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Art vs Big Business

by wrm@mws.phxcoxmail.com on 10/12/2022

In Spring 2022 I had made the commitment to honor James Taylor with a Facebook LIVE video Tribute to be aired in the Summer of 2022.  So, I began to carefully select twelve of his popular songs, rehearse each, and write respectful and hopefully interesting dialog to introduce each song. I was ready by mid-summer to air this James Taylor tribute on Facebook LIVE for free.  I was so excited to share my tribute with those who would've tuned into Facebook Live for this event.  I wanted to do everything above board, so I reached out to James Taylor as well as the Music Publishing companies who hold the rights to his songs in order to ask for "synchronization licensing" permission in order to put my live cover audio of his songs to video.  While I didn't expect James personally to respond since he is very busy still touring the world (Go James!), I did expect his music publishing companies to respond within a reasonable amount of time.  After several emails asking for a response, one of rights holder for five of the songs gave me written permission with no initial fee indicated, however, under the stipulation that I honor something called "Most Favorable Nation" policy, which in short means that if the other songs rights holders request a higher fee, then I am expected to provide that same payment to all of the rights holders.  So after reluctantly agreeing to that, I moved on to the other seven songs rights holder - ie.  the largest music publishing company in world.  After a few months of emails and phone calls to get them to respond, I finally was directed to the person who would be able to assist my request.  They finally came back with a per song quote of $250 dollars.  Due to the "Most Favorable Nation" policy that meant I had to pay all the rights holders the same amount.  So, 12 songs multiplied by $250 dollars = $3000.   Unfortunately, I was not able to convince them to reduce the fee.   I could've paid that, however, I chose not to out of principle.  Three grand seemed to me to be too much for a simple Facebook Live Tribute.   So, I graciously declined and my several months of preparation and anticipation and excitement were dashed all over the rocks.   Nothing else I could do but to move forward with other endeavors.  So, since I had procured the compulsary audio cover recording mechanical license for those twelve songs, I released my audio cover album called J.T. On My Mind on several Digital Streaming platforms including Amazon, Apple, Pandora, and Spotify.  You can go to my "Albums" page to find out more at: https://www.summerbreezemusicproject.com/Albums   From there it will give you links to access the album from whichever digital streaming platform you prefer.   

As a closing editorial comment I would just like to mention that it is unfortunate that this particular huge music publishing corporation would not find it in their heart to reasonably support my small gesture of respect toward a great music artist.

 

 

 

 

 


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