Sometimes I can’t believe the emails I receive

January 1, 2010

“We’re not worried about getting paid for the use of these songs…we just want to be able to brag to our friends that some big movie producer is using our songs in their movies/shows.”

-Name withheld



This is an actual email I received from an artist.

So yeah, if anyone is wondering why music fees are coming down it’s a number of reasons:

1) Studios and networks are slashing their music budgets. I’d say they are roughly 1/2 of what they used to be. In some cases, 1/3. They aren’t doing this solely to be greedy but as their lose advertisers (or advertisers cut their budgets) the first thing to get cut in a TV show or film is the music budget. Blame digital files for being “free” so now the studios and networks think they can get music if not for free, for very cheap, from indie artists like you!

2) Artists – artists and bands need to stand up for their rights. And value their music. Everyone will tell you “it’s all about the exposure” – even music supervisors and people at the performing rights societies will say this. Yet, YOU, the artist, are the one that really gets hurt and mostly by your fellow musician and songwriting friends. Because artists (like the one above who wrote that quote) don’t value their music, the studios, networks and supervisors know they don’t have to pay what they used to for songs.

3) Simple supply and demand. Before the Internet really exploded, studios and networks had no choice but to license songs from major record labels and major publishers. Now they can go to any one of a million bands and artists on sites like myspace – many of whom are too naive to ask for payment for their songs so they practically give them away.

4) The growing use of music libraries that provide lots of music in a huge volume, for cheap, often at pre-negotiated rates of say $500 a track, if that.

So, what’s the solution?

Educate yourself.

Know when you’re being taken advantage of in terms of fees – and when you should be happy to get *any* money – i.e. a festival license for an indie film.

Really the only way to know this is to work with an experienced licensing person (like me) who knows what’s fair and what’s not. Also, ask around. If you have friends that have licensed their songs, make sure you’re getting comparable fees for yours if it’s the same TV show or project.

Most artists just concentrate on the “fun” stuff.

The music.

But the reality is, if you don’t educate yourself on the important side – the “business” side – you may soon find yourself without any business.

Or money to be made from your music.

Keep the faith!

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity

“Anything worthwhile in life requires time, patience, and persistence.”
–Cheryl Richardson


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