Library/Production Music Contracts

Discussion in 'Working in the Industry' started by CGR, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

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    No.
     
  2. Daryl

    Daryl Senior Member

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    If the TV company is the Publisher, then it has nothing to do with a music library. Unless they are sharing Publishing. I'm not quite sure what you're getting at?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    CGR

    CGR Pianist/Composer/Arranger

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    I appreciate the responses, and the clarification from Josh at Evolution Media Music. Given there are a number of experienced & published composers here, and being a niche industry, I was interested to hear from them, which was why I posted in the 'Working in the Industry' section. I think it's prudent to not only seek clarification about contract clauses, but also contrast and compare with other Composers' Industry experience and arrangements.
     
  4. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    So in other words you ARE paying to submit. Even if the tracks never get licensed, they still made money off the mastering. Twelve full version tracks, plus the tracks versions.....say something like 40 tracks altogether. That's £1000 right there; out of the composer's pocket. And what if they want to mix? You need to send all of the stems and get charged for that too! I have never, ever seen either of these items in a contract.
     
  5. StevenMcDonald

    StevenMcDonald stevenmcdonaldmusic.com

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    I don't think you understand this. The £25 is only taken out of however much money the track makes. You aren't paying to submit. It's a recoup. If the track never gets licensed, the library loses the money they spent on the mastering. If it does get licensed, they get £25 of it back.

    I wrote a full album for EMM, and it has been getting placements. I haven't paid anybody any money.
     
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  6. OP
    OP
    CGR

    CGR Pianist/Composer/Arranger

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    Thanks for your input Steven.
     
  7. EvoMediaMusic

    EvoMediaMusic New Member

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    Hi again all,

    Thanks for your further queries and questions, will and try and clarify.

    @GtrString - you mentioned ‘cross-collateralization’ whereby some publishers take their recoupable from all music written, and not from the individual track. This isn’t the case here at Evolution Media Music, recoupable advances are only ever applied to the individual tracks, not your catalogue as a whole.

    For example, if you wrote Epic Rock 1, Epic Rock 2, and Epic Rock 3, each with a £25 recoupable for mastering, and Epic Rock 1 & 3 earned nothing, but Epic Rock 2 earned £500, you would receive £475. The recoupable mastering fee only ever applies to the track.

    I highly disagree with your statement that we have “little incentive to push a song”. We work with our composers, often for months at a time on albums to make sure if is of the highest compositional and mix standard. We wouldn’t bother to put this effort in, or expect it of a composer if we were to not then push and promote that music as hard as we possibly could. Whilst our sub-publishers at BMG, Sonoton, Groovers, Music & Musique, and others handle promotion and sales as part of their agreements with us, we also create samplers, mailouts, and attend all the major industry events in the UK and USA.

    @studiostuff - as with any business, there are costs involved. Our ethos has always been about quality, delivering the best music we possibly can to the market. That incurs additional costs for the business such as the money needed to fund the curation team, as well as the money invested in highly talented artists and mastering engineers.

    You mentioned that your main objection was that “the extra charges that are probably applied to most of the submissions you accept”. As mentioned in my earlier post, to my knowledge (and I have been with the company since they released their first 9 albums) the mixing clause has never been used, and as I also said I cant see a way where it would be used. Even if it ever were to be proposed by us to a composer, the composer is under no obligation to take it, they can simply walk away from the deal with their track. We have no way of forcing a composer to use a mix engineer, nor would we want to. We have sonic hurdles yes, but this is offered in the form of feedback whereby each composer is given the opportunity to amend their track. When we listen to tracks and formulate our feedback it is always with the intention that the writer can make the changes themselves. On the few rare occasions where we can tell a composer is great at writing, but lacks the requisite skills in mixing we have never suggested the use of an engineer, but have instead connected them with other writers who then collaborate together (separate of us) in delivering a releasable track. This itself is rare, I can only think of 2 writers who have done this off the top of my head.

    The deliverables recoupable has been used once to my knowledge, but again this was not forced on the composer. The composer had written some great tracks but was then tied down with commitments to other projects so had no time to complete the deliverables. They requested us to do them with that recoupable as it allowed them to release the tracks but focus on their other work. We would never push a composer down this path, especially as we all have such extensive work tasks that taking on doing someones deliverables just adds to the work pile. To be clear on this, all libraries to my knowledge require composers to do some form of deliverables, and not one of them would expect the library to do them for the composer. So again, this clause is to cover us to make sure composers deliver the files needed and would never be forced upon a composer.

    As Steven has mentioned, there is a massive difference between ‘pay-to-submit’ and the practice of a ‘recoupable’. Firstly, to be explicitly clear, no one at this company will ever ask a writer for money! Money would only ever be paid one way - to the writer.

    Recoupable costs are agreed at the contract stage. The contract is only formally agreed when signed by both parties, this is done at the last stage of the process, after a writer has submitted, revised, and then had their tracks signed off by our exec team.

    @Wolfie2112 - I’ll use your example to clarify this point. Say you wrote a 12 track album for us, this would incur a £25 mastering recoupable per track (£300). Here are some examples of how that would work out:

    All 12 tracks make £0 - Then nothing changes. We have paid for the mastering, but the tracks haven’t made any money so nothing happens.

    11 tracks make £0, but 1 track makes £800 - Then the recoupable mastering of £25 for that one track is recouped and we pay out the remaining balance of £775 to you the writer.

    I hope this is clear and explains how recoupment works. In no way is this ‘pay-to-submit’ and in no way is it a means of making additional money. We cover all costs and the recoupments only take effect (on a track by track basis) if they make money.

    We would love to hear from you all if you’re interested in working with us. Steven produced a wonderful album for us (Inspirational Beats), and we have an ever growing community of global writers, with a lot of them being outside the normal realms of London and LA.

    I know this contract stuff can be quite complicated so more than happy to help in explaining things, be it in terms of Evolution Media Music or the wider industry as a whole.

    Cheers
    Josh
    Music Curator & Production Assistant
     
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  8. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    Thanks for the response, great to see this type of interaction. I guess I'm just not feeling the love when it comes to charging composers for mastering....wouldn't it be be mastered prior to marketing the tacks? Anyways, thanks for clarifying all of the items in your posts. Cheers!
     
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  9. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    Fair enough, but the composer still gets charged for it if it happens (my bad for missing that)....which is still the composer's cost. Josh posted some great feedback, and it sounds like they rarely have to master/mix anything anyways.
     
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  10. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    I am confident I've been charged for mastering by other libraries. And recording -- it's a big recoupment. Josh @EvoMediaMusic is describing a setup similar to at least one that has been extremely healthy for me and my career, in a number of ways.

    I'm not endorsing Evo Media because I don't know them and have never worked for them, but Josh's explanations make it sound like something with which I'd be comfortable from a business perspective. Recouping only on tracks that license seems quite positive.

    Not everyone likes every contract. I was horrified the first time I saw what I had to surrender on my first score, but I soon learned that's just how it is. One has to make up one's own mind.
     
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  11. GtrString

    GtrString Active Member

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    Good to see a more precise clarification, as it is hard to evaluate from a snippet of a contract (which is still all we have, though). I find it quite odd that the library would require remastering and remixing if a track is sold, though, as either this is part of why it is sold, or it should be curated during the screening. That is still the most common practice.

    But I guess there are differences between a composer (only) and a composer who is also a producer (which to me is also the most common), and perhaps that is where the misunderstanding originates. Im actually surprised that the library would sign composers who cannot produce.. but I guess that must be the case here.
     
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  12. StevenMcDonald

    StevenMcDonald stevenmcdonaldmusic.com

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    That's not what the clause is saying. They have all the tracks mastered regardless, when they first take in the album. They only recoup the £25 if the track is licensed and there is a sync fee to recoup it from. So if a track is never licensed, they've lost the money they invested in mastering. Thus they do have incentive to push the tracks.
     
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  13. erica-grace

    erica-grace Senior Member

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    I hear what you are saying, but that doesn't make sense to me. And it could just be me, as I am still learning here.

    When Universal Studios releases "How To Train Your Dragon", are they not the publisher of that film? If not, why not?

    If so, how is Universal different from XYZ studio (I do not know the name) that produces "The Walking Dead"? Isn't that studio the publisher of that TV series?

    Thanks.
     
  14. Daryl

    Daryl Senior Member

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    Theoretically it's the Publishing wing, but the answers are yes and yes, assuming that The Walking Dead has a score composed specifically for it, and the Publishing deal with the Publishing wing has been agreed.

    However, neither of these examples have anything to do with a library music contract.
     
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  15. Farkle

    Farkle Senior Member

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    Yes, Universal pictures is the publisher of the FILM. The composer has a contract with the production company of the film, regarding the ownership and copyright of his/her score. The publisher of the FILM has to then deal with the ownership/licensing/publishing of the SCORE of the film, which might be owned by the composer, might be owned by the production studio, etc. Notice, the production company might NOT be the publishing company.

    Look, this is complex. And, trying to answer here is... it's too detailed. Go pick up the Passman book on the Music Business, or Brabec's book on Music, Money, and Success. Start learning how this works. If you want to be in the industry, you should research the industry.

    And, as Daryl said, this is wholly different from a deal a film company (publishing or production studio) does with a library that already owns the publishing of its' catalog.

    Mike
     
  16. GtrString

    GtrString Active Member

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    Well, if you say so. I still find this contract a business mess/odd/puzzling, because it is blurring the roles. By charging composers for mastering and maybe even mixing, they turn the composer into a customer with the company, while in a more transparent relationship the library would stand together with the composer, and have clients as a joint consumer. I would say that is pretty factual, based on the information at hand.

    And if the library does mix and master, what happens to the producer rights (the (p))? Does the company then get to own those rights, or still just get the rights to exploit, like in a more common publisher deal? This also seems blurred by these paragraphs. These things cannot only be determined by the contract at hand, but would be governed by the laws of the country the library resides in (as these two can be at odds).

    It seems that this library is also incorporating record company practices into their business model (treating composers like branded "artists", who get to pay for production and record company services), and that is a bit unusual if we are talking production music libraries (but, maybe not if we talk big4). However, it is blurring the traditional picture of who is responsible for what in that segment of the market, imo. So, I think it is fair to inquire into what the actual business proposition is, here in a public forum.

    But fair enough. There are all sorts of deals out there, and you have to find somehing to believe in. I am just careful and sceptic by default. If they have proven themselves, there may not be any issues beyond the more general discussion, which is all we can have here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  17. erica-grace

    erica-grace Senior Member

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    Thanks. So, it may have nothing to do with a library contract directly, but this part of the conversation stems from me asking about the tv production company taking the publishing. Which you and other say should not happen, which I am being told is unrealistic.
     
  18. erica-grace

    erica-grace Senior Member

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    But that's just it. If I get a request from a library to write a cue for a TV show that will be exclusive to that show, that cue is not from the libraries' catalog, and that cue is owned by the tv production company - same as a film studio owning a score to a film.
     
  19. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    I am not sure how this conversation ended up where it is. Some posts seem overly suspicion-laden and skeptical, if not outright hostile.

    Without taking one side or the other, it might be worth bearing in mind that, while we composers might bear the risk of our time and our equipment's use, if the production company is paying a fee up front or paying for players, that company is risking "cash money," as some people say. They also will be putting their marketing team to work trying to create some demand for what the composer generates.

    I'm not ignoring that the composer adds value -- of course -- but I am just gently saying that, without the marketing, that value might never be realised. So I don't think it's unreasonable for the marketer to control the product he's risking money on and investing his company's contacts and expertise to sell.

    This is fair, or not, depending on the terms, experience and success of the composer, the quality of the work, the expertise of the company doing the marketing, and probably a hundred other things.

    Going Into Business Together

    So if it's a company that is just going to warehouse your music and do nothing with it, that's not as attractive and you might think they don't deserve as big a share of license fees. By contrast, if it's an active company that has quality standards (like mastering) that it feels it needs to uphold, that is not a bad thing; the opposite.

    If they are going to risk their time and money on our work, it makes sense that they would enjoy a share of the fruits of that commercial relationship. How much and what share? That depends on a lot of things, of course.

    Every once in a while someone like Chuck Berry comes along and writes four or five monster hits and maybe one of us is going to do that. In that case, maybe The Man gets more than his fair share. IDK and I'm not Chuck Berry.

    But in the main, unless composers want to start selling on their own and developing direct relationships with end-users, it can be worth going into partnership with someone who does and can get one's music in front of producers and advertising companies that want to pay for it.

    I'm really glad I did when I did. The companies made money, sure, but so did I.

    You can also head over to BMI or ASCAP's websites -- they used to have discussions on contracts and publishing, etc.
     
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  20. Daryl

    Daryl Senior Member

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    Sorry, we are talking at cross purposes. Leaving aside the technical and legal niceties

    1. If a TV company commissions a score, they usually take the Publishing
    2. If your music is in a library, the library takes the Publishing

    Therefore in the case of 2. there is no available Publishing for any film or TV company to take.

    Does this make things clearer?
     

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