Discovery Networks (& Netflix) Corners Composers in Music Royalties Battle

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
Shows on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, HGTV and Food Network may sound very different in the coming months. That’s because Discovery Networks, which owns those and other cable channels, is instituting a new pay policy that virtually assures no composer currently working on their programs will do so after Dec. 31.
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 that they must sign away their ability to collect royalties on all past shows on its networks.


 

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
I've never done work for Discovery, but I've done similar shows where fees are really low because they know we make up for it with the back end. But now if they take the back end away ... doing those shows makes no sense for a professional composer.

I hold out hope that it wil be more difficult than they think to replace music with sources (of sufficiently high quality) that will agree to their terms.
 
OP
gsilbers

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
Yeah, most publishing companies are smal and rely on these royalties. If not iota barley $100 per track which they share w the composer or something smal like that. I remember discovery pushing for owning publishing and therefore the publisher needed to share writers share w the writer.
Bot sure how in Europe they did it so it’s a law that writers cannot give writer share. With was the same here.
although if it’s upfront pay I guess that doesn’t matter.
Still... Europeans should start taking note cuz I’m sure this will catch up over there.
 

bengoss

Member
And here is the Netflix going for same/similar

Wow this is sad! It’s unbelievable how this companies became so greedy and trying to destroy the art of a score.
It’s also very very sad that this post won’t even get attention from most of the composers here, busy arguing if Spitfire has a new player or OT came out with Sine player:)

Ben
 
OP
gsilbers

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
Wow this is sad! It’s unbelievable how this companies became so greedy and trying to destroy the art of a score.
It’s also very very sad that this post won’t even get attention from most of the composers here, busy arguing if Spitfire has a new player or OT came out with Sine player:)

Ben
Lol, yep, I was just in that thread. All the minutia of a sample player most likely no one will afford due to lack of royalties.

or maybe that’s why they wan to cancel royalties? Mmmm so many composers can now get such amazing libraries that with so much supply of composer, prices can come down easilyS.

and if it happened to music when iTunes and Spotify came out , that suddenly everyone was expecting for a song to cost only $1 and now for free w ads.. and that devalued so much prices of music... what do studios think will happened with so many tv network shows... they’ll keep cutting corners to price lower tier streaming.
You can see it now w the musician union strike recently... heck.. that might explain why Alf clausen was fired.
mall these studios now are doing more and more cut back since there so much supply that’s driven prices down.
 
OP
gsilbers

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
Let’s hope this will raise some attention and get support from composers who can actually do something. Like Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL (he is busy promoting the library) Ben Wallfisch, Trent Razor etc.

well... somewhere in article (or was it a Facebook post)mentioned that Netflix will only pressure young up and coming composers who might not have a choice. But Hans and those guys have that agency they work w that are pretty big hitters so obviously Netflix won’t mention it.
 

bengoss

Member
Agree! Just wanted to say these people would have the influence to help and maybe change some laws that will forbid as in Europe from anyone buying out writers share. It should be no discussion there. But lol, these composers I mentioned probably have and exploit around 100 composers, ghost writing and helping out without any credit.
 
OP
gsilbers

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
Agree! Just wanted to say these people would have the influence to help and maybe change some laws that will forbid as in Europe from anyone buying out writers share. It should be no discussion there. But lol, these composers I mentioned probably have and exploit around 100 composers, ghost writing and helping out without any credit.
Yeah that would be cool.
 

chillbot

Sock Muppet
It’s also very very sad that this post won’t even get attention from most of the composers here, busy arguing if Spitfire has a new player or OT came out with Sine player
Very sad. This is a great assumption. I can assure you that composers who's royalties are being affected by this are not busy arguing in Spitfire/OT threads.

There is an organization already pushing back, was going to post but see that it's already been mentioned, even HZ is onboard:

This group has been working for some time, in fact I would say the Variety article posted in the OP is 100% their doing.
 

ThomasNL

Thomas van der Burg
In the Netherlands this is sadly already common practice. Front end fees are very low and backend you have to give up a big part of your rights...
 
OP
gsilbers

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
In the Netherlands this is sadly already common practice. Front end fees are very low and backend you have to give up a big part of your rights...
from what i remeber, the discovery executive who is pushing all of this is from europe and got transfered over tro the US.
 
OP
gsilbers

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
This is a great start. It is going to take composers pulling together to protect their futures. Spread the word and figure out how to take action.
the issue that i see if that netflix for example can just hire a different composer who will do the upfront pay if its a show where its not the heavy hitters composers. they tell the producers to get another composer if they want the deal. for mid and lower tier shows specially.
so no matter howmuch informed anyone is. someone is going to take the job... free market and all.
 

JJP

I put dots and lines on paper.
the issue that i see if that netflix for example can just hire a different composer...someone is going to take the job... free market and all.
There will always be people who will take jobs that don't pay well. The question is how much of the market composers will allow to go that way.

This is the same argument that recording musicians face in their negotiations. Someone, maybe not as good, will always take the job. It is by pulling together that people are able to change the math on that dynamic.

If composers think it's hopeless, then the answer is simple. Do nothing, watch passively, and accept whatever the outcome is. If composers aren't willing to accept that, then spread the word and together figure out what to do next.

The article landing in Variey raised a lot of awareness. That's the kind of collective action that moves in the right direction to combat the practices of Discovery and others.