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Interesting PRO Situation with a Library
Old 6th September 2019
  #1
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Interesting PRO Situation with a Library

Hello friends...

So I had a unique (to me, at least) situation come up with a well-established (who will remain nameless) library this week. I was set to start working with them, we had initial talks, all went well, and then when I gave them my PRO information (I'm with SESAC) they said they couldn't work with me because of SESAC policies regarding blanket deals (they do quite a bit of reality TV stuff, which is where a lot of my tracks fit). They said they would be willing to work with me if I were to switch PROs, but their library wasn't willing to step outside of ASCAP/BMI writers for now. I was able to get info from SESAC that verified they negotiate the same rates and blanket deals as ASCAP/BMI, but this didn't change the stance of the library.

I've since considered switching to BMI, but I'm wondering if its a good idea. I've been with SESAC for quite a bit of time (more than a decade), and I have quite a few registered tracks and tracks that are pending registration with a number of libraries that would be registered with SESAC. I'm concerned if I were to switch what would happen to those tracks. Additionally, this situation made me wonder if there was some sort of unspoken bias toward SESAC writers at libraries and networks, or if this situation was an outlier.

For what it's worth - this library has a HUGE amount of tracks in their catalog and they get thousands of placements a year, so it didn't strike me as a sketchy situation, but it was certainly surprising to me.

Any feedback, advice or thoughts are welcomed. This was certainly unique to me...

Last edited by casnc; 6th September 2019 at 05:22 PM.. Reason: Clarify a sentence
Old 6th September 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casnc View Post
Hello friends...

So I had a unique (to me, at least) situation come up with a well-established (who will remain nameless) library this week. I was set to start working with them, we had initial talks, all went well, and then when I gave them my PRO information (I'm with SESAC) they said they couldn't work with me because of SESAC policies regarding blanket deals (they do quite a bit of reality TV stuff, which is where a lot of my tracks fit). They said they would be willing to work with me if I were to switch PROs, but their library wasn't willing to step outside of ASCAP/BMI writers for now. I was able to get info from SESAC that verified they negotiate the same rates and blanket deals as ASCAP/BMI, but this didn't change the stance of the library.

I've since considered switching to BMI, but I'm wondering if its a good idea. I've been with SESAC for quite a bit of time (more than a decade), and I have quite a few registered tracks and tracks that are pending registration with a number of libraries that would be registered with SESAC. I'm concerned if I were to switch what would happen to those tracks. Additionally, this situation made me wonder if there was some sort of unspoken bias toward SESAC writers at libraries and networks, or if this situation was an outlier.

For what it's worth - this library has a HUGE amount of tracks in their catalog and they get thousands of placements a year, so it didn't strike me as a sketchy situation, but it was certainly surprising to me.

Any feedback, advice or thoughts are welcomed. This was certainly unique to me...
That's bizarre. I'd check that again as there shouldn't be any issues with SESAC and music libraries. Maybe you said SESAC, but they heard GMR? Or maybe the library just has a really bad relationship with SESAC? I've not persoanally heard of anything like this before and SESAC has been around in the library, news, and production world for a long time.
Old 6th September 2019
  #3
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I was able to get info from SESAC that verified they negotiate the same rates and blanket deals as ASCAP/BMI, but this didn't change the stance of the library.

I would call SESAC, give them the name of the lib, and ask them what the problem might be. Maybe SESAC can tell you something of interest here.

Cheers.
Old 6th September 2019
  #4
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Thank you both for your replies!

I'm sure they were aware it was SESAC as part of the correspondence was conducted via email...all I can assume is it is a decision the library feels strongly about, and I certainly respect that. That said, this was definitely unusual to me because I'm with a decent number of other libraries and this has never come up.

I did discuss the situation with my SESAC rep and they replied that they had never encountered this position before and that there should be no difference in collecting in terms of blanket deals, so they were unsure where the library was coming from.

All this said, the deal and workload discussed were very interesting to me so I have considered switching PRO's, but I am hesitant to do so at this stage, though I might change my mind. I just wanted to see if anyone had experienced something similar.
Old 6th September 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Permissable to form another entity (subsidiary, dba, llc, inc, etc.) owned by you or your current company, register the new entity with their preferred PRO and move forward? If so, you'd have options whenever similar situations arise in the future. It would suck to change for one job, then have another opportunity come along that says the same, but regarding the PRO you just switched to.
Old 6th September 2019
  #6
Are you even able to switch? It took me 6 months to switch from ASCAP to BMI.

I wouldn't bother unless BIG money was involved.
Old 6th September 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Are you even able to switch? It took me 6 months to switch from ASCAP to BMI.

I wouldn't bother unless BIG money was involved.
Yeah, I'm at a point where I could switch. There was no upfront money in this deal, but plenty of opportunity. Did you leave your tracks with ASCAP when you switched, or did you move them over to BMI? That to me seems the biggest issue - all these tracks I have at libraries now that haven't been registered yet with SESAC that are due to be registered with them when the libraries get to it. I don't want to screw that up and leave those tracks in limbo.

Have you found it to be worth it after making the switch to BMI?
Old 6th September 2019
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by casnc View Post
Yeah, I'm at a point where I could switch. There was no upfront money in this deal, but plenty of opportunity. Did you leave your tracks with ASCAP when you switched, or did you move them over to BMI? That to me seems the biggest issue - all these tracks I have at libraries now that haven't been registered yet with SESAC that are due to be registered with them when the libraries get to it. I don't want to screw that up and leave those tracks in limbo.

Have you found it to be worth it after making the switch to BMI?
If you are happy with SESAC, you should stay with SESAC.

The “opportunity” from this company could fizzle out. And with no upfront money, you may not be putting yourself in a better position.
Old 7th September 2019
  #9
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It's possible this library has some kind of guarantee worked out with ASCAP/BMI, but not with SESAC. If so, you could always sign up your significant other with ASCAP/BMI or register with one of them under a pseudonym. It does happen.
Old 7th September 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VitaEtMusica View Post
It's possible this library has some kind of guarantee worked out with ASCAP/BMI, but not with SESAC.
Would that even be legal?
Old 7th September 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
Would that even be legal?
Happens every day. Even folks who have wife and kid registered, netting 3 different PRO's. They put music into the PRO (themselves, wife or kid) depending on where the music is most likely to go - pop radio, underscore or commercial.
Old 7th September 2019
  #12
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by casnc View Post
Have you found it to be worth it after making the switch to BMI?
Most folks I know at BMI are not happy. Many would like to switch over to SESAC. IMO, for one project, no matter how great it is, I would not switch. The underlying factors are hugely more important in choosing your PRO than a single project.
Old 7th September 2019
  #13
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Thank you all for the feedback. There are definitely some interesting ideas here that I had not previously considered, but it sounds like the best bet is to stay put. I've never had an issue with SESAC but I really wanted to work with this library...but it may not be a smart decision to rock the boat at this point.
Old 7th September 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casnc View Post
Thank you all for the feedback. There are definitely some interesting ideas here that I had not previously considered, but it sounds like the best bet is to stay put. I've never had an issue with SESAC but I really wanted to work with this library...but it may not be a smart decision to rock the boat at this point.
What we're saying is that you could work with this library if you wanted without switching the PRO associated with your name. No need to walk away.
Old 7th September 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Happens every day. Even folks who have wife and kid registered, netting 3 different PRO's. They put music into the PRO (themselves, wife or kid) depending on where the music is most likely to go - pop radio, underscore or commercial.
That's not what I was asking about being illegal.

I was asking if the library has some kind of guarantee worked out with ASCAP/BMI, but not with SESAC - would THAT be illegal.
Old 7th September 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
That's not what I was asking about being illegal.

I was asking if the library has some kind of guarantee worked out with ASCAP/BMI, but not with SESAC - would THAT be illegal.
Ahhh, gotcha. Well, there's nothing saying they have to have a SESAC publishing company that I know of. I once worked with a company (years ago) that couldn't accommodate a SESAC co-writer. But I think it's an anomaly. Especially these days.
Old 7th September 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
That's not what I was asking about being illegal.

I was asking if the library has some kind of guarantee worked out with ASCAP/BMI, but not with SESAC - would THAT be illegal.
ASCAP and BMI do guarantees and cash advances all the time. It's part of what makes them suck. Not illegal, just "business." Zero transparency and consistently unfair pay practices. Not like SESAC is any better, though.
Old 9th September 2019
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
That's not what I was asking about being illegal.

I was asking if the library has some kind of guarantee worked out with ASCAP/BMI, but not with SESAC - would THAT be illegal.
Yup all of them do it.

Most likely the library in question has some serious annual revenue guarantees from ASCAP and BMI but most likely SESAC wouldn't play ball and wouldn't guarantee them the dollar amount they wanted, so they said "[email protected]# off" to SESAC and won't work with any SESAC writers.

If you have a spouse, I would do what Vita recommended, which is to register your significant other with BMI or ASCAP and then write the music under her name for this one library. That sort of thing happens all the time.
Old 10th September 2019
  #19
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Thanks, Etch, and everyone else who offered feedback! Definitely some interesting ideas that I had previously not considered that might be a solid solution to this.

I appreciate the insight and opinions of everyone on here!
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