Whitey, the musical namesake of London-based musician and producer Nathan Joseph White, penned an award-worthy letter (which quickly went viral) to a TV production company that had been harassing him to use his music for free.
Many applauded Whitey for taking a stand as he criticised the TV business for playing the “shabby angle” of not having the necessary budget to pay for the use of his music while bemoaning the industry’s “culturally ingrained disdain for the musician.”
A few weeks later, and some comments from one of American television’s top producers has reinforced the kind of de-valuing attitudes of the industry that Whitey was critiquing in the first place, while offering some harsh ‘realities’ to budding bands and artists who want to get paid for having their work exposed on the airwaves, as Digital Music News (via MusicWeek) points out.
PJ Bloom, a prominent television industry figure with more than 15 years’ experience, says that music on TV should be thought “more [as] a promotional opportunity in 2013.” And while Whitey says TV execs should stop demanding the use of their music for free, Bloom says that artists should stop expecting money for the use of their art.
While adding that: “Personally I’m shocked that you don’t pay us to get your music in there. I don’t say that to piss anybody off, I’m just saying that it’s amazing to me that we still pay [artists and labels] anything for [music].”
The comments come from a keynote address on ‘Sync Licensing To TV, Film, Adverts And Games’ hosted by AIM earlier this year, as MusicWeek reports, in which Bloom takes the diametrically opposite view to Whitey’s scathing open letter, saying it’s close to a miracle that most musicians are compensated for their hard work at all.
Bloom first got his big break as a music supervisor on TV spin-off Baywatch Nights, but has since risen to overseeing key soundtrack selections for highly popular series like CSI, Parks And Recreation, and Nip/Tuck. He is also the music supervisor the hugely successful Glee, and was one of the key figures in breaking .fun’s ‘We Are Young’ – and in turn the indie popsters’ burgeoning career – on the programme back in 2011.
When asked at the panel how much revenue artists and music-makers could expect from such a high-profile sync placement, Bloom replied: “If you expect nothing, then you’ll probably be very pleased. If you expect to get one of those $50,000 sync fees then you’re probably going to be quite disappointed.”
Bloom blames the de-valuing of music towards an overall decline in profits across all entertainment industries. ”There was a good moment 7-10 years ago when the retail record business was starting to fail and sync was starting to take over in a lot of ways,” he explains.
“We were spending a lot of money: our budgets were higher, the notion of licensing music had much more value so the fees were much higher. Fees have systematically gone down and down over the years and that’s going to continue to happen.”
Instead, the LA native says that the opportunity for exposure is “immense and potentially a great thing. I would argue that if you as music rights owners could buy the right sync you probably would. It’s the same as purchasing some sort of publicity – or in the States where you have to buy your way on to radio.”
Harkening back to the ‘lack of budget’ defence, Bloom says “the money is just going down and down” for TV production; “If you guys are willing to work with us on our fees but on more of a quantity level then I think everybody is in a position to make this a genuine income stream.”
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