#1
Hello all,

I was wondering if someone could point me in the direction of legal resources regarding score composition. I was offered a small job to create a commercial jingle for an acquaintance and I need to do some research on it.

Any insight or experience would be apppreciated.
#2
You won't find many legal resources online, at least any you can fully trust.

If you're being offered a job to compose, it's most likely work-for-hire, so you'll get a flat fee and retain no rights to the composition. That's normal for a commercial piece, and generally fair, depending on the fee.

If you want to retain rights, you'd need to license it to them, again for a fee. The problem is, they probably won't want to do that, and they'd rather do a work-for-hire and they'll just say 'thanks for your time, we're getting someone else.'

So my advice if it's work-for-hire (which it probably is) is to just trust them and go for it, and don't write anything so incredible amazing that you'll regret giving it away (and when writing for commercial usages, you tend to need to write some cheesy crap anyway).

If they've given you a sample contract, I would be happy to read it over and explain anything to you (assuming it is not a million pages long). I work in the licensing business, and place bands' music in film and tv (please don't PM me asking me to work with your band - that goes for ALL of you, not just OP. Thanks) so I know my way around those agreements pretty well.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer, so my advice is purely professional, but not guaranteed to hold up in court. Get a real lawyer if you're a professional adult who plans on doing this a lot.
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#3
Quote by Sid McCall
I work in the licensing business, and place bands' music in film and tv (please don't PM me asking me to work with your band - that goes for ALL of you, not just OP. Thanks)




If I was a mod still, I'd ban you until you agreed to work with me.

j/k... Cover bands don't get music placed in film and TV.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#4
Quote by axemanchris


If I was a mod still, I'd ban you until you agreed to work with me.

j/k... Cover bands don't get music placed in film and TV.

CT

Whew! I guess I dodged that bullet then

Cover songs are actually used CONSTANTLY in film & tv, they just have to change the genre, or gender swap the vocal, stuff like that. We handle loads of covers, but they have to be from our parent company's massive (Big 4) catalog, but I'm not saying who we are
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#5
Okay.... so let's say you were to use our cover of Come Together. We have two female singers.

We pay the licensing fee to the Beatles to use their song. However, it is still their song. It is our performance, though.

How does that work?

I'm sure it obviously does, because one of the best movie soundtrack songs I've ever heard done was a cover done by a Canadian actress/musician, Sarah Polley, covering the Tragically Hip's "Courage" in the movie The Sweet Hereafter.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#6
Quote by axemanchris
Okay.... so let's say you were to use our cover of Come Together. We have two female singers.

We pay the licensing fee to the Beatles to use their song. However, it is still their song. It is our performance, though.

How does that work?

I'm sure it obviously does, because one of the best movie soundtrack songs I've ever heard done was a cover done by a Canadian actress/musician, Sarah Polley, covering the Tragically Hip's "Courage" in the movie The Sweet Hereafter.

CT

There's a publishing side and master side to every sound recording. The publishing is the writer/publisher share, and the master is the recorded performance share. In your example, your band would retain master rights, and the Beatles would retain publishing rights.

The tv/film/whatever will have budgeted to pay for each side, usually equally. I will frequently see the phrase "$50k all in" which means it's to be split equally (25k/25k) between both sides. It is much easier to pitch and place a song into a film/tv show that you own both sides to, and don't need to go chasing approval for. This is easier when it's an original song. (That's where you got confused in your example, the covering band won't pay any fee to the original writer, the flat fee from the production company will be split between the two, pending approval from both sides of course).

The caveat is that both sides need to approve a synch license, so since they're the Beatles (in this example) that's not happening. You can't just go throwing other people's songs against pictures without their consent (conversely, you CAN record a cover song and put it on a CD without their consent, but you still have to pay for each copy distributed (for free or paid) at a pre-set rate of 9c/each (in America)).

The majority of cases where this is done is where either characters in the production are performing the song (see: your example) or if the song is old and all but forgotten, then writer wants to pump new life back into it with a cool cover version (I believe I've heard some cool cuts of Annie's Song not too long ago).

That's some quick-and-dirty music business 101 for ya!


Edit: and, in true UG fashion, almost none of what I just wrote has to do with the OP's question. Threadjack 101 haha
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Last edited by Sid McCall at Jun 17, 2013,
#7
Ah, yes. That all sounds right.

I was forgetting about the synchronization license. That's right. That is what is required for film/TV - not the standard mechanical license for, say, putting it onto your latest album.

And yes, too, to the 50/50 publisher/performer share. Geez, I knew all that. I'm just getting a bit rusty. Thanks for refreshing my memory.

Good call on my example being a little problematic, too. The Beatles don't generally license their stuff pretty easily. Look at how long it took them to allow iTunes to host their stuff.

(which may also have to do with that whole Apple records, Paul McCartney conflict with Apple schmozzle.)

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#8
Ts here. Thanks for the discourse guys, I was happily surprised when I got that instead of the trolling that frequents other parts of the forum.
#9
Quote by STONESHAKER
Ts here. Thanks for the discourse guys, I was happily surprised when I got that instead of the trolling that frequents other parts of the forum.

There's a reason you'll find 90%+ of my posts in only this section haha

PM me if you have any pressing questions on the subject!
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite