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It Is Time To Completely Rethink How Songwriters Get Paid, I think so September 19, 2016

Posted by markallanwolfe in branding, markallanwolfe.com, music business, Music Law & Copyright, music licensing, personal.
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I found this post to be pretty informative and thought some of you might benefit from it as well if you have not already heard or read about it.

This article was written by Ari Herstand I found it at a great NEWS source for Digital Music News…http://www.digitalmusicnews.com

As the battles rage on in Washington over the recent DOJ ruling for 100% licensing of compositions and the Songwriter Equity Act continues to sit in purgatory in the halls of the do-nothing Congress, it’s time we rethink how to approach songwriter royalties. Because clearly, relying on the laws to properly compensate songwriters is a losing (and timely) battle. By the time they figure it all out, many songwriters will have packed in their guitars for non-starvation careers – like working at Starbucks.

I want to make something very clear from the get go. I am not a tech basher. I am not a doom and gloom musician-blogger. It is the greatest time to be an independent musician in the history of the music business.

But this isn’t about indie musicians. This is about songwriters.

Many of my fellow DIYers are now confused. Because so many of us are both – musician/songwriters. But there are hundreds of incredibly talented songwriters who are not Artists with a capital A. In that, they aren’t touring, gigging out much, releasing music under their own name or band name, but rather, are writing songs every day with the hopes of getting them cut by Artists with a capital A.

Now, let’s look at the problems which we’ve all heard about. Even people completely outside the music industry have read Kevin Kadish’s “My Song Was Played 178 Million Times and I Was Paid $5,769” piece or Aloe Blacc’s “Streaming Services Need To Pay Songwriters Fairly” where he stated “In return for co-writing a major hit song, I’ve earned less than $4,000 domestically from the largest digital music service.” But unfortunately these stories got completely convoluted and lost in translation where publications (including Digital Music News) mistakenly reported that Kadish’s plays occurred on Spotify. (They were actually on Pandora – a radio service which calculates plays completely differently). But everyone just reads the headlines. This headline initially said “178 Million Times On Spotify.” Spotify has been the default “bad guy” whenever the royalty debate occurs.

But, as recently revealed by Mark Mulligan, Spotify is actually paying out about 82% of their revenue, in part, because of massive guaranteed payments (estimated at $1.6 million A DAY) paid directly to labels for the rights to use their catalogs on the service. Talk about a shakedown.

And with Spotify paying out so much of their total revenue, they clearly are not the problem. But they have taken most of the flack and have gotten such a bad name over the years that many are still boycotting the service on principle. Last night while I was in a writing session, my co-writer/producer (not an Artist) pulled up a YouTube video to search for a Bee Gees song to reference. I said “still haven’t jumped on the Spotify train yet huh,” to which he replied “I can’t support Spotify. They don’t pay.”

But YouTube pays WAY less. Publicly, they state that they pay out 55% of their ad revenue to “rights holders,” but really most of that goes directly to the major labels as well.

But as one indie label revealed from their royalty statements, YouTube is only paying about $.000012 (yes four fucking zeros) per stream, whereas Spotify (on their same royalty report) paid an average of $.0037 (combined paid and free users) per stream. But, again, to reiterate these were payments to the label. Songwriter royalties are paid to publishers from streaming services and they are MUCH less.

So, tell me again why you’re mad at Spotify and not YouTube?

We’ve all heard of the 9.1 cents per download/sale mechanical royalty rate owed to songwriters. Cost per stream is much lower (about 1/10 the amount paid to labels/artists). So in the above example, Spotify is paying about $.00037 per stream for mechanical royalties.

And YouTube doesn’t pay mechanical royalties altogether because it’s video and only requires synch and performance licenses. And really, YouTube is able to hide behind DMCA Safe Harbor clauses so any user can upload any song without a synch license and publishers only get paid if the video/song is caught by YouTube’s Content ID and then monetized (slap an ad on it). Far from a perfect system. But the royalty rate, rest assured, is well below the $.000012 paid to labels. Some estimate around 15% of that.

+How To Legally Release Cover Videos On YouTube

You can rage on over low royalties paid by streaming services, but why?

Spotify is paying out anywhere from 70% – 82% of its total revenue to rights owners (publishers/labels/songwriters/artists). YouTube is paying 55%. Apple is paying 70%. Pandora is paying 50%.

Do I think YouTube and Pandora should pay more? Yes, of course. But, what does that even mean? Pay more to whom? How? For what purpose?

The problem with the entire songwriter royalty debate is that most partaking in the debate haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.

A typical conversation goes like this:

“Songwriters need to get paid more!”

“Yeah! From who?”

“Spotify!”

“Yeah! Fuck Spotify. How do we get them to pay more?”

“We need better laws!”

“Ugh, our government sucks.”

“Yeah.”

Long silence.

“Oh have you heard the new Justin Timberlake track?”

“No.”

“I have it right here” (cues it up on Spotify).

“It’s a banger!”

No one ever talks about a current business model that actually pays songwriters really well: synch licensing.

For most commercials, TV shows, film, and trailer synch placements the up front license fee to use the song is split 50/50: Label/Publisher or Artist/Songwriter.

So, if the commercial pays $100,000 for the song, typically $50,000 is paid for the use of the composition and $50,000 is paid for the use of the recording.

It’s time for songwriters to demand equal pay across the board!

Why does an artist/label deserve 10x more than the songwriter/publisher? These rates are completely outdated. Sure, at one point in time, the label covered all costs of an artist’s development and put tons into marketing and only made money off of record sales.

Now that labels aren’t really developing artists anymore and are, more times than not, striking 360 deals (where they take a cut of every part of an artist’s career from touring and merchandising to sponsorships and even meet and greets), they have no justification to demand 10x more for record earnings. Especially because they’re getting huge guarantees from most streaming services!

Well, the government set the horribly low mechanical royalty rate of 9.1 cents per download and an insanely complicated formula to calculate streams.

The problem with relying on the government to set the royalty rates is that the rates are decided based on how convincing the lobbyists are (and how generous the parties are with campaign donations). Our government is a completely fucked system. Congress rarely does what they believe is right, but what they believe will earn them the most campaign money. Because Google, Pandora, etc have the most money and lobbyists, they are able to influence congress a hell of a lot more than songwriters.

So, what’s the solution?

Stop waiting for government to set the rates! Don’t look to outdated revenue splits for ‘how it should be.’ It doesn’t need to be what it is.

Just because labels are required (by law) to pay 9.1 cents per download to the songwriter (for the mechanical royalty) doesn’t mean they can’t pay more. Hell, they’ve been getting songwriters to agree to LESS for years under the slimy “controlled composition clause.”

Keep it equal across the board:

$100 is earned from downloads/streams, $50 goes to the publisher (songwriter), $50 goes to the label (artist). $100 is earned from radio royalties, $50 goes to the publisher (songwriter), $50 goes to the label (artist).

I know I know, it sounds simple and reasonable but just can’t work right? Well, it can. Here’s how:

So, the reason synch licenses are typically 50/50 is because you can’t use a song without negotiating with the label and publisher for a rate to use the song. And oftentimes they have Most Favored Nations clauses where each side will make no less than what the other side is making.

Sales / Streams:

Ok, so how does this work for sales and (interactive) streams (like from Spotify and Apple Music) when the government sets the mechanical royalty rate for songwriters? Simple, make the label make up the difference. Labels pay producers all the time based on record earnings (on top of their fee). Oftentimes from the first dollar earned (no expenses need to be recouped). So if a song earns $100,000 and the producer has 5 points, the producer earns $5,000. Oftentimes the producer makes more than the artist up front (because the artist needs to recoup all expenses and the advance). If the songwriter is currently making about 10% of the royalties from mechanicals, the songwriter should demand an additional 40% from dollar one on record earnings (50% total). Yeah, you’re laughing right now “labels will never agree to this!” Well if every songwriter bound together and refused to co-write with a label’s artist unless the label agreed to pay them 50% of the song’s earnings, shit would change. Time to start a songwriter’s union?

Yeah, the major labels are the most stubborn and will be the last to come around to this, but let’s not forget that you don’t need a major label to have a music career these days. On the contrary, in the new music business you are better off without a major label.

If all the hit songwriters starting only writing for indie artists, the power structure would dramatically change. Indie labels (and DIY artists) would be much more willing (initially) to agree to these kinds of breakdowns.

I know you’re saying that the labels (and DIY artists) are funding the promotion and creation of the song. There are recording and marketing costs that the songwriter doesn’t need to pay for so why should they make money when the label/artist isn’t? Good question. The answer is, it’s not black and white. Be reasonable. Whaaaa?

It ain’t hard.

Major labels have boat loads of money and if they’re making advances from streaming services and getting a cut of the entire artist’s career, they can’t claim they can’t afford this. They can. Songwriters should earn from dollar one (no expenses off the top).

If an indie label is covering recording costs, then sure, take those off the top before anyone earns anything. Totally reasonable.

If a DIYer is funding the record and putting money into marketing, then it’s totally reasonable to deduct those expenses before any royalty splits happen.

But, all you artists (and attorneys negotiating major label deals) out there, don’t you dare let the labels deduct songwriter royalties from your meager royalty rates. These newfound songwriter royalties should not have to be recouped by you. If the label is taking 88% of your money, they sure as hell can afford to pay your co-writers (and YOU if you’re also the writer) their fair share.

Radio Royalties:

Radio is a bit more difficult. Currently, digital radio pays about 10x more to SoundExchange (who then pay labels and artists) than the PROs (which then pay publishers and songwriters). This is what the Songwriter Equity Act is looking to fix: the ability for the PROs to negotiate higher rates. Pandora is said to pay 50% of their total revenue for royalties. Well, they should be paying more. If Apple, Tidal and Spotify are paying at least 70%, Pandora should be paying 70% or more. How to get them to do that? Well, that’s another topic for another article. But at least it’s something to work towards.

But, remember, when we’re discussing Pandora, we’re talking about radio. And terrestrial radio (AM/FM) doesn’t pay artists/labels anything for performance royalties. This needs to change also. So when Kevin Kadish talks about his Pandora plays, he’s talking about what ASCAP paid him from Pandora. He didn’t mention how much he earned from terrestrial radio. The entire system needs to change. We need to work towards 50/50 across the board.

But Then Won’t Artists Lose Out?

The thing is, artists have the platform and the fan base. They will always be able to find a way to make money. They can tour, sell merch, get sponsorships, go direct-to-fan. Songwriters don’t have this luxury. Also, artists don’t need to make less for songwriters to make more. Major labels do.

If the labels really believe they are supporting creativity, start to pay songwriters more.

It’s time to reimagine the possibilities and solutions. Any questions?

Ari Herstand is the author of How To Make It In The New Music Business and the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take. He is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

 

 

MUSIC NEWS for Mark Allan Wolfe May 9, 2015

Posted by markallanwolfe in branding, Cool Stuff, markallanwolfe.com, music business, music licensing, personal, Uncategorized.
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Hey there all my musical friends and associates! It has been a while since I last wrote you a blog or a update so I am trying too get one out to you now and bring you all up to speed what is going on.

For starters I am now a music provider for one of the largest music rights management firms in the world. OLE Music Rights Management!! Some of my music is being represented by the same company that handles the music rights of RUSH, Beyonce, Blake Shelton, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood.

A little more about OLE ;

OLE

ole is one of the world’s foremost rights management companies with investments of over $400M+ in music intellectual property (IP). Founded in 2004, with operations in Toronto, Nashville, New York, and Los Angeles, ole is engaged in IP acquisitions, creative development, and worldwide rights management. The ole catalog includes over 45,000 songs and 60,000 hours of TV and film music across all genres. Copyrights under ole‘s control include songs recorded by artists such as the Backstreet Boys, Beyoncé, Blake Shelton, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Madonna, Michael Jackson, One Direction, Rihanna, Rush, Taylor Swift, and Timbaland. ole controls substantial A/V music and secondary rights including catalogs from Sony Pictures Entertainment, DHX, MGM, Miramax, Nelvana, and Nu Image/Millennium. MusicBox, the Production Music division of ole, provides quality content and service to creators in all media with over 150,000 tracks in its library.

ole is committed to the creative development of its 100+ staff songwriters, legacy writers, and composers and adding value to our catalogs and client catalogs. Currentole writers include Rush, Timbaland, Tyler Farr, Josh Dorr, Gord Bamford, Brett Jones, Dave Turnbull, Jeremy Stover, and Marty Dodson. ole has ongoing Ventures with Last Gang Publishing, Roots Three Music, Jackoby Publishing, and most recently, ole-bluestone Publishing, ole‘s venture with global hitmaker Timbaland.

ole is proud to be associated with its bank partners SunTrust, JP Morgan, CIT Finance, Fifth Third Bank, Avenue Bank, City National Bank, and OneWest Bank.

ole is committed to being the world’s best and most innovative Rights Management Company and the preferred destination for IP Investors and Creators in all Media.

For more information, visit www.majorlyindie.com.

Mark Allan Wolfe LOGO

Mark Allan Wolfe LOGO

Balancing Act a New music video September 21, 2014

Posted by markallanwolfe in markallanwolfe.com, music business, Music Law & Copyright, music licensing, music video, personal, Recording Helps, Spirituality, Uncategorized.
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Balancing Act

This is a video exploring another side of the music of Mark Allan Wolfe. Noted for Rock, Indie, and New Age music, here is a cinematic piece. The song opens with soft piano, that is haunting and is joined by guitar and cello and culminates in a balancing act of a variety of musical instruments. The swelling of cymbals, orchestral elements, and traditional island percussion. For more music and licensing information please visit markallanwolfe.com
If you are interested in licensing music immediately you can start by visiting the online music licensing store located at
http://markallanwolfe.com/License Music.html

Equalizer September 15, 2014

Posted by markallanwolfe in branding, markallanwolfe.com, music business, music video, personal, Uncategorized.
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Equalizer.

A modern rock with a bit of swing and a great hook. Guitars and thunderous drums make this a great choice for your high energy, tough gritty, get the job done type of vibe. The song is also good for commercials video games and reality shows. Composer Mark Allan Wolfe has several 1000’s of songs readily available for just about any job you need music for. Visit markallanwolfe.com and /or wolfiesmusicpublishing.com to contact them to learn about what they can do for you or your clients needs.

Jeff Beck Releases 3 new songs May 6, 2014

Posted by markallanwolfe in markallanwolfe.com, music business, music video.
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eff Beck has released a new three-track CD — Yosogai — in Japan. Don’t bother looking for it on iTunes in the U.S. — it’s not there, although some of the songs might wind up on his much-anticipated 2014 album.

Beck, who has been touring for several weeks and is scheduled to tour throughout the summer with ZZ Top, has been performing one of the songs from the new EP, “Why Give It Away,” as a treat for fans.

Below, you can check out a (somewhat annoying) fan-filmed video that kicks off with “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” and shifts into the funky “Why Give It Away” at the 3:46 mark.

Yosogai is rounded out by two more songs, “Loaded” and a live version of “Danny Boy,” which features Imelda May on vocals. Incidentally, the studio version of “Why Give It Away” features Sophie Delila on vocals. At the April 8 Tokyo performance shown below, bassist Rhonda Smith sings. The rest of Beck’s current band includes Jonathan Joseph on drums, Lizzie Ball on violin and Nicolas Meier on guitar.

To see all of Beck’s current tour dates, HERE

To order YOSOGAI CLICK HERE

Jeff Beck and ZZ Top Announce North American Summer Tour

 

MUSIC SAMPLER Composer Mark Allan Wolfe March 2, 2014

Posted by markallanwolfe in branding, markallanwolfe.com, music business, music licensing, music video, personal.
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Check out some music for free to download and /or load on your android device. This is meant to make you more aware of Mark Allan Wolfe’s music and hopefully inspire you to visit markallanwolfe.com for more music and info as well as licensing information.

ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT NOW AVAILABLE click link below!!

Share this link as well as any others. be sure to also watch the music videos!!

http://www.reverbnation.com/rpk/markallanwolfe

If you are interested in gaining more knowledge or collaborating with Mark Allan Wolfe than please just reach out and visit the website for TONS of information.

What do you believe? February 7, 2014

Posted by markallanwolfe in branding, markallanwolfe.com, music business, personal, Spirituality, Uncategorized.
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Here is an excerpt from a J Michael Dolan BLOG posting that I thought was pretty helpful and so may you. I am always trying to encourage my artists and friends , fellow musicians as well in the pursuit of their craft. You never know when you will make a name for yourself or strick it big. My motto is CAN’T don’t work here!

Stay in touch by also visiting markallanwolfe.com and
wofliesmusicpublishing.com

PACK OF LIES

It’s a big lie, that because of the massive changes in industries like music, publishing and television, that your chances of being successful are less.

It’s a big lie, that other artists & entrepreneurs are not anxious & edgy about what’s happening in the culture of art, tech and business today.

It’s a big lie, that very soon the exponential growth of technology will finally slow down and become the “new normal.”

It’s a big lie, that building a tribe of fans, followers and customers before your next product is produced, released or shipped is a waste of time & money.

It’s a big lie, that people who are ahead of you in technology got there because they’re smarter than you.

It’s very TRUE that a lack of confidence is the greatest killer of worthwhile ideas and personal genius.

If your interested in learning a little more about the writer of this posting feel free to visit

http://www.jmichaeldolan.com/pagecnewabcdez.php?blogid=337

Rock Music Sampler 2 January 23, 2014

Posted by markallanwolfe in markallanwolfe.com, music business, music licensing, music video, personal, Uncategorized.
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I just wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year!! It has been to long before I wrote before but things have been awesome and moving along great!! I have been very blessed by creating a lot of new music for a variety of shows on cable and the web. A lot of this music you will hear on this players has been and is being made available for licensing on several outlets.

A lot of this music is very hard, heavy and just intense but I think if you dig that sort of vibe you will dig this. I would ask that you please feel free to comment, and share with the world what you think about it, and please share your thoughts with me as well. I am also looking for vocalist who think they can sing to this kind of music I would like to work with you on several projects.

For more info and licensing please visit markallanwolfe.com

 

 

Copyright what is it and who needs it? November 17, 2013

Posted by markallanwolfe in markallanwolfe.com, music business, Music Law & Copyright, music licensing.
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You need to copyright your music if you are trying to do anything with your music. If you are trying to get music placed with in Film and TV, played on the radio, or performed by some of the biggest or smallest stars in the music industry. By having a copyright for your music or written works it will protect you and your works from those who will want it for free so they can profit off of your work.

 

 

I can tell you that when I first started I did not know much about it and did not even really think it mattered. Then as I started to understand things I had someone tell me I can make a poor man’s copyright. This is a myth in the music industry that the old-fashioned fix of recording a song, placing it in an envelope and mailing it to yourself then guaranteed copyright protection. The post date on the stamp was supposed to serve as proof of the date of origin of the song, provided the envelope remained sealed.

 

However, this method didn’t stand up in various court cases and has since been discredited. Some folks will tell you it works but who is to say that an envelope’s seal cannot be carefully unsealed and resealed. So if you r going to take the time to do that why not do it right? Do you not consider your work valuable? You think it is priceless yet you will not spend $35- $40  to register it with the US Copyright office or office in your country that handles it?

 

WHAT is a COPYRIGHT?

 

Under international law, copyright is the automatic right of the creator of a work. This means that as soon as you write down a song or make a recording, it’s copyrighted. In order to enforce the copyright, though, you’ll need to be able to prove your ownership. In the US, that means you need to register your song with the U.S. government’s copyright website. This will make it much easier to assert your rights if your copyright is infringed. Read on to learn more about how to protect your song with a copyright.

 

A cool tip I found!!

As a songwriter, composer, artist writer, author it is important to keep track of every song or work you have written, when you wrote it, and who you wrote it with, whether or not you register it with the copyright office. A useful and free tool we recommend is a website such as “MyWerx” www.mywerx.com.  There, you can create a free account and log every song you create to help protect your intellectual property rights!

 

 

If you want to copyright online (the recommended method):

Visit copyright.gov

At the top of the page, it says there are several link options. I recommend you choose “eCO Tutorial.” and “HOW TO REGISTER a WORK.” This will bring up a pages that walk you through the steps of copyrighting your materials online, which includes creating an account on the website and logging in. The account itself is entirely free of charge, but remember that there are filing fees.

Copyright Office forms and information circulars are available from:
Register of Copyrights
Copyright Office
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C 20559-6000
(202) 707-6787

Fees for
Copyright
Registration:
Basic: $45
Online: $35
www.loc.gov/copyright

Whether you want to copyright online or by mail, go to http://www.copyright.gov/eco. Eco stands for electronic copyright.

If you want to copyright by mail:

At the bottom of the page, it says “Alternate Methods” and gives you a list of alternate ways to copyright your materials and the steps necessary to complete those.

It is very important that you begin the process as fast as you can. If you are wanting to make money off your work or protect it YOU are the one who needs to do it. No one cares more about your work than YOU. Always remember that.

Devotion October 5, 2013

Posted by markallanwolfe in branding, markallanwolfe.com, music business, music video, personal, Spirituality, Uncategorized.
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Devotion.

 

 

 

A song called “Devotion” from the up coming NEW release of “Passing Thru” by Mark Allan Wolfe. This is an acoustic piece mixed with several synth pads and a light piano solo covering.

A acoustic guitar melody accompanied by synth pads, and piano trickleing around. Music was made primarily for meditation time, reflection and so forth. More heavier music is available as well as soft rock, Jazz and electronic at markallanwolfe.com. feel free to repost this and share it as well as other videos available from the website.

 

For more info and licensing information please visit his website http://www.markallanwolfe.com

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