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Hello all,

I have been patiently developing an idea over the past year, and I'd like to get some feedback on it, as far as...would it be useful to you as a service? Are there better alternatives from your standpoint? Any comments are greatly appreciated.

Over the past year I've had the chance to do some composition work for cable tv stations, internet producers and a few small independent films. During these experiences I found that some of my friends' work was better suited to the visual image than anything I could create. I contacted an entertainment lawyer, and learned how to properly license their works to these outlets. (Of course I got their permission first). I looked at the body of work that I had personally created in addition to my friends' work, and realized I had a nice library of music.

Thinking I might have something interesting cooking, I started looking at all the music libraries/music licensing services on the internet (Pump Audio, Killer Tracks, Magnatune, etc)...and I noticed that all this so-called "production music" was uniformly bland and boring. Then I looked at more established publishing administration companies such as Ocean Way and Bug Music. Great companies, great music, but you really need to be selling records and on a label to have a chance with them.

I'm trying to cater to a third group of artists - artists whose music is far superior to your typical music library, but for one reason or another are not signed, on tour, whatever. The artists I am working with are so good it makes me cry, but one of them is 41 years old and without a band, the other is busy doing other things...etc.

Here's one of the main issues - I'm trying arrange the actual artist agreement to fit between what a library service would offer and what a major administrator would offer. What I mean by that - I want to offer three choices to artists. 1) To have their tracks "pre-cleared" and sent out and made available, via a hard drive, to producers/supervisors in all mediums...tv, internet, film, video games, commercials. 2) Let artists place "restrictions" on certain uses. For example, if the artist did not want their music to be in commercials, they could "restrict" that use. Their music would then not be included on the hard drive sent to advertisers. 3) Allow the artist to reserve the right to clear any and all proposed uses of the track. This is what an artist of some stature would get at a big company. If the artist wanted to reserve the right to clear uses, the music would never get sent out on a hard drive, and would be kept in-house for requests, or sent on CD's only to bigger productions where clearing the track is part of the typical procedure. Obviously "pre-cleared" tracks have a higher chance of getting used, and fully restricted tracks would have to be of a superior quality for me to accept, since the market for those placements is highly competetive.

Finally, the goal is to create a superior library, and move from where we are (cable tv, indie films, internet) to bigger indie films, commercials, etc. Also the agreement is non-exclusive, all proceeds from placements split 50/50. Questions or comments are hugely appreciated.

Edited by johnnyblotter
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Sorry I missed this when you first posted.

It's a reasonable idea, but there are similar services available, like songbrokers dot com (I think they are still going). The mainstream music scene seems to have rejected their business practice because they were charging artists upfront for listing etc. which is not the way the rest of the industry works. I say that only from comments that have been made to me about them.

Even if the idea is not original, there is still room for competition. After all, it is a massive market.

You would need to be clear about the service you offer, including pitching. You would also need best practice to set you apart from the sharks.

For me the one BIG thing you would need to have is prove-able industry contacts to take it to another level.



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Hey thanks for the responses. Much appreciated.

While I agree that the idea isn't totally original, it does have some unique aspects, as far as artists being able to place restrictions on their tracks up front. And there is definitely no cost to join. Also, I think I have some fantastic stuff so far.

As far as industry contacts, I won't say they're vast, but enough (I think) to get moving. It works out to a handful of cable tv producers, some corporate video people, a few documentary filmakers, a doc. film company, a big post guy for MTV/Comedy, a good friend working for a Warner company on the Warner lot in L.A., and producer at Warner Independent films. So I consider that a decent base - obviously I'm going to need to be on the phone hustling once it gets started. I don't really know anyone in advertising (yet).

John, I'd like to know what you consider "best practices".



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I would also think developing links with production houses in general would be a good idea.

Best practice. I really mean full disclosure of costs and charges, full transparency of transactions, a proper street address phone etc, full disclosure of industry partners, list of directors if you have any, professional body membership details, support service agreement, documented mechanism for resolving any disputes, realistic contracts etc.

Another obvious thing is the contract for you to host and distribute audio for the artist. Getting a balance is increasingly important. Artists now understand their rights far more. Under play the contract and you could leave yourself open to litigation, overplay it and the artists will stay away.

A lot there, but that stuff will really make a difference.

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Hello all,

I have been patiently developing an idea over the past year, and I'd like to get some feedback on it,

Hello Johnny.

A very attractive concept.

My view is that if you're prepared to do all the work required and a whole lot more there's no reason at all why you couldn't make a successful bite out of the library music market. It seems you have all you need to start right now: 12 months planning and research, a network of talented pros, a lawyer, a rights library, enough industry contacts to get moving, computer and phone already plugged in. Good luck to you. Absolutely.

But for feed-back on a business model........ ?

What made you choose this place in particular for an intelligent discussion about your business venture?

Honestly and without any intention to be be impertinent.

Don't anybody dare try to take this the wrong way, please.

Just something I need to know before I consider involvement in any strenuous conversations.

Plus I turned sixty and have become grumpy.

Thank you - carry on.

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Hi Lazz, thanks for responding. What I meant, I suppose, was that I was looking for feedback generally on the concept and it's appeal from the artists' point of view (rather than a discussion of funding, staff, short and long term plans, etc.) Specifically I'm looking to find out whether the right to reserve clearance for tracks was something that would actually appeal to artists. From a moral perspective it appeals to me, because having been in many bands, I understand the sensitivity to these things. However from an organizational/accounting/legal point of view it certainly complicates things. Add to the mix the fact that even the so-called hippest bands do not hesitate to place music in commercials these days. But well-known licensing companies will usually give the band the right to refuse or allow clearance, and I feel like allowing this right will help me attract higher caliber artists.

I'd rather not position this as strictly a library service because most library services have weak music and I think it will turn people off. I'd like the library service to just be one component. And I can't really start that part of the business without more tracks...I have about 200 or so, and have sent out hard drives, but there isn't enough choice there although I've definitely gotten postive feedback.

Anyway the more feedback the better. I have another month at least until I put up a website, start really building the library/service and begin contacting clients/potential clients.

Again thanks for the responses.

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Hello again Johnny.

Had a bit of time to write out my thoughts and observations - so here goes.

If you can effectively sell your vision of 'quality' in 'production music' then possibly a future may be achievable. I've always been a sucker for my own particular vision of 'quality'. too. But what priority do buyers give to that potentially misplaced concept ? I have little idea how they see and hear. I just know they can all work a calculator.

As for publishing administration - these guys don't sell - they only administer. They're not actively flogging a library catalogue. Maybe you should consider both functions. If you're good at setting up administrative systems then you basically score 10% for taking care of the writer's royalty accounts. Plus flogging the catalogue... Makes sense to do both. They are both, in a way, similar factory processes.

You could have it made.


But you say you're looking at some third way...

You say your interested in catering to a 'third' group of artists whose music is 'far superior to your typical music library, but for one reason or another are not signed, on tour, whatever'. (Now maybe this is apropos of nothing with any great relevance - but that description exactly fits all those both you and I know who are already doing 'typical' library music.) But you've already got artists 'so good it makes me cry' and a library of their stuff. So you're looking to add other talent. And you want feed-back on areas of terms and conditions. Is that it?

Here's the thing - if it was me doing a library music service .... (Yes, I recognise you dislike the term and would wish to be considered something else, but let's not mince words unnecessarily - that's what it is.) As I say... if it was me starting up seriously in that line,,, I would only be working with people I already know who could deliver the goods. People who respect and understand that side of the business and are professional in their dealings with it. 'Production music' is a very good term. I would personally want to be supremely confident about the array of appropriate skills-sets I had as working resources.

Certainly I wouldn't have any time to waste trawling around on the internet – that approach is just too random and scattergun – although there are definitely people attending this board who seem they may possess the right stuff and to whom I might likely extend some feelers. So the notion of looking to add other talent via (maybe) some web-site access is the bit that raises questions for me. As a process and a business model, this sort of set-up doen’t appear at all workable to me without charging potential contributors a registration fee. I simply don’t see how you could be willing to accommodate the resultant work-load without it.

As far as licensing terms and conditions go, it seems clear that it is the simple realities of the business which dictate the style of licensing required for someone like you to go to work. You need the rights to exploit the works in your chosen market and you need to be able to respond to any opportunity. You need to be able to close deals, not have to submit proposals for artist approval. You need to be free to trade. It's commerce. The nature of the beast. So of course everything should be pre-cleared and moral rights just have to be waived - or you would not survive.

For your professional associates, your product suppliers, or contracted project teams, or artists, or workers, or whatever you wanna call 'em - they have to recognise and accept those rules of the game - they wouldn't be operating this area if they didn't. It's business.

But I can’t help but remain a little suspicious about motives still because I’m having a hard time making complete sense of it. Here's this bloke Johnny got an idea which sounds most eminently do-able. He's got resources and specialisms reasonably lined up already. So what's he doing here then ? And why ? Geezer must be up to something - right?

Please convince me my suspicions are erronious.

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Hi Lazz,

Thanks for your thoughts. First of all, there are in fact publishing administrators who also push catalogue. One huge example in the production audio world is Pump Audio. (www.pumpaudio.com). Another huge example in the "real world" (I'm simply using this term for lack of a better one) is Bug Music in Los Angeles. (www.bugmusic.com). Neither organization participates in any claim on the ownership of their clients' work, yet both base at least some of their business on making placements. In Pump Audio's case, their entire business is placements. For Bug Music, it's a combination of placements and collecting mechanical royalties. Neither organization charges any upfront fee. The difference is the payout...Pump Audio takes half of everything they earn for all of that marketing and promotion.

Here's my take on things. Licensing companies such as Bug Music and Bank Robber Music (bankrobbermusic.com) are generally dealing with signed artists, and bigger clients. (Big advertisers, hit tv shows, etc.) They both allow the artist the right to refuse the offer. This doesn't impede their ability to do business, because their clients aren't requesting library music...they are requesting a specific song for a specific project, and therefore have time to sort through the details. On the other hand, music library users need to know the music they are using is pre-cleared and accessible...they don't have time to sit around.

My business model basically rolls both these concepts into one. I think I have some material that is good enough for film, a hit tv show...and other material which may be good, but more suited to a music library. I'm simply leaving it up to the artist because some artists, especially ones that are a bit farther along and/or exceptionally talented/sensitive/whatever, want that level of control. If, for example, an artist insists on maintaining that control but their material isn't good enough to be marketed to the "big time" media outlets, then I wouldn't accept their material, because I'd feel there is nothing I can do with it. Then I'm just dividing things up into pre-cleared music and non-cleared music. Non-cleared music gets sent to the bigger productions, and is negotiated in the standard way, while pre-cleared music goes out on a searchable hard drive to tv producers, indie filmakers, etc.

Anyway, why am I on the internet? Couple o' reasons. I geniunely would like feedback on this concept, because I think there is something unique about it that will either make or break it. As far as looking for talent, there are a ton of music licensing/library/non-library services that invite submissions from artists. In fact most of them do. I'm going to need to grow my catalogue, and ask yourself...do most advertisers/producers these days want :30 second lite jazz nuggets created by seasoned pros, or do they want music that will appeal to the younger generation?

The nature of this industry is changing, lots of creative stuff going on. These guys pretty much floored me with their approach...www.indiemint.com although it seems pretty risky. Anyway, I'm getting off topic. The point - two separate services, the library service and the, let's say, higher profile service under one roof. And I need more good music. :)

Edited by johnnyblotter
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Hi Johnny,

"do most advertisers/producers these days want :30 second lite jazz nuggets created by seasoned pros, or do they want music that will appeal to the younger generation?"

They want the most appropriate sounds defined by the particular project needs - created professionally, whether seasoned or unseasoned.

Your conviction and sincerity are getting through to me.

Thanks for the time and education.

Hope you do brilliantly.

I think you will.

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Thanks, Lazz, I appreciate that. I think I'm starting to realize that just because no one is doing it my way, doesn't mean it can't be done. Although everyone keeps saying that my idea about artists witholding the right to clear a proposed use is stupid and will make it more difficult to make money, somehow I think it will make the company more attractive to artists, which will make the music better, which will make the service more attractive. We'll see.

Any songwriters feel like chiming in on this? :)

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I think the big problem is at the other end. Production companies often work to tight schedules. The last thing they will want is to spend ages selecting segments, only to have the artist pull them at the last minute, or simply just to wait for an artist to approve them. I mean what happens when the artist is in Iceland for a month?

If you can nitigate this issue, to make it as appealing to production companies as it is to artists I think your idea could work well. Saddly, Production companies make decisions based on budget as much as quality, While your service may grow in terms of a quality artist database, if libraries offer something almost as good, but with none of the risks or potential hic ups, and no implications to the production company in terms of time for a project, they will choose the standard library licensing scheme.



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Yes, but that's the whole crux of my idea...if someone needs to reserve the right to clear, their tracks aren't getting sent to the production people only to those outlets who are accustomed to dealing with those kinds of clearance issues. Conversely, if the artist pre-clears tracks, they can get used anywhere.

Do you think giving the artists the right to reserve clearance will be appealing? Would it appeal to you? Or do you think no one cares? In my experience (though I would like more feedback :D ) responses to this issue vary across the board...hence my business model.

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