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licensing a cover song for use in a soundtrack
Old 29th August 2009
  #1
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licensing a cover song for use in a soundtrack

hi guys!

my band does a cover song, which i intend to submit for consideration to use in a film soundtrack. i've licensed this song for an commercial before, and as the money wasn't a whole hell of a lot, i just called the guy who wrote it (he's a peer with connections to my band), offered him a fifth of the money, and everything was cool. however, this potential soundtrack deal would be much bigger money, and as it's under a big studio i would imagine i need all my ducks firmly in a row if i want the placement.

i've already googled around for 3 hours reading articles on mechanical copyrights, synchronization rights, etc, and while i'm clear on what to do if i were releasing a cd myself with a cover song, i'm still unsure what needs to happen to license a cover song for a movie.

my best guess, based on what i've read so far, is that since i've already covered this song and profited from it, i have defacto permission to use it again, as long as the songwriter gets his cut (though perhaps i ought to get that in writing). someone would need to pay the songwriter mechanical royaties on a per-cd-printed basis, probably whichever record company was pressing the ost. the synchronization contract would be between myself (the performer) and film production company, and any money received for being on the soundtrack would go solely to me. however, the writer could then collect performing rights via ascap bmi, sesac etc. which i would not be entitled to.

if so, it would seem that all i really need to do is make sure the correct songwriter is listed in the credits. then, the record company printing the ost would be responsible for paying him mechanical rights as appropriate, and negotiating a rate with him if they prefer to get a cheaper rate than the standard. the songwriter would be responsible himself for registering with ascap and harry fox and making sure he gets his various cuts for performing rights royalties.

is this correct? is there any other cut the songwriter is entitled to is i sell my version of the song to a film company, or any contracts i need to sign with the songwriter? is there anything else i need to do to be fully prepared before i submit the track?
Old 29th August 2009
  #2
if a major film studio is going to license your MASTER RECORDING of a song you did not write, they will negotiate with the writer/publisher directly for the sync fee of the COMPOSITION - unless of course you've represented that you actually wrote the song when you didn't - which would make them very unhappy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
my best guess, based on what i've read so far, is that since i've already covered this song and profited from it, i have defacto permission to use it again, as long as the songwriter gets his cut (though perhaps i ought to get that in writing).
you absolutely DO NOT have this right in any way shape or form for a sync license for film or television. if you are licensing the MASTER to record label for use on a Soundtrack ALBUM than the label is responsible for securing the mechanical license.

Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
if so, it would seem that all i really need to do is make sure the correct songwriter is listed in the credits. then, the record company printing the ost would be responsible for paying him mechanical rights as appropriate, and negotiating a rate with him if they prefer to get a cheaper rate than the standard. the songwriter would be responsible himself for registering with ascap and harry fox and making sure he gets his various cuts for performing rights royalties.
sorta. the record label needs to obtain the mechanical license from the correct publisher/adminstrator BEFORE the album is released.

Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
is this correct? is there any other cut the songwriter is entitled to is i sell my version of the song to a film company, or any contracts i need to sign with the songwriter? is there anything else i need to do to be fully prepared before i submit the track?
There are two parts to a song the MASTER RECORDING (the actual recorded performance) and the underlying COPYRIGHT COMPOSITION.

For films, both the MASTER and COMPOSITION fee's are negotiated. For phonoalbums the MASTER fee is negotiated and the COMPOSITION is paid on a stat rate per unit sold, as arranged by the label releasing the album - who also needs to obtain the mechanical license prior to release.

Hope that helps.
Old 29th August 2009
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redvelvetstudios View Post
if a major film studio is going to license your MASTER RECORDING of a song you did not write, they will negotiate with the writer/publisher directly for the sync fee of the COMPOSITION - unless of course you've represented that you actually wrote the song when you didn't - which would make them very unhappy.
and i want definitely them happy (and thus inclined to license more of my work at a later date) which is why i'm trying to clear this up before things get too far down the road


Quote:
Originally Posted by redvelvetstudios View Post
For films, both the MASTER and COMPOSITION fee's are negotiated. For phonoalbums the MASTER fee is negotiated and the COMPOSITION is paid on a stat rate per unit sold, as arranged by the label releasing the album - who also needs to obtain the mechanical license prior to release.
ok, so if i understand what you're saying, *I* don't actually need to get the permission of the copyright holder before i submit the song. however, i'll want to have solid contact details for him to provide to the music supe, so HE can negotiate a fee for the composition with the copyright holder directly.

so mostly i just need to call the copyright holder up, tell him i'm submitting a song he wrote for a film, and make sure i have his current phone numbers and emails to pass on if neccesary, right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by redvelvetstudios View Post
Hope that helps.

yes, absolutely, that last bit about master vs. composition fee's for synchronization rights is the missing link of information i hadn't found so far. thanks!

thanks also the imdbpro tip before - they didn't actually list the music supe or his work contact details (though now that i'm thinking about it, maybe i wasn't looking in the right place somehow?) but i did manage to get in touch with the indonesian coordinator for the film, who is in a perfect position to pass my submission on the the correct person. i'm still interested in connecting with your plugger contact btw heh
Old 31st August 2009
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
hi guys!

my band does a cover song, which i intend to submit for consideration to use in a film soundtrack. i've licensed this song for an commercial before, and as the money wasn't a whole hell of a lot, i just called the guy who wrote it (he's a peer with connections to my band), offered him a fifth of the money, and everything was cool. however, this potential soundtrack deal would be much bigger money, and as it's under a big studio i would imagine i need all my ducks firmly in a row if i want the placement.

i've already googled around for 3 hours reading articles on mechanical copyrights, synchronization rights, etc, and while i'm clear on what to do if i were releasing a cd myself with a cover song, i'm still unsure what needs to happen to license a cover song for a movie.

my best guess, based on what i've read so far, is that since i've already covered this song and profited from it, i have defacto permission to use it again, as long as the songwriter gets his cut (though perhaps i ought to get that in writing). someone would need to pay the songwriter mechanical royaties on a per-cd-printed basis, probably whichever record company was pressing the ost. the synchronization contract would be between myself (the performer) and film production company, and any money received for being on the soundtrack would go solely to me. however, the writer could then collect performing rights via ascap bmi, sesac etc. which i would not be entitled to.

if so, it would seem that all i really need to do is make sure the correct songwriter is listed in the credits. then, the record company printing the ost would be responsible for paying him mechanical rights as appropriate, and negotiating a rate with him if they prefer to get a cheaper rate than the standard. the songwriter would be responsible himself for registering with ascap and harry fox and making sure he gets his various cuts for performing rights royalties.

is this correct? is there any other cut the songwriter is entitled to is i sell my version of the song to a film company, or any contracts i need to sign with the songwriter? is there anything else i need to do to be fully prepared before i submit the track?
You did what? eek!!

You got the original writer to agree to a fifth? Under MFN - which all publishers and pretty much, as far as I know, all film distributors operate under - this would be completely ilegal!! If the license cost of $20k then the writing side gets $10k and the master side gets $10k. It's essentially 50/50 or rather 100% "per use".

Also if the guy was published - and that song in particular was - the license needs to go through the publisher or it's not legal !! Hopefully none of that is true.


The normal situation is for one side to agree the fee and MFN ensures the same payment for the other side - ie if master get $10k then writer/publishing does too!!

Secondly - a writer and/or publisher can absolutely veto any sync usage - there is no mandate for auto clearance like there is in CD/MP3 audio only versions. As soon as it's sync' the recording artist needs writers/publishers permission.

thirdly - without the writers permission you'd be in serious breach of the law. Court case would absolutely go in favour of the writer.

fourth - the OST has absolutely nothing to do with the sync' usage.

You should strike up a united front with the writer/publisher to be able to do undisclosed clearance - unlikely since how do they know you won't clear it for something they oppose? If the writer is unpublished then you may have better luck - I'm assuming this is what happened before... it was unpublished {ie copyright control}. The songwriter is the controlling party under sync usage and these rights are protected in pretty much every royalty paying state on Earth. Basically you absolutely can NOT license a cover version to whichever sync party you like. This is a breach of copyright law in all legal royalty bearing territories and a breach of criminal law in some. You do not have the right to assign sync' rights for any visual medium. if you did this to a TV commercial previously and the song was published I'm afraid you've broken the law!! Be careful!!

good luck - just don't assume ANY of the cover version rights granted to CD release have any bearing on sync' - they absolutely do NOT.


Of course - a movie producer is absolutely allowed to approach you for the cover version - in fact THEY would be dealing with the writer. If this is what happened with the commercial use previously then you've been ripped off! If MFN is observed you certainly don't have to pay writers part of the master use share!


cheers
Old 2nd September 2009
  #5
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fair enough, but it was a fairly small amount of money involved, and the writer was happy to take what i gave him. if he approached me for half, given what you told me i'd pay him off. however, i kinda doubt he will, cause he'd risk t-ing me off and me never bothering to license this particular cover again, which would be against his financial interests - i have very different industry connctions from him, as well as a very different sound, but i like his songwriting, and if this one gets sold i'd probably consider using his material again under the right circumstances.

anyway, if this is the industry standard, i'd be happy to conduct further business with him accordingly. for what it's worth, i don't believe he's published. and i'm just about 100% sure the writer was only paid my me, not by the guys doing the commercial.

still, sounds like i need to educate myself further on this subject - think you could recommend a good online guide for the in's and outs of this stuff? it would save you guys the trouble of answering more dumb questions from me on the subject!
Old 2nd September 2009
  #6
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s'alright to ask!!

bemuso.com is failry good but seems to be bent towards music release.

For sync - all you really need to know is:

A) everyone deals in "per use"
B) it's all MFN - i.e all parties equal {composition vs master}
C) writers get veto.
D) publishers get veto

If you can get the writers on board then the rest is easy EXCEPT when it's Warners or EMI - they veto buyouts.
Old 3rd September 2009
  #7
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so i've been digging through bemuso.com for about 2 hours now, and while it's very interesting reading, there's one question i haven't been able to find an answer for:

various collection agencies do seem to collect royalties for public performances of music in films, advertisements etc. the composer/songwriter of this music is entitled to a cut of the royalties from these public performances, but what about the performer of the song?

ie. say i record a cover version of a song, and someone else is listed as the composer. i license it to a film, and both i and the composer of the song get a cash payout for the liscence. now, if this song gets played 2 years down the line (say, if they show the movie on cbs movie of the week) would i, as the performer of the song, be entitled to royalties generated by this broadcast? or would only the composer of the song get a check?
Old 3rd September 2009
  #8
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PPL is he performing equivalent. But dont hold your breath!!
Old 13th September 2016
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
so i've been digging through bemuso.com for about 2 hours now, and while it's very interesting reading, there's one question i haven't been able to find an answer for:

various collection agencies do seem to collect royalties for public performances of music in films, advertisements etc. the composer/songwriter of this music is entitled to a cut of the royalties from these public performances, but what about the performer of the song?

ie. say i record a cover version of a song, and someone else is listed as the composer. i license it to a film, and both i and the composer of the song get a cash payout for the liscence. now, if this song gets played 2 years down the line (say, if they show the movie on cbs movie of the week) would i, as the performer of the song, be entitled to royalties generated by this broadcast? or would only the composer of the song get a check?
i would like to know the answer to this as well! If there is a sync license of a cover song, does the cover artist get $0 if the buyer purely negotiates with the original composition owner and not the cover artist as well?
Old 13th September 2016
  #10
hey guys, as I was reading through this I saw a lot of information thrown around. some of it spot on, some of it was kind of vague or not really related to covers for TV and film...

So... as a person who does this frequently in the US, I figured I'd chime in... Here is the latest cover I just did for NBC. It's James Brown's "Superbad".



Here is what needs to happen when doing a cover in the US (this may vary from country to country)...

The TV/Film production company HAS TO LICENSE the song from the publisher who owns it. If it's an unknown song as described in the original post, then the film production company has to license the song from the songwriter. Period.

Nobody is really allowed to negotiate or do the license on behalf of the songwriter/publisher unless you are a licensed and bonded agent and have paperwork on file stating that you have limited power of attorney to represent the songwriter's or publisher's interest. If you don't have that and you negotiate a sync license for him/her anyway... the songwriter could turn around and sue years later for illegal misrepresentation and claim that you had no legal right to negotiate on their behalf and that you undersold his/her intellectual property and now he/she wants a lot more money from the TV production company and you.

Once the production company secures the license with the songwriter... then they have to license the master recording from whoever made it (in this case the Original poster of this thread).

To someone's comments about most favored nations... most favored nations is ONLY in regards to the songwriting/publishing. If there were two songwriters and one of them requested "MFN" in their license with the production company, then the production company would have to pay both songwriters/publishers the same amount.

But at least here in the US, you don't have to do MFN and a lot of time people do not unless it is a famous song. Also MFN does not include the license for the master. For example, the James Brown cover above... the license for the song was several thousand dollars... the license for the original masters was several HUNDRED thousand dollars, which is why I was contracted to record a cover version.

So to the OP, you need to get your buddy that wrote the song in touch with the film company and they need to work out their own license fee between the two of them without involving you at all... once they do that... THEN the film company needs to negotiate with you to work out the fee to use your master recording of the song.

This is really no different than someone wanting to use Dave Matthew's version of All Along The Watchtower. The film company can't go to Dave to get permission to use the song itself, they have to go to Bob Dylan and his publisher (which I think is Sony?). Once they pay a crazy amount of money to get permission to use the song, then they have to approach Dave Matthew's label and negotiate a fee to use the Dave Matthew's version (which will also be a crazy huge fee).

There are no mechanical royalties involved whatsoever in this negotiate UNLESS the film company decides to make a soundtrack album (which never really happens all that much anymore). When they do that... the songwriter/publisher gets the $0.091 cents per album/song sold and the record label has to negotiate what their percentage of the selling price would be no different than how an artist negotiates points on their albums. Songs that are more well known usually command a higher percentage of the selling price than unknown songs on the same soundtrack album.

Anyway, I hope this clears it up for people. This is why films and TV shows hire Music Supervisors. There is a lot of detective work to track down the songwriters and publishers and master rights owners, and then there is a lot of legal knowledge needed to do these deals, and then there needs to be some strong negotiating skills involved as well. Music Supervisors are very strong in all three of those areas.

And please, please, please... if this is a big film, get yourself a good entertainment attorney. The big film studios are no less likely to let you screw yourself over as a small indie... in the US, whatever you let someone get away with is what they are legally allowed to get away with. So you and your songwriting buddy should both have a good, experienced entertainment focused attorney to help you with this.

Power Lawyers 2016: Hollywood's Top 100 Attorneys | Hollywood Reporter

go down a list like this and try to find someone that specializes in music clearance and/or licensing that you could afford. Maybe look for the younger people as they might have lower retainer fees than some of the older attorneys.
Old 13th September 2016
  #11
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Hey Derek - good info, as always.

My understanding is that while you can obtain a mechanical license to record an already-released song, it is for audio purposes only, and that cover version can not be sync'd to picture. Tho, the prescence of your vid seems to say otherwise.

So, is my understanding not correct, or is it possible to obtain a separate sync license, which would be over and above the mechanical license?
Old 13th September 2016
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
s'alright to ask!!

bemuso.com is failry good but seems to be bent towards music release.

For sync - all you really need to know is:

A) everyone deals in "per use"
B) it's all MFN - i.e all parties equal {composition vs master}
C) writers get veto.
D) publishers get veto

If you can get the writers on board then the rest is easy EXCEPT when it's Warners or EMI - they veto buyouts.
Im regards to a cover version..i'm not sure the publishing and master are priced under MFN.

The publisher will set the price for the film producers to use the song on their end, and a very separate or commission deal with the new master owners will be negotiated..Often, of course much lower than what the publishers quote.

Im my experience, the publisher always wants to hear the version or see the scene before they allow the cover version to get used. But thats not a rule.
Old 13th September 2016
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
Hey Derek - good info, as always.

My understanding is that while you can obtain a mechanical license to record an already-released song, it is for audio purposes only, and that cover version can not be sync'd to picture. Tho, the prescence of your vid seems to say otherwise.

So, is my understanding not correct, or is it possible to obtain a separate sync license, which would be over and above the mechanical license?
no mechanical license involved whatsoever unless that cover is going onto some sort of physical media like a CD or DVD. If it's just for sync there is no mechanical at all.

Mechanical and sync are two completely separate types of licenses. The reason why people usually confuse them is because in most books when they talk about sync licensing they for some reason always have to mention the soundtrack album, which then becomes a mechanical license.

In regards to your comment "that cover version cannot be sync'd to picture" is half right... you cannot sync a cover version to picture with just a mechanical license alone.

If you are a band (Dave matthews for example) and you get a mechanical license to do the cover of all along the watchtower, that mechanical license does not give you (Dave Matthews) the right to sync that musical work in picture. Make sense? they still need to go back to the original songwriter and publisher to get a sync license for underlying musical work of your cover version... once they do that and they clear the use of the musical work, THEN they can negotiate a license to use your master recording of the already cleared underlying musical work.
Old 13th September 2016
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tritace View Post
Im regards to a cover version..i'm not sure the publishing and master are priced under MFN.

The publisher will set the price for the film producers to use the song on their end, and a very separate or commission deal with the new master owners will be negotiated..Often, of course much lower than what the publishers quote.

Im my experience, the publisher always wants to hear the version or see the scene before they allow the cover version to get used. But thats not a rule.
you are 100% correct. As I mentioned above... MFN is only used for publishers and songwriters. Some examples of where MFN comes into play...

Song has 3 writers and 1 publisher...

publisher gets a sync request and he wants to quote $60k, $30k for writers and $30k for publisher. He/she talks to writers 1 and 2 and gets them agree to $10k each for a license... but then writer 3 wants $30k, bringing the total price of the license for the songwriters to 50k. Well if those songwriters have an MFN in their deal with the publisher, all three then need to get $30k, bringing the writer's share to 90k and the publisher's share to $90k for a total license of $180k.

Song has 3 writers and 3 publishers...

film studio contacts all 3 writers and publishers, Writer/pub 1 wants $40k, writer/pub 2 wants $50k, writer/pub 3 wants $15k.... if any one of the 3 have an MFN clause written into the licensing agreement or are demanding that one be written in, then all three get the highest amount... so all three would get $50k ($150k total) or the film studio says no and walks away and tries to find a cheaper song.

I guess you could potentially have an MFN clause in a master use if there is more than one owner of the master, but that is VERY rare. I've never seen it. There is usually always just one owner of the master or one entity that owns it.

oh and again I should reiterate... this is how it works in the US. Laws in other countries might very well automatically require an MFN clause in every negotiation... and it could very well include the master as well as publishing... but at least here in the US, it is all separate.
Old 13th September 2016
  #15
Also, if you guys have never heard of or checked out Pusher Music...

Pusher - Dope Trailer Music

They do a lot of covers and actually have a few up on their website as demos. If any film studio or TV company wants to use their cover versions... they first have to contact the publishers that own the rights to the song and get a clearance from them first... then they can license the cover from Pusher.

As someone else mentioned, a lot of the time, especially with super famous songs where the artists are still alive, they want to hear the cover before they will completely sign off on the license. So sometimes you have to make the cover and get it approved by the publisher for the deal to happen. most of the time with older catalog they just request that you send them a copy of it so they can hear it but they already approved it and signed off on it before it was recorded.

The worst case is when you record the cover, the studio sends it to the publisher, and THEN the publisher says "no way". That sucks but can happen. Sometimes the publisher will say "well we are open to allowing the use of a cover but we need to approve it first..." and then when they get the cover the artist and publisher say they don't like it and won't approve the cover.
Old 14th September 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
you are 100% correct. As I mentioned above... MFN is only used for publishers and songwriters. Some examples of where MFN comes into play...

Song has 3 writers and 1 publisher...

publisher gets a sync request and he wants to quote $60k, $30k for writers and $30k for publisher. He/she talks to writers 1 and 2 and gets them agree to $10k each for a license... but then writer 3 wants $30k, bringing the total price of the license for the songwriters to 50k. Well if those songwriters have an MFN in their deal with the publisher, all three then need to get $30k, bringing the writer's share to 90k and the publisher's share to $90k for a total license of $180k.

Song has 3 writers and 3 publishers...

film studio contacts all 3 writers and publishers, Writer/pub 1 wants $40k, writer/pub 2 wants $50k, writer/pub 3 wants $15k.... if any one of the 3 have an MFN clause written into the licensing agreement or are demanding that one be written in, then all three get the highest amount... so all three would get $50k ($150k total) or the film studio says no and walks away and tries to find a cheaper song.

I guess you could potentially have an MFN clause in a master use if there is more than one owner of the master, but that is VERY rare. I've never seen it. There is usually always just one owner of the master or one entity that owns it.

oh and again I should reiterate... this is how it works in the US. Laws in other countries might very well automatically require an MFN clause in every negotiation... and it could very well include the master as well as publishing... but at least here in the US, it is all separate.
That is all true. I would say that when Iv had to deal with this the publisher gives the quote and the writers rarely argue with that quote. It's either a flat refusal as they don't like the usage or they agree to the fee. I actually think the artists would in most cases take less than the publisher quote..and we often have to go back to the publisher and try and drive them down a bit anyway.

In the instances where there are more than one publisher. What iv experienced is the publisher with the highest % tends to take the lead on the negotiations and the other publishers just agree to the fee in principle on a mfn % deal with whatever we decide on.

Iv not come across a master shared by 2 labels yet.

I did have an interesting situation come up recently where by the Master and the Publisher had very different ideas of how the track was valued..Luckily the publisher in this instance agreed to the low valuation set by the master owners.
So it's absolutely worth looking at a track and then having a think who (master or pub) you are likely to get the lowest quote from and then taking that to the other party.

This is of course from my supervisor and film producers point of view. When I put my composer/songwriter head on..i'm trying to find ways to drive the fee up
Old 20th September 2016
  #17
I figured I would come back and update this thread for anyone interested. I went to the Guild of Music Supervisors conference last saturday (it was great by the way!). But one of the things I found out was that I was actually wrong about this topic...

They talked about examples where there are multiple master rights holders and multiple publishing rights holders... and how they can sometimes request MFN across both master and publishing.

The license a person needs to acquire for the master for sync purposes is called a "Master Use License", not a mechanical license. We discussed this earlier but I don't think I specifically said "it's called a Master Use License"... so that is the official term...

and in talking about clearances, one of the people on the panel said that Hiphop usually has a lot of multiple master rights holders... Whenever you see an artist with other featured artists on their track, and then they also use samples in the track... those are multiple master rights holders. One artist could be on one label, the featured guest could be on another label, and the sample could be from a third label. All three would need to sign off to use the hiphop track in a film, TV show or trailer...

What the music supervisor said was that usually MFN is only between publishers. If there are multiple recording labels they will usually recommend MFN between the labels. But she said there are some times when dealing with big artists that a label or a publisher will request MFN ACROSS the publishing and record labels.

I also found out that sometimes with super big artists, they will sometimes not only request MFN across publishing and master, but they will also request MFN ACROSS THE ENTIRE FILM!!!! I had no idea they could even do that!!! But the reason they do is so that they make just as much as every other famous band/artist on the soundtrack.

I also found out that the clearance people can EXCLUDE people from an MFN if everyone involved agrees with it. I didn't realize you could do that either. I thought once it was MFN, everyone was in, period. But that isn't the case... if you have one person/company that is being very difficult and wants a super high fee so that their small percentage is hefty, you can get them and everyone to agree to exclude them from the MFN in order to make the deal happen and no be so expensive the film studio walks away.

Anyway... I just thought I'd share. It's always interesting when you learn new things and the GMS conference was a great place to learn new things. I picked up a lot of good info there.

Cheers!
Old 21st September 2016
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
I figured I would come back and update this thread for anyone interested. I went to the Guild of Music Supervisors conference last saturday (it was great by the way!). But one of the things I found out was that I was actually wrong about this topic...

They talked about examples where there are multiple master rights holders and multiple publishing rights holders... and how they can sometimes request MFN across both master and publishing.

The license a person needs to acquire for the master for sync purposes is called a "Master Use License", not a mechanical license. We discussed this earlier but I don't think I specifically said "it's called a Master Use License"... so that is the official term...

and in talking about clearances, one of the people on the panel said that Hiphop usually has a lot of multiple master rights holders... Whenever you see an artist with other featured artists on their track, and then they also use samples in the track... those are multiple master rights holders. One artist could be on one label, the featured guest could be on another label, and the sample could be from a third label. All three would need to sign off to use the hiphop track in a film, TV show or trailer...

What the music supervisor said was that usually MFN is only between publishers. If there are multiple recording labels they will usually recommend MFN between the labels. But she said there are some times when dealing with big artists that a label or a publisher will request MFN ACROSS the publishing and record labels.

I also found out that sometimes with super big artists, they will sometimes not only request MFN across publishing and master, but they will also request MFN ACROSS THE ENTIRE FILM!!!! I had no idea they could even do that!!! But the reason they do is so that they make just as much as every other famous band/artist on the soundtrack.

I also found out that the clearance people can EXCLUDE people from an MFN if everyone involved agrees with it. I didn't realize you could do that either. I thought once it was MFN, everyone was in, period. But that isn't the case... if you have one person/company that is being very difficult and wants a super high fee so that their small percentage is hefty, you can get them and everyone to agree to exclude them from the MFN in order to make the deal happen and no be so expensive the film studio walks away.

Anyway... I just thought I'd share. It's always interesting when you learn new things and the GMS conference was a great place to learn new things. I picked up a lot of good info there.

Cheers!
thank you! what good info. Really appreciate that. What a great thread.
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