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wonker

Sync rights.......

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Is it simply highest bidder?  Who says yay or nay in today's game?

Anybody else hear Chris Issac's Wicked Game in interesting places recently?  Boston Crusaders couldn't pull off the sync rights to it, so 3+ minutes of their 2017 show disappears on media forever...........but, man......there I was shopping for my latest French hi-performance sports car and what pop's up as the soundtrack for an Alfa Romeo commercial?  Wicked?!?!?

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It’s DCI who has to pay, not Boston, and honestly, I think it wasn’t that DCI couldn’t get the rights...It’s the fact they couldn’t afford the cost presented to them.  

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I believe sync rights fall under Mechanical License. Not positive.  Essentially this is the licensing deal that allows one to record the original score/song, record their own arrangement of the song, or use a professional recording of the song for various purposes (commercial, documentary, film, TV, etc).  Rights do need to be secured whether you use a recording of the music for profit or not

For Boston it would have been to record (audio or video) their arrangement of the music.  For a commercial they are using the original music (or slightly edited version of the original).  Perhaps in this case because it is faithful to the original music (or is the original) and also because it brings in a bigger chunk of money it was allowed.  Typically this is up to the content rights holder.  Such is the music business. 

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3 minutes ago, leed17 said:

It’s DCI who has to pay, not Boston, and honestly, I think it wasn’t that DCI couldn’t get the rights...It’s the fact they couldn’t afford the cost presented to them.  

This is likely correct.  Many composers, publishers/rights holders of music content will allow music ensembles to perform their music and to even arrange it for a different kind of ensemble (like drum corps).  What they may not allow is recording of that material. They may ask for a fee for recording, as well as for performing and rights to arrange; but they may also deny recording to protect the quality of the original music.  

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1 hour ago, jwillis35 said:

I believe sync rights fall under Mechanical License. Not positive.  Essentially this is the licensing deal that allows one to record the original score/song, record their own arrangement of the song, or use a professional recording of the song for various purposes (commercial, documentary, film, TV, etc).  Rights do need to be secured whether you use a recording of the music for profit or not

For Boston it would have been to record (audio or video) their arrangement of the music.  For a commercial they are using the original music (or slightly edited version of the original).  Perhaps in this case because it is faithful to the original music (or is the original) and also because it brings in a bigger chunk of money it was allowed.  Typically this is up to the content rights holder.  Such is the music business. 

Mechanical license is what DCI gets for producing the CDs and audio downloads each year...note that they got the mechanical license for Wicked Game on Boston’s show, because it’s on the CDs.  The sync license is for the right to put the music to video for the blurays, DVD’s and video downloads, and DCI couldn’t get that, or didn’t want to pay the excessive cost to get that.  It must have been a LOT of money if they could get it but couldn’t afford it...so sad, because I can’t even bring myself to watch the shows on the Blu-ray like Boston and Blue Stars because so much is missing.  

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sorry for the mis-statement in the original post.....I know it was DCI responsible for sync rights for the DVD's, not Boston's.......I just found it odd to hear the new, stylized vocal version playing behind a car commercial.

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This is something I wrote that never got published.

The challenges of music licensing (And what really happened with “Empire State of Mind”)

By Michael Boo

 

Music licensing seems like an increasingly annoying problem for corps. Just this past season, Madison Scouts’ popular closer, “Empire State of Mind” had to be blacked out on the DCI DVDs because the corps couldn’t secure mechanical licensing rights. (More about what really happened later.)

 

DCI corps aren’t the only entities running into music licensing difficulties. Last month, Burger King had to pull a commercial with singer Mary J. Blige over rights and earlier in the year, former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was sued by the owner of the “Rocky III” theme song, “Eye of the Tiger,” for using the work without permission at campaign rallies.

 

A brief history of how we got to where we are

The way music is produced has changed dramatically since digital media has taken over. Madison Scouts’ arranger Robert W. Smith states, “The record companies lost the keys to the kingdom as soon as the first CD was pressed. It wasn’t all that long ago that Napster and other file sharing services were under attack for causing record companies to lose a lot of money.”

 

But now, according to Smith, the music companies are “almost giving away the music,” making their money through concerts and merchandising…even receiving a share of the beverages sold at concerts.

 

Much more so than before, licensing is a cash cow for the holders of music copyrights. In DCI’s earlier years, corps didn’t have to worry about licensing and didn’t pay the statutory rate for mechanical licenses. Corps have gone from barely being a blip on these companies’ radars to becoming very much a part of their income stream. (Popular speculation that the move from G bugles to B-flat horns was responsible for increased licensing issues is an unfounded myth.)

 

While corps must receive permission to arrange a piece of music, mechanical licenses are not required for live or audio broadcasts. However, they kick in once a performance is recorded for sale to the public. (Why is it called a “mechanical” license? The name originated from the use of mechanical machines that used to copy the recordings.)

 

Additional problems arise with synchronization licenses, which are required when pre-recorded audio is fixed to a moving visual image…something that occurs in television shows and commercials…and DCI DVDs. Such a license is not required for live performances, which is why those who attended DCI’s “Big, Loud & Live 7” Quarterfinals broadcast were able to enjoy watching Scouts’ “Empire State of Mind” in its entirety.

 

That is where things become more difficult for those requesting a synch license. A publisher has the right to say “no” for whatever reason. Which leads us to…

 

What really happened with “Empire State of Mind”

Until now, drum corps fans blamed a variety of sources as the problem for why Madison Scouts couldn’t obtain the synch rights to “Empire State of Mind,” which resulted in the blackout on the DVDs. Rap artist Jay-Z was often blamed for this, as he is the original recording artist.

 

“In our case,” according to Smith, “State Farm Insurance knew well in advance that on 9/11/11, they were going to put out a nationwide television commercial using ‘Empire State of Mind’ as the central statement, with school kids singing the song at a New York City firehouse. It was in the best interest of the insurance company to obtain exclusivity and they paid a lot of money to get it. If someone else in the popular media had come out using the piece, it would have lessened the impact.

 

“I tried assisting Scouts by using my channels in the publishing industry to get the synch rights, but I kept getting the same answer. When someone turns down a request for a synch license, they just say ‘no’ and that’s it. The reason for our problems became abundantly clear the moment I saw the commercial on September 11, 2011, understanding why utmost confidentiality had to be maintained. Generally, such exclusivity lasts a year and is so expensive because the publisher can’t make money from anyone else during that time.”

 

Madison Scouts Executive Director Chris Komnick recounts, “By the time the publisher gave us the definitive ‘no,’ we were already into May. We made the decision that the music in the live show was more important than the DVD and so we decided not to change the last third of the show. We thought they were telling us ‘no’ because it was such a hot piece of property at the time. It typically isn’t that hard to get such licensing.

 

“We are continuing to pursue the licensing of “Empire State of Mind” with the expectation that the synch rights will eventually be granted. We’re hoping that sometime in the future, we can make available a full recording of our ‘New York Morning’ show in conjunction with DCI.”

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Robert W. Smith's explanation is spot on. It figures.

He's not only a premier arranger and composer, but a highly respected music industry educator.

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“We are continuing to pursue the licensing of “Empire State of Mind” with the expectation that the synch rights will eventually be granted. We’re hoping that sometime in the future, we can make available a full recording of our ‘New York Morning’ show in conjunction with DCI.”

did they ever get them?

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On 4/15/2018 at 10:16 AM, wonker said:

sorry for the mis-statement in the original post.....I know it was DCI responsible for sync rights for the DVD's, not Boston's.......I just found it odd to hear the new, stylized vocal version playing behind a car commercial.

car makers are willing to pay a lot more

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