Music is a big deal for every filmmaker. But every Producer also knows that come music clearance time, money is running out, nerves have been scraped raw, and it is a hell of a lot of work and time to get the clearances in place. And usually you can not get paid until you complete delivery, and that includes delivery of the music licenses.
Those dedicated, music-loving souls whom do the clearances are one of the many unsung heroes of the film biz. I have had the pleasure of working with Brian Godshall on several of my films, and he is one of the really great ones. Today, he extends his generosity to share some of the latest developments of where the film and music world meet.
You know how important music can be to your projects. So we know you want to know all the new developments in the music business that may prove advantageous for an upcoming media you are producing. You may already be aware of some of these and some may be new to you. After you've taken a look at this list, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
1. As of 6/10 Rumblefish makes available some music of theirs for free/cheap to video makers for you tube productions; www.friendlymusic.com; You can pick from 400,000 songs for $1.99 per video - they developed an app to make it easy and cheap to use music on websites, etc. rumblefish.com;
2. Per music blog/website Digital Music News-- 4/29/11 -- music focused Facebook deal - businesses can now reward visiting customers with free Mp3s - thanks to Facebook check-in incentive system created by Neurotic Media; neuroticmedia.com;
3. Mix Match Music allows music fans to make their own mixes of master recordings that are available through this site. Perhaps this may be a valuable tool to promote the music in your next project. mixmatchmusic.com;
4. Branding - some of the major record labels are joining up with an entity which has something to promote, such as a film, and a "sponsor" through a branding effort. The sponsor will then pay for the music download when a fan of the project goes onto the site and wants to download new music. target="_blank">hipdigitalmedia.com;
5. Per Digital Music News 8/25/11 - ReverbNation - has just launched "promote it" a Facebook-based ad platform that offer customized targeting, landing pages, and far deeper interactivity reports. ReverbNation is one of several companies to use the updated Facebook ad platform. Perhaps this can be used in your next music based project. reverbnation.com;
6. Shazam - It all started in 2002 - even before the advent of smartphones - Shazam launched a simple service designed to connect people in the UK with music they heard but didn’t know. Since then, Shazam has come of age and moved beyond music discovery and has now evolved into one of the world’s most recognized mobile consumer brands. The launch pad to our success has been our core music recognition technology that enables anyone with a mobile phone to identify music that is playing - even under noisy conditions - wherever they are, simply by Shazaming it. The clip is run through our database of more than 10 million tracks (extending back to the '50s) to find an exact fingerprint match. shazam.com;
7. Just for fun you may want to check out THE BEATLES who granted use of their music to the site whymusicmatters.com; Their 2 minute video promotes the legal use of music. There are also short films with music from, among others, Louis Armstrong, The Jam, Kate Bush and Sigur Ros.
8. The President of NMPA Calls for Blanket Licensing of Mechanical and Sync Rights - The article below basically talks about how the Harry Fox Agency/NMPA are in discussions with the record labels and digital companies to revise legislation pertaining to some of the synch (film, TV and other visual media) uses of music. It may result in faster and more economical fees being charged to the producers of such audio-visual media. This was reported on various websites such as Billboard and indie-music.com.
June 16, 2011 By Ed Christman (@edchristman), New York
At the National Music Publishers Association's annual meeting yesterday (June 15), president and CEO David Israelite urged members that now is the time to create U.S. blanket-licensing solutions for digital music service providers seeking mechanical and synchronization rights.
He said that music publishers are facing "three big challenges:" they have to continue to fight copyright theft and infringement; they have to help legal digital sites to prosper; and they have to make sure that publishers get their fair share of that prosperity.
But he said that prosperity could remain elusive if the industry continues to license the way it has been. "If you look at the challenges of the industry," the way we license doesn't work: it is broken."
As a solution, Israelite said that now is the time to revisit the SIRA Act (Section 115 Reform Act) of 2006, which never made its way successfully through Congress to become the law of the land.
He urged that legislation be crafted that would create designated agents to act on behalf of all music publishers for synch and mechanical rights. He said that it didn't have to be one agent, it could be a small number similar to the set-up of ASCAP, SESAC and BMI. As long as they agents were competitive and publishers had the right to align with any one of the appointed agents they so chose, and could switch if they wanted to, that would fill the void.
Otherwise, he warned, the music industry would lose out on creative business models, which might never launch because of the complicated licensing situation. Moreover, Israelite noted that the reform would only be in circumstances where the user requires blanket licenses. Publishers could still cut individual deals in situations that make sense.
He cited the Youtube litigation as a situation warranting some kind of mass synchronization vehicle. In that litigation, music publishers and other entertainment rights holders including Viacom are seeking to overturn a court decision in favor of the website. That decision said that when user-generated video's containing copyrighted materials are uploaded to Youtube by users other than the rights owners, the site is protected by the fair-use provision provided by the safe harbor element of the Digital Millennium's Copyright Act.
But what if Youtube conceded and wanted to be properly licensed? "We wouldn't be able" to provide them with an easy solution for mass synchronization licensing, he said. That's why its time to revisit the SIRA Act.
He made the point that in revisiting the SIRA Act, other music publishing issues might also be resolved. For example, music publishers don't think it is fair that they get only 9 cents from a $1.29 list-priced downloaded song while the master rights owners get 81 cents.
Later, Israelite told Billboard that the NMPA was working with record labels and digital companies on how to draft such legislation. "We are far along in concept, but there is nothing on paper yet," he said. The industry won't even reach out to Congress until everything is negotiated and ready to go. "This shouldn't be controversial [legislation]," he said. "We will all come together to support it."
Earlier, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton opened the meeting with a keynote address that began with the admission: "I am here because I feel your industry is under assault from IP thieves and counterfeiters,'" Morton said. "We haven't done enough about it." But that has changed with the current Obama administration he said.
Among the steps the administration has taken is the creation of an IP Center in Arlington Va., which includes not only ICE staffers but personnel from Interpol and other agencies from countries like Canada and Mexico.
In one of its more controversial actions, ICE has been targeting infringing websites and seizing the assets.
As a result he said a lot of other sites came down just because they thought we were going to go after them. When ICE started putting seizure banners on sites, it had an unanticipated reaction. Even more people went to visit the sites to see the seizure banners. What ICE started doing was putting up educational messages about copyright infringement.
Ken Feinberg, the managing partner of Feinberg Rozen lawfirm, gave the other keynote address. He was appointed the special master of the administration of payout from the pending-and-unmatched funds. So far, $161 million has been paid out, to over 1,200 music publishers, he reported to NMPA members.
He called the pending-and unmatched settlement that he administered unusual because very rarely is he presented with a negotiated solution on the front-end.
There was one big problem, he conceded. That occurred when he realized there were over 2,350 songs with "conflicts", where ownership claims in each of those songs added up to more than 100% ownership. But today, through privately held negotiations, that has been reduced to 52 conflicts, which he labeled a tremendous achievement.
Finally, beyond the settlement, Feinberg noted that while there are thousands of trade associations in Washington very few have more input than the NMPA.
Brian Godshall has handled music clearances and/or licensing for over 15 years for many dozens of independent films including the more recent movies PLEASE GIVE and JACK GOES BOATING as well as past films such as TOWELHEAD, BORN INTO BROTHELS, GARDEN STATE, GUNNIN' FOR THAT #1 SPOT, KINSEY, THE NAMESAKE, SONGCATCHER and many others. He looks forward to new ideas and changes in the independent film industry. Email: email@example.com Web: bgodshallcleamusic.com;
Ted adds: "By the way, I don't usually give out this sort of blanket endorsements, but: HIRE THIS GUY. You won't be sorry. He's worth his weight (and rate) in gold.