ASCAP "We Create Music"
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS
ACE / Repertory Find Titles, Writers & Publishers and more Find Titles, Writers, Publishers and more
Search ASCAP.com
 
Search ASCAP.com

Home Video Licensing

By Todd Brabec, ASCAP Executive VP of Membership and Jeff Brabec


HOME VIDEO LICENSING

The sale of DVDs and video cassettes is a major source of revenue for video divisions of companies and, depending on how a song is licensed, a potentially significant source of income for the songwriter and music publisher.

The sale of DVDs and video cassettes is a major source of revenue for video divisions of companies and, depending on how a song is licensed, a potentially significant source of income for the songwriter and music publisher.

ONE-TIME BUY-OUT:

All of the major motion picture companies as well as many of the smaller film companies demand that the music publisher or writer accept a one-time buy-out fee for all video cassette, DVD and disc rights regardless of the actual number of units that may be sold. This fee is usually incorporated into the overall synchronization fee paid by the film company to the music publisher for the use of the song in a motion picture.

ROYALTY PER DVD OR CASSETTE:

The royalty paid for the use of a composition may be based on either a negotiated penny rate (usually from 8¢ to 15¢ per song) or a percentage of the wholesale or retail price of each DVD or video, shared on a pro rata basis by all songs contained in the video.

The penny per DVD or cassette approach is one of the simpler ways to deal with home video distribution, since all the distributing company has to do is to compute the number of units sold and multiply that number by the agreed-upon per-song penny royalty. For example, if 100,000 DVDs are sold and a particular song has a 15¢ royalty, the aggregate payment to the music publisher and songwriter would be $15,000.

MODIFIED BUY-OUT OR ROLLOVER ADVANCE:

The production company pays the music publisher a certain up-front fee (i.e. $5,000) for a set number of videos (i.e. 50,000), with additional predetermined fees paid as additional sales plateaus are reached (i.e. $10,000 for each additional 100,000 units).

© 2007 Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec
For more information, check out the book Music, Money and Success: The Insider's Guide To Making Money In The Music Business (Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales/502 pages) available for sale at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Music Sales Group and www.musicandmoney.com.