Ed Hartman's Adventures in Music Licensing & Scoring! Sept 2019
Adventures in Music Licensing& Scoring!
September 2019 Vol. 7, No. 9
* Welcome new readers! Please feel free to email questions about music licensing (and scoring). I will answer you by email, and add your questions (anon.) in the next newsletter. (see below)
* I am going to work on linking this newsletter to Patreon. (I met the CEO at the Variety Summit below. He personally recommended me to do it!) Please think about supporting this effort, even $1/month. I spend a few days preparing each one, and I believe there are seriously important nuggets of cool info in every issue! Patreon is the easiest way to make it a simple subscription. I know, more money, but this is EDUCATION! You paid for lessons, you paid for college, pay for solid information that actually makes you money for the rest of your life! Please let me know if this newsletter has helped you get placements and royalties, too! Ed Hartman Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/edhartman
* Happy September!The summer is wrapping up, quickly. Sunny today, literally rainy for the next six months! Time to go to the movies!
* The next licensing class is Sat, Oct 26, 2019. (https://www.campusce.net/nscc/Course/Course.aspx?c=2117) 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 will be taking 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! Can't make the class? I have been doing a lot of "one-on-one" sessions with folks. It's a great way to answer nagging questions about licensing, and help organize your process for pitching, etc. We can take a listen and analyze at your music for licensing potential. I generally do sessions in my studio in Edmonds, WA. A band can come together to share the cost. Otherwise, I can skype, phone, or FB Video with you.Email for info.
* I would very much appreciate any testimonialsyou have about the class or individual sessions. This feedback helps with promoting future classes. Please email me (see below).
* UPDATE “As the Earth Turns”: There are some online film festivals below that you can watch the film, if you can't make a screening. Note: LA and Seattle screenings below! I just got back from Los Angeles (and heading back NEXT WEEK!), where I attended theIndieX Film Festival! We won Best Set Design earlier in the year. This was an absolutely wonderful experience! The event was at Raleigh Studios, next to Paramount, in Hollywood (I took a tour - Only 7 people at a time, 2 hrs, no-nonsense tour -Recommended).
Holding the Oscar (it IS heavy!) for "War of the Worlds" 1953. One of my favorites. Things to come? studio. !
I was here in 1968 with my family. Harve Bennett (my moms cousin) arranged a private tour by Danny Thomas' son (his son said 'Hi dad" as Danny walked by) We met Michael Cole and Peggy Lipton from Mod Squad (Harve produced) and saw the pilot. The actors were very interested in our opinions as kids. We saw Star Trek being filmed, too. Today, I went by the Mod Squad stage. 50 years later! This is a great mellow and no-nonsense tour of a working
The screening at Raleigh was standing room only. The festival created this screening around our film, because it is so unusual. Film festivals really are a great place to meet filmmakers. Become a co-producer, and it is a LOT easier to attend them, too.
I also went to theVariety Entertainment and Technology Summitat the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. This was an event full of CEOs, heads of studios, streaming networks, advertising companies, and stars. I was the ultimate fly-on-the-wall. I was probably one of the only "creatives" in the audience. I was able to hand out PR to a number of amazing people. This was a very HIGH class affair!
I also attended a talk byJohn Ottman(composer and film editor - The Usual Suspects, X-men, Bohemian Rhapsody, etc.). He had incredible stories about scoring and editing. I was very interested, because I did do some editing on As the Earth Turns, and have been involved heavily as producer.
On top of all of the above, I stayed at the Hollywood Historic Hotel, a block down from Raleigh and Paramount. It is a 1927 (haunted?) building, that has pictures of Hollywood stars on every wall, in every hallway. It was really fun to stay, and helped motivated me to rally at these events.
It took every part of me to interact with industry folks, but I do think the pay-off is coming. There is a very fine line between music licensing and scoring. It's all about serving the story. It doesn't matter whether you write music before or after a project has been shot. It's whether you have helped the project, and you have created a new relationship doing it! Back to LA for KAPOW next week! (see below)
Recent adventures in licensing and scoring: * I just finished a paid score for a trailerfor a web-series that came from my festival run with "As the Earth Turns". The client was also in a festival in Munich (they nicely sent me the program with emails to all the filmmakers!). The client is actually in Northern California, and we will hopefully have a long collaboration ahead! I will post it, when it is done. I scored it (about 3 or 4 versions after getting better direction), and then sent a finished version, along with stems (Brass, Strings, Winds, Percussion, Electronics, etc.) and individual tracks for the filmmaker to mix with. This is the same process I use with scoring a feature. It gives the filmmaker/editor the chance to mix the music exactly as they want, and take out elements they don't want. You have to eliminate your EGO!
* I was in Clatter&Din in Seattle(Post studio) to mix two more fragments from early films by the As the Earth Turns director. This so fun to do. It is amazing what a good engineer (same guy as Earth) can do with your score! A good studio can make your mix at least 50% better, and absolutely necessary for theatrical presentation (Surround!). More later...
* I received a nice surprise from Crucial Music (originally via TAXI), for this placement. I was expecting a different placement (see last month regarding "My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend". The placement was for: The Turkey Bowl(unreleased) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7919810/ The track, "Football Funk" does it, again! This marching band track was recorded in 2007, on my Tascam 8 track digital (stand-alone) recorder. I only had 8 tracks to work with (you can bounce, but a bit impractical). I did all of the percussion live on my crazy drumset (The key are the high concert-toms - similar to Quads in a drumline.). I did high and low brass (Roland Keyboards). The end result is a very LIVE performance. I believe that is why this is a successful track. I wasn't watching a screen, I had to PERFORM the music! I had to improvise the brass harmony. It took a number of takes, but this track has been use a lot. I was in "The Blind Side", "Scooby Doo-the Mystery Begins", a ESPN/Coke Zero Radio Promotion for an entire college football season, a Super Bowl Capital One Mascot promotion, and a number of others. When you have a popular track, go for it! Luckily it has always been non-exclusive. In fact,Musicsupervisor.comgot the Blind Side gig, and I held on to my publishing! That's double the royalties. It is STILL paying from that movie. I expect to see more revenue in the next BMI payment, shortly.
Broadjam: I was looking into again, although I am hesitant. Anyone have success with them? It's been years for me, and the only success was a client finding my track on the website, independently of the opportunities.
MusicGateway: I did talk to the representative on the phone recently, and am still thinking about the PRO membership. They are doing a lot of placements behind the scenes, building up their catalogue, link Songtradr. You have to get the PRO membership to increase your memory space. If you have a limited amount of tracks, I recommend you upload wav/aif, and make them available for licensing through their company. They are now looking for over-head radio tracks, I believe. From MusicGateway: I wanted to inform you personally that we are working directly with a major broadcaster here in the UK to supply a multitude of music to their needs across Films, TV & Advertising. All genres, styles and eras are needed and we are sourcing tracks exclusively from the Sync Portal. This direct broadcaster relationship is a fantastic, ongoing opportunity for all our members to earn money and place their music and would love you to be involved. In case you aren't sure how we work, we simply take a 25% commission of the fee (no royalties) (Go to the MG Sync Portal) Also from MG regarding PRO ("High Tier") membership benefits: - Catalogue Management Tools - Full Sync Representation - Access to countless High Tier Opportunities - Retail Distribution for back-end revenue - Access to our Global Marketplace of Creatives - File Storage - Concierge Team Contacts (to talk strategy, feedback etc).
* There are some new platforms developing. If I get successful placements, I will recommend them. If not, I won't. It will save us all $$!
Tales from the Tech-Side:
What kind of file types do I need for my tracks (for pitching or putting on a portal, like Songtradr)
I recommend: 24:48 and 16:44 aif and wav (some prefer one or the other) Personally, I create 24-96 masters. I figure resolution will only getting better, so it makes sense to prepare for the future. You can't really make resolution higher, but you can make it lower!
24:48 For pitching only: Mp3: 320 192 128 There are libraries and publishers that will use a high res mp3 (320) as a master file for a client, especially if the usage is TV, background-source music (like a radio). It's rare, but possible. Always have the highest resolution available. ALWAYS!
How long does it take to get a placement from a music library? DA
From 1 day to forever! Usually, it is months to years. The Supervisor will not likely report if they are NOT interested. If they are, they have to get it OK-d by the director, producer, etc. I have had placements pulled at the last minute from a test audience screening. With TV shows, you may not know until after it is broadcast. That just happened to me. It is a very slow business. We have a saying in the licensing business, “Write/Submit/Forget/Repeat.” Patience is everything, and consistent pitching can get results over time. The closer you can get to the gate-keepers, the better.
So if a song under copyright protection is accepted into a music library then is it possible that no action may EVER occur? DA
Yes. Copyright is a separate issue. (Libraries assume your music is copyrighted, they don’t enforce it). They are retail stores that carry your tracks. You are the supplier. For the most part, your music is on consignment. If it sells you get paid, if not, no. Some exclusive libraries will pay upfront for a track, although you generally lose the publishing in exchange for the track. The pretty much own the track. The may continue you to allow you to sell the track to other markets, besides licensing for TV, film and media. (You can still sell on CDBaby, iTunes, etc). Some exclusives are a really publishers, themselves, and they would just take the track over. There are many possibilities. You may still share license revenue (upfront sync fees from the client, like Warner Bros, or NBC). You almost always retail your writers portion of back-end royalties with any company. I recommend avoiding anyone selling the writers side of their backend. It is rare, and against your PRO (BMI/ASCAP) policy. In any event, the more tracks you have in one or more libraries, the more opportunities they have to get licensed. Licensing is not about your track. It is about a film, TV show, website, advertisement, etc. NEEDING your music to help their project. If it fits, and supports the project, you get the placement. The client is NOT interested in furthering your career as an artist, although a placement can certainly help quite a bit. The client does NOT pay the backend royalties. That revenue comes from broadcasters (networks, streaming, etc.). Sometimes there is no upfront fee from t he client, just backend (that’s what it is so important). Libraries may sell their entire catalog to a network. It’s not good for the artist, initially, but if the network uses the tracks a lot, the artist can do well on the backend. I high percentage of the time, a library will let you know. They may wait until they are absolutely sure. With film, that usually means within a few weeks of a release. Scenes can get cut, last minute. With TV, within a few days! Changes can happen hours before airtime. Some libraries pay quarterly, and you may get a notice when you get paid. Sometimes you have to research the show or film to get more info. It can be a bit on the detective side. You shouldn’t contact the client, when a library is involved, unless they give you permission. They are in charge of the paperwork, etc. There have been occurrences where I have received royalties from my PRO (BMI) before I was a found out I had a placement. That can be up to 9 months after a show is on the air! There can be clues on your PRO statement that tell you where the placement is from. I’m in many libraries, and it isn’t always obvious. Most of this stuff will be obvious after you are in the game. The biggest thing to do now, is make sure all of your music is available (all rights are in order) you have the tracks registered with your PRO, and the tracks are with the libraries or publishers. It’s called “passive income” because once you are done with getting your music to a library, you are done with your job. Any money that comes in is now “mail money”. Artists with placements watch their PRO statements, and keep track of how tracks are doing and where. We make sure that credits are put on IMDB (film database), and our websites are updated. Credits are everything. They will bring in more work.
Are you going to the TAXI Rally this year? If so, where do you stay? JH
I’m not going to make it this year. I have 2 trips to LA in Sept regarding my film score I co-produced. My plate is overflowing at the moment! I wish I could be there, though. Regarding hotels, I’ve always stayed at the Westin. It’s a little more, but you can base yourself there. The Quinta is prob fine, but if you have a room at the Westin, it is very convenient to go to your room and relax in between sessions, etc. There can be quite a lot going on, especially in the bar, at night. You will likely get to know plenty of folks, and can get some meals at places nearby. For comparison, I’ve been doing a lot of research on LA hotels, and $140 is really pretty good at this point. The pool on the top is also a good hang. Look at what goes on at the event, and see if there is a class you can teach in the future. It will give you an entirely different experience, with some nice benefits. You don’t get paid (and the convention is already free), but you do get better access, and will find yourself in the middle of activities and people. Anyway, have a wonderful trip. Bring lots of cards, etc. I maintain the TAXI Rally is a tremendous deal, considering it is free (2 tix) included in your membership. I have attended the ASCAP Expo ($350 by itself) and it was a bit more flashy, but similar info. No one that teaches at TAXI gets paid a dime, and tons of TAXI and industry folks show up and teach. It would have cost ME $5K, as a sponsor to teach at the TAXI event. Think about that. Have some bacon for me!
I am from Morocco, which leaves me wondering if I should focus on writing music from my culture and become some sort of the ''go-to'' composer for arabic music, or should I write for different genres and see which one works best. I enjoy writing in all the styles almost equally so there isn't any matter of preference for me. TM
Regarding being a specialty composer, I have mixed feelings about it. Your brand inevitably is going to be what you are really good at, whether that is style, instruments, arranging, era, etc. I have always been interested in a wide variety of music, so it was never easy to get that specific. Variety gives you more options. If you are very specialized, there might not be as many clients that need your skills. I think you can have a focus, and promote a specific type of music, but I don’t recommend limiting your focus. I imagine within Arabic music there may be a pretty good variety of sub-genres, too. My recommendation is to keep it wide for awhile. Go after everything you can. Business is always supply and demand. Those things change. You want to be versatile, and evolving to the market. If your music is inspired it will sell. It may, in fact, be more difficult than you think to repeat a successful track. If you want to create a new brand, with a specialty, you can always do that, in addition to your versatile chops. Playlists are all about classification. Promote the idea for a while, and see if it works! Let me know how it goes. I am always interested in the success of different strategies.
I have some interest from Crucial Music, I sent in a few songs to their library for consideration. I got an email back about publishing rights and I am just so confused. I'm hoping you could provide advice! I distributed my music through CDbaby and did sign up for the PRO option where they handle publishing. Did I make a really bad choice? Will this keep me from being able to license my music? ML
Your publishing agreement with CD Baby is for 1 year. At the end of that year, your agreement is automatically extended quarterly with no additional charge.
When you register a song with us during the term of the publishing agreement, there is a minimum 12 month Exploitation Period, so in some cases, the rights granted may extend past your cancellation date.
This means that if you register a song on January 1st, but cancel your term on February 1st, the Exploitation Period for that song extends until December 31st. You may opt-out of your publishing agreement at the end of the first year or any of the following quarterly periods.
I will say, that they are NOT acting as publishers, but rather administrators of publishing. I would guess that it’s not a big deal with many libraries but might be, here and there. My feeling is that it is easy enough to collect your own royalties, etc, so this service is not necessary. It is a convenience. from their website… https://www.crucialmusic.com/page/artist_faq
Affiliate you as a songwriter with a Performing Rights Organization (P.R.O.) - easy to do. I recommend having your own publishing entity.
Register your songs with royalty collection societies around the world - Interesting. Generally your US PRO collects royalties from other PROs. One way or the other, someone is going to take a %. Major record cos collect directly from 84 PROS, but it would be way too hard. I recommend letting your PRO do it.
Collect all the performance royalties you’re owed worldwide
Collect all your worldwide mechanical royalties (for streams and international downloads), which Performing Rights Organizations do NOT collect - I recommend joining Soundexchange (Free) for Performers royalties. (not writers). I’m not sure what other royalties they collect - worth finding out.
Sign-up for CD Baby Pro Publishing Administration to get your money for:
All mechanical royalties from Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming sites. These are generated from every single stream. - I get royalties from CDBaby and Songtradr now.
All international mechanical royalties from download stores like iTunes. These are generated from every single sale. - same as above.
All performance royalties from streaming services (like Spotify), radio, TV, live concert performances and much more. - ?? Not sure what they are talking about , here.
Global YouTube publishing administration for any video on YouTube that contains your music. - I use google sense for my own channel (Free) and adrev for my music on other channels (Free) Both take a %.
Hundreds of other sources of songwriting and publishing royalties from around the world. - Not sure what they mean, here.
In the end, I would guess that CDBaby Pro is adding a % on top of companies that also charge a % to collect. Again, it’s a very nice convenience, and as long as it doesn’t interfere with anything. The reason libraries have issues, is that occasionally the retitle tracks, do direct licensing (outside of PROs), collects differently, and doesn’t what any conflicts. Regarding Crucial: They work with Rumblefish for Youtube revenue. There’s the conflict. It is easy to Opt-out, though. OPT-OUT IF YOU ARE ALREADY WITH RUMBLEFISH, IODA, AUDIOSOCKET, AUDIAM, THE ORCHARD, ADREV, CD BABY'S SYNCH LICENSING PROGRAM OR ANY OTHER COMPANY THAT HANDLES YOUR YOUTUBE AD REVENUE (CONTENT ID) COLLECTION.
Bottom line. I recommend that you get out of the CDPro program if you are going to work with libraries. I’ve stopped working with libraries that want to collect YT revenue (because I use Adrev). Realistically, none of this revenue is very big, unless a track happens to find itself on as viral video, which is always possible. Even Adrev collects a %, so one way or another someone is getting part of it. Crucial is an extremely picky library. You can only submit 3 tracks at a time, and it generally takes 3 months for them to review. I do get requests from them and others, but this is only after they will really get to know you, and what you can create. These agreements can be a bit tricky (I can help get you through it, or you can get in contact with them if you have questions.) Once you’ve done one, make notes and it’s easy from there. They are very careful and don’t want to have any issues from samples, etc. There are 1000s of libraries out there, non-exclusive and exclusive. Learn about them (I teach a class in Seattle, and can work on the phone, individually). It is a lot of info to learn, but it is not astrophysics. It’s more like accounting and marketing - eek!
I am always available for one-on-one consultation, in person or via phone or Skype (call or email to set up)
One hour: $70.00
Two hours: $120.00
Groups: contact for price
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:
"Playing bop is like playing Scrabble with all the vowels missing." Duke Ellington