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Where is the cost of song publishing here?

Mon Aug 08, 2005 4:46 am

With all this discussion about the cost of song publishing when releasing a dvd I keep wondering if this is nothing more than a smoke screen. I have thought of various reasons why but I still can't prove anything.

But I just got back from the video store and noticed no less than 4 different Paul McCartney concert video type dvd's.

One of them has alot of his love of early rocknroll tunes on it. Many 50's songs that Elvis himself sang. Another one has tons of old beatles songs on it. These are owned by Michael Jackson right? Well if the cost of publishing songs is so expensive, why is there so many Paul McCartney dvd videos out on the market?

Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:31 am

If a Rolls Royce is so expensive how come so many people have one ?

If it costs a few billion to go into space, why do we ?

Supply and demand is the simplest answer.

When marketing departments at Turner realise that there is enough demand from people willing to pay $200 - $250 for complete multi DVD set of everything filmed then we will get it.

Jackson doesn't own the Northern Songs catalogue anymore, he lost it to Sony Music when he defaulted on a multi million dollar loan they gave him with the songs as security.

But it isn't just down to song publishing as in a record deal, there is more to it than that as explained in other threads, but because there's a new one started I guess it has to be explained all over again. Publishing as we know it really relates to records, cd's etc. Any different medium it comes out on is negotiable by the songs owners as to how much they want, hence the owners of Are You Lonesome Tonight are under some illusion that their song is worth more than any other and that nothing is better than something for it as it keeps getting dropped and they get no money.

I guess the worse thing going for EOT is that it was shot mostly on 16mm and it needs to be digitally transferred and restored. Nott too bad if you want the film released as it was in length and content on VHS, but if it's more then it's more added onto the cost.

But, like I sid, when Turner marketing realise that you all (plus a few more) will gladly pay a few hundred dollars for it then the supply will meet the demand.

Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:16 pm

Paul McCartney has also invested his fortunes into music publishing business and owns thousands of songs including Elvis-tunes like Party (which he does on the dvd Live at the Cavern Club). Sony/ATV music which has the Beatles songs also owns some Elvis-tunes like Burning Love. Also, one must remember that EPE owns some of Elvis-songs mainly those that came from Elvis's own companies so the use of those songs isn't very costly.

Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:41 pm

well, the 50s catalogue is about to go into freebie land here, so they could at least start off not having to pay royalties for the 50s catalogue. it's only a few decades now until the entire elvis legacy is freebie catalogue.

or that's at least how i preceive the copyright laws...50 years until it goes into being like singing your own version of danny boy or battle hymn of the republic.

so that means everything recorded before august 1955 is now a freebie, right?

Mon Aug 08, 2005 3:27 pm

Actually, no. The songwriters rights to his songs lasts until 70 years has passed from his death. The mechanical rights to recordings lasts in Europe 50 years from the year the recording was made. In the US this lasts 70 years. Even now when the pre 1955 recordings are free of copyright the songwriters still receive writers royalties and in most cases will continue to do so for a long time since many of them are still a live. This is how it works in a nutshell.

Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:35 pm

Marko, the cost that isn't so very costly applies to recordings on CD, I think there is negotiable amounts higher for other formats, not sure. Tom INC might now a bit more on that.

Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:59 pm

Steve_M wrote:Marko, the cost that isn't so very costly applies to recordings on CD, I think there is negotiable amounts higher for other formats, not sure. Tom INC might now a bit more on that.


Steve, this is true.

I was actually refering to the use of songs on dvd. Whoever wants to use the songs on other formats than on regular cd has to buy a license and this price is set by the owner of the song (music publishing firm or songwriter himself). I was simply refering to the fact that certainly the cost can't be issue for the songs owned by EPE themself and used by them on their Comeback Special and Aloha dvd-sets.

However, if Turner wants to release EOT on dvd they have to do a deal on every song that appears on the dvd. The demands of certain publisher cost certain songs taken out from the TTWII SE release. This was also why certain songs were cut from the original dvd releases of Comeback Special and Aloha in 1999.

This is what EPE says about this:

Contracts we have with the various owners/publishers of the songs in the TV specials expire over time and come up for renewal. The long-standing arrangement with all of the publishers is that each is paid equally for the number of seconds their songs are heard - a "favored nations" agreement it's called in the biz. Upon expiration time, most renewals are routine, but sometimes one publisher or another will insist on a big increase in what they're paid. Our agreeing to do so with one publisher would automatically give all the other songs' publishers a raise because of the favored nations agreement. This would cripple the budget for distributing the particular video/DVD involved and drive up the retail price to compensate, particularly if the publisher in question were demanding an exorbitant figure. It would also set the bar higher for publisher payment expectations for new projects with this material. A publisher can choose to be disagreeable for other reasons, too.

Sadly, we were at a total impasse with a few publishers when Lightyear, our contracted distributor at the time, was ready to put out a new run of ‘68 and Aloha videos (new packaging, enhanced sound) in 1999 and also put them out on DVD for the first time. For the most part, we would have preferred to halt distribution of the videos and delay the introduction of the programs on DVD until the publishing problems could be resolved, but Lightyear's contract with us gave them the right to have video and DVD in the marketplace and we had to honor that contract. Also, there was a continuous demand for the material from the public to be met. We did the best we could. We had the song deletions noted on the new packaging, we put information in the main FAQ on Elvis.com and made other efforts to communicate with the fans. We were completely up front about it and suggested that any fans who wanted to have the '68 and Aloha material on DVD might want to wait until the new comprehensive special editions came out. What company EVER is that candid with its core constituency and its general public?

The music publishing obstacles for video and DVD (also for television) do not affect BMG/RCA's soundtrack releases. Clearances for record releases are standardized and not subject to the treacherous waters of negotiation there can be for video/DVD/TV releases. These problems also do not exist for performances that originated outside the USA. In most other countries, publishing clearances for TV, video and DVD are standardized like they are for CD releases. But, these performances originated in America and, thus, the way the laws are here, the music publishers can demand anything they want or they can simply say "no" for no good reason. That stinks, but that's the way it is.

The massive amount of music on the comprehensive ’68 and Aloha DVD sets was quite a challenge to get cleared, but, miraculously, it all worked out.

Mon Aug 08, 2005 9:12 pm

Steve_M wrote:I guess the worse thing going for EOT is that it was shot mostly on 16mm and it needs to be digitally transferred and restored. Not too bad if you want the film released as it was in length and content on VHS, but if it's more then it's more added onto the cost.

But, like I sid, when Turner marketing realise that you all (plus a few more) will gladly pay a few hundred dollars for it then the supply will meet the demand.



Let's hope they are willing to go the extra-mile to make it a package up to the standards of "Aloha" and "68". The bonus material helped put these sets over, all with rather limited promotion, save perhaps the limited theater showing of '68...

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