Let's Learn Ya Somin: The Tunnel's Music Publishing Thread

Aje

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Aight, so, the other thread I put up had a lot of jewels in it. Props to nikkas In Paris, Tall Israeli and whomever else added to the thread.

I've been reading The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing by Randall Wixen; I'm really trying to get into the pub game and, since recently graduating, been sending out resumes (tough gig to get into). But, in the meantime, I'm trying to get as knowledgable as possible. That said, I'll post some experts from the book. Anyone else have anything to add, by all means.
 

Aje

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What is music publishing? Not what it sounds like. The term suggests the publishing and printing of sheet music, but in fact, this is only a very small part of what music publishers actually do.

Music publishing is the owning and exploiting of songs themselves in the form of musical copyrights. There are many types of rights within a copyright that can be exploited. One can license the reproduction of songs on sound recordings such as CDs, tapes, and records. One can license public performance of a song. Songs may be synchronized in timed-relation with visual images in movies and television shows and in DVD and Blu-ray programs. They can be incorporated into advertising, karaoke programs, telephone ringtones, samples, MIDI sequences, piano rolls, greeting cards, toys, video games, Internet uses, and more. And, of course, songs can also be exploited and sold as sheet music.

The music publisher controls all of these rights. Additionally, in almost all instances other than the licensing of sound recordings embodying a publisher's song (where special compulsory provisions may apply), the publisher has the legal right to grant a license, or forego a license, for a particular use. In these instances, the publisher also gets the right to determine the license fee or royalty rate received through negotiations with the final user. In short, music publishers are really rights holders and licensers and not primarily people with printing presses.

The control and licensing of compositions is a unique responsibility. Great care must be taken to determine which uses are appropriate for a given song and what fees should be charged. A long-term view must be incorporated into this analysis, and a particular license request must be weighed against the effects that the use will have on the song. For example, licensing a critically prestigious work to a television dog-food commercial for $100,000 would certainly make the publisher $100,000, but it would likely have negative long-term effects on other licenses and uses. Such a commercial, if well known and frequently shown, would in all likelihood make other artists less likely to make new recordings of the song and would also probably eliminate synchronization uses (i.e., the song in synchronism with pictures, as in films and TV shows). In other words, neither recording artists nor film and television producers would be as interested in using a song with strong dog-food associations in the mind of the general public. Accordingly, care in decision making results in the long-term health of a musical copyright.

Randall Wixen. The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing, 2nd Edition (Kindle Locations 130-144). Kindle Edition.
 

YUNG RHAEGAR

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what confuses me about you aje is that you have reportedly had beats placed on oxegen and all that, why would you need this shyt explained, at this point you should either know someone who can just tell you or you should have it down already. if you are having shyt placed and dont fully understand publishing i seriously think you should consult your entertainment lawyer/manager, not to mention i was sort of suprised how much you didint know in that other thread i posted in, i think you should look less on here for advice and just talk to your contacts, im serious.
 

Aje

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what confuses me about you aje is that you have reportedly had beats placed on oxegen and all that, why would you need this shyt explained, at this point you should either know someone who can just tell you or you should have it down already. if you are having shyt placed and dont fully understand publishing i seriously think you should consult your entertainment lawyer/manager, not to mention i was sort of suprised how much you didint know in that other thread i posted in, i think you should look less on here for advice and just talk to your contacts, im serious.
it is true, and embarrassing, how much more I need to learn about the world of publishing considering I've been placing stuff since '06 and even took an upper-divisional course, Business of Music. Although, I do know the basics, a significant amount of the intricasies of the subject matter escapes me; there are certain concepts I still can't fully grasp. That said, I do comprehend more than the layman and wanted to share what I know with those unfamiliar in hopes of strengthening my own understanding.

I've interviewed two different founders of Independent Music Publishing companies who, prior to getting into the field, knew next to nothing regarding music pub despite being in the music industry. They learned as they went and now boast a very successful firm with impressive rosters. The common thread here is they both said they continue learning about the subject because, due to changes in laws and technology (et al), the topic is never static.

I, unfortunately, no longer have an entertainment lawyer on retainer and don't possess the funds (currently) to chop it up with one. Hence, me rereading these eBooks.
 

Aje

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Two Types of Copyrights

An important distinction must be made at this point. There exists another type of copyright, an SR copyright, which is used to copyright sound recordings. According to the Copyright Office: "Sound recordings are 'works that result from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds, but not including the sounds accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work.' Common examples include recordings of music, drama, or lectures."

It is extremely important that you grasp the difference between PA and SR copyrights at this point, or the rest of this book will lack proper meaning. Let's take two scenarios.

You are the Beatles. (Congratulations on your fine career!) You have just recorded "Twist and Shout" by Phil Medley and Bert Russell. The music publishers of "Twist and Shout" own the PA copyright. That is, they own the composition itself. Your record label registers an SR copyright of you, the Beatles, doing the song. This SR copyright does not cover the composition "Twist and Shout," but only your performing elements within this recording, such as your singing and playing of instruments. The PA copyright in the underlying composition is still owned and controlled by Medley's and Russell's publishers.

Likewise, your contemporaries such as Tom Jones and the Isley Brothers, who are also recording this great song, have labels that are themselves obtaining SR copyrights in their artists' particular recordings of the song.

In general, then, there is only one PA copyright for the underlying composition, but there may be any number of SR copyrights corresponding to different master recordings. (In some cases multiple PA copyrights may be filed: for instance, for a work in its published and unpublished forms, or for marching band and classical guitar arrangements of a song.)

So, Beatles, your record label now needs to pay for two sets of rights. The label has to pay the owners of the PA copyright for "Twist and Shout" for the use of their song on records publicly distributed, and it also has to pay for the right to embody the SR copyright master recording on those samerecords. In other words, the label must pay for the use of the underlying composition (PA), and they must pay you too for your singing and playing (SR). Copyrights in songs are shown as "© 2004 Joe Schmoe Music" and copyrights in sound recordings are shown as © 2004 Rippemoff Records."

Randall Wixen. The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing, 2nd Edition (Kindle Locations 179-181). Kindle Edition.
 

Aje

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Mechanical Royalties​

The fee payable for the use of the underlying composition (the PA copyright) is called a mechanical royalty. The mechanical royalty is fixed at a statutory rate in the United States, that is, at a rate that is fixed by statute, or law. At the time of publication, the statutory rate for a song whose performance is under five minutes in length is 9.1¢ per copy distributed. The mechanical royalty that a publisher accepts may also be negotiated downward by the record company offering the publisher additional incentives such as advances. Such reductions are entirely a matter of negotiation between the publisher and mechanical user, and will be discussed at greater length in later chapters.

The fees payable to you mop tops by your label for your particular master recording (the SR copyright) are not governed by statute but by the terms of your negotiated recording agreement. These are generally called artist royalties but are on occasion referred to as master license royalties or recording royalties. For consistency's sake, we will refer to these payments in this book as artist royalties. (Mechanical royalties, too, are sometimes referred to as copyright royalties, but I prefer not to use this convention because, as explained above, there are different types of copyright royalties.) In general, the current practice is that artist royalties are paid based on a percentage of the wholesale or retail selling price of the recording, whether it is in CD, vinyl, Internet delivery, or other form. Additionally, you as a recording artist may even elect to waive royalties altogether and do your recording for a flat fee or on a work-for-hire basis.

So we can see that both the writers and the recording artists get paid, and in separate and different ways. Now let's look at a second scenario. You're still the Beatles, but now you've written a song called "Something." What changes? Not much really, except that you're now wearing two hats.

You're the recording artist and you still get your artist royalties. But even though you've written the song yourself, your record label still has an obligation to pay mechanical royalties for the use of the underlying composition you've written. In this instance, such mechanical license and payment will be made to Beatle George Harrison's publishing company.

Recordings distributed via the Internet or otherwise in the form of electronic files such as MP3s are treated in the same way. These distributions are licensed and paid for through what are often referred to as DPD (digital phono delivery) licenses. They are essentially mechanicals, but given a different name. Instead of being paid a mechanical royalty for a physical unit (a CD, for example), the publisher is paid a mechanical royalty for an electronic distribution (iTunes, for example.)

Subscription service uses such as by Rhapsody do not require a DPD license, and a full mechanical royalty is not payable. Currently legislation is being implemented that will require "streaming" subscription services to allocate 10.5% of their revenue to music publishers, less the amount, if any, they are required to pay to performing right societies. More about this distinction will be handled later in this book.

A few additional words of note on mechanical royalties. First, generally speaking, record labels must pay mechanical royalties to you for each and every record they distribute. Usual industry standard and practice is that no costs or advances are deducted from mechanical royalties, and that mechanical royalties are payable to you from the first record the label distributes onward. Artist royalties, on the other hand, are more typically recouped by the record label against the recording and other costs that it has advanced to you. For example, if the label gave you an advance of $25,000, the first $25,000 your record earns in artist royalties goes to pay back the label. Recording artists typically must earn back large balances before they start making money from a record, while publishers of songs on that same record are in the black from record one.

Randall Wixen. The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing, 2nd Edition (Kindle Locations 190-203). Kindle Edition.
 

Aje

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Performance Royalties​

Let's move on now and discuss another type of publishing royalty, the performance royalty.

Performance royalties (and the underlying performance license) relate to the performance of your song in public. The performance of your song may be made in many ways and for many different types of benefits. The two most common types of public performance are performance of your song on radio or TV. Radio and TV stations like to perform your works because it helps them attract listeners and viewers, which in turn helps them to sell advertising.

Some other public performers of music (who must therefore license said rights) are restaurants, nightclubs, bars, aerobic studios, airlines with movie and/or TV services, kiddie gyms, schools, clothing boutiques, stores, telephone hold music services, elevator and environmental music providers, and concert venues. If you are performing someone's songs in public, with few exceptions, you have to pay for it.

Performance royalties may be licensed directly to a user by a publisher. However, the general practice of music publishers is to authorize an organization specializing in performing rights to license public performance of their works. The two biggest organizations that license music performing rights in the United States are ASCAP and BMI. ASCAP and BMI are not themselves publishers. Their function, and how they work to license and collect performing rights income for music publishers, will be discussed at greater length in a separate chapter.

Randall Wixen. The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing, 2nd Edition (Kindle Locations 203-211). Kindle Edition.
 

Aje

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Synchronization​

Another significant source of income for music publishers is the synchronization fee or royalty. Synchronization occurs when a musical work is synchronized in timed, linear relation with visual images. Examples of this are background, theme, and featured uses of music in motion pictures and television shows. The producer or director might feel that music would enhance the impact of certain scenes or drama within the program. Pre-existing music is often licensed for this purpose and may include current hit or classic songs. Likewise, the producer or director might make arrangements with a composer to write music specifically for the production. Typically, pre-existing music is done on a license basis, while music specifically written to be a part of a production is done on a work-for-hire (or flat fee) basis, although there are occasional exceptions to these practices.

Just as we distinguished between artist royalties and mechanical royalties when discussing phonorecords earlier in this chapter, we must make similar distinctions here. A film producer requires two analogous sets of rights to put music in his film. First he must clear publishing rights from the publisher. Clearing publishing from the publisher (PA copyright) is also sometimes (more confusingly perhaps) referred to as a sync or synchronization license.

The film producer must also clear the right to use a particular master recording (SR copyright) within the film or, alternatively, create a master recording specifically for the film. To use our example from earlier in the chapter, the production must obtain a publishing sync license for "Twist and Shout" from Medley's and Russell's publishers, and it must obtain rights (a master license) to use a particular recording of the song. This master license might be for the master recording made by the Beatles, Tom Jones, or the Isley Brothers, or it may be explicitly commissioned and created by the production specifically for that film, and perhaps the corresponding soundtrack album. It is traditional, although by no means required, that such payments are made on a flat fee (as opposed to royalty) basis and that the publisher's sync fee is usually the same amount as the master license fee.

Synchronization licenses (except in rare instances discussed in the later chapter on synchronizations) may be declined by the publisher; for example, perhaps the publisher doesn't want the song in an X-rated movie or in Rambo 13. The publisher may also limit such licenses to a specific type of use (film festivals only, for example) or for a specific period of time (five years only, for example.) Likewise, the license may be incredibly far reaching, covering all uses within the program through "the Universe," for the entire life of copyright and any and all renewals, in corresponding advertising and promotions, on home video devices, and in any other media "now known or hereinafter devised." The range of synchronization licenses and terms is broad indeed.

Another important point to remember about synchronization licensing is that a synchronization use and a public performance are different things and involve different licenses and rights. Just because a producer licenses a song you have written to be synchronized with his TV show or film, it doesn't follow that a TV station or airline has the right to publicly perform your work for its financial (or other) benefit. Even though you allowed the producer to put your song in his sitcom, CBS TV must still obtain public performing rights for the broadcast of the program in which the song was synchronized. While this may seem like double-dipping, it really is not. It is simply the case of the two users of your music (the sitcom producer and the TV station) paying their own shares of the total rights needed for the broadcast. The producer needs only synchronization rights, and the TV station only needs the performance rights, so the producer does not obtain all rights needed to broadcast the show onto television sets everywhere but shifts this financial burden to its rightful place-the TV station. The producer gets no direct benefit from the TV broadcast, as he does not get to sell advertising for the broadcast, so he makes the TV stations pay for the public performing rights out of their advertising and other revenue. (An example of "other revenue" would be HBO, which earns money not from advertising but from monthly fees charged to end viewers.)

A final peculiarity of copyright law in the United States that bears mentioning is the fact that we have no performance license or royalty payable to the owners of master recordings. So, if that sitcom that we were just talking about gets performed on TV, and if that sitcom embodies a pre-existing master recording, there will be no additional performing right fee paid to the owner of the master recording. While a publisher gets both a synchronization fee from a producer, and performing right royalties from ASCAP or BMI for the public performance of a song in a sitcom or other production, the master recording owner (unless the master was created as a work-for-hire) only receives a master license fee for the synchronization of the master recording and gets no performance royalty. (In many foreign countries, master performance royalties are payable.)

This has become a hot-button issue in the U.S. music industry lately, especially given how much record sales have declined in recent years. Record companies are desperately seeking new sources of revenue to help them stay in business, and have pointed out how inherently unfair it is for the song to receive performance income, but not the master recording. Laws have been passed that have granted the right to receive royalties for master recordings performed via the Internet. And it may well be the case in the near future that such performing royalties will be paid for master recordings performed in other media such as radio and TV.

Randall Wixen. The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing, 2nd Edition (Kindle Locations 223-244). Kindle Edition.
 

Aje

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This is crazy.

I totally forgot about this thread I created.

I went back to school in '11 at age 31 and, for my Capstone - essentially, my thesis to graduate - I created a business plan for a boutique Music Publishing compnay.

Fast forward four years, and I started working for one in LA. I'm now their Music Coordinator.

Moral of the story: Don't quit, y'all.
 

the elastic

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Publishing don't matter if you have 0 promotion/buzz. Not saying that anyone here doesn't have promo or buzz, just making a point.
 

producingfire

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Publishing don't matter if you have 0 promotion/buzz. Not saying that anyone here doesn't have promo or buzz, just making a point.
yzr, but he back in 2013 when the thread was made it was and still is educational as Aje has been getting placements since 06, and learned even more over the years, and fast forward to the last post, he didn't quit and now he's doing major things within the topic he bought up 9 years prior.
 

Propaganda

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This is crazy.

I totally forgot about this thread I created.

I went back to school in '11 at age 31 and, for my Capstone - essentially, my thesis to graduate - I created a business plan for a boutique Music Publishing compnay.

Fast forward four years, and I started working for one in LA. I'm now their Music Coordinator.

Moral of the story: Don't quit, y'all.

:whew:

mad respect @Aje. congratulations now and all the best for the future. :salute:
 
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Aje

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yzr, but he back in 2013 when the thread was made it was and still is educational as Aje has been getting placements since 06, and learned even more over the years, and fast forward to the last post, he didn't quit and now he's doing major things within the topic he bought up 9 years prior.

:whew:

mad respect @Aje. congratulations now and all the best for the future. :salute:
Thanks, fellas. I'm just trying to drop as many jewels as I can, because I did not have a mentor on my journey, unfortunately, so I know what it's like to feel like you're isolated, on an island, with no idea what you're doing.
 
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