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5 Questions about PROs from a newbie Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 3rd August 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

5 Questions about PROs from a newbie

Hey guys,

could someone help me out with a few questions?

1.So from what I understand PROs collect royalties for me....but why there need to be PROs in general? Couldn't the tv station just send me my money directly everytime they use my music?

2.Are royalties earned as well for internet (streaming, youtube etc.) or only for TV/Radio Broadcast usage?

3.If you get royalties will there also always go some % to the PRO or don't you have to pay anything except for the (yearly?) membership fee?

4.Why do some music libraries require that I'm part of a PRO eventhought they re-title my music? I mean if they already have my music re-titled, reg registered at a PRO, why should I need to be a member by myself?
Old 3rd August 2014
  #2
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
1. Because that's how things got set up many years ago. Would you really want to try and police 100,000 radio and TV stations instead of 1 PRO?

2. Yes. They are dismal compared to terrestrial though. Local pays as well.

3. Yes the PRO takes a percentage for operating. I'm with BMI, and there is no yearly dues.

4. Because they want to participate in royalties as well. It takes both publisher AND writer to do so.

5. Have no idea.
Old 3rd August 2014
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks man

Quote:
Because that's how things got set up many years ago. Would you really want to try and police 100,000 radio and TV stations instead of 1 PRO?
How do they do that? (police the radio and tv stations) From what I know they don't even use something like tunesat?

Quote:
Yes the PRO takes a percentage for operating. I'm with BMI, and there is no yearly dues.
Hmm, this seems to be different from PRO to PRO, how much % is it at BMI?

Quote:
Because they want to participate in royalties as well. It takes both publisher AND writer to do so.
I still don't get it. Let's say a library licenses "track A" for me and they register the track as "track A LIBRARY" at a PRO. Why do I have to become a part of a PRO additionaly now if it's already registered and they can collect royalties?

...or is the problem that they just CANT register the piece at a PRO if I'm not registered at a PRO by myself?
Old 4th August 2014
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by freshdax View Post
Why do I have to become a part of a PRO additionaly now if it's already registered and they can collect royalties?

...or is the problem that they just CANT register the piece at a PRO if I'm not registered at a PRO by myself?
Don't you want to collect your royalties, too? A work needs both a writer and a publisher (although BMI lets the writer collect the publisher's share, too). Your re-titling library will register you as the writer of the work, and their publishing company as the publisher. They get the publishing royalties, you get the writing. If you're not affiliated with a PRO, you can't collect royalties.
Old 4th August 2014
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Hey AlpacaRoom,

well the problem is that I sold most of my music as royalty free on several sites,so I could hardly register any of my music at a PRO right? (I'm afraid clients who bought my music as RF then had to pay royalties)
Well, after all I could rename the music and then register it with different names maybe....but I could hardly do this with public domain covers.

Also I just realized by myself that royalty free is NOT the way to go in case you want to make a living as a composer. (however from what I've heard it's the usual way for most to start out the RF way)
Old 4th August 2014
  #6
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Perhaps a little more research beyond this thread is in order. You have quite a few misconceptions about PRO's, RF vs. NON RF music, "Selling" vs. Licensing, Royalties, Copyright and etc.. Too much to cover in one thread.
Old 4th August 2014
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Where to get the info?

Maybe this book would be a good start?
Old 5th August 2014
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by freshdax View Post
Hey AlpacaRoom,

well the problem is that I sold most of my music as royalty free on several sites,so I could hardly register any of my music at a PRO right? (I'm afraid clients who bought my music as RF then had to pay royalties)
Your clients are not the ones who pay royalties to the PROs.

The broadcasters (abc, nbc, clear channel, discovery, tbs, etc) have to give a percentage of their ad revenue profits to the PROs every year by law. It's part of the copyright act. Out of that percentage the PROs pay out composers for their uses on that broadcaster. The PRO by law is considered a minority owner of each broadcaster. And it has been in that way since radio became popular. It then tied over to TV. Technically PROs have been around since the 1800s for live public performances of music. The first one was formed in France. It's an interesting story, you can google it.
Old 5th August 2014
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by freshdax View Post
Hey AlpacaRoom,

well the problem is that I sold most of my music as royalty free on several sites,so I could hardly register any of my music at a PRO right?
Also I should point out, royalty free doesn't necessarily mean Performance royalty free. There are now "performance free" libraries and there are a few that are both royalty free AND performance free. But most royalty free companies use the term royalty free to refer to mechanical and sync license royalties (or at least they have been in the past). Within the copyright law, having to renew a license is considered a royalty. That's they way it was worded. So a royalty free library simply means there are no sync or mechanical royalties that need to be paid. It doesn't automatically mean there are no PRO royalties, because the PROs are not paid by the clients licensing the music.

For example... In a normal licensing deal, you license your music for a specific purpose, within a specific work, for a specific type of public viewing. I'll use a Movie and a TV show as an example...

Movie:
The director wants to use your music in the film. The film is going to be released in 1000 theaters in the US and most likely about 1000 to 1500 theaters around the world. They have no idea if the movie will be successful yet or not, so they want the best "deal" you can give them.

You license your piece of music to the film for $10,000 (this is the going rate for a song with vocals from an unknown or unsigned artist, regardless of whether they are with a library or on their own. An instrumental background piece of music or source music from a library would be less but still in the thousands). For that $10,000 they only get the rights to use your music in the Theatrical worldwide release of the film for a term of maybe 6months.

The film is a huge success and when Oscar season comes around they want to "re-release" the film in Us theaters only. They also want to release the Film on DVD/Bluray/VOD/Netflix...

Re-releasing the film in the theaters is not covered in the initial licensing agreement you did with them. So they need to come back and negotiate another fee for you to give them permission to re-release the film in the US only. Let's say that fee is $5000. That fee is now considered a royalty.

Then we look at the DVD/Bluray/VOD/Netflix. That was also not covered in your initial license and they do not have legal permission to release the film in these formats unless they negotiate an additional fee with you. For these you negotiate a rate based on a certain number of copies sold, viewed or downloaded. For a hit film, let's say they pay you $20,000 for the first 500,000 copies made or views purchased online. And then after that they pay you $10,000 for each additional 500,000 pressed/viewed. This money is also considered a royalty.

So the film wins an oscar and sells millions of copies/views. And now the TV networks want to start showing it during primetime. There is no clause within your license that gives the film company permission to show the film with your music on a TV broadcast. So then they have to come back to you and negotiate a fee to do that. Let's say you charge them $2000 per network. That money is considered a royalty.

Then because it is now airing on TV you get Performance royalties, which is a separate thing all together. up until this point you've been getting paid sync and mechanical royalties from the production company that actually made the film. Now that is airing on TV, you get performance royalties which are paid for by the TV network.

TV show:
A TV Show wants to use a piece of your music in one episode of the show. You negotiate a license of $1000 for that one piece of music in that one episode for broadcasting in the US only on that one channel. The TV show production company pays you the $1000. Since it is airing on TV, the broadcast network that is airing the show, pays the PROs which in turn pay you, for the performance of your music in that show.

After 3 years the show becomes a huge success, and they want to syndicate the show onto one cable network and in 20 foreign countries. They need to come back to you and negotiate a rate for the one episode your music is in. Let's say you charge them $500 for the cable network syndication and $5000 for the syndication in 20 countries. That $5500 is considered a royalty even though it is not a performance royalty. Since your music in that episode is now airing on cable and in 20 countries, your PRO collects the performance royalties from all those broadcasters and pays you for your music airing.

Turns out the episode that used your music becomes a favorite and the scene where they used your music is very memorable. So as a running joke in future episodes they want to do "flash backs" to that scene in new episdoes and possibly use your music to underscore new scenes that reminisce about the original situation. Well your license was only of that one episode. So they have to negotiate with you to get permission to use that same music in other episodes...

But now the TV show is on two networks in the US and 20 networks worldwide!!! So your license to allow them to use it over and over again might be $5500 per new episode that they place it in! Again this money is technically considered a royalty off that initial license.

After 10 years they decide to release the first 10 seasons on DVD/Bluray/etc. Your license doesn't cover this, so they need to negotiate a fee for this... Since they are using your same cue in multiple episodes throughout the 10 years... let's say you and your lawyer come up with a fee of $2000 for every 10,000 copies made. So they initially press 30,000 copies... they pay you $6000. 2 months later they have to press 50,000 because sales have been good. They pay you $10,000 for that pressing, and so on. That money is considered a royalty.

Royalty Free Concept:
The concept of royalty free is that the Production companies (not the broadcasters) pay one lump sum up front and then they never have to come back to you ever again for any other permissions for that piece of music. Essentially they are buying the worldwide rights to that piece of music in perpetuity for the fee they are paying.

It saves the production companies a lot of headaches. Now, production companies have always been able to do this kind of deal up front. And when they know the film or TV show is going to be a hit or is already a hit, they will include all these possible types of use in the initial license they do with you. And that makes the license fee go up.

If you add up all the money you made from the Movie example, it comes out to roughly $45,000~$50,000 depending on how many copies they sell and how many networks the movie airs on.

This is why you might here people sometimes mention licenses for huge movie franchises can be upwards of $40,000 to $50,000 up front. That isn't always the case, but it can and does happen. If the film company knows they are going to be doing all these things eventually, they'll just put it all in the license up front to save themselves the time and energy of having to come back to every composer who licensed music into the film.

Same for TV shows... with the TV show example you would have made around $35,000 to $45,000 over the course of the 10 years the show was being made. So the shows will try to include all of these potential uses in the initial license agreement if they know the show is a success and will most likely do all of these things. Maybe the upfront license in that case won't be $35,000... again they'll try to negotiate a cheaper rate since they are paying for it all up front... but you get the idea.

So now royalty free libraries come along and do the same thing... but instead of charging $5000, $10,000, $40,000... they charge $19.95 or $40 and give away the same rights and permissions that the production companies were already paying $10,000 to $50,000 for.

So you can now see why, as you mentioned in your previous post...

Quote:
Also I just realized by myself that royalty free is NOT the way to go in case you want to make a living as a composer.
Now also realize this...

A successful film will make anywhere from $200mil to $500mil in revenue...some as much as $1bil now.

A successful TV show will make anywhere from $100mil to $500mil EVERY YEAR!!! And that includes successful reality TV shows that tell you they have no money for music!!!

And so, what is $20,000 or $50,000 when the product makes $200mil to $1bil?? So why do certain composers feel compelled to give away the music for $20 when the TV show or film is still going to make $200mil to $1bil?

Now here's the dilemma that we all hear all the time... "well this is a new show, I don't have the budget for this one like I did for the other one, etc". As a composer, that is not your problem. If the show doesn't have enough money to be made, then it's the producer's job to raise more money. You shouldn't have to assume any of the financial "risk" of a project by giving them music for $20 or $40 when you should be getting $2000 to $50,000 unless they are cutting you in as an investor in the project and you will receive a percentage of the profits. And even then, as the composer you shouldn't do that... why? Because you are not a film maker, you are a composer. Let the film makers assume all the risk and reward for their "vision" of what the film should be. You should get paid the money you deserve.

"But what if the producer pays $50,000 for the music and the film/TV show flops?" Again, that is not your problem as the composer. You did your job and were paid fairly for it. If the producer doesn't know how to make or market a film correctly, you shouldn't be the one who has to financially absorb his/her mistakes and shortcomings.

Anyway... sorry for the long post and the rant. But I felt this topic needed to be explained in more detail for people that might one day come across this while browsing through the forums. A lot of people don't understand how publishing works. We as composers have to realize we are not "selling" ANYTHING!!! We retain ownership of the music. We are merely granting permission (that is what a license is, a granting of permission for use) for people to use our property (intellectual property in this case) to help them make money for themselves. And for that permission we grant, we are paid and should be paid fairly, regardless of whether the people licensing the music actually have the skills/talent to make something that makes money for themselves.
Old 5th August 2014
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Wow, that's an excellent post Etch-A-Sketch!!! A lot of valuable info here I think I'm going to re-read your post a few times...

Now I get why many (if not most??) of the top-tier music libraries only work with composers who are affiliated with a PRO. There would possiblly be a huge amount of money slip throught their fingers as well.
Old 5th August 2014
  #11
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by freshdax View Post
Now I get why many (if not most??) of the top-tier music libraries only work with composers who are affiliated with a PRO. There would possiblly be a huge amount of money slip throught their fingers
Not many or most. ALL.
Old 6th August 2014
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Cruciform's Avatar
 

Great post, Etch. Good reading for all.
Old 6th August 2014
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by freshdax View Post
Wow, that's an excellent post Etch-A-Sketch!!! A lot of valuable info here I think I'm going to re-read your post a few times...

Now I get why many (if not most??) of the top-tier music libraries only work with composers who are affiliated with a PRO. There would possiblly be a huge amount of money slip throught their fingers as well.
Yes. Doing RF or PF libraries gives the person starting the library a fast and easy way to acquire content. Most of the time (not all, but most) they don't really care if the music they accept gets licensed or not. They just need a vast amount of content to make them LOOK very big. The ultimate goal, as I've said in other posts, is to sell to a larger corporation. These larger corporations then look at the RF or PF library as a loss leader for their other products and services. The owners of the library are psyched because for very little investment they get to make a HUGE multi-million dollar payoff from the sale, and don't have to give any of it to the composers who created all the content they are now selling to the large corporation. I call it the Myspace effect. Myspace did a similar thing. It was all the music and personal content that people put up for free that made myspace worth $500mil. Yet when they sold Myspace for $500mil, nobody on myspace that put up music got a piece of that money. The same happens with these RF and PF libraries.

Here's an example from 2007

Quote:
Photo licensor Getty Images has acquired online music rights company Pump Audio for $42 million. Pump Audio does for independent musicians what Getty already does for photographers – license music to movie studios, TV networks, and Web companies for usage in their respective productions.

Pump’s catalog includes more than 100,000 songs, and the company says it has secured more than 80,000 placements for artists. The company does not retain exclusive rights to songs and splits licensing fees evenly with musicians. While a departure from their core photo licensing business, Getty’s large customer database and sales force make Pump poised for expansion under its new corporate umbrella. Getty has been on a buying spree of late, with previous acquisitions including WireImage, Punchstock, and Scoopt.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Pump’s revenue in 2006 was “less than $10 million.” The company had previously raised a reported $2.5 million in venture capital.

Getty Images Acquires Pump Audio
So, Pump audio made less than $10mil in 2006, and from what I heard it was way less than $10 mil, as in the ">$10mil catagory of company, yet they sold for $42mil. The reason why they were worth $42mil is because of the 100,000 song catalog they have, period. And all the people that submitted music to pump in hopes that they would make decent money from licensing, didn't get any of the $42mil. And now Getty uses Pump as their loss leader for their more profitable divisions.
Old 6th August 2014
  #14
Gear Addict
 

This is the most important single paragraph I've ever seen on Gearslutz.com.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post


So, Pump audio made less than $10mil in 2006, and from what I heard it was way less than $10 mil, as in the ">$10mil catagory of company, yet they sold for $42mil. The reason why they were worth $42mil is because of the 100,000 song catalog they have, period. And all the people that submitted music to pump in hopes that they would make decent money from licensing, didn't get any of the $42mil. And now Getty uses Pump as their loss leader for their more profitable divisions.
Old 6th August 2014
  #15
Gear Addict
 
burst's Avatar
Everyone interested in the production music and licensing side of the music business needs to read and re-read these phenomenal posts by Etch-A-Sketch.

Great job, mate.
Old 6th August 2014
  #16
While I disagree with what RF and PF libraries do, the creators of them are very savvy business people. And I've heard that for some composers it can be a decent revenue stream (I haven't met any, but people say they exist).

My purpose for writing these posts wasn't to try and bash these companies. It was to educate composers so they know what they are getting into and what they are giving up by participating in these organizations.

To be honest, if I was just starting out now I might have given it a try. After all, I can always write more music.

I'm not discouraging people from putting music in them, just understand what it means when you do.

Most composers I talk to don't understand how licensing works or how performance royalties work so they don't understand what they are giving up by giving music to an RF or PF.

I understand that trying to get music into a standard exclusive non-rf/PF library can be a frustrating experience. It can sometimes be as elusive as getting a record deal. And the deals these libraries offer vary greatly based on the markets they are strong in, which can also be very confusing and frustrating, especially when a friend who has what seems like an inferior contract with a library makes more money than you and your seemingly better contract with another library. It's not an easy business to navigate.

But nothing worth doing is ever easy. And there is still no guarantee that a composer will make a lot of money with a non-rf/PF library. But your legal rights as a composer will be protected, so if your music does make money you know you are getting the money your music is really worth.
Old 6th August 2014
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Buyout licenses/RF and generally selling music at low prices realy can be a bit frustrating. I just had to learn it the hard way....

For example I just sold a track at a RF site and earned around 40$. From what it looks like it's a well known youtube channel who's using my music.
It's realy realy nice and exciting to have my first little, mentionable credit (maybe I got some more nice usages of my music in the past, the problem is on most RF sites they usually never tell you where or from whom your music will be used....just another downside of these sites)
...but it's also real aggravating on the other hand cause they will probably get hundred thousands, if not millions of clicks and therefore some real nice ad revenue, while I'll get only about ridiculous 40 bucks and most likely not even a credit.

The track isn't anything special at all and wasn't even much work to record, and again I'm excited for my first small credit, but I learned my lesson for the future. Especialy with more complex tracks, one should NEVER EVER go the RF route.
I think if you 're a beginner and/or your tracks were quickly done it's ok, but on audiojungle there are artists who're selling real well composed music or even live musician recordings (yes, even live orchestra music)....probably they don't have a clue what they're doing to the business.

Also a quite good library accepted me recently (which was real good news)....but I found out that I HAVE to be part of a PRO otherwise I can't sign the contract.......so I'll have to wait some time.

At least from what it seems you can still sell previous RF material at non-RF sites by registering the same tracks, but completely (not just the old title with some apendix) re-titled at the PRO to bypass any potential problems...however this seems a bit of a delicate issue, but basicaly the libraries are doing the same, so what could be wrong in doing that?(just wondering anyone ever did this, or knows someone who did it? is this maybe even a well-established procedure?)
Old 7th August 2014
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by freshdax View Post
Also a quite good library accepted me recently (which was real good news)....but I found out that I HAVE to be part of a PRO otherwise I can't sign the contract.......so I'll have to wait some time.
That is great! Join a PRO as soon as possible!! I don't see why you would have to wait? You can still write music and give it to RF sites... just don't give your RF music to your PRO libraries and don't give your PRO libraries music to your RF sites.

And just be sure not to try and register any of your RF music with your PRO. If your RF sites demand that you not even be a member of a PRO, then use a pseudonym/pen name with the RF site.

Quote:
At least from what it seems you can still sell previous RF material at non-RF sites by registering the same tracks, but completely (not just the old title with some apendix) re-titled at the PRO to bypass any potential problems...however this seems a bit of a delicate issue, but basicaly the libraries are doing the same, so what could be wrong in doing that?(just wondering anyone ever did this, or knows someone who did it? is this maybe even a well-established procedure?)
This is just my opinion, and it's a topic I have a very strong opinion on... but to me and from what I have seen and heard from clients, re-titling the same work with multiple companies is a very bad thing for the composer.

I'll give you two examples...

This first one I heard from a music supervisor I've worked with. They all know which companies are retitled libraries and which are exclusive. But all of the libraries get loaded into one big search engine that they use. Some guys use Sound Miner, some of the networks use mSoft, others might just use iTunes, etc.

When they do a search for music, anything that pertains to their search criteria shows up, and it shows up by relevance. Which means, if you have the same song in multiple libraries, they will show up in the search engine right next to each other or within a track or two of each other in the list.

As the music supervisor scrolls down the list auditioning each song, it is immediately noticeable which tracks are identical because they sound identical. If it ends up being the track they want to use, they will start a bidding war between the libraries to see who can give them the track the cheapest. Reality TV shows are notorious for this, but other types of clients will do this sometimes as well.

So now, your track that may have initially been listed as costing $1000 with each library... gets chiseled down to maybe $200, or $100 or maybe even $50, with each library trying to undercut the other over and over until finally all but one gives up and says they can't go any lower. Whatever price is settled on, you get half of as part of your deal (usually). So now instead of making $500, you get $25~$50 and you don't ever know that it happened. The more libraries you retitle with, the more you devalue your music because the more potential "bidders" the client can get into the bidding war for your track.

Now, here's another scenario that I have personally witnessed... A composer I knew had music in several exclusive library and decided after a few years to retitle all that music and sell another exclusive library, thinking that none of the libraries would ever notice since the titles were so vastly different.

Well... it took about 4 weeks after the music was released to the public with this new library for this composer to get caught. The way the composer was caught? A music supervisor for one a well-known show quickly found the song twice in the list within in the search engine the show was using, and wasn't sure which company was responsible for the licensing since they knew that both companies were exclusive libraries. So they called both companies and asked. The new library then started looking at all the other music the composer had submitted and started comparing this to all the other music this composer had done with all these other libraries... they quickly discovered that literally ALL of the music was already owned by other libraries, they quickly pulled all the music and notified the other libraries about what this composer had done, and had to pay the other libraries all the money these cues had made in that 4 week time period. The composer was then black listed and no library will do business with the composer ever again.

So I have personally seen and heard how retitling gets noticed EXTREMELY quickly by those who use and license music. And that is why I strongly recommend against it.

Also, just as a secondary point, you can't even use the same piece of music but change one or two little things. That is considered a "derivative work" within copyright law. If you do that, it is still technically the first original piece of music and is owned by whoever owns the original piece. You need to sit down and write new music from scratch for every project, otherwise you are ultimately devaluing your work as a composer and could be potentially opening yourself up to legal trouble (if you give music to a non-exclusive then change it a little and give it to an exclusive, or vice-versa).
Old 7th August 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Thanks a bunch for these clear thoughts and this hands down of information.

Is it possible to drag this - and similar threads - towards the 'Moderators Thread Picks' section on the right side just as a reminder?
Old 8th August 2014
  #20
Not sure where you live, but if you can make it to LA on Sept 12th, I recommend you check this out.

Production Music Association – Production Music Conference 2014

I think there are few seminars you might be interested in. here are some you should check out if you go...

Production Music Association – DON’T GIVE IT AWAY: ENHANCING THE VALUE OF YOUR CATALOG

Production Music Association – ROYALTIES AT HOME & ABROAD: KNOW YOUR REVENUE STREAMS

Production Music Association – COPYRIGHT ESSENTIALS: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Production Music Association – MAKING THE DEAL: LANGUAGE AND LICENSING INDUSTRY NORMS

Production Music Association – PROTECTING YOUR ASSETS: FINGERPRINTING & RE-TITLING

Production Music Association – YOUTUBE MONETIZATION: MAXIMIZING YOUR YOUTUBE REVENUE

Everything I've been talking about in this thread will be covered on a much deeper level in these seminars.

I'm also actually on a panel at this event, but it's a sound engineering seminar, not a music business seminar.
Old 8th August 2014
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Sam Watson's Avatar
Those look awesome, Derek. Wish I were in that neck of the woods!
Old 8th August 2014
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
Evil Jack's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
And just be sure not to try and register any of your RF music with your PRO. If your RF sites demand that you not even be a member of a PRO, then use a pseudonym/pen name with the RF site.
Hey Derek - how then, in the (unlikely, I know) event of a RF track making it to broadcast, does the composer receive the "performance" royalty?

I usually only work with exclusive MCPS libraries, but just as an experiment I've recently uploaded a bunch of old rejected cues to a well know RF site.

Just curious. Honestly.
Old 8th August 2014
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Sam Watson's Avatar
Evil Jack - They don't receive the performance royalty. That's the serious downside. Small sync fee for perpetual use and no back end. you have to sell LOOOOTS of uses to make a living like that.
Old 8th August 2014
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Evil Jack's Avatar
OK, so why the new "performance royalty free" model then, as in Pump Audio?
I thought broadcast royalties were still technically paid on RF music - just not directly by the client?

Confused.
Old 8th August 2014
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Sam Watson's Avatar
I guess it depends on the library. Perhaps with some you can still register the tracks with your PRO and collect royalties if they air. But you would have to use something like TuneSat to try and catch those performances. Because there would be no cue sheets. So perhaps Pump previously allowed a composer to register the track with a PRO but now they have a model that disallows that? The devil is in the details which each library. AudioJungle specifically forbids music placed on their site to be registered with a PRO. Probably because it makes it easier to sell on a worldwide basis without worrying about the intricacies of each PRO around the globe. Or perhaps they register them and collect the royalties for airplay? *shrug*

Every composer hopes for volume in these RF models. If you are the number one seller for July on Audiojungle then you sold 1,569 tracks. If you got $7 a shot then you brought home $10,983 that month. Pretty sweet income for most locales. However what if you were number 10. They sold 392 tracks in July. Times $7 a track (average guesstimate) that is $2,744. Which is $32,928 per year. It QUICKLY drops off. Twentieth place and it is about $23,520 / year.

Anyway, read the fine print of whatever library you choose. Do the math. See if it makes sense and if you can make a living.

Best,
Sam
Old 8th August 2014
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Sam Watson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Jack View Post
I thought broadcast royalties were still technically paid on RF music - just not directly by the client?
In the US that is true - the broadcaster pays the royalty. But perhaps it is not so worldwide with all PROs?? So most of the RF sites that sell worldwide want to make the product easy for their end clients. Hence the want to avoid any royalty obligations.
Old 8th August 2014
  #27
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Just to be clear, each library is different. Especially if you enter into the RF zone. They all have their own unique MO. Many RF libraries do take the composers and publishers PRO affiliations into the database and the end client user is supposed to put it on the cue sheet same as clients of Megatrax or Killer or any other big library are supposed to. No difference in the responsibility of the end user to register the music on their cue sheets. Other RF libraries offer "performance free" music to their buyers and in these libraries, you are correct Sam, there will be no back end. There are as many quirks as there are libraries it seems. You can't lump all into one neat paradigm as you did mention.
Old 8th August 2014
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Just to be clear, each library is different. Especially if you enter into the RF zone. They all have their own unique MO. Many RF libraries do take the composers and publishers PRO affiliations into the database and the end client user is supposed to put it on the cue sheet same as clients of Megatrax or Killer or any other big library are supposed to. No difference in the responsibility of the end user to register the music on their cue sheets. Other RF libraries offer "performance free" music to their buyers and in these libraries, you are correct Sam, there will be no back end. There are as many quirks as there are libraries it seems. You can't lump all into one neat paradigm as you did mention.
What he said!
Old 8th August 2014
  #29
From what I've seen...

At least in the beginning, Most RF sites still took the PRO info and had their own publishing companies. The idea was that all these reality TV shows that have "no money" yet want worldwide rights could buy music super cheap from an RF site and the composer and library would make the money back in performance royalties.

Then along came "Performance Free" libraries... Since broadcasters hate the fact that they have to have this silent partner that they give 2% of their profits to every year, PF libraries were playing on their heartstrings. The idea with a PF library was that they charge a larger upfront fee and do not register any of the music with any PRO, thus the broadcasters don't have to pay on it and can ultimately tell the PROs to go [email protected]#$ themselves and not give them their 2% every year. But the PF libraries weren't necessarily royalty free in the beginning. They had limits to uses and would require additional license royalties for uses outside the initial license.

Somewhere along the line, new "entrepreneurs" started intermingling the two concepts. Not sure why, I'm guessing because they didn't really understand publishing and just wanted to start a company they could sell really quick. Who knows?

So now you have Royalty Free libraries that are not royalty free, but are performance free... and you have performance free libraries that are more similar to a RF library and many varying degrees in between. It seems like now the term royalty free or performance free is just a marketing catch phrase to try and attract the bottom feeders to the website.
Old 8th August 2014
  #30
Look at this as an example for a second... This is SoundTaxi.Net

Royalty Free Music / Production Music / Film Score - Film score, Opener, Show, Intro Smart Things Intro Opener

Royalty Free Music / Production Music / Film Score - Our licenses at a glance

Look at the licensing options...

Quote:
a) License Group 1
  • Private website (1 domain and subdomains) or
  • Private video (1 video intended for website or upload to video sites, e.g. YouTube) or
  • Private podcast (1 podcast produced by a private citizen/individual for non-commercial use) or
  • Presentation / show (i.e., any live public pressentation, that is not a video) or
  • Student film I (festivals / online / up to 1,000 copies).
b) License Group 2
  • Website background music (1 domain and subdomains) or
  • Corporate film, including training, promotional or educational video (1 video / 1 language / online / exhibitions & events) or
  • Online Editorial or Narrative film (1 film intended for online distribution such as internet TV program, webseries, online news or magazine programming, with the exception of commercial productions distributed on major platforms such as Netflix) or
  • Hold music (used for a telephone holding loop / telephone advertising / 1 location) or.
  • Corporate podcast (1 podcast produced by a company, or podcast intended for commercial use) or
  • Up to any combination of downloads and/or copies totalling 1,000 copies.
c) License Group 3
  • Online advertising video / viral video / microsite (1 video or microsite / 1 language / no in-stream video ads) or
  • Radio / cinema advertising regional (1 advertising spot / license valid for 1 year) or
  • Student film II (TV & cinema worldwide / festivals / online / up to 5,000 copies) or
  • Up to any combination of downloads and/or copies totalling 5,000 copies.
d) License Group 4
  • Radio / cinema advertising national (1 advertising spot / license valid for 1 year) or
  • TV advertising regional (1 advertising spot / license valid for 1 year) or
  • Point-of-sale (POS) advertising national (1 video / license valid for 1 year) or
  • Public viewing advertising national (1 advertising spot / license valid for 1 year) or
  • App / video game (1 App / video game) or
  • Up to any combination of downloads and/or copies totalling 10,000 copies.
e) License Group 5
  • TV advertising national (1 advertising spot / 1 country / license valid for 1 year) or.
  • In-stream video ad (1 advertising spot / 1 language / license valid for 1 year).
  • f) Audio Logo
  • Usage as corporate audio logo (only on request).
g) Loudspeaker system license
  • Background music for exhibitions and events up to 600 sq yards or business premises
  • up to 3 000 sq yards.
h) Feature Film / TV Show (sit-com, tele-dreama, etc.) use (upon request).
I put in bold all the things that make this Royalty Free library NOT royalty free! Also they have a tiered pricing system. So the more rights you want to acquire, the more you have to pay. Traditionally, at least from what I have seen, RF sites charge one flat fee regardless of how you plan on using the music. It's a buyout. Here is the price for the music, use it however you want and as much as you want. But this RF site is not that...

For example, they have sales limits in the license. If you go over the sales limit you now have to come back and pay more, which going by copyright law is considered a royalty.

They have region and country limits, so if you expand out past the initial region or country you have to pay more, which is considered a royalty.

A lot of the licenses have a term limit of 1 year, after which you have to come back and pay more money, which is considered a royalty.

BUT!!! with this library some of the tracks the composers aren't allowed to list their PRO affiliations...which makes it performance free. Other tracks, do have PRO affiliations, which then makes this just a regular library and it really has nothing that is actually "royalty free".

So this company, for whatever reason, is using the term "royalty free" when they mean Performance Free, but then a lot of the music on their site isn't even performance free. Go figure!?!

Maybe it's because the company is from Germany and copyright law is slightly different over there? I'm basing this all on US copyright law. But from what I understood, most of the countries decided to agree on most copyright laws with the Berne Convention (and the Buenos Aires Convention)? But who knows?

Ultimately, since there is no governing body deciding "this is what royalty free should mean" and "this is what performance free should me" then it can mean different things to different companies. Some use the terms for bait and switch tactics. Others use it as an advertising buzz word. And some actually use the terms correctly.

Anyway, by looking at and comparing the licensing deals these libraries offer to their clients, composers can figure out which companies stand to bring in more revenue for the composer.

For example, would you rather place your music with a library that for $20 gives your music away in perpetuity, or would you rather place your music with a library that for $90 gives your music away for ONLY 1000 downloads/copies sold, and then the client has to come back and pay another $90 for every 1000?

Would you rather place your music with a library that for $40 lets an advertiser use your music worldwide in perpetuity with no performance royalties, or would you rather put your music with a library that charges $175.50 for ONE regional (not national or international) ad for one year WITH performance royalties (which on regional ads is nothing to a few pennies anyway) and if they expand that commercial to play in other regions or for longer than one year, they have to come back and pay another $175.50?

Also, look at the agreements you sign with the library. Are you signing over ownership and control of the music to the library? Is there any compensation for signing over rights (ie, do they pay you upfront per track)? what happens in the event the library sells to another entity, can they legally transfer the rights you are giving them to another entity without your permission or without financial compensation? Does this new entity have the ability to rewrite your agreement without your permission?

There are a lot of things to think about and look at with a library... And I am bringing all this up to hopefully get other composers thinking about it, and looking at it, so you can make informed decisions.

It's not about "should you do RF/PF or not". It's about knowing and understanding what you are agreeing to, and what the ramifications of that agreement can be.

I personally recommend people staying away from RF/PF libraries, but that is just my own opinion. I work for and have music with traditional music libraries and I have seen the money they generate for composers, so I guess you could say I'm biased. But you might find an RF library that works for you and you make decent money! Who am I to say you shouldn't do it?! So long as you know what the deal is for you and your music, and what their deal is with their clients, you won't feel taken advantage of or screwed out of money.
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