Adventures in Music Licensing
July 2018 Vol. 6, No. 7
* OK. It’s hot. 80s and 90s. For us in the great Pacific NW, it’s hot. I know, we’re wimps. I grew up in Chicago. I know heat. But frankly, I don’t need that kind of heat. How’s your weather?
* Welcome new readers! Please email any questions about licensing. I am always happy to respond (and it will go into the next newsletter) Look deep into this newsletter. There are some real gems of info here.
* I continue to meet individually with folks that have taken my licensing class, along with newbies. The info is continually changing (as you can tell from this newsletter!) You are welcome to schedule a time to meet. I prefer to meet in Edmonds, in my studio. We can take a listen and analyze at your music for licensing potential. I have time most days, including weekends. Fridays are best. Phone and Skype are available for those people not in the Pacific NW.
* The next music licensing class is in the fall (TBA). Please share this with any musicians, bands, songwriters or composers you know in the Pacific Northwest. If you live outside of the Pacific NW, I am going to take my class on the road. Please email me, if you have any connections with music schools in your area. I can offer a combination morning Licensing Workshop, and afternoon Percussion Clinic!
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* I would very much appreciate any testimonials you have about the class. This feedback helps with promoting future classes. Please email me (see below).
Recent adventures in licensing:
* Man, I have been busy this month. I have probably created a dozen or more new tracks. It is possible to get briefs from music supervisors and music libraries. You need to ask, though. I probably get at least a few a week, right now. Some have been very interesting, and may yield some good results.
* Here’s an adventure: I was checking out FB for filmmakers. There was a project out there looking for licensing info about a famous piece of music. There is a lot of confusion about how to be able to use it. The piece is Carmina Burana (O Fortuna) by Carl Orff. The piece sounds old, so everyone thinks it’s public domain. It only SOUNDS old! Orff died in 1982, so it definitely is not public domain (PD).
I got involved into the discussion, and double checked the piece. There was an illegal version in a music library (I made the library aware of it. They pulled the piece, and thanked me. It could have been a disaster for all parties in a license situation!). The piece itself would need a sync agreement from the writer or publisher. Any recordings would need a master agreement from the publisher that owned that particular symphonic recording. Either would be expensive, and most likely way about the project budget. There was some discussion of “Latches” - common law principle that holds that if a rights holder does not enforce a property right, they loses the right to deny public access. I’ve never heard of it in music. The music biz would never allow it! IMHO
I mentioned that I do create music, and may be able to come up with something quickly and within their budget. I did create a nice track, that same day (Client: “You work fast....almost freakishly fast.”) They invited me to work on the rest of the project! I did 4 episodes. I’m just about done, and working on paperwork to get credits, cue sheets and payment. I’ve made a great connection with a production company, too.
* Songtradr is putting a lot of opps out regularly. You need to check daily, even a few times a day. I have a song that was shortlisted and went to final consideration. I am waiting on whether it was accepted right now. Fingers crossed! The monetization may be a good idea for anyone interested. I may even look into distribution, although I can use CDBaby. Like TAXI (I have also been busy there, too), Songtradr does motivate me to create more tracks regularly. Even if they don’t make the placement, most tracks end up in a library, eventually. My biggest challenge is feeding libraries I am already in.
* We dropped Comcast recently, and went to Roku, with YoutubeTV along with a lot of free channels (an entire channel for Asia Martial Arts Movies!) It has been an education. There are an AMAZING amount of weird little channels out there, that need music for their content. I’m starting to see why there are so many networks on my PRO statement. Speaking of royalties, BMI Day in June was pretty good. Some highlights: $30 from "Audience Network” - ?? for my 2012 Henry Cavill flop movie. $232 for “The Blind Side” (Made in 2009 - still cruisin!) on MTV (both writers and publishing thanks to musicsupervisor.com). $45 from a Canadian TV series. In general, HULU seems to be paying better than most streaming services.
* I did this track yesterday in a few hours. The reference was a Penguin Cafe track. It got shortlisted and then immediately rejected for final. All in the same day! I did get a new track out of it, and have it in other libraries. What a rush. https://www.songtradr.com/songs/ed-hartman/energy-cycle
One more... One of my new favorites - For a publisher. This is a pitch to an opening scene Cops and Robbers film. They wanted a slightly vintage rhythmic piece.
The Caper (Afro-Cuban 6-8!)
Tales from the Tech-Side:
* I invested in EastWest Pianos (on sale, the best one with four pianos, and lots of mics), That has really paid off. I was getting a lot of negative critiques until I switched. My piano tracks are a thousand times better than the Logic pianos (they are pretty good, though). For solo piano, or piano lead, you have to have better.
Questions from the Audience: (please email!)
I always make a mix to the highest within reason. Right now I mix out of Logic to 24-96. Then I make lower res files as needed. 24-48 16-44 are typical. I've had network clients use 320 mps3 for TV! Background music doesn't need it. Start high and be ready. You won't hear a lot of difference between 44 and 48. When I listen to Logic play, I believe it is at 192 I do hear the difference on reference speakers. I will predict the standard will get higher. 44 was set by Phillips for CD production. The story is they wanted to get Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on one disk! Urban myth? Best advice, think ahead. Your masters will be around for awhile, be ahead of the curve.
Is production music starting to affect film scoring?
I do both production music and film scoring. I've had cues used in films that were underscore. In the end, the same tools are used, the same skills, and looking at a film or show from beginning to end, the soundscape is one. Reality TV can be 100% llcensed music, and nearly all of it becomes score. Reality is a huge percentage of broadcast. If you start to add all of the indie films out there that use licensed music as score, there may be a lot more there, too. I'm working on a web-series now that started off as a replacement cue for what would have been a licensed piece used as heavy comedic effect against the scene. I’m now scoring the project. It's all just music creation.
Keep the questions & comments coming, and I will answer as best as possible. (I may use them in my newsletters, anonymously)
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One hour: $70.00
Two hours: $120.00
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I will be happy to critique your music, make recommendations for marketing, suggest libraries to put you music in, help figure out studio configurations (although I am not a heavy tech person. I can recommend people, though), and give you general career advice. If you are interested, please call or email.
Joke/Quote of the week:
Berlioz on Handel:
A great barrel of pork and beer.
Rossini on Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique":
What a good thing this isn’t music.
Beethoven on Rossini:
Opera seria is ill-suited to the Italians. You do not know how to deal with real drama.
And you think your returned critiques are bad!