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Music Publishing 2
 4/19 Music Publishing Panel, Part 2 
4/19 Music Publishing Panel, Part 2
Summary of information from 4/19 music publishing panel, pt. 2 (of 2) ...

The accompanying comments topic for this post can be found here.

...continued from part 1

Amount paid for sync licenses:
1. License fee split between owner of master and owner of publishing rights, usually 50/50.
2. Depends upon popularity of artist/writer, where the song is used, how much of song is used.
3. For hit songs by artists selective about their songs being placed, “a great sum of money.” Example given: Use of Baba O’Reilly (The Who), “Stuck in a Moment” (U2), and a Tom Petty song all in the opening episode of the new tv show “What About Brian?”
4. For new writer getting a song placement in a cable show, figure mentioned was $1000-$2500; for MTV’s “The Real World,” around $750; new writer/artist gets the benefit of exposure, beyond the amount of the license fee.
5. Often a music supervisor is looking for a new writer with a song sounding like the style of a popular artist, to keep budget down.
6. Publishing companies get to pitch a variety of material to music supervisors, but music supervisors often know exactly what they are looking for and may or may not be receptive to other material.
7. Sometimes a particular publishing company is responsible for providing most or all of the music for a certain show. Example given: Windswept is starting this year supplying almost all the music to “CSI: Miami” and “Nip/Tuck.”

Video game placement:
1. Video games are a much bigger market than album sales; worldwide, a popular game can sell 15-20 million copies.
2. Video games carry relatively low licensing fees. Example given: The yearly “Madden” football game is the most desired video game for music placements; license fee paid might be $5000 for an unknown artist; $20,000 for a popular artist.
3. Video games do, even outside of licensing fees, provide a new concept in breaking a unknown artist: with a placement in a popular game, an artist/song can be known/heard by millions of people before the artist has a record deal or an album release.

What makes a writer attractive to a publishing company for signing?
1. Panelists agree, it’s all about the songs, whether writer is performer or not.
2. “Self-sufficiency” in having access to recording gear to demo own written songs; more cost-effective if publishing company doesn’t have to put up money to demo every song.
3. Windswept: Prefers that writers can sing well enough to sing on own demos; in the urban genre, A&R wants to hear finished-sounding recordings; more cost-effective if publishing company doesn’t have to hire session singer to demo every song.
4. These are “pluses,” not requirements; if the songs are strong, publishing company still wants the writer even without these criteria.
5. Writers without a publishing deal who become signed to a major record deal or who are writers or co-writers of a song with a significant placement, will probably be sought out by publishing companies offering contracts.

Age/looks in regard to getting signed to publishing deal:
1. Not a factor for non-performing songwriter.
2. Not as big a factor for performers in certain genres such as singer/songwriter and certain “classic” rock styles. Target audience is older demographic for these genres than for pop; smaller, specialized labels work in these genres and sign a larger age-range of artists.
3. Performing songwriters in pop and pop-rock genres are not likely to be signed to a major label if over 30 without previous music career.
4. Implied by panelists that if major-label signing is the primary goal of the artist, and this is unrealistic for them, it may cause a publishing company to be less interested in working with that writer.
5. There are many ways for a writer to be published even if major label contract/radio airplay aren’t the route for that artist.

Sampling and songwriting:
1. From the publishing standpoint, big disadvantage to deal with songs using samples.
2. Writing credit gets divided among writers of the song, plus all writers of the song the sample came from; writer’s share in the new song that was 50% might turn into 5% after this.
3. If you do sample, state it up front; you WILL get caught, especially if the song is successful.
4. Far more complicated to deal with, and far more costly to publishing company and artist, if you are caught sampling without giving credit.
5. Suggestion made to find/use other ways of chopping up sounds and making new sounds, rather than using samples.

How to present yourself to publishing companies when looking for a publishing contract:
1. Some companies accept unsolicited material; some do not.
2. Company often wants package sent by mail first, and will contact you/set up a meeting if they like your material.
3. Windswept: No unsolicited submissions, but if you call, will probably refer you to A&R department, who might ask for your package and pass it along to publishing department; then it is not unsolicited anymore.
4. BMG: Nice when lawyer or manager calls on behalf of writer, but writer can call on his/her own behalf. Submitted songs must pass “point system” or writer will receive back a form letter. All songs listened to by staff members, not interns.
5. Chrysalis: Accepts unsolicited submissions.

What to send in your package:
1. Present your very best 3-5 songs, not entire catalog.
2. Send CD by mail, not email with attached mp3’s.
3. Send CD accompanied by short biography.
4. CD should have song titles and contact info written or printed on the actual disc, not just on an insert or accompanying material.
5. CD should be sent in jewel case with spine label, so it can be properly filed and found again.

General Advice:
1. Writer/artist working in the industry will end up gathering a “team” of people guiding/promoting his/her career: manager, music attorney, publisher, record company all would be part of this team.
2. Do not sign any contracts without a lawyer. Find a music attorney at the time of, if not before, there are contracts on the table.
3. New writers might utilize their performing rights agency (ASCAP, BMI, CESAC) for resources to help find an attorney.
4. Writers should educate themselves about the music business; it is a pleasure to work with an educated client, and the opposite for an ignorant client.
5. Be aware of roles of, differences between, performing rights agencies, publishing companies, record companies.
6. Be aware that there are many options a writer has for paths of their career, and types of publishing deals they might be looking for; be aware of what type of deal and company might fit the writer’s goals.
7. Recommendation of book: All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman.
8. Do not sign with any publishing company that doesn’t have a plan for you as a writer.
9. Do not listen to someone who promises success: No one can promise you success; all anyone can promise is that they will work hard for you.
Author: wynnesome
Date: Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:10 pm
Type: Music Publishing
Category: April 19, 2006: "Industry Insiders" Music Publishing Panel
Views: 2974

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