13: Sometimes It’s Better To Think Small

There’s more to life than ABC and the CW. 95% of paid Synch license placements happen beyond primetime network programming, so cast your line in the ocean rather than a puddle. (NOTE: Viacom pays zilch for music placements, which is pure evil since that includes MTV and VH1. It’s amazing exposure to get placed on Real World or MADE, but there’s no paycheck.)

-Phil Putnam

Reader Comments (2)

I have to slightly disagree with you on this post. At least the NOTE section you left. I know first hand from working with a few dozen artists that giving your music away for a FREE sync to MTV or VH1 can pay amazing dividends. It's great to get a sync fee up front of course, but I know many publishers/artists/labels who have given free syncs to MTV/VH1 because they knew the real value would be in the Performance Income payable via ASCAP, BMI or SOCAN (for US residents). Just getting your foot in the door with them to use your music for free could be worth it b/c of the credit, exposure and performance income. Of course it take an understanding of Publishing for this to make sense. For instance - it takes 3 quarters after your music plays on TV to collect the performance check from your P.R.O. (Performance Royalty Organization), but I've seen more than a few artists collect quarterly checks that are 4 figures ($x,xxx) deep, multiple quarters in a row off of giving free syncs to MTV/VH1.

My advice for younger artists trying to get into Film/TV is that they should be willing to start out by granting some gratis licenses or very cheap ones so they can get in the game. Then once they have a established a legit list of credits they can start seeking higher fees.

Thanks for your comment, James. You raise a good point, which is that gratis placements can help build an Artist's credentials and can be a tool to maneuver them into placements that do pay a Synch License. My NOTE: was not saying that Artists should snub gratis placements, or even to avoid Vicaom. It was simply stating that Viacom does not pay Synch License fees to Indie Artists. Your comment adds an important angle to the post, and dovetails with the main point, which is to go for several small scores rather than reaching for one or two big ones.

To receive 4-figure checks from a P.R.O for placements on Viacom shows is quite impressive, and quite removed from the experience of the Indie Artists that I know. We'd love to know more of the story. Can you tell us which shows these Artists gave gratis placements to, and how many different Viacom shows they were placed on in one quarter? Did they have placements on other networks in addition to Viacom, or also in films? Were the 4-figures solely from TV/film placements, or one part of their total royalties for that quarter, which would include radio royalties as well. Are these 4-figures $9500 or $1200? Did these Artists have Publishers and/or Labels securing the placements for them, or doing the work themselves?

There are many details that are vital to gaining a clear understanding of this 4-figure experience. Thanks for filling in the blanks for us!

Phil Putnam

November 10 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Putnam

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