the very lifeblood of the music business and one of the most
lucrative aspects of the music industry. Writing one song that
becomes a standard (Willie Nelson's "Crazy") would set you
financially for life if you did not sign your rights away (like the
Beatles or any group of the Sixties). The songwriter needs the
publisher for several reasons. They hope the publisher collects,
distributes and administers all royalties to him from: live
performances of the writers song(s), radio airplay of his song,
jukebox collections, sale of albums via an artist, TV rights,
commercial rights (Nike, Coke, Reebok) derivative works (parodies,
Muzak and other variations) and now Karaoke licenses. A publisher's
second job is to place a songwriter's song with an artist or
use. A publisher tries to match an artist's personality with
the songwriters' tunes. This is what is known in the industry as
"shopping a tune." (Amy Grant would not sing a song titled
"The Horizontal Boogie") Enforcement of the songwriters'
catalog of copyrights is also one of the publishers' duties.
Where friction is
caused between the writer and publisher is the age old battle of art
verses commerce or the commercialization of art. Most artists seek a
publisher with common ideologies. Examples would be "make money
anywhere, anytime, anyway" philosophy or "my songs are
sacred and no one gets them" school of thought. Finally, my
songs are gifts from heaven and should be shared by all, free of charge.
ASCAP - BMI -
SESAC -collect performance royalties. This is one of the most
misunderstood areas for KJ's. Any bar or club that plays any kind of
music whether it be a jukebox, live band, radio or Karaoke host must
pay a fee for the use of music in a public place. If the club has no
music then the KJ or club owner must work out a deal as to who is
going to pay the fees for the license of the bar or club. Other
examples where fees would be collected: coliseums, arenas, stadiums,
TV stations, Radio stations, restaurants night clubs, bars, music on
hold, buildings that have piped in music (Muzak), malls, talent
shows, airplanes, hotel/motel, aerobic clubs/health clubs, Circus's,
educational institutions -- anytime music is used for public performance.
generally three types of ways to collect: Blanket license for most
buildings and fixed installations of music playback equipment where
there is a commercial use. Per Event/Use for one time shows or
events. Reporting, Audits, and Monitoring which is generally used in
the radio and broadcast industries. Sound Choice does not have to pay
any of these royalties.
affiliate with one of these organizations to collect performance
money. These groups do not collect for the sale of any product.
physical product (CD, cassette, videotape etc.) and the intellectual
material (performance) are two different things.
An analogy would
be a book is just paper, but take thousands of words arranged a
certain way and you get a scary Stephen King novel.
Sound Choice deals
strictly with those royalties that make up our product. We are not
concerned about performance royalties. We need to be granted
different licenses to make up our different products.
a license fee - a flat fee called the Statutory Rate set by the
Copyright Royal Tribunal (US Government) that sets the rate
(currently at .075 per song per copy) for every time a song is
"mechanically fixed" in a medium ( i.e. CD, CD+G, records,
cassettes, video tapes etc.). The main clearing house for
mechanical licenses is the Harry Fox Agency in New York City. Harry
Fox is not a living person.
If a publisher does not wish to "participate" in the
licensing of the song, you can record their tune and
"force" them to take the money by filing for a Compulsory
License. With this type of license you must report accounting once a
month as opposed to quarterly with Harry Fox .
are requested directly from the publisher who controls the copyright.
These organizations may be large and well known or in the back of
someone's trailer. Sound Choice tries to include lyrics for each of
its songs. Lyric licenses are for the words only and not the musical
notation or notes found in music books. Those are standard musical
notation reprint rights and are different from just having the words.
However not all of
our product receives reprint licenses. We may not be allowed to use
them (some Disney or ABKCO), or one writer may hold out on his share
of ownership of that song (Jackson Browne - Take It Easy) or are to
expensive to use (Clint Black written songs) or they hate Karaoke and
do not wish to be associated with the format (Gloria Estafan, Andrew
Lloyd Webber). These lyric licenses may be granted or rescinded at
the will of the songwriter at any time. Getting the lyrics in the
catalog one time does not mean it will always stay. Likewise a
songwriter may change publishers or publishers may buy or sell a
writers catalog. The ability to deny or receive a lyric request
sometimes moves with a writers publisher.
Using visuals or graphics with the music. In the sense of CDG it is a
mechanical and reprint right all in one. Sound Choice will probably
go directly to each publisher to ask for this permission. We will pay
an advance against future sales as well as a fixing fee which allow
you to "affix" the music with the visuals. MTV, movie
scores and movie soundtracks and Karaoke LD's are clear examples of
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