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 Posted:   Sep 22, 2020 - 1:05 PM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

COMPOSERS, A WORD TO THE WISE

If, during my career, my work was done on a “Buyout” basis, I would now be retired, with no income other than Social Security and only that because I am old enough to qualify. I would be frantically looking at what I can sell, probably my Yamaha piano, my computers, monitors and maybe my home. I would have to give up health insurance for myself and my wife. Composers have no union so there is no pension.

In this country we are forced to work on a work-for-hire basis. This means that, like independent contractors, we receive no fringes such as health insurance or retirement/401K plans and, like employees, we must assign ownership of what we create to the”employer”, usually the production company.
These days, with digital technology, production and post-production can take place faster and therefore, as time is money, productions often have decreasing budgets, including music budgets.

This pandemic is the perfect wakeup call when looking at buyout deals. As a film composer at a time when PROs (ASCAP/BMI) and cue sheets were the default deal, I continue to receive royalty distributions during a time of little to no production activity.

Now, we can justify to ourselves taking a buyout deal or two “just until I get some credits and some contacts, then I’ll insist on cue sheets and the royalty system”.

No, you won’t.

That’s not how this industry works! As soon as one major studio, digital or physical, can show fiscal benefit from insisting on buyouts, the rest of the industry will follow suit. At warp speed. It could mean the end of the performance royalty. Maybe not for songwriters but for the thousands of aspiring screen composers who are all competing for the same projects and entering composer contests hoping to be noticed.
Performance royalties have increased over the years as so-called “front end” payments have decreased.

GET SERIOUS about your career. A career is NOT just doing what you love, it is providing for your needs, the needs of your family WHILE doing the thing you love. In my 40 years plus career, no one ever offered to increase my revenue stream voluntarily.

GET SERIOUS! (Oh, and have a nice day)

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2020 - 12:30 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Wise words from somebody in the know.

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2020 - 8:57 AM   
 By:   Dr. Nigel Channing   (Member)

Wise words from somebody in the know.

Indeed.

 
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