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Old 27th November 2018
They ask if you will license the track to them, not just for this ad, but for use in all their future ads for $1 †. Would you say yes?
That is no longer a "license". That is a complete buyout. You are not licensing, you are selling your track at that point.

For a single annual fee of $200 USD or less, these companies open up their entire catalogue for use in an unlimited number of productions of any type and scale and with any distribution. What’s more, once the subscription has ended for a given customer, downloaded music can still be used forever, any number of times and in any production.
Again, that is no longer a "license" but a complete buyout. A license implies that the original copyright owner still maintains control of the intellectual property. When that control is completely handed over in perpetuity, and the client can do whatever they want with the track after the transaction is complete, then it is a buyout, not a license and not a blanket license.

Anyway... I don't have a problem with these types of companies. The reason being is they make what I do MORE valuable. If you are trying to directly compete against them, their own sales "tactic" is to simply slash the price. That is it. But instead of allowing them to make price the only selling point... I change the subject and the direction of the client to things like production quality, composers' status accomplishments, etc.

If the licensing staff doesn't know anything about the music they are licensing, then all they can do is cut the price because they have no way to show the value. I've found that clients CAN perceive the difference when listening but they can't "quantify" those difference. For example... if I did a blind taste test between Starbucks Coffee and Cup 'O Joe or cheap diner coffee... do you think you can taste the difference? If yes do you think you could objectively quantify that difference? Is the starbucks coffee better? If so by how much? 10%, 20%, 300%?

The general untrained public can still be good at discerning a difference but they lack the knowledge and experience to quantify that difference. That is where savvy sales comes in. It's how Starbucks can charge $4 for a $0.50 cup of coffee. It's how VW can sell a Porsche for $90,000 even though the same car with minor changes and a VW logo on it sells for $60,000.

the general public is good at discerning differences, they suck at quantifying them. Marketing is what tells them that product X is 10 times better than product Y. How many people spend THOUSANDS of dollars on digital to audio converters (Prism, Apogee, RME, Meitner, etc) thinking their converters are 10's or 100's of times better than cheaper brands like Focusrite or Behringer... and pay 100 of times more money for their better converters, when in reality, there is only maybe a 5 or 10% difference between them... Once the manufacturer can identify the difference the consumer hears, THEN they can put a price tag on it.

And that is ultimately how music publishing works too. One man's trash is another man's treasure. A Nirvana track may only be worth $1 to one client but might be worth $300,000 to another. Same goes for Production Music. The marketing efforts of the library is what controls the narrative about their own product and their relative position against competing products.

like if you said to me you are looking for orchestral music... I could just say yeah, whatever and give you a bunch of different orchestral tracks with some being better than others... but then what if I showed you this video...

And then told you the composer was the orchestrator and additional writer for Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, John Debney, Bruce Broughton, Christopher Young, etc...

If you were to just hear these tracks mixed in with a playlist of midi orchestra, you might think, "wow, that one sounds pretty good" and then just move on to the next... but by separating it out, and changing the topic from just "how much" to where it was recorded, what went into making it, and who is behind making it... I've now just quantified the differences you heard... so now it justifies a much higher price tag to you and you will feel more comfortable spending the extra money because you know you are getting something a cut above the rest.

So... I say "bring it on" to all these super cheap bottom feeder libraries... they make what I do worth ten's, if not hundred's of times more than it would have been had there not been so much cheap and mediocre music available in the market. The creme always rises to the top... and when there is a race to the bottom, the ones who win are the ones who turn around and sprint to the top.