Library/Production Music Contracts

Daryl

Senior Member
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.
In that specific case it is more likely that the TV and library company have agreed to share the Publishing. Otherwise, why would the library company get involved?

However, your specific example is relatively rare, because library music is based on multiple usages, so there would be little reason for the library to get involved in this instance.
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
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
1 & 2 - exactly.

Which is what I was saying - if it's #1, the library has to take some of the writers, because the TV company takes the publishing. Which is exactly what Muk was saying not to do - but sometimes, you have to.
 

chillbot

Sock Muppet
If it's #1, there is no library involved. Not sure how this is confusing.

So if the TV company wants to use a piece of music from a music library, no they don't get to take any of the publishing, it remains with the library.
 
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Daryl

Senior Member
1 & 2 - exactly.

Which is what I was saying - if it's #1, the library has to take some of the writers, because the TV company takes the publishing. Which is exactly what Muk was saying not to do - but sometimes, you have to.
You have to understand that there is no such thing a a Writer's share of Mechanicals. You get whatever you negotiate. There is no law that says you have to get anything. Where there is a Writer's share, is the Broadcast Royalties, and neither the TV company nor the library company has access to that.
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
You have to understand that there is no such thing a a Writer's share of Mechanicals.
I do understand that. Where did mechanicals come into play here? I was talking strictly about broadcast performance royalties, both writers and publishers.
 

muk

Senior Member
Which is what I was saying - if it's #1, the library has to take some of the writers, because the TV company takes the publishing.
This is completely wrong. As @chillbot wrote, if it's #1 there is no library involved. The tv company commissions directly from the composer. The tv company gets the publisher's share, the composer keeps the writer's share. No library involved. If a tv company licenses music through a library, the library gets the publisher's share, the composer gets the writer's share. The tv company gets nothing.

In neither case should the writer's share go to anybody else than the writer. Giving part of it away to a publisher or tv company is a horrible practice. Race to the bottom. I have no idea why you think that it is necessary, but I strongly disagree.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
@muk and @Daryl are right Erica. You shouldn't have to surrender ANY of your writer's share to anyone, ever. If you are then it's weird / suspect / in some jurisdictions illegal.

I mean, unless they hum the tunes and you just write them down.
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
I am listening to you guys - I am, trust me. But here is the thing.

You guys keep saying that if the TV company takes 100% publishing, then there is no library. That is simply not true. And I can not be the only composer who knows this.

So, I get it, that you are saying a composer should not take a deal where the TV company takes 100% publishing, and then the composer gets 50% of the writers. Walk away, is I think what you are trying to say. So, I should walk away from the approx. $25k per year I have made from this deal the past two years? Ok, that should be $50k, I understand that. But if I walked away two + years ago, that # would not be $25k - it would be $0, So, I have a choice. Say yes to giving up 50% of the writers, and make $25k +, or say no to giving up 50% of the writers, and make $0k. What's better?
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
, if it's #1 there is no library involved. The tv company commissions directly from the composer. The tv company gets the publisher's share, the composer keeps the writer's share. No library involved. If a tv company licenses music through a library, the library gets the publisher's share, the composer gets the writer's share. The tv company gets nothing.
That's just not accurate, sorry. Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but that's the way it is much of the time.

I wish someone else would speak up here.
 

Daryl

Senior Member
I do understand that. Where did mechanicals come into play here? I was talking strictly about broadcast performance royalties, both writers and publishers.
This whole thread has been about mechanicals. It's just that some people misunderstood.

If you're talking about Broadcast Royalties, then neither a library Publisher or TV score Publisher has access to those.
 

sleepingtiger

New Member
That's just not accurate, sorry. Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but that's the way it is much of the time.

I wish someone else would speak up here.
I have a number of production music albums with libraries and I've written directly for shows through production companies and in the latter scenario, where the production company or the network acts as publisher, there is never a music library involved. That scenario makes no sense to me at all, just like the others are saying.

There *is* a well known US library that requires that all writers split the writer's share with the owner (not ethical imo) but it's not the same thing, that library also keeps the publishing. There's also a library I know of that routinely splits their *publisher's* share with production companies but the writers retain 100% of the writer's share. Those scenarios are the only ones I know of that resemble what you are describing but they are not the same thing.
 

Daryl

Senior Member
I wish someone else would speak up here.
Speak up about what? You have now said that you are talking about Broadcast Royalties, so the situation in the UK (as that's what this thread is about) is that these are split into two parts; Publisher's' share and Writer's share. What happens to the Publisher's share depends. If there are Sub Publishers involved, they take a cut and then pass the rest on to the Publisher. If there is a TV company as joint Publisher, they receive their share directly form PRS and the Publisher does the same. In neither of these cases does it affect the writer, as he/she gets their share directly form PRS, so nobody else has access to it. Furthermore, a Publisher cannot legally get a writer to "voluntarily" give up this share, because PRS actually owns it, not the Writer.

Now if you were talking about streaming "Royalties"....
 

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
So, I should walk away from the approx. $25k per year I have made from this deal the past two years? Ok, that should be $50k, I understand that. But if I walked away two + years ago, that # would not be $25k - it would be $0, So, I have a choice. Say yes to giving up 50% of the writers, and make $25k +, or say no to giving up 50% of the writers, and make $0k. What's better?
Are you telling the truth? Show us your royalty statements!
 

sleepingtiger

New Member
In the UK this would be illegal, if the writer is a PRS member.
Yes, I know, as it should be imo. It's frowned upon by the PROs here but they can't stop it. More troubling is how the owner in question has been looked to as a leader in the industry. I would personally never engage in such a deal, regardless of potential payoff.
 

Dirk Ehlert

Dirk Ehlert
Just wanna say that this discussion should not stick to the ideal but also to the reality that is out there. There are libraries out there that take a part of your writers. It’s not nice and if this doesn’t suit you then you’re free to walk away. But sometimes it can be still beneficial. I had my fair share of tracks with these kind of libraries where I also have given away writers in this case 50%. But these cues have been placed well in various TV formats and have amounted to significant royalties over the years. I don’t want to defend this practice but I’m still left with a choice. And sometimes I rather take 50% of a lot than 100% of nothing at all. For the sake of clarity, this obviously relates to broadcast not mechanical. It’s just not as black and white as some make it to be.