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Topic: ASCAP question

  1. #1

    ASCAP question

    Off topic question for you guys who score for television..I\'ve done 6 shows for Discovery channel and a couple for ESPN and although I send in cue sheets to ASCAP I\'ve never been paid performance royalties on any of them. ASCAP tells me they don\'t catch them in their surveys. Does anyone know a better way to get them to pay?

    Thanks for any info

  2. #2

    Re: ASCAP question

    99% of the time television work is a work-for-hire and therefore you won\'t get any royalties for domestic airplay. You should still get some sort of royalty monies from International airplay though. Perhaps the Discovery Channel and ESPN don\'t air internationally or at least your particular shows haven\'t yet.
    And actually, it should be the producer of the show sending in the cue sheets, not you. You might want to find a way to double check that accurate cue sheets are getting to ASCAP from the producer\'s end.


    [This message has been edited by Gav (edited 02-13-2002).]

  3. #3

    Re: ASCAP question

    While most TV stuff is work for hire, it doesn\'t mean you aren\'t due royalties. It means the network or production company takes the publishers share but you still get royalties on the writers share. Basically each piece of music has 2 components that generate 50% of the royalties - publisher share and writer share. If you write a song and license it, you get royalties on both. But if you\'re a hired composer, the network will take your publisher share. They own the music and you can\'t use it elsewhere. But whenever it airs (both domestic and foriegn) you get writer\'s royalty. Now, there are no royalties paid movie theaters in the US while they do pay in Europe and other countries.

    Anyway, I digress. The problem with Ascap and BMI is that alot of smaller cable channels royalties are done by a survey - meaning not every performance pays. The big networks (ABC,CBS, FOX,NBC) are tracked by a census - every performed work is paid. I\'m sure Discovery and ESPN are on a survey, so they probably didn\'t track your performance. To make you feel better, I think the royalty rates on some cable is like $6 per minute for non-feature underscore so you\'re probably not losing a tone of money. Hope that helps. I write for TV as well and have learned quite a bit about this in the last few years.


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