Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

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OrionSatori
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Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by OrionSatori » Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:57 am

So, I'm about to register with one of the performing rights organizations, but I'm wondering if I can still allow certain individuals (podcasters, indie film makers, etc) to use my works without my PRO making them pay up. Thanks

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Re: Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by Ellwood » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:36 am

You sure can! if it is promotional in nature (which if it's free) it certainly is! if you own and retain all rights to your would you can do anything with it that you please UNLESS you have signed a exclusive contract with someone, then it is or would be a agreement between you and your exclusive representative.

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Re: Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by T&V Marino » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:44 am

Hi Orion,

You can, but why are you giving away your music for free???? :?

You only get paid from your PRO if the person using (licensing) your music files a cue sheet or other similar paperwork with your PRO.

By the way, if you perform your own songs (like in a coffeehouse open mic, etc.) be sure to report the performance, along with a list of the songs you performed, to your PRO. Hey, every little bit of money helps these days!

~ T&V
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Re: Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by Ellwood » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:49 am

"By the way, if you perform your own songs (like in a coffeehouse open mic, etc.) be sure to report the performance, along with a list of the songs you performed, to your PRO."

Absolutely!! yup I forgot that! very good! :mrgreen:

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Re: Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by OrionSatori » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:25 pm

Ellwood wrote:You sure can! if it is promotional in nature (which if it's free) it certainly is! if you own and retain all rights to your would you can do anything with it that you please UNLESS you have signed a exclusive contract with someone, then it is or would be a agreement between you and your exclusive representative.
Alright, thanks.
T&V Marino wrote:Hi Orion,

You can, but why are you giving away your music for free???? :?

You only get paid from your PRO if the person using (licensing) your music files a cue sheet or other similar paperwork with your PRO.

By the way, if you perform your own songs (like in a coffeehouse open mic, etc.) be sure to report the performance, along with a list of the songs you performed, to your PRO. Hey, every little bit of money helps these days!

~ T&V

Thanks for replying.

Why give music away for free? Well, because when you're unknown, exposure to tens of thousands of people is payment enough. And if it's a project that is non-profit or some sort of political/social activism that I support, my music is my donation.

I just thought that these organizations went around and kept an eye on what was being played, and it wasn't a matter of self reporting.

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Re: Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by mazz » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:52 pm

Two things:

First: You share a common misconception about PROs with many folks. PROs do monitor broadcasts, but they have to have a way to know that your composition was used in a particular production, and these days, that is a cue sheet. Until the digital recognition technology shakes out and becomes commonly used, this manual method of production companies filing cue sheets is the only way that the PRO can be alerted to the fact that your music is going to be broadcast as part of a production.

Second: If you value your music as "free", then that is what everyone else will value your music as. If you really want to donate your music in a way that honors you, your music and and your professional colleagues and the industry itself, then you need to have a value for your music, even if you don't charge them for that value. These film makers, etc., that expect music for "free" need to know that you would normally license your music for a certain fee, but since you believe in their project, you will give them a 100% donation, and would they please sign this invoice. This way, you are alerting them to the value of your music and making them realize that music isn't really "free", because you have placed some inherent value to it and are not just "giving away" the fruits of your labor and the creative intellectual property that you have brought into the world. That's worth a lot!!!

Exposure to tens of thousands of people in and of itself isn't going to get you anywhere unless you have a way to capitalize on that exposure, such as a full touring schedule, radio play, strong internet presence, etc. If your music shows up in a popular production and folks can't find your music or go to hear you play, then you've completely blown that opportunity.

I strongly suggest you think about how you are going to value your music and promote yourself, if you haven't already, so that you can be clear with folks that want to use your music that there is value to it and you don't just give it away willy nilly, but you put it where it has value for many reasons, some of which may, at times be monetary, sometimes not so much, but you have already considered what it is worth. At the very least, it's a starting point for a conversation about the value of music.

Your music is your life's work, value it as much as you value your life.

Good luck,

Mazz
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Re: Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by Hookjaw Brown » Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:33 pm

T&V Marino wrote:Hi Orion,

You can, but why are you giving away your music for free???? :?

You only get paid from your PRO if the person using (licensing) your music files a cue sheet or other similar paperwork with your PRO.

By the way, if you perform your own songs (like in a coffeehouse open mic, etc.) be sure to report the performance, along with a list of the songs you performed, to your PRO. Hey, every little bit of money helps these days!

~ T&V
T & V,

Where does the PRO get the money to pay you?? Do they go after the club or what?
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Re: Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by mazz » Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:06 pm

They don't necessarily "go after" anyone. Legally, any venue that features music performed (including background music in restaurants, etc.)' has to pay a license to the PROs. It's called a blanket license and it allows the clubs to have any music written by any of the PROs writers performed at any time. The same goes for the big networks and the cable networks. This is where the performance royalties come from. When you get a royalty check, the money comes from these licenses.

The PROs get a bad rap, maybe deserved maybe not, for enforcing these licenses, which for clubs aren't that expensive, a few hundred dollars a year. But the club owners squawk because they think music should be free or they're already paying the bands. Yet another reason to educate folks on the value of music!!

But if we as musicians don't understand the system, how can we educate the club owners, etc., who think that music is free? With all due respect folks, get educated, this info is everywhere available and not hard to learn or understand! I hate to be a pain in the ass, but this is our business, we need to understand it to be able to be more successful at it and not get taken advantage of!!!!!!

Peace,

Mazz
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Re: Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by Mike Barresi » Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:15 pm

Amen Mazz! I agree 100%

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Re: Allowing free use of your music while belonging to a PRO

Post by T&V Marino » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:49 pm

Hi Hookjaw,

Clubs, stadiums (stadia?? :lol: Sorry!), coffeehouses, restaurants, retail stores, gyms, etc., all pay an annual fee to ASCAP, SESAC or BMI (they don't have to pay each of these PROs, which is very strange). It all goes into a main account and is distributed when the songwriter or publisher submits a set list, cue sheet, etc.

Somehow, it gets distributed, but even after years of going to panels about this topic, we have absolutely no CLUE how they do it. :roll:

~ T&V
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