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The publisher bets against the amount it pays you for the song copyright with how much and how quickly it can make that money back.
Typical buyout fees in this case are $75-$1000 depending on the publisher and their clout. Obviously the top end of that scale is dominated by super big super powerful publishers. It might be worth more than $1000 if its a well know song by a charting artist - then the sky is the limit because a firm might offer 4-5 x the yearly earnings for the song in return for a significant share.
Its typical to give up the entire Sync (or what used to be Sync / Master Use license fee) in return for being paid WFH up front. Its also typical to retain the writers share of royalties.
Its NOT typical for a big TV show placement to get $10-$20k at this point. Unless its a combination of it being
1) a commercial placement
2) a song that has some nostalgic appeal perhaps if it did have some chart success (you mentioned this was an older piece)
3) by a well know artist
Its atypical that a piece even in a commercial which commands a sync fee of $10k or more would not earn significant royalties over the life of broadcast. I would say in my small experience with commercials that if it runs for more than a month, you will quickly earn as much or more in back end than a moderate sync fee (say in the $500-$3k range).
If its worthwhile for an advertiser to spend >$10k on a sync, then they are likely going to use it for a significant time - 6 months to a year or more, and its likely going to be a big budget campaign. You might consider that a loss to not get that sync if you sign it WFH. OTOH it might not get placed at all by another publisher. The publishers that specialize in older music or "period" music are well known in the industry. They are a go to source for vintage tunes with copyright dates to prove it.
Streaming however...I don't have any idea. It seems things have shifted a lot with the rise of direct to Netflix type programming.
At any rate: Like others have said above - this isn't a bad deal necessarily, but I wouldn't sign all my music into this kind of arrangement. The diversified portfolio is the strongest long term game.
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The deal is progressing and will hopefully now encompass all of the songs recorded by the 70s band that the original proposal relates to. It also appears I had my wires crossed re: writers share, it looks like it will be retained, so this should be a really exciting outcome for those involved. The company that is offering it is definitely top shelf, and have been great to deal with all the way through.
I’ll post back here in the future once I know everything has gone ahead.
Thanks again everyone!
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