Library/Production Music Contracts

Daryl

Senior Member
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.
Which is totally your choice, but just let me backtrack the history of this, as things have changed from what used to happen:

"Old" model
Library - commissions albums, pays composers up-front, pays for copying parts, recording, mixing, mastering, gets 50% Mechanicals, 50% Broadcast Royalties

Composer- writes music, delivers score, gets 50% Mechanicals, 50% Broadcast Royalties

"New" model
Library - commissions albums, pays composers nothing, gets 50% Mechanicals, 50% Broadcast Royalties

Composer- writes music, delivers demo and score (or pays for MIDI transfer to score), pays for copying parts, recording, mixing, mastering, gets 50% Mechanicals, 50% Broadcast Royalties

Then you find that many companies pay less than 50% Mechanicals. Some pay none at all.

Then you find there is a "production charge" and an "administration charge", all paid for by the composer.

Now we are saying "that's fine", take some of our share of the Broadcast Royalties as well?

To me, I see a trend. It's not just about the money. It's about the principle of staving off the race to the bottom.

I'm not saying that anyone should or shouldn't do something, but, to me, it's a bit like ghost writing. Sooner or later a precedent is set, and there is no going back.
 

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
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.
I'd sign a deal like this. If you kow of any libraries like this looking for new music, shoot me a PM with the names so I can contact them. Thanks!
 

StevenMcDonald

stevenmcdonaldmusic.com
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.
I appreciate this post, and relate as well. I know most would throw a fit about this, but my main publisher relationship is similar, and the royalties from that publisher alone have supported me the past 2 years. It's not for everyone, but it works for me because I can write very fast, they take all my tracks, and I'm their go-to guy for a lot of styles. Of course I also write for various other publishers with different deals, but at the end of the day, if a certain deal works well for you and provides great results, you've just gotta do it and pay the bills.
 

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
I need to prove to you that I made 25k each of the past two years from a bunch of cues? C'mon now.
Yes, please prove it. It will not hurt you in any way whatsoever.

And please send me the name of the library so I can pitch to them. Just shoot me a PM with the name. I can handle the rest.

Thanks!
 

Daryl

Senior Member
I agree. They have the power but not the will. I do believe though that the practice is actually illegal in the UK? i'm pretty sure it's not here, regardless of ethics.
It's illegal in the UK, for PRS members, because PRS actually owns your Writers' share. Therefore legally only they can agree to give it up. That's why those shady companies that try to take it insist on putting themselves down as co-writers. Without telling that lie, they have no access to your Royalties.
 

vewilya

Active Member
So let's hear it! What's its name?
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.
What??? I thought that was was illegal? But I guess you can always give away your share voluntarily, right? They can't coerce you into giving away more than 50% of the publishing though. So the choice is yours. I guess it really comes down to what library you are dealing with! I can see that some cases this might make sense. I'd question the morality of this practice though. It's not only about receiving money IMHO.
 

sleepingtiger

New Member
What??? I thought that was was illegal? But I guess you can always give away your share voluntarily, right? They can't coerce you into giving away more than 50% of the publishing though. So the choice is yours. I guess it really comes down to what library you are dealing with! I can see that some cases this might make sense. I'd question the morality of this practice though. It's not only about receiving money IMHO.
It is unethical in my opinion. I can't imagine a scenario where I would do it. I'm not a lawyer so I can't comment to legality but my understanding is that it's frowned upon and basically against the rules of the PROs but that's not the same thing as being illegal. The problem is that when a track is registered there's no way for the PROs to know if it's a legit co-writing situation or someone has agreed to include a co-writer who is actually the publisher who didn't contribute to the track.

Not sure what you mean by "They can't coerce you into giving away more than 50% of the publishing though". That's exactly what the above mentioned scenario does. The publisher keeps all of the publisher's share and half the writer's.
 
Last edited: