Tag Archives: pricing

Thinking of Going Exclusive? Don’t.

Thinking of going exclusive? Don’t. Exclusivity can be good for some, but for most, it’s just a bad decision. In this day and age, with all the economic uncertainty, it baffles me as to why anyone would go exclusive in anything, let alone their music licensing. Before you sign that agreement, make sure you consider the ramifications of your decision, by examining each of these points in detail, so that you don’t lose out in the long run.

1. Commission Rate Bait and Switch
Most libraries and marketplace sites offer a slightly higher commission rate if you go exclusive. Many offer between 50 and 60% as opposed to their normal 25-50%. While this seems like a good reason to go exclusive, many libraries will give you this higher rate as an introductory rate, and then lower it dramatically if your tracks don’t sell past a certain quota. Then, you’re tied into an exclusive contract and making far less money than you were originally promised.

You should diversify your sales channels for the same reason your diversify your investment portfolio. If one library tanks, or if sales patterns change, or you don’t perform as well on one, the others keep you in the game. Furthermore, you can make a higher average commission and gross income by spreading out, rather than selling in one place.

FACT: Productiontrax always pays 65% commissions on the prices YOU set.

2. Number of Sales vs. Price per Sale
Some libraries are notorious for setting low prices to gain a competitive edge. They then lock you in to exclusive contracts to sell your music for a few bucks (some as low as $1) a piece. Think about this for a second. They are giving out sync licenses (which most artists get paid THOUSANDS for) for less than $10. While they may sell more tracks (until their marketplace becomes so bloated with tracks that you might sell one a month…) your music is being devalued, and given away. You also have no control over the price of your music. The library you signed with can set any price they want, and some strategically price it just low enough that you can’t make your payout balance.

My advice, don’t sign an exclusivity agreement unless they guarantee a minimum price that you are comfortable with. Some smart copyright owners also ask for a minimum payout guarantee every month.

FACT: You control your pricing on Productiontrax. Period.

3. Hidden in the terms of service…
Read your contributor terms of service agreements carefully. Some libraries have started working with a companies like GoDigital and others to “track usage in and be appropriately compensated for internet streams”. These companies employ a technology that finds your music (that you already licensed out) in your customer’s projects. They then insert advertisements (or just claim copyright infringement) and collect revenue. This seems wonderful, until you realize that the contract you signed allows your library to keep 100% of any advertising revenue generated by your music.

Not only are you getting screwed there, with your library making tons of money without paying you a dime, but your customers are not getting what they paid for – and they are getting angry. See if they buy one of your songs again, knowing that YouTube is going to hijack their project.

FACT: Productiontrax never hides your royalties. We do not work with these “monitoring” companies, and we advocate for BOTH our clients (who are also your clients) and our artists.

4. Competition
Before going exclusive, ask yourself how big of a contributor base does the library you are signing with have? The larger the base, the harder it is for you to sell because there is more competition. That means more of the same sounding music, more choices, and lower chances of being selected. Think about it: a customer is on a huge community library with 1,000,000 artists. They look for a piece of dance music, and get your track among about 5,000 other options meeting their criteria. That gives you a 1 in 5,000 shot of selling your track to that customer. Might as well play the lottery with those odds.

If you diversify, you give yourself a greater chance of success because your music is in more places. If you are on 10 smaller libraries and each has, oh let’s say, 500 matching options for a given customer’s music search, you’ve just increased your chance of selling to 1/50.

Think about what you can do if you have 10 tracks in every category, on every site.

Diversification just makes more sense. Unless a library is making some very specific guarantees that you just can’t get anywhere else, always stay non-exclusive. This way, you stay in control of your financial future, and your hard work.

Copyright Law – Are Artists Asking For More Than Their Fair Share?

This from TechDirt:

The main backers of the online video site Hulu, NBC Universal and News Corp., are two of the stronger supporters of our copyright system, and have, at times, been known to push to make it even more stringent in order to “protect” their works. So, it’s interesting to see them discovering that draconian copyright rules can come back and bite them as well. We were just covering some of the problems various TV shows have had being put on DVD due to licensing problems, and now it appears those same problems are making it difficult to get some shows up on Hulu — despite the fact producers would like those shows online.

One of our readers, named Mark, wrote in to let us know that he and his wife had been watching the old TV show The Pretender on Hulu, when they realized that some of the episodes were simply missing (including the entire final season). He wrote to Hulu to ask why, and was told:

“Thank for letting us know that some episodes from The Pretender appear to be missing from our lineup. Individual episodes are sometimes held up due to rights issues, quite often related to music used in the show – and that’s the case this time – some of the music in episodes 17 and 18 couldn’t be cleared for online streaming. We’ll continue to request them from our content partner, but at this time we can’t offer them though we’d love to.”

It’s still difficult to understand why we would ever design copyright law and licensing policy in this manner. After all, having certain songs included in a TV show is never going to hurt the commercial viability of a song.

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The question being asked by many non-musicians and non-artists consumers (mostly who just want to buy the complete season of CSI on DVD) is this: are musicians and composers asking too much to be paid each time their song is aired in a TV show? If a piece of clothing is sold, for example Ben buys a shirt, the clothing designer only get paid once, even though the shirt may be worn hundreds of times by Ben. So why should a song in a TV show generate a royalty for each broadcast and subsequent DVD of the same show? Should composers be paid once, up front, for the usage, and then let that be it? What about when the TV show get’s put on DVD? Is it the same product still? Are artists and copyright law correct in demanding additional compensation? Do the laws need to be changed?

I, for one, am a proponent of intellectual property rights. A copyright owner should be able to sell and license a work as he or she sees fit. If a consumer cannot afford the cost of one artist’s work, move on to the next offer, or write your own song. An artist should be compensated for the time and expertise it took to create such a high-demand piece of art. If TV networks are unwilling to pay the cost of licensing, they have the ability to move to the next option on the affordability chain. It’s their responsibility to balance cost against the demand of their audience.

Film Composer Survival Guide

I recently found this “white paper” from Filmmusic.net while perusing the filmandgamecomposers.com forums:

http://www.filmmusic.net/dlx/Getting_Your_Music_Into_Film_TV_in_Economy_Today.pdf

Mainly, it explains that, in today’s economy, the value of custom work is being diminished daily by over-saturation of talent and declining budgets and spending. The key to success in the creative field of composing relies heavily on a little financial savvy and a whole lot of networking.

While it’s an excellent practical guide for career survival in today’s marketplace, I have to disagree with their notion that music libraries are partially to blame for the devaluation of custom scoring work. Custom work and library music serve two distinct market segments that have traditionally been separated by budget and deadlines/production process. Low budget films, student projects, fly-by-night radio ads, low budget and local tv commercials, all call for quick, low-cost solutions that simply cannot be met by a composer who specializes in custom work. Extend that to personal slide shows, corporate office presentations and the like. The meetings, spotting, and time commitment, not to mention creative mind-power required for custom scores are simply not worth the allotted budget for these types of projects. Hence the need for low-cost library music. On the other hand, scoring a feature film, or a national commercial campaign, or a mass-market video game release all call for a huge time commitment and a high level of expertise.

The mentality that composers should avoid the music library business is ridiculous, especially if one wants to survive in today’s business climate. Creatives should embrace the opportunity to diversify their business, and expand into new creative markets. If devaluation is a concern, Productiontrax.com gives all of our contributors full price control.

It is true that there are a ton of composers and songwriters today, and it seems as though everyone with a Mac is a musician. But media buyers, music supervisors, and film directors are not stupid — they have ears for musical quality as well, and for both library music and custom scoring jobs alike, there is always room at the top for the uniquely qualified and super talented.

Productiontrax.com Bails Out Multimedia Producers with Economic Stimulus Package

Phoenix, Ariz. (PRWEB) November 12, 2008 Productiontrax.com, a leading provider of royalty free music and stock sound effects, today announced the launch of their Economic Stimulus Package.

The recent economic recession has tightened budgets for many multimedia projects, leaving producers with few options for quality production music, as custom music options can cost thousands of dollars. This has created a demand for high-quality stock production music that producers can use as an inexpensive alternative to custom music.

In response, Productiontrax.com has launched their Economic Stimulus Package, which gives multimedia producers access to commercially licensed music tracks priced under $15.00. The tracks featured in the package were selected from a cross-section of Productiontrax.com’s extensive library.

“Over the last few months we’ve found that many of our customers’ budgets have been reduced, but there was still a demand for high-quality production music,” said Productiontrax.com founder and CEO David Negron. “We know that times are tough and we want to do everything we can to help our customers complete their projects on time and on budget. It also gives options to up and coming filmmakers who are looking for inexpensive music.”

Royalty free music tracks included in the Economic Stimulus Package are available for immediate download and can be purchased by visiting www.productiontrax.com/stimulus.php.

Productiontrax, (www.productiontrax.com), a leader in online distribution and licensing of royalty free music and sound effects, enables customers to license superior-quality royalty free music, sound effects, stock photos and stock video footage for use in film, television, and interactive media on an on-demand basis. As an innovator in online stock media, Productiontrax.com is the first site to allow creators of royalty free production music, sound effects, stock images and video to take an active role in licensing their work to the public. Productiontrax.com is dedicated to providing its customers with high-quality, yet affordable resources for multimedia productions. The music and images are 100% original, with new composers, new tracks and new images added everyday. Productiontrax.com is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona and is a subsidiary of One Light Music Productions (www.onelightmusic.com).