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Library/Production Music Contracts

Daryl

Senior Member
I didn't read the paragraphs from the contract and I'm not going to -- as you undoubtedly know, nobody can interpret a contract's overall impact from reading just a section, so I'm being cautious with advice.

As should the OP be cautious with what advice he gets on a forum.
Agreed, but in this case, the paragraph in question is really clear. As there is no way for any Publisher to get their hands on the Writer's share of PRS payments (other than by fraudulently pretending to be a co-writer, as you mention), the Publisher can't recoup from this.
 

GtrString

Active Member
I suggest that you look more carefully. I can name at least four supposedly reputable companies that use recoupment.
That they are “supposedly reputable” doesn’t make this less a scam. From the wording they can just decide that they need to remix the project for any number of hrs, and charge you for it. This of course needs to be done before pitching, so they can just use this “service” to keep their studio up and running. Scam all the way, no matter what name is on it.
 

EvoMediaMusic

New Member
Hi All,

Speaking on behalf of the Evolution team here. CGR, our manager Dave will be emailing your directly but just wanted to clear some things up on this thread.

Regarding the main clause that people have taken issue with (11.6.5), I’d like to clarify what this means. As per the bit in capitals, this recoupable would only ever be applicable when agreed before the release of a track, so it would never be forced upon a composer. CRG using your example of a £1,500 sync, it would be a straight 50/50 split after the recoupable mastering fee of £25, so in no way would you be getting a 90/10 split. To be explicitly clear on this, we will not touch your writers share of 50%. The performance share of royalties always comes to you via your PRO and we never see it. The mechanical royalties are paid out by us every 6 months, this is 50/50 on royalties received. To be up front on this clause, after 86 albums released at market this has not been used once. The reason it is in the contract is purely to cover us legally. For instance, if a composer was on an advance and didn’t deliver mixes that were of a releasable standard, forcing us to hire a mixing engineer to sort. Personally, I feel its unlikely this clause will ever be used because if mixes are not up to scratch, we usually know fairly on in the curation process.

As has been mentioned by others on this thread, we do indeed invest considerable amounts of money on each album with extensive curation (currently 5 producers curate all material), artwork, and all associated background tasks. We also invest in recording where needed, having recorded in Budapest (Strings for our Natures of Wonder release) and Abbey Road (Strings & Guitar for our Plucky & Playful release).

Mastering is handled by various outsourced mastering engineers, all of whom are incredibly talented, and we feel deliver the highest standard for the market. Artwork is also outsourced to a variety of highly talented artists.

We are a 7 person strong team based in the UK, sub published with BMG, Sonoton, Groovers, and many others. We are all composers and writers, from the executive to the curation team. The business was started by our executive as a route to encourage emerging talent, and has always had the composer in mind. We are always on hand for a Skype, call, email, or face to face (in London, Brighton, or Manchester). We have never, and never will, scam composers.

So please contact us at [email protected] and we would be more than happy to go through anything else with you. We’d be more than happy to provide a full copy of our standard contract to anyone that needs it also.

All the best
Josh
Music Curator & Production Assistant
 

GtrString

Active Member
All composers who write for EMI, West One, and a number of others, do and have.
Prove it. You are legitimizing dubious business propositions here to young composers who have no way of knowing any better. If you think this is legit, I will question what you know, or why you dont call this out.
 

Daryl

Senior Member
Prove it. You are legitimizing dubious business propositions here to young composers who have no way of knowing any better. If you think this is legit, I will question what you know, or why you dont call this out.
I don't need to prove anything. As a long time former writer for EMI production Music and West One, I know only too well what goes on there. You can choose to believe me, or not to believe me. I don't care. I am only providing facts.
 

EvoMediaMusic

New Member
Hi Guys,

Happy to answer any more questions people might have (though I work the usual UK working hours if I don’t respond).

Regarding the contract and posting it here. I’m hesitant to do so just because I’d rather explain points of the contract directly with individuals, and not have others interpret the contract as has already happened on this thread.

The contract is available to anyone who wants it, just drop us an email and one of the team will send it to you. If you want to know anymore about us all personally, and the business as a whole, happy to provide that as well.

Cheers
Josh
Music Curator & Production Assistant
 

studiostuff

Active Member
That's fair.

I think my main objection is the extra charges that are probably applied to most of the submissions you accept.

That seems to me to be one of your costs of doing business as I can't imagine any submission that would clear all the sonic hurdles and be able to avoid a little mix engineer touch up in order to produce a consistent collection of tracks.

I guess if your composers don't mind you funding your studio with these extras, then that is between you and them. Seems excessive to me... But I have no dog in the fight.

Good of you to speak up and answer questions.
 

GtrString

Active Member
Well, we dont have the full contract to see, but it looks like a cross-collateralization clause, which is designed to protect the publisher from losses.

Basically, the publisher can take a receipt due the songwriter from one track and apply that towards recoupable advances or costs from other songs and even other songwriters' songs. That depends on what else there is in the contract (which we dont get to see here).

The risk for the artist is that the publisher gets little incentive to push a song, and/or never will see royalties for successful songs, because the publisher will offset losses from less successful songs.

Even if they dont use the clause, they can, and probably will if there is a future conflict between the writer and the publisher.

In other words, that only protects the publisher. It's not a win-win deal.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
That seems to me to be one of your costs of doing business as I can't imagine any submission that would clear all the sonic hurdles and be able to avoid a little mix engineer touch up in order to produce a consistent collection of tracks.
Hi @studiostuff -- I don't know what your experience has been, but mine suggests that this isn't unusual or sinister. The full cost of producing and preparing for market has been recouped from a good bit of my stuff done in this sphere.
 

StevenMcDonald

stevenmcdonaldmusic.com
I think this forum in general has a tendency to over-aggresively jump at any kind of company/corporation and try to call out "scummy" things, even when they're not there. This deal isn't weird, and nobody is forcing you to take it if you don't want to. £25 for mastering is nothing, and that only takes effect is you make money. It's not like a pay-to-submit deal (which IS scummy). As for the mixing clause, if your mix skills aren't up to snuff, honestly, you should work on that before trying to do library music. I personally wouldn't take the deal if they wanted to mix for me and recoup that much sync/mechanical, but as Josh said, that only happens if you agree to it.

I worked with EMM on an album last year, and it was a very smooth and professional process. I was given good, specific feedback on my tracks (including mix issues, which they asked me to fix rather than trying to force their own mixing service on me) and they communicated well. The album has had a few TV promo placements in Europe as well as some TV underscore so far.
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
A library has no business touching the writer's share. Ever. Under no circumstance. I can not stress this enough. Never give away any part of your writer's share. Any company asking you to do that is not one you should be working with.
So, if the music library doesn't take a portion of your writers, how do they make any money when the tv production company takes the publishing?
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
I think this forum in general has a tendency to over-aggresively jump at any kind of company/corporation and try to call out "scummy" things, even when they're not there. This deal isn't weird, and nobody is forcing you to take it if you don't want to. £25 for mastering is nothing, and that only takes effect is you make money. It's not like a pay-to-submit deal (which IS scummy). As for the mixing clause, if your mix skills aren't up to snuff, honestly, you should work on that before trying to do library music. I personally wouldn't take the deal if they wanted to mix for me and recoup that much sync/mechanical, but as Josh said, that only happens if you agree to it.

I worked with EMM on an album last year, and it was a very smooth and professional process. I was given good, specific feedback on my tracks (including mix issues, which they asked me to fix rather than trying to force their own mixing service on me) and they communicated well. The album has had a few TV promo placements in Europe as well as some TV underscore so far.
:thumbsup:
 

Daryl

Senior Member
So, if the music library doesn't take a portion of your writers, how do they make any money when the tv production company takes the publishing?
The TV company can't take the Publishing from a library company. If they are given a share, it's only because the library company allowed them some of their own share. If the TV company wanted 100%, the sync wouldn't happen.
 

studiostuff

Active Member
Hi @studiostuff -- I don't know what your experience has been, but mine suggests that this isn't unusual or sinister. The full cost of producing and preparing for market has been recouped from a good bit of my stuff done in this sphere.
Hi John,

You are correct to suppose I don't have experience as a composer of library music. I still feel as though these companies are exploiting the extremely competitive nature of composer life in LA or London.

And just because it is normal or common doesn't make it seem less excessive to me.

I understand business is business. I have participated in my share of deals that were less than perfect.

But I guess I feel extra lucky at this time to be able to say no to opportunities that seem to offer unfair benefit to my business partners.

No brag. Just thankful.
 
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muk

Senior Member
So, if the music library doesn't take a portion of your writers, how do they make any money when the tv production company takes the publishing?
What Daryl wrote. Apparently there are libraries that give away part of their publisher's share to land placements. It's a bad development. Just think about it. A tv company should be paying to use your music, not being paid for it. But ultimately it is the libraries problem if they partake in such practices. If they want the composers to pay for it by taking a percentage of the writer's share, however, then it becomes our problem, and I advice to never accept such a deal. It's a horrible race to the bottom that will leave nothing for the composers.

Fortunately, there are more than enough libraries out there that won't sell music below value and still land great placements. And these are the libraries composers should want to work with in my opinion.
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
The TV company can't take the Publishing from a library company.
Ok. But isn't the TV company the publisher? It's they who are technically publishing the content, and putting it out into the public domain. The library isn't doing that, so they are not publisher.

And isn't it the same as with a movie studio when you score a film? The studio gets the publishing, because they are the publisher. Isnt the TV company the equivalent of the film studio?
 

Farkle

Senior Member
Ok. But isn't the TV company the publisher? It's they who are technically publishing the content, and putting it out into the public domain. The library isn't doing that, so they are not publisher.

No. The TV company is LICENSING the content from the publisher (the library), to use to enhance/support their TV show. Way different.

And isn't it the same as with a movie studio when you score a film? The studio gets the publishing, because they are the publisher. Isnt the TV company the equivalent of the film studio?
No. It's not the same. You're confusing a production movie studio, with the financing organization. For example, Sony Pictures might finance a film, and part of their deal will be for Sony (I would expect the Music arm) to acquire the publishing rights of the soundtrack... so that, I don't know, maybe they could release the soundtrack for additional money? Or, license cues for trailers, etc.

John G and Daryl know more about the film side than I do, I've only done independent films, but regarding TV (both custom and library), I know a lot, and what I said above is how the TV structure (by and large) works. If a TV company actually wants to acquire the publishing, then they must have a PRO (ASCAP, BMI, etc) publishing account, and must be a registered publisher. And, they would have to buy the publishing rights from the composer or library that owned the publishing. It's easier (and way more industry standard) to do a licensing deal with the library.

Mike
 

chillbot

Sock Muppet
You're confusing a physical "publisher" with the publishing share of the cue sheets.

In the simplest sense (it never is): the library owns 100% of the publishing share. The writer owns 100% of the writer share. Whoever controls the publishing share controls the track. The TV station (or TV production company) licenses the track from the publisher and pays a sync fee which they would theoretically split... oh nevermind I see ferx just posted same stuff....
 
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