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#2209972 - 01/07/14 03:46 AM Royalties and insane scenarios
Nikolas Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 6004
Loc: Europe


So... As a publisher and a composer, I believe that I deserve my royalties.

All is well...


I decided to hold a recital with works from my publishing house alone.


And I contacted the local PRO (AEPI) to check on things. My thinking is that if I'm the publisher and the composer, I should be able to exempt myself from paying royalties to myself, right?


Not only I have to pay... myself (after AEPI taking a cut), but I also have to provide a "pre-payment" to get permission and do the recital. Which would be ok, but the actual money that I have to pay PRIOR TO THE RECITAL is humongous: 1845 euros (or $2100). For ANY recital. Even if the recital hall holds 100 sits (so I'd be making a total of 1000 in the best possible scenario).

I am annoyed to no end right now


Thank you for reading.

(And yes, this is the same guy making a thread called "discussion on copyrights"! grin)

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#2210029 - 01/07/14 07:49 AM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
Polyphonist Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 8619
Loc: New York City
I don't get it. If you're paying money to yourself, you're not losing anything, are you? (Mind you, it still sounds a bit ridiculous to make you do that.)


#2210035 - 01/07/14 08:04 AM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
ando Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 4376
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
It's times like this that many people turn a blind eye to laws and just hope nobody gets wind of it...Your biggest problem now is that you already got their attention when you tried to do the right thing, so now you can't use plausible deniability as a defence. It's a huge shame that this sort of nonsense can kill small events before they even get off the ground.

#2210052 - 01/07/14 08:36 AM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 6004
Loc: Europe
There's two issues here:

1. AEPI (The Greek PRO) in particular gets ahold of 15% from whatever money I will be making off royalties, for their expenses! Not 15% from the 1845 euros, but from the final amount that I will be giving... myself (around 100 euros in total, if that much since it will be 7% from the tickets profit!).

2. I will be, however, giving them some 1845 euros IN ADVANCE of that, and get back the difference, when it suites them! Which is NOT ok, since not only if I decide to do a couple of recital, I'll have to double the amount, and triple it and whatnot, but further to that, their payments are twice a year, so they can actually grab my money and use it to do whatever the *ahem* want with it, while I will be partying my money bye bye for that period of time!

Can you imagine if this is happening about 100 times per 6 months? This means that they'd have around 200,000 euros to start with and make any kind of investment they wanted, without any capital. And don't get me started on mechanical rights...

Ando, you're right. But given my stance as someone trying to be ok with everyone, I'm pretty baffled right now! frown and I didn't give them any details on the recital or anything, but it does stand to reason that:
a. someone might actually give me in.
b. I hope to advertise for this recital and not hide it.
c. (BTW), I'd hope to stream it live to the Internet for all of you guys (free of charge of course), but all of this is making things even harder! grrrr...

#2210092 - 01/07/14 09:56 AM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
This is absolutely mind boggling - and So Unfair.

Nikolas, you have every right to vent and even rant! Is there any recourse available?
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

#2210259 - 01/07/14 02:00 PM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
Dwscamel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 622
That's completely ridiculous. When the law defies common sense, I think common sense always prevails -- you shouldn't have to hold your concert 'in secret', but maybe you should. The heck with them.
Beethoven - Op.49 No.1 (sonata 19)
Czerny - Op.299 Nos. 5,7 (School of Velocity)
Liszt - S.172 No.2 (Consolation No.2)

Dream piece:
Rachmaninoff - Sonata 2, movement 2 in E minor

#2210368 - 01/07/14 04:26 PM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23202
Loc: Oakland
ASCAP and BMI, for the most part, are the performing rights organizations in the US. They license the venues, who pay a set fee which depends on the type of venue it is, the number of performances, and things like that. The amount can often be negotiated, by claiming it is a different sort of venue or something like that, but when they go after someone, they usually pick a high amount, since there may be some people who will just pay it. But the object is to get as many people as they can to pay something, because if they decide not to play any music, there would be no fees. An organization I belong to went through this a couple of years ago, and we worked out a reasonable solution.
Semipro Tech

#2211001 - 01/08/14 03:42 PM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10650
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
An example of how laws and arrangements seemingly designed to protect those who produce intellectual property has a perverse effect. The problem here is the intermediary organization that collects the money. Its interests are not properly aligned with the composer's. This organization has a clear incentive to skim to pay the "expenses" of its employees. It's not a simple pass-through.

If Nikolas were only paying them to ultimately pay himself, this wouldn't be a problem. But he is paying a group of paper pushers as well. Their interests and his are not the same.

#2211152 - 01/08/14 09:02 PM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
hreichgott Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 2063
Loc: western MA, USA
I have so far avoided joining PROs for exactly this reason. I handle all my own contracts and licensing. If anyone is using my music for something, either I know about it already in which case I don't need the PRO, or else it's complete piracy in which case the PRO probably wouldn't know about it either.

Any way you can quit your PRO? Or are they providing you with some sort of benefit that makes the extra fees worth it?
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Working on:
Bach, Partita no. 3
Memorizing Beethoven, Op. 2 no. 2
I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music

#2211354 - 01/09/14 08:55 AM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
the nosy ape Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 767
Loc: Westford, MA
There are those that perform their own music for fairly limited audiences and perhaps make some money selling CD's after their performances. These people have little use for a PRO. For composers, performers, and publishers that have a somewhat wider audience, a PRO makes a lot of sense. It would be a tremendous amount of work for a composer to keep track of all the medium to large venues to make sure he was getting all the royalties he deserved.

Nikolas' problem is that he is trying to be a little of both, performing his own music in a small venue and also publishing music for wider consumption. I imagine this sort of thing happens in all sorts of industries to "in between" type ventures.

#2211389 - 01/09/14 10:17 AM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13331
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Sounds like this organization does this to recoup their costs to exist, which seems very unfair to those who they are supposedly protecting. Reminds me of Unemployment insurance here in the US. My husband and I own a web development business, and it's just the two of us. Because we collect a salary, however, we have to pay unemployment insurance to both state and federal, even though we would never lay ourselves off. When I questioned a government employee about this rule, I asked if we should lay ourselves off once in a while to get our money back since it will just sit there and be used to cover who knows what expenses (I'm not naive enough to think the Gov't won't touch that money). He said we could do that, but I don't think he really knew what to say.

It stinks that you are trying to do the right thing, but by doing so you end up shooting yourself in the foot. How badly do you need this organization?
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2211396 - 01/09/14 10:26 AM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10650
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Interesting. I would like to see the "pink slip" that you send to yourself. smile

Or would you pull your husband into your office and explain to him why his performance isn't quite up to snuff. grin

#2211512 - 01/09/14 01:34 PM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 6004
Loc: Europe
See the thing is that as a publisher I'm not handling only my own rights, but other composers as well, so I certainly do not have a right to 'gamble' by not being a part of a PRO. BTW, I'm with STIM as a publisher and as a composer and not part of AEPI (Which I loath with all my heart currently! grin)

The one thing that I thought of is to actually NOT register the works with STIM until the concert, but this can only be done once otherwise I would be loosing from other venues!

Just to be clear, I don't have much of a problem from the 7% that AEPI grabs from the royalties. I have a problem with partying some $2000 (or slightly more actually) for a few months until paid back! This IS a lot of money and I'd like to be able to use them to something more interesting (like organizing more concerts, or publish MANY more scores, or come over to an MTNA summer meeting, or whatever...).

#2213764 - 01/13/14 12:38 AM Re: Royalties and insane scenarios [Re: Nikolas]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
Obviously, I have no idea how the contract is worded, but is there an opt-out clause where you can choose to waive the royalty fee in certain circumstances? (I'm guessing no given the thread, but didn't want to rule out the possibility.)

In terms of the actual payment, you really only have to pay the people who could hold you in breach of contract. If the money's coming to you, you don't have to pay yourself because you're not going to file a lawsuit against yourself or otherwise seek damages. But you should probably pay the people who might do just that..

(This is a little less refined of a post than I wanted, but I'm literally on my way to sleep and wanted to respond quickly. I'll take another look when I'm more rested! smile )
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.


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