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-   -   Discovery Networks Corners Composers in Music Royalties Battle (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-for-picture/1291179-discovery-networks-corners-composers-music-royalties-battle.html)

soundpal 13th December 2019 02:26 AM

Discovery Networks Corners Composers in Music Royalties Battle
 
https://variety.com/2019/music/news/...es-1203434924/

"Discovery has informed many of its top composers that, beginning in 2020, they must give up all performance royalties paid for U.S. airings, and they they must sign away their ability to collect royalties on all past shows on its networks."

Wow! This would be a dagger for the industry if more networks follow suit...

Composers will lose 80-90% of their income so that Discovery Network can add an extra 1% in quarterly revenue.
Does it get any greedier than that?

charlieclouser 13th December 2019 03:04 AM

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s wave 13th December 2019 07:02 AM

Times are changing... clone war coming - AI sound tracks - more info here in variety - https://variety.com/2019/music/news/...GC5J5q8t0A0RNE

Desire Inspires 13th December 2019 02:31 PM

A sign of the times.

I feel bad for those composers who will lose their income and careers over this. This is pretty s***ty on the part of these networks.

In reality, most of the cable networks need to shut down and just throw all of their content online and on streaming services. Most of the shows are atrocious and don’t have any true staying power.

I would say something like “I hope things change”, but I know they will not. Most networks are going to probably stop paying performance royalties like Scripps and ESPN does. They will do blanket licenses with music libraries and only the music libraries will make money from the upfront fee. This means that with the loss of publisher’s PRO money, many music libraries will simply go out of business.

The big players will have more leverage and negotiating power. They will take a hit, but will be better prepared to weather the storm.

For me personally, I will not fair too bad. My performance royalties have never come close to approaching the minimum I need to do music full time. I made more in royalties in 2014 than I did this year.

That is the reality of things.

drBill 13th December 2019 05:44 PM

They can try. What is the incentive for composers of past shows to give Discovery direct licenses? What? We won't be able to write for free? LOL

They might pull off future content, but to go back and remove all existing content is showing their ignorance. It will cost them WAY more to do that than to just pay ASCAP/BMI/SESAC on those existing shows. Disney tried to pull one of these deals a decade ago - removing all music that they didn't own the publishing to - and they got into it, and found that it just didn't make financial - and certainly not artistic - sense. The directors balked at it. They alienated their creative vendors.

We need to stand up to big bullies. We can't stop them, but we can tell them to **** off - you don't get my music.

Desire Inspires 13th December 2019 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drBill (Post 14382175)
They might pull off future content, but to go back and remove all existing content is showing their ignorance. It will cost them WAY more to do that than to just pay ASCAP/BMI/SESAC on those existing shows.

Yes, I agree. Discovery is going to waste too much time and money trying to pull music from shows that are already out there.

ehrenebbage 13th December 2019 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drBill (Post 14382175)
They can try. What is the incentive for composers of past shows to give Discovery direct licenses? What? We won't be able to write for free? LOL

They might pull off future content, but to go back and remove all existing content is showing their ignorance. It will cost them WAY more to do that than to just pay ASCAP/BMI/SESAC on those existing shows. Disney tried to pull one of these deals a decade ago - removing all music that they didn't own the publishing to - and they got into it, and found that it just didn't make financial - and certainly not artistic - sense. The directors balked at it. They alienated their creative vendors.

We need to stand up to big bullies. We can't stop them, but we can tell them to **** off - you don't get my music.

I suspect that it's a bluff. That said, they don't need to replace music for all of their content at once, just the episodes that are airing. That is still an enormous task given all of the content under Discovery's umbrella, but not quite the same as Disney's challenge.

Either way, they're trying to push boundaries. It would be wise of us to oppose this move loudly and publicly. Shawn White thinks he's making a positive move for Discovery...would be great if he were presented with a wave of negative response.

The fact is, this will come down to publishers. If they see an opportunity to be profitable they'll take it.

jazz4 13th December 2019 06:37 PM

Even after reading the article, I don’t really get what they’re achieving with this?

Seems like such a hassle to save a drop. Surely not worth alienating every single working composer and the lack of creative integrity is just depressing.

What a sad move on their part. I have a lot of music in their libs too.

Will be devastating if other networks follow suit.

drBill 13th December 2019 06:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ehrenebbage (Post 14382271)
The fact is, this will come down to publishers. If they see an opportunity to be profitable they'll take it.

Indeed. Publishers hold the strings to making this work or fail for Discovery. If no publishers take the Discovery "deal", then Discovery is left with creating their own musical content to put into their shows. That would take them a decade to pull off. (Who knows, maybe they started a decade ago??)

Either way, I know I have music in shows that has been "direct licensed" by some of my publishers. And I have never seen even one penny from a direct license deal. I see no reason to think this will change in the future. Publishers will make deals that protect themselves over their composers.

Direct licensing is a horrible deal for composers.

kdm 13th December 2019 06:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drBill (Post 14382175)
T
We need to stand up to big bullies. We can't stop them, but we can tell them to **** off - you don't get my music.

That's the only solution I've come up with - just tell them to take a hike. I would rather work another job and only create music for listeners/fans, than settle for peanuts with greedy corporations that could otherwise afford to pay a premium for it. If they want music, they can pay for it. Same goes for audio. If not, they can start airing silent films. I won't watch networks that pull this crap either, so they can lose viewership as well.

bgood 13th December 2019 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ehrenebbage (Post 14382271)
I suspect that it's a bluff. That said, they don't need to replace music for all of their content at once, just the episodes that are airing. That is still an enormous task given all of the content under Discovery's umbrella, but not quite the same as Disney's challenge.

Either way, they're trying to push boundaries. It would be wise of us to oppose this move loudly and publicly. Shawn White thinks he's making a positive move for Discovery...would be great if he were presented with a wave of negative response.

The fact is, this will come down to publishers. If they see an opportunity to be profitable they'll take it.

The problem with that is with OnDemand and web content, etc, it effectively makes all of their shows (more or less) always in circulation.... not the same number of plays as if put in normal rotation, but, that makes it even less sensible for them to go back into the vaults and rip music out of old stuff

This is another example of The Man realizing that there’s already so much License free, pre-baked content available and that viewers don’t know the difference... so it doesn’t make sense to pay to have new stuff produced for every single “Alaska - Sh|t’s About to Get Real : The Awakening”

I wonder if this will just impact beds/cues... I can’t imagine they’ll do this for proper “theme song” type music with lyrics written specifically for the show... although, that in itself seems to be dying out, too.

Also... so much of their content is done by independent production companies... the one Discovery show I booked (sad story) was all about the Redwoods in California, but, the production company was in Australia... all of the filming and audio was dropboxed everyday. So, we booked the theme song and cues with production company...

Sounds like a mess... but, and this is just an informed opinion after 25 years in radio/tv, my guess is that this may very well be a test shot to get rid of the generic cues... which sucks...

ehrenebbage 13th December 2019 06:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bgood (Post 14382304)
The problem with that is with OnDemand and web content, etc, it effectively makes all of their shows (more or less) always in circulation.... not the same number of plays as if put in normal rotation, but, that makes it even less sensible for them to go back into the vaults and rip music out of old stuff

This is another example of The Man realizing that there’s already so much License free, pre-baked content available and that viewers don’t know the difference... so it doesn’t make sense to pay to have new stuff produced for every single “Alaska - Sh|t’s About to Get Real : The Awakening”

I wonder if this will just impact beds/cues... I can’t imagine they’ll do this for proper “theme song” type music with lyrics written specifically for the show... although, that in itself seems to be dying out, too.

Also... so much of their content is done by independent production companies... the one Discovery show I booked (sad story) was all about the Redwoods in California, but, the production company was in Australia... all of the filming and audio was dropboxed everyday. So, we booked the theme song and cues with production company...

Sounds like a mess... but, and this is just an informed opinion after 25 years in radio/tv, my guess is that this may very well be a test shot to get rid of the generic cues... which sucks...

Good point. Everything is available at all times via streaming platforms, not just limited to broadcast. It's hard to imagine how Discovery could ever pull that off.

I've written a crazy number of custom cues for Discovery shows and, although it may seem like everything sounds the same, production companies actually value the custom experience and they want to feel like their show has a sound of its own. I can imagine that Discovery will get some pushback from their own content providers.

ehrenebbage 13th December 2019 07:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drBill (Post 14382292)
Indeed. Publishers hold the strings to making this work or fail for Discovery. If no publishers take the Discovery "deal", then Discovery is left with creating their own musical content to put into their shows. That would take them a decade to pull off. (Who knows, maybe they started a decade ago??)

Either way, I know I have music in shows that has been "direct licensed" by some of my publishers. And I have never seen even one penny from a direct license deal. I see no reason to think this will change in the future. Publishers will make deals that protect themselves over their composers.

Direct licensing is a horrible deal for composers.

Yep. Discovery has been building an internal library for quite a while, but it would still take an enormous effort for them to replace all of the music in their shows. Who would do that? The production companies? Will Discovery hire a huge staff of in-house editors?

I'd guess that every publisher has done direct license deals. I've accepted it as an unfortunate part of an otherwise happy relationship, but it will turn very sour if it becomes standard practice, not just isolated deals with outlier networks.

bgood 13th December 2019 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ehrenebbage (Post 14382334)
Good point. Everything is available at all times via streaming platforms, not just limited to broadcast. It's hard to imagine how Discovery could ever pull that off.

I've written a crazy number of custom cues for Discovery shows and, although it may seem like everything sounds the same, production companies actually value the custom experience and they want to feel like their show has a sound of its own. I can imagine that Discovery will get some pushback from their own content providers.

I’m with you all the way, baby!

BUT... I think Discovery has made the decision that they don’t care about the custom experience enough to actual for it... and since “discovery” itself is more often than not separated from the actual production of the shows, discovery cares even less about the custom experience

This is money decision made by some management geeks that don’t know anything about how creative actually gets made... I hope it dies a quick and loud death

ehrenebbage 13th December 2019 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bgood (Post 14382357)
I’m with you all the way, baby!

BUT... I think Discovery has made the decision that they don’t care about the custom experience enough to actual for it... and since “discovery” itself is more often than not separated from the actual production of the shows, discovery cares even less about the custom experience

This is money decision made by some management geeks that don’t know anything about how creative actually gets made... I hope it dies a quick and loud death

Yep.

drBill 13th December 2019 07:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ehrenebbage (Post 14382348)
I'd guess that every publisher has done direct license deals. I've accepted it as an unfortunate part of an otherwise happy relationship, but it will turn very sour if it becomes standard practice, not just isolated deals with outlier networks.

Yes. They certainly have. Standard business practice. But usually they are for one off's, or certain circumstances. If they do it for a HUGE network in perpetuity, that's a completely different deal.

How may times have you been paid for a direct license that one of your publishers did? I can tell you how many times I have. After thousands, probably 10's of thousands of placements :

Zero times.

The publishers hold the keys, and we need our voice to be heard at the publisher level. That's where the battle lines are going to be drawn.

drBill 13th December 2019 07:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bgood (Post 14382357)
This is money decision made by some management geeks that don’t know anything about how creative actually gets made... I hope it dies a quick and loud death

This is a similar parallel to Disney's mandate years ago. It DID die an ugly death when they figured out how much it would cost to re-do all the older shows. HOWEVER, the mandate DID go on for future shows, and this is where we should be concentrating. The older shows will not get redone. The industry would need to quadruple the number of post houses just to get a jump on re-dubbing the thousands of shows.....

s wave 13th December 2019 07:23 PM

It certainly can't be because of fiscal problems... How much does it cost to make Gold Rush...?? plus they can throw a pan in the stream if they are a little short.

ehrenebbage 13th December 2019 07:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drBill (Post 14382366)
Yes. They certainly have. Standard business practice. But usually they are for one off's, or certain circumstances. If they do it for a HUGE network in perpetuity, that's a completely different deal.

How may times have you been paid for a direct license that one of your publishers did? I can tell you how many times I have. After thousands, probably 10's of thousands of placements :

Zero times.

The publishers hold the keys, and we need our voice to be heard at the publisher level. That's where the battle lines are going to be drawn.

Same, and agreed.

mwarsell 15th December 2019 01:54 PM

This is such ...tty news. Composers have earned roaylties for a centuery, but suddenly this network decides it's enough.

Let's cut the Discovery execs salary by 80-90%. Would they accept that? No. So why do the composers have to? I hate the fact that composers are treated like crap because there is always 20 new ones who are willing to work for less.

Desire Inspires 15th December 2019 04:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drBill (Post 14382366)
How may times have you been paid for a direct license that one of your publishers did?

I have by only one music library. And the amount was less than $20 each time. That library was being generous, as most others do NOT split any direct license money.

Paul Biondi 15th December 2019 05:48 PM

Two thoughts about this:

First, the Discovery CEO that makes $120+million a year, has more than doubled the value of Discovery (something like from $6 Billion to 16 Billion). So if someone I hired grew my business from $6 Billion to $16 Billion, I wouldn't mind paying them $120+ million a year.

Second, I was on the receiving end of a similar deal that Discovery just announced and was fortunate with how things played out.

A few years ago, a popular network was planning to bring older episodes of one of their hit shows to syndication. As a requirement, (I'll abbreviate to save space) they said they would strip out and replace all of our music unless we (myself, the other composers and the library) would give them a favorable deal -- a portion of our back end in perpetuity. They also courted other composers and music libraries to see how much back-end they would give up.

They ended up replacing our music and the syndication had a short run.

Some of those very same cues that I wrote for that show/library continue to be placed and still earn 100% writer royalties. Things have a way of working out.

Adrian Cook 15th December 2019 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul Biondi (Post 14385779)

Those re-cut episodes were truly horrible. Unwatchable.

Currently, some of those cues I wrote for that show/library continue to be placed and I'm still earn 100% writer royalties. Things have a way of working out.


That's a good ending.

The bottom line of your well made points move into a slightly different territory that many would find interesting.

Namely, how is good production music measured.

Bernard Herrmann once said that Alfred Hitchcock would put a German marching band in all his films, such was his knowledge of music.

JDatkinson 15th December 2019 06:01 PM

I'm curious why libraries, publishers, and ASCAP/BMI would stand for any of this?

IMO, It should be a LAW that royalties be paid if broadcast.

drBill 15th December 2019 06:18 PM

The "loophole" is that direct licenses are legal in the US. Virtually NO composers like them, and I'd hazard to guess that neither does ASCAP/BMI. That leaves the publishers. And that is the battle line on which this battle will be fought. If the publishers say "OK, something is better than nothing", then Discovery wins and we lose. If the collective publishers say, "NO!!", then Discovery will have a difficult go of it.

Lobby your publishers.

Paul Biondi 15th December 2019 06:30 PM

Quote:

That leaves the publishers. And that is the battle line on which this battle will be fought.
Absolutely. Couldn't agree more drBill. In the situation I shared, the library I was with had initially wanted to make a deal with the network - they felt "something was better than nothing."

Desire Inspires 15th December 2019 06:39 PM

I emailed my publishers on Friday. I am waiting to hear back some good news this week. If they choose to go with this deal, I pull out whatever music I can and cut ties. I cannot allow myself to be cheated out of the little money I do make.

But it isn’t that bad for composers who are in PROs that do not allow direct licensing.

kclements 15th December 2019 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drBill (Post 14385826)
The "loophole" is that direct licenses are legal in the US. Virtually NO composers like them, and I'd hazard to guess that neither does ASCAP/BMI. That leaves the publishers. And that is the battle line on which this battle will be fought. If the publishers say "OK, something is better than nothing", then Discovery wins and we lose. If the collective publishers say, "NO!!", then Discovery will have a difficult go of it.

Lobby your publishers.

Exactly!

JohnFulford 15th December 2019 08:05 PM

What can you do about this TODAY?

Message your PRO. Ask them if they're going to release a statement concerning this.

s wave 15th December 2019 09:29 PM

You have to look at the blessings have ever small they may be - change happens - it does suck when people become accustomed to certain income - and it is taken away. It happens to millions of people in many industries (some are gone for ever) you have to fight and stand up the best you can,,, all these different copyright conventions - agreements - legal bean counting crud will never stop. There is going to be a lot more disruptions when the million + so young producers produce for flat fees or $10 and hour. At least we don't compose in a country without copyrights like these: https://legalbeagle.com/6780679-coun...ight-laws.html Although I would still make songs for free anyway - The gatekeepers of the money flow never will stop.