Thursday, July 1, 2010

Music Licensing Rights & Publishing Rights?

After further consultation with fellow creatives, and as much as I admire the Animal Kingdom trailer and the effectiveness of the clip

being inspired by it is one thing, emulating it can be seen as being a copycat, and yes, there is no such thing as an original idea just the way you present, I agree, but for the genre of action thriller, The Solomons song may not be the right one.

Yes my enthusiasm led to me chasing down the record label and talking to them about indie music meeting in the middle with indie film, and though now the Solomons option may not suit the idea, it's not to say I have wasted their time or mine.

I have a great contact with Scotty at Popboomerang and I am still keen to look through their catalogue for appropriate music for my projects!

So what song do I have in mind for the 'concept trailer', and am I dreaming to even contemplate it? Well, as I have said in the past, I have an idea, and I pursue it, if only for a fact finding mission so I know what the deal is.

Foreign Land, by Eskimo Joe, that's what I have had in my head for a long time, in fact I have written several scenes to the film while listening to this song. However, it's by one of Australia's most popular bands, surely out of my reach, so don't bother, everyone says commercial music is difficult to use... but, hang on...unless I ask, I'll never know how difficult.

What's the process? Where do I start? well tweeting at the band didn't work, they don't seem to respond to anyone.

This has to be done by the right channels, so on the CD I see it's distributed by Warner. So I google the contact details for Warner Music and call them.

BAM! Lesson number one, the distributer of the CD is not neccesarily the holder of the rights to a song, plus there is a difference between licensing rights and publishing rights, a difference that means two seperate companies.

So I contact Scotty at popboomerang to explain to me, the uninitiated in the music rights world. He said -

"Generally, from our point of view there 2 synch fees when a song is placed -the master licence fee often owned by a record company like us & the publishing fee which is either owned by a publisher or the band themselves (or a label) -and they are 50/50 -referred to as "per side"

So all our acts own their own publishing, we licenece the sound recording -we have deals with our acts which mean it is not always 50/50 for fee split but the princiap is there is 100% of a fee & split 2 ways between the master & the publishing.

Typically, a sync license is obtained from a music publisher while the master recording license is obtained by from the record label or owner of the master.
A sync license covers a specific period of time, and the license will stipulate how the song can be used.

There is one flat fee involved in obtaining a sync license, and once the license is in place, the song can be used as stipulated as many times within the license period as the license holder likes. In other words, if you obtain a sync license and use the song in a film, you do not have to pay a fee on the sync every time the film is viewed."

As far as Eskimo Joe is concerned, the master rights are held with Warners, the license application has to be requested from Mushroom Records, and the licensing is actually held by a music publisher Mana! Three seperate companies involved in one song! So I've put in an application for a quote to see how much it would cost to use such a popular song. I'll report back what they say so you can see how high the wall for commercial music is for Indie film makers.

I'd like to thank Scotty from Pop Boomerang for taking the time to explain the issue to us all. Take a look at this fantastic indie label, doing what we do in the music world!

1 comment:

Cath said...

Hi Simon, I just spotted this and I happen to manage the band, feel free to contact me directly through the eskimo joe website where there are multiple contacts for both the band directly and myself. See - Cath :)