
Agreed!!
Old 29th June 2019
  #34
Gear Head
 

I was in charge at a previous library I worked at of auditing an entire 24 episode season (45 min episodes to boot) that had been using this library very heavily for years to the point where the vast majority of the cues were the companys alone. We had the final cue sheets (not sure how you could audit your statements without having the cue sheets to compare to) and I had the CSVs which I had to sift through, parse out each episode, and then parse out our uses from everyones elses. On top of that, the company had 4 publishing entities, so I had to do this on 4 different huge CSVs (one for each publisher) to find total runtime per episode per publisher, then combine those total times to find a grand total time of use from our company (combined publishers) for each episode. This part alone was extremely involved, very easy to screw up, and took me days to produce the final numbers.

Then I had to get an intern to handle manually going through every cue sheet and add up each publishers time usage for each episode, and then combine those into one grand total time use for our company's collective publishing entities. Then, after I had the grand total use times for each episode for all publishers, I compared that to what the statements showed as a combined use time. Essentially, the cue sheet would say that between our publishers we had a grand total of 22:36 for episode 5, and the PRO statement times would either be the same or different. In total, I recall spending the better part of two weeks figuring this out when I wasn't covering my other responsibilities, and the same goes for the intern.

Long story short, its an incredibly tedious and time consuming process. You really can't miss or screw up anything or your results can be wildly off. This was a few years ago and I wish I could remember better, but I know there were at least a handful of episodes that were underpaid, some more than others. Also a couple that were overpaid, but not by much. The most frustrating part were things labeled on the PRO statments as "____(show title)_______ CUES", because that is combining the timing of multiple cues. Sometimes I could see that the cue sheet showed a cue got 30 seconds of use, but the PRO statment would only show 24 seconds or whatever. I could actually figure out what cue that was if the title was there, but if its "_____ CUES" you have no idea. I ended up leaving the company before the management ever got a resolution from ASCAP/BMI to my knowledge on the payment disparities.

I truly wish you all the best of luck with auditing your statments
Old 30th June 2019
  #35
Lives for gear
 

The other factor to keep in mind, and I believe that Etch touched on it, is that nearly every "Play" (airing) is paid differently.

"Daytime" is paid at 50% of the full rate. Overnight (11pm-8am) is paid at 25%. Prime Time (8pm-11pm in most markets - some are 7:00pm-10pm) are paid at the Full 100% rate.

Also, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC devalue each placement after each and every "Play". So that's why you'll see less money each and every quarter for placements on particular episodes.

For example, Composer A may have 10 minutes of music on all 13 Episodes of "How To Start Your Car" on A&E Network. Composer A receives $7,000 dollars for Season 1 and falsely believes that he'll earn $7,000 dollars every quarter when that particular 13 episode season is aired, only to find out next quarter that he only earned $3,000 dollars for the same number of (and in some cases, more) airings.

Why? The PRO's devalue your music each time it's aired. Also, while it's always nice to see "Marathons" of shows in which our music is placed, but because those marathons are aired over the course of the entire day, and because they've already aired at least once (and in many cases, 20 times? 50 times?), the earnings from those marathons is greatly reduced from the initial airings which are usually in Prime Time.

To me, the main reason to "audit" my statements to to verify that they matchup with the cue sheets I've been provided, either by the PRO itself or, if you're fortunate enough to compose outside of a Production Music Library, from the Production company itself.

When I first began writing for Music Libraries, I also signed a Non-Ex deal with an Emmy-winning production company. I'd receive the Cue Sheets several months in advance, which was great for two reasons:

1) I could tell my friends and family that I had music on their favorite show or a show that they watched, something we're unable to do when writing for a library.

2) I could match the Cue Sheets with my PRO statement to verify that I'd been paid.

Wouldn't you know it, I wasn't paid for a rather popular Cable program more than a year after it aired. That's not out of the ordinary, as some companies don't file their cue sheets on time but once it hit 15 months, I knew something was amiss.

I contacted the Super and was told the cue sheets were filed. Another quarter passed, I received zero income and was told by the Super that the cue sheets had been filed. At the 18 month mark, I was told the same thing and took things into my own hands and called ASCAP. I also checked around with some other writers as well.

Just as I had assumed, the cue sheets were submitted - to BMI , not ASCAP. The Super "resubmitted" the cue sheets and I was paid two quarters later.

The bottom line, really, is to be aware of where your music is being placed and take at least a cursory look at your statements to see if everything lines up. If it doesn't, contact your PRO and ask them to begin an investigation.
Old 30th June 2019
  #36
Lives for gear
 

One more thing: If the income from a placement, especially a Main Theme or Title (T) comes in low, you can call your PRO and ask them how much they pay Per-Music-Minute Per Channel.

ASCAP won't email the rates but they will explain them verbally with a phone call (I'll leave this one to the Conspiracy Theorists).

Old 30th June 2019
  #37
Lives for gear
Got news?

My grandmother died.
Old 30th June 2019
  #38
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehrenebbage View Post
This would be an awesome walkthrough/tutorial for your Youtube channel if you were to really dig in to the details of your process.
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Agreed!!
It's really super easy to run reports on your PRO statements using a database program like MS Access.

1. Open Access
2. Download the current CSV file
3. In Access, Import the Excel file and Save to Import Specs
4. Access will automatically create the fields specified in the Excel file
5. Create two new Data Fields, one for Year Aired and one for Quarter Aired
6. Name the new Table that's created as PRO Domestic 2Q2019 Distribution
7. Open the Table and fill the fields with the appropriate Year & Quarter (Quarter would be 4, Year 2018)
8. Create Simple Queries using any Field of choice, from Title & Amount to Program & Amount, Program, Plays, Amount, etc. and so on.
9. Once the initial table and queries are created, it's easy to copy and paste each query. Open each query and "Point" them to any new table that's been imported.
10. Consolidate each query into a "Master" Table in order to run queries based on year, quarter, etc. and so on.

It may sound like a lot but it's super simple and easy. If you're wanting to compare Cue Sheets to Earnings (or minutes, plays, etc.), it's a bit trickier because you'll need to download the Cue Sheets and if they're not available as a CSV file, you'll need a PDF to CSV converter. Once converted and imported into your database, create a Query that will Match Song Title to Song Title from your Cue Sheet Table to Quarterly or Yearly Table, then Run to extrapolate Minutes to Minutes, Titles to Number of Plays, etc. and so on.

Again, this sounds overly complicated but it's not. And once your Database has been established, importing all previous and future quarters from the CSV files is super simple, as the Import Specs have already been specified, as have the types of Queries you'd like to run.

Running a query takes a matter of seconds, which can give you anything from Top Earning Titles to Top Earning Publishers, TV Programs, etc. It's literally just a push of a button.

You'll need to Save your Import Specs for each type of file Source, as they're different formats. ASCAP Domestic has a different layout than ASCAP Foreign, which of course are different from BMI's statements and formats. But once they've been imported once and the Specs are saved, it literally takes less than one minute to import your data and maybe just a few more minutes to "Point" your copied Queries to the new Table.

You'll have an amazing amount of data at your fingertips that can be analyzed nearly every which way. It's really powerful.
Old 30th June 2019
  #39
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike P View Post
It's really super easy
i was told there would be no math involved......
Old 1st July 2019
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike P View Post
It's really super easy to run reports on your PRO statements using a database program like MS Access.

1. Open Access
2. Download the current CSV file
3. In Access, Import the Excel file and Save to Import Specs
4. Access will automatically create the fields specified in the Excel file
5. Create two new Data Fields, one for Year Aired and one for Quarter Aired
6. Name the new Table that's created as PRO Domestic 2Q2019 Distribution
7. Open the Table and fill the fields with the appropriate Year & Quarter (Quarter would be 4, Year 2018)
8. Create Simple Queries using any Field of choice, from Title & Amount to Program & Amount, Program, Plays, Amount, etc. and so on.
9. Once the initial table and queries are created, it's easy to copy and paste each query. Open each query and "Point" them to any new table that's been imported.
10. Consolidate each query into a "Master" Table in order to run queries based on year, quarter, etc. and so on.

It may sound like a lot but it's super simple and easy. If you're wanting to compare Cue Sheets to Earnings (or minutes, plays, etc.), it's a bit trickier because you'll need to download the Cue Sheets and if they're not available as a CSV file, you'll need a PDF to CSV converter. Once converted and imported into your database, create a Query that will Match Song Title to Song Title from your Cue Sheet Table to Quarterly or Yearly Table, then Run to extrapolate Minutes to Minutes, Titles to Number of Plays, etc. and so on.

Again, this sounds overly complicated but it's not. And once your Database has been established, importing all previous and future quarters from the CSV files is super simple, as the Import Specs have already been specified, as have the types of Queries you'd like to run.

Running a query takes a matter of seconds, which can give you anything from Top Earning Titles to Top Earning Publishers, TV Programs, etc. It's literally just a push of a button.

You'll need to Save your Import Specs for each type of file Source, as they're different formats. ASCAP Domestic has a different layout than ASCAP Foreign, which of course are different from BMI's statements and formats. But once they've been imported once and the Specs are saved, it literally takes less than one minute to import your data and maybe just a few more minutes to "Point" your copied Queries to the new Table.

You'll have an amazing amount of data at your fingertips that can be analyzed nearly every which way. It's really powerful.
My goodness, you should be charging for info like this!
Old 2nd July 2019
  #41
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddievanwailin View Post
I was in charge at a previous library I worked at of auditing an entire 24 episode season (45 min episodes to boot) that had been using this library very heavily for years to the point where the vast majority of the cues were the companys alone. We had the final cue sheets (not sure how you could audit your statements without having the cue sheets to compare to) and I had the CSVs which I had to sift through, parse out each episode, and then parse out our uses from everyones elses. On top of that, the company had 4 publishing entities, so I had to do this on 4 different huge CSVs (one for each publisher) to find total runtime per episode per publisher, then combine those total times to find a grand total time of use from our company (combined publishers) for each episode. This part alone was extremely involved, very easy to screw up, and took me days to produce the final numbers.

Then I had to get an intern to handle manually going through every cue sheet and add up each publishers time usage for each episode, and then combine those into one grand total time use for our company's collective publishing entities. Then, after I had the grand total use times for each episode for all publishers, I compared that to what the statements showed as a combined use time. Essentially, the cue sheet would say that between our publishers we had a grand total of 22:36 for episode 5, and the PRO statement times would either be the same or different. In total, I recall spending the better part of two weeks figuring this out when I wasn't covering my other responsibilities, and the same goes for the intern.

Long story short, its an incredibly tedious and time consuming process. You really can't miss or screw up anything or your results can be wildly off. This was a few years ago and I wish I could remember better, but I know there were at least a handful of episodes that were underpaid, some more than others. Also a couple that were overpaid, but not by much. The most frustrating part were things labeled on the PRO statments as "____(show title)_______ CUES", because that is combining the timing of multiple cues. Sometimes I could see that the cue sheet showed a cue got 30 seconds of use, but the PRO statment would only show 24 seconds or whatever. I could actually figure out what cue that was if the title was there, but if its "_____ CUES" you have no idea. I ended up leaving the company before the management ever got a resolution from ASCAP/BMI to my knowledge on the payment disparities.

I truly wish you all the best of luck with auditing your statments
Man... Mac Finder advanced search, Excel pivot tables and Excel vLookup tables would have been your best friends. It would allow you to do all of this in minutes instead of weeks.

Or learning a little python scripting would have made this SUPER easy to the point where you could just run a script file and point it at all the cue sheets and PRO reports and within 30 seconds you'd have an output spreadsheet with all the information you want/need parsed out of the cue sheets and reports.

Setting it up and getting it to work right might take you a few days or a week... but once it's up and running you could process/check thousands of cue sheets and PRO statements simultaneously.
Old 2nd July 2019
  #42
Gear Head
 

Hire, hire, hire
Old 2nd July 2019
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Man... Mac Finder advanced search, Excel pivot tables and Excel vLookup tables would have been your best friends. It would allow you to do all of this in minutes instead of weeks.

Or learning a little python scripting would have made this SUPER easy to the point where you could just run a script file and point it at all the cue sheets and PRO reports and within 30 seconds you'd have an output spreadsheet with all the information you want/need parsed out of the cue sheets and reports.

Setting it up and getting it to work right might take you a few days or a week... but once it's up and running you could process/check thousands of cue sheets and PRO statements simultaneously.
Do you know of a class out there to show me how to do this sort of task?
Old 2nd July 2019
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Do you know of a class out there to show me how to do this sort of task?
UCLA Extension - Introduction to Python

UCLA Extension - Python Programming I

UCLA Extension - Exploratory Statistics with Python

UCLA Extension - Data Analysis using Python

UCLA Extension - Numerical Computing using Python

UCLA Extension - Excel Basics and Beyond

UCLA Extension - Excel Powerschool, Analyzing Data

UCLA Extension - Excel Powerschool, Adapting Data

UCLA Extension - Excel Advanced Functions

UCLA Extension - Excel modeling tips and techniques to improve productivity

UCLA Extension - Excel Data Analysis and Business Modeling

This is what I found after about 90 seconds of searching just one university's extension/continuing education program. Lots of other universities have "extension" schools too, where you can take classes but not have to enroll full time and you don't have to worry about transcripts and an admissions process. If you have the money, you basically just sign up and take the class. The extension/professional education branches of Universities are cool because it's really focused on learning specific things that you are interested in. so you are usually in classes with other working professionals who are also really interested in learning about the same subject matter for their jobs!

Harvard Extension

USC Continuing Education

Princeton Continuing Education

MIT Continuing Education

Yale Non-Degree Continuing Education

Standford University Continuing Studies

These aren't the only ones. These were just some big name universities I could think of off the top of my head. Whatever university that is near you, look them up and look for their "extension"/"continuing education"/"professional development" programs. You don't need to just look at online vocational schools like University of Phoenix for this sort of education... and what better place to go than to a big university that is known for what you want to do!!! Want to learn a little bit more about computer science??? What better place to learn than at Stanford! Want to learn about business management, what better place to learn than Hardvard!!!

A lot of the extension classes are taught by the same teachers that teach the full time curriculum (they do it for extra money). And a lot of the extension classes are now also available online. So you don't even physically have to move to Los Angeles to attend classes at UCLA or USC... you don't have to move to Cambridge to attend classes at MIT or Harvard.

Granted nothing beats face to face classroom education... but for taking one off classes like learning how to use Excel or learning how to do some python data analytics... online classes can be great!
Old 3rd July 2019
  #45
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Do you know of a class out there to show me how to do this sort of task?
In addition to the advice that Etch posted, you may want to call around to Temp Agencies in your area, as many offer free courses in Excel, Word, Outlook and Access.

Posting on unrelated forums can also be of help, as I'm a member of several different forums that reach across the entire spectrum, from music to sports to politics, etc. and there are sometimes sub-forums for things like Excel, Access, etc. that may fall under the header of Tech or something similar.

Good luck!
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