Emerald City Productions

Library and Production Music..for free??

by Paul on August 5, 2010

in Electronic Music, General, Music

Hi There,

Being a Composer of Library and Production music, you would think that I have everything to hand legally and finger on the pulse of all that’s Music. Err no!  Not working close to the Capital, all music composition commissions are largely on the Internet or through it.  Production Music Libraries or Library Music portals have gone the way of licensing their music at a meaningless price for the composer-a matter of pence per track-which means that ‘a living’ can no longer be made from music composition, unless you are fortunate enough to have the time and persistence that needs super-human endurance-and as someone has said ‘near genius’.  I remember one composer for Film & TV who was famous commenting that there are many of composers around like him and just as good or better, but they were not in the right place at the right time unfortunately!

I have a family to run and the job of being a composer in today’s market demands more time than a family tolerate-end of story-apart from making a living through it.

License  terms from libraries such as Q-music, itunes, CSS Music and the like all run business models that favour themselves rather than the composer.  Slightly different are companies like mediamusicnow.co.uk whose pricing structure is fairer than most where they charge more than the others per track from £4.95 to £24.95  believing they choose professional services and quality music with fair pricing structures.  They also interestingly unlike most give 1000 licenses at the base price for the track, then increment up to  several million copies covering most needs-and the composer still gets 50% of the incremental charge-that’s what I call fair!  Good tracks deserve appropriate reward.

I believe the Royalty Free companies need to show respect to their composer base more than they do, and show this in fair remuneration!  Just because there are a large number of composers, doesn’t mean they should reduce the reward for work done.  The pricing structure that exists with Royalty Free Libraries relies on the thought that at least something is being sold and we should be thankful for that!-and we composers have to live with that disastrous philosophy whilst they line their pockets making a good living!  As composers we are at the mercy of a pyramidal business model-us at the bottom-that’s the only way it can work.

I believe the only fair way is for enforcement of the Music Licensing system, which balances the requirements of both sides fairly-but we don’t live in a fair world.  Generally the pursuit of wealth at the cost of what is ‘fair’ in life is always the way of man.  Man will always design systems for wealth at the expense of the man with the weaker hand-competition always has a loser.  There are other ways that business’s can be run and models that don’t work on the winner/loser systems.  To be brave enough to adopt them, would take something else! The capitalist model seems to be the only ‘functioning’ one here in the West.  There are other working models that work elsewhere in the world that I know of, but they demand a different philosophies which are difficult to swallow by the majority.

Therefor we carry on in the same old vein, until perhaps a miracle happens and someone has the guts to make something work that is sensible and fair for all.  Until that day, perhaps this little ‘insight’ might stir you?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrian @ QWPM August 9, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Hi, good post and interesting to hear your thoughts – I agree with what you say but can also see why the royalty free libraries do what they do. I run a non royalty free library affiliated with the MCPS / PRS For Music where you may find terms are more reasonable than what you may find in the royalty free libraries. I assume you already are aware and may of written for such libraries. I agree with your comment on ‘right place right time’ however I know of many successful earning composers who write for library that do quite well. 50/50 is the standard split but libraries with incremental charging etc. sounds like a way to favour the royalty free library. Ultimately, the internet makes the world very competitive nowadays for both library and composer so at least through the MCPS library music agreement and rate card everyone knows where they stand.

Stokes-Herbst August 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Hi Adrian-apologies for the delay,
Thanks for the comments. Yes I can see why the royaly Free Libraries do what they do-and I have written for such Libaries. It’s encouraging to hear that you actually know of Composers who do quite well -would you say there are many-or the few as you say ‘many’ and I have not heard of this ‘number’. Here in the the North East-UK, organisations working to increase activity in the music Business are faily realistic/downbeat about prospects in Library Music income.
I cant say I have heard of Music Libraries, other than majors, who are affiliated with the MCPS/PRS. The Majors are always ‘full up’ it seems. Have you heard of that??
Cheers Paul Stokes

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