Tag Archives: Mailing List

CML Artists on Music Libraries

Original post: “The library companies seem like used cars sales men, and some of the same songs appear in multiple library so how can they say they have sync rights? my thoughts are that I can use these with out a sync license, because A.
they have no legal standing, B. the songs could be part of any library so only the artist could claim royalties, but the artists are setup with BMI,ASCAP which will get royalties when broadcasted and is the broadcasters responsibility.”

“…are music library licenses a scam?”

Later exposition: “My whole reason in posting this was to more less expose the music library companies, many of the songs these libraries have exist in other libraries (one library company can’t have exclusive rights) so how can they ever know where you got that song from? As far as royalties I always submit a music cue sheet to the broadcaster.

I just feel like we need something better to get music from artist to producer and eliminate these Music Library middle men.”

“I think your reasoning is completely faulty. The same artist could have multiple deals. BMI/ASCAP pays on WRITING the song, but not the performance. If you use the piece without rights from one of the companies, you may get away with it, but perhaps you won’t. If you don’t pay, you certainly wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. The artist and ONE of the libraries has to be paid.


It stuns me when creative people think this way. What if you sold stock footage to several libraries (which I have seen in stills), and I used it and didn’t pay? It’s the same as people who have pirated movies. How are any of us creatives getting paid for our work? Are you working for free? Are you giving away your own work? Why do you expect that someone else should not be paid for his creative work? Is it of less value than yours. My guess is that YOUR creative work is less valuable. A musician is creating something from nothing.”

‘I pay for all the music I use.   It is a bargain.

When I write a check for $1000 for, say, a 12 minute corporate film, it hurts for one second, but what kind of score could you get that money, with a dozen cues.

I am a Getty Motion artist and of course I feel the same way about my stock footage.  I get pretty upset when I allow use or license my footage for one production, and then I see it in other productions from the same production company.”

“When you buy a used car, are they selling the same physical car to more than one person? Or are you thinking that gee the used car lot has twenty of the same make and model of that car and my friend already bought one, so I’m going to go down to the lot and take another one whenever I need. I mean really the cars are all just copies anyway, and lots of them are in different used car lots.

BTW – Even youtube will require you to provide proof of music license when you join their revenue sharing program.”

“There are some terms being thrown around here which aren’t quite accurate. Copyright / License / Royalties are all completely separate (though often they are linked via contract). I’m no lawyer, but I do make a living writing music for spots and films so I’ve had to wade through these a few times. Here’s how I view it as a content creator.

SHORT ANSWER? The songs have a VERY CLEAR legal standing, and you MUST read the license that came with the material to know what you can and cannot do legally.

When I write music, even if it’s “for hire,” I retain the Royalties in perpetuity unless I’m stupid enough to sign them away. If a piece I wrote appears in a broadcast, I get paid royalties. Now, back to the “stupid enough…” part. If I sell my music to a Library and they turn around and offer it to you as “royalty free” what that means is that when I gave my music to that library I waived any rights to future royalties. I don’t like that… so I don’t sell my stuff to those  companies. But plenty of composers will, and that’s their right. BMI/ASCAP are in the business of collecting royalties. They have nothing  to do with copyright or sync licenses.


“Many libraries sell or even GIVE you a huge library of CDs. You APPEAR to own them, but …, you need to know (READ) the agreement. I have a giant collection of APM music for trailers. But owning the CDs doesn’t give me ANY rights to use them. They GAVE me the library, so I could have easy, quick access, but I have to individually license every single cut from the CDs.

… We bought a starter set of CDs and they kept supplying us with additional, new content, but we also paid an annual licensing fee to use the music, and we had to keep a record of which cuts we used, even though we had a blanket license. But whoever bought those CDs when the post company went out of business would have absolutely NO right to use those cuts, just because they owned the CDs. They would need to pay the same blanket annual licensing fee or needle drops to actually put the music on anything.

I’ve also bought “royalty free” albums from Sounddogs and other libraries and they specifically state that you are getting sync rights, but not broadcast rights, or that your rights are limited.

“In SOME cases, the act of buying the library gains you a sync license…”

“I’d point out that Music Libraries do exactly what your asking: Get music from artist to producer (or consumer.)  iTunes is the most visible example of that, enabling convenient access to popular music.

Production music libraries—like stock footage libraries—make it a lot more convenient for people in need of music to find and legally use music in productions at relatively affordable prices.

These libraries make what’s often a sizeable investment to acquire or make the recordings and optain the licensing or copy rights to songs.

Then they pay more to manufacture and package CD’s… coupled these days with expensive websites that allow you to search, preview, license and download a cut that gets you out of a jam at 2:17am on a Monday morning when you have to deliver a finished edit on disc at 7a.m.”