Thursday, September 26, 2013

Music Business/Law Tips - "BMI/ASCAP $$$"

According to Billboard Magazine, the Top 5 "performance" revenue sources for songwriters collected by BMI and ASCAP are: 1. Cable 2. Radio 3. TV 4. Bars/Clubs/Stores 5. Digital Since 2 out of the Top 3 are essentially music being played in shows, films and ads that appear on TV and Cable programs, it only makes sense for a songwriter to pitch his/her music for these types of opportunities. Ben McLane Esq

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Music Business/Law Tips - "Synch" License Request

If an artist gets a request to use their music as part of a film (or TV) show, it will commonly be a license for use in a "trailer" only (not the film itself) in any and all media (i.e., TV and Internet). Normally the film company will offer an "all in" fee for both the "master + synch", which means that they want to get a license for both copyrights from the artist and only have to pay one up-front fee. The master use is for the master recording copyright, and the synch license is for the song that is contained on the master (i.e., the publishing copyright). A lot of these companies refer to the license as a "synch" but that really means that both copyrights are being licensed. For this arrangement to work, the artist must own and/or control both copyrights for the master/song to be able to grant the license (i.e., a 1 stop shop). If the artist does not, then he/she cannot agree to the all-in license for both master and publishing and the film company would have to get a license for the copyright side the artist does not control from a third party. For instance, if the artist only owns the master then he/she can only license the master. Of course, if the artist controls the publishing side as well he/she will also get back-end "performance" income from BMI or ASCAP once the trailer plays on TV. Ben McLane Esq

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Music Business/Law Tips - Mechanical License/Video

Securing a license to record a cover song from the original song copyright owner (i.e., a “mechanical license”) does not automatically give you the right to make and distribute a music video of your cover. In general, a mechanical license only gives you the right to make, reproduce, and distribute a certain amount of mechanical reproductions of music (i.e., digital, CD, vinyl, etc. – whatever is specified in the license). Period. A mechanical license does not also grant you rights to make a music video of your cover using that song. The right to do so is an entirely separate license called a “synchronization license” which you would also need to obtain from the copyright owner. Hence, if you want to record and distribute a cover song with a related music video, you'll need a mechanical license and a synchronization license as well (or include the synch language in the mechanical license). Ben McLane Esq