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Thread: Music Publishing not the Plan...

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    BronzeLight is offline Member
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    Music Publishing not the Plan...

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    I recently released about twelve of my songs on the web; they're getting some popularity and attention. This includes full song arrangements ideal for vocalists, beats, and several songs that would probably work best for a movie soundtrack. They are groove oriented and moody, instrumental.

    My intention is to attract artists, producers and filmmakers to my website, and if they like something and want to use it, license it to them to use in their movie or their song.

    My question is, and forgive me if it's a naive one but i read a lot of conflicting stuff on the internet: a film or TV music supervisor or producer or established artist would likely want to license my stuff and publish themselves, right?

    At that point, I negotiate for points, credit, etc...

    Of course I register the work with the copyright office, already done that, but given what I intend to do, setting up my own publishing company and publishing this music as I release it on the internet is actually not a good idea, right? Those people won't want that. They want to license my stuff to publish themselves.

    Does this sound right?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    trezza is offline Registered User
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    All right, I'll bite for this one. What is a publisher?

    A publisher sells songs to: record companies, artists, background music companies, toy manufacturers, advertising agencies, theatres, TV and movie production companies, home video production companies, internet production companies, print agencies, PROs and foreign publishers. In turn they use it in their products.

    How will you get your music in their hands? If the internet helps you to do that, then do it. TV producers produce TV shows, not music. They license music so they can use it in their product (the TV show). An artist licenses you work so they can use it in their product (their album). What they can do with it, what they can sell with it, where they can sell it and how long they can use it is up to your contract terms. Just because you have it on the internet does not mean anyone can use it in their product unless you make it public domain.

    Does that help you?

  3. #3
    BronzeLight is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by trezza


    Does that help you?
    Yes, thank you trezza, it definitely does. Okay so, another quick question please: Is it uncommon to see names of publishing companies that don't end with "Music"?

    In other words, if I name my publishing company, "Mothra Rules", would it be strange or unusual to not have it say "Mothra Rules Music"?

    Or is that fairly common?


    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    trezza is offline Registered User
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    It's not common, but not unheard of either. You can name your company anything so long as it follows the rules of your home state for uniqueness. Music, Publishing, Entertainment, Productions, Records indicate the kind of work that company does. If I'm looking at a Who's who music directory and I want to find a publisher, will I take notice of your company? Many, but not all such companies have some kind of designation that tells you what sector of the Entertainment industry they deal with. However, if your company does more than publishing, then having "publishing" in the name is somewhat limiting.

    There is one more thing to consider when naming your company. If the name you choose is used by another company in another domain, ('mothra' may be a trademark of some movie production house, for example) then add music, records, publishing, whatever to your company name. This strengthens your 'mark.' For example, there is an Apple Records and an Apple Computer. The second term (records, computer) defines the domain where the mark 'Apple' may be used.
    Apple Records can use Apple all over the music industry and Apple computer can use Apple all over the high tech industry, but they cannot cross domains. I coud make a company called Apple Fish Mart and get a trademark for that, but not if I called it Apple technologies or Apple Entertainment or just Apple. People might be confused with the Record company or the computer company.

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    BronzeLight is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by trezza
    All right, I'll bite for this one. What is a publisher?

    A publisher sells songs to: record companies, artists, background music companies, toy manufacturers, advertising agencies, theatres, TV and movie production companies, home video production companies, internet production companies, print agencies, PROs and foreign publishers. In turn they use it in their products.

    trezza, thank you for clarifying this stuff. Quick question: could there be an exception if an artist produces a full song arrangement but leaves it open for vocals, a producer hears it and wants to use it on his singer's next album? In that case, is it possible they would want to publish the song under their own publishing company? In which case the artist would negotiate for dollars, points, etc?

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    trezza is offline Registered User
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    Yes, I'm sure it happens all the time. There's no reason a publisher couldn't sell to another publisher. Take an example:

    Joe writes a song "Joe's song". He records it, sings on it, and sells it himself. It gets on the radio, people buy the sheet music, and someone uses it on a TV show. It earns $100 as an example. It breaks down like this:

    Radio earnings $10
    Sheet music $10
    CD Sales $40
    TV Show $40

    Joe gets $100.

    Now let's break it into more players. Suppose Joe sells his own CD, sheet music and gets on the radio through his own publishing company, but gets on tv through another publisher (Come again publishing Co) which specializes in TV shows using a nonexclusive license. That publisher takes 50% of the publishing earnings for any deal it makes.

    Songwriter Joe radio ($5) + sheet ($5) + CD ($20) tv ($20)
    Joe's Publishing Co radio (5) + sheet ($5) + CD ($20) tv ($10)
    Come again Publishing Co. tv ($10)

    Joe makes $90. (Joe + Joe's Publishing Co.)
    Come again Publishing Co. makes $10


    Keep going? Okay. Suppose Joe just likes to write songs, so he writes them and signs with a publisher to publish them for him, called Easy Money publishing Co. who deals with everything and gets their own deal with Come again publishing Co to get on TV splitting what they earn 50%.

    Songwriter Joe radio ($5) + sheet ($5) + CD ($20) tv ($20)
    Easy Money Publishing Co radio (5) + sheet ($5) + CD ($20) tv ($10)
    Come again Publishing Co. tv ($10)

    Joe makes $50.
    Easy Money Publishing Co makes $40
    Come again Publishing Co. makes $10

    One last time. Let's suppose the same scenario but an indie band is hired to perform the songs for the sound recording, called Fat Chance. They perform a live act throughout the country. The venue owners report $10 worth of live performance revenues to Joe's PRO, but pays the band $100 for the shows.

    Radio earnings $10
    Sheet music $10
    CD Sales $40
    TV Show $40
    Live Shows $110 ($100+$10)

    Songwriter Joe radio ($5) + sheet ($5) + CD ($20) + tv ($20) + live ($5)
    Easy Money Publishing Co radio (5) + sheet ($5) + CD ($20) tv ($10) + live ($5)
    Come again Publishing Co. tv ($10)
    Fat Chance live ($100)

    Joe makes $55.
    Easy Money Publishing Co makes $45
    Come again Publishing Co. makes $10
    Fat Chance earns $100

    Check it out. If you are a band and you don't write your own songs you don't earn anything off the CD or radio or TV unless you negotiate part of the publishing (points). Same goes for producers. Your only hope of earning anything is playing live.

    Songwriters and publishers earn revenues from live acts only if they are reported to the PRO. The venue pays an annual fee and that pot is divided up into all the different players based on what is reported to the PRO. There is a lot of money being made at the live level only a tiny fraction of that makes it back to the songwriter/publisher.
    Last edited by trezza; 12-21-2007 at 11:37 AM.
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    PlanetHitzProduction's Avatar
    PlanetHitzProduction is offline Insane FP Patriot
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    Wow. Great responses Trezza.

    This is sticky worthy.

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    BronzeLight is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlanetHitzProduction
    Wow. Great responses Trezza.

    This is sticky worthy.
    Yes, very detailed, very informative. Thank you Trezza.

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    BronzeLight is offline Member
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    Trezza, another quick question please:

    What if an artist sold on iTunes, via TuneCore for example, some instrumental tracks that he also intended to make available to filmmakers for film and TV projects.

    Would his having sold them on iTunes make those songs less appealing to music supervisors and filmmakers for some reason?

    Thank you in advance for any help. Thanks for the valuable information above.

  10. #10
    trezza is offline Registered User
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    No. You're indie (DIY) right? Music Supervisors like that because you're cheaper than the Majors. Don't worry about it. There's no reason to keep your music under a bucket while waiting for a mythical great deal. The deal will probably never happen, and you could wait for years before it does losing out on all the other smaller opportunities in the meantime. Those smaller opportunities add up if you do them in great numbers.

    Good Luck!

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