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Financial: Orchestra Recording contracts



Thanks to all that responded. I'm amazed that what you are telling me is not
widely practiced. My wife is a wonderful mezzo soprano soloist and has
performed with most of the choral groups and orchestras in this area and has
never been asked to sign a release form and all the groups record their
performances. A lot of these groups don't even have written contracts. I
have passed all of this on to the lawyer on our board. Thanks again for
your pertinent info. Carroll



If you're dealing with union musicians, they could potentially give you
problems. I don't really understand this, since people more or less expect
that just about everything is recorded in this day and age, but they can
still get crabby about that.

I do recommend that you put a release in your contract.

Let me know if I can help you out in any way with this.

Tom



Tom Tropp
Owner
SoundByte Studios
www.SoundByteStudios.com

The Choral Recording specialists.


You need mechanical licenses for the publishers for each piece,
available on the web now, much easier than it used to be.
www.mpna.org, I think it is (there's a link on Choralnet), then click
on Harry Fox agency, who handles most stuff. For things not handled
by Harry Fox, go right to the publisher fo the piece.

As for the orchestra, it depends upon your local union rules and the
national union rules, if you use a union orchestra. We cannot
sell ANYTHING with orchestra without paying the incredibly large
union fees, which involve a per player fee per CD as well as a payment
to the union pension fund. It's all incredibly murky, and everytime
you ask someone you get a different answer. I would ask your union
rep or the orchestra contractor how to handle it and try to keep it
local. When you have to deal with the national union it gets really
awful in my experience, and very expensive. (The rules are made for
making a recording, not for a recording of a concert already in hand,
so the fees are exorbitant: you pay per 15 minutes of music. Or at
least that was the case a few years ago)

Dj
David Griggs-Janower
janower(a)albany.edu
228 Placid Drive
Schenectady, NY 12303-5118
518/356-9155; 518/442-4167 (w)

yes to all, including the payment of mechanical royalties to all copyright
owners, and generally extra payment to the hired musicians, especially if
they are union players. It has been my experience that any "pro" player will
feel treated badly if you do not get their agreement in advance. For you to
do this later, without their permission, you risk the chance they will not
return to play for you...

Regards,

Vern Sanders



If you distribute copies of a concert recording, then yes, technically
you need a release from each performer. If the whole things was "among
friends," and you're absolutely certain that no one will be upset (now or in
the future) about whatever happens to their recorded performance, then you
will have to work that out on your own. My advice: You are safer wtih a
simple release. It will allow you to use their recorded performance without
further payment, and you agree that you will not alter their work
electronically without their permission, or make deriviative use of it. You
may contact our Symphony Orchestra manager, for the release which we use for
our musicians. Glenn Klassen, Battle Creek Symphony Orch, P.O. Box 1613,
Battle Creek, MI 49016. (616-963-1911, ext. 11).

If you intend to SELL the CD's, then you must also obtain a "mechanical
license." This is normally handled not be the composer or the publisher,
but through the Harry Fox Agency, 205 East 42nd Street, NUC 10017
(212-370-5330). They handle licensing for nearly everyone, at the standard
rate, which is now (I believe) just over 7cents per title, per copy, or by
the minute, if the piece goes over a certain time. Except for the fact that
many of their staff speak heavily accented English, it's not a hard process.
And you do need to do it.

A useful "bible" is "The Art of Music Licensing" by Kohn and Kohn
(Prentice Hall). At around 1,000 pages, it does cover a lot of situations,
many of which don't apply to you, but some do. This is really not a scary
thing to do -- just requires some know-how and a little experience.

Brooks Grantier, The Battle Creek Boychoir, Battle Creek, MI



There are numerous things you need to consider, including recording rights
for copyrighted works (often regulated by the Harry Fox agency (I think
they're on the web)) and recording rights for any professional/union
musicians which you my be utilizing. Legally, you have no right to sell any
recordings of any music not in the public domain to anyone--including your
own singers--without paying for these rights.

Sorry to be the bearer of such news. Good luck.

David Brensinger
Organist/choirmaster, Holy Innocents', Atlanta
Artistic director/conductor, The Atlanta Singers

Actually, Selling to chorus members and friends is "publicly
distributing" so you should have been doing "the right thing" regarding
permissions already.
If your chorus is "volunteer" you should have no problem in terms of
any releases.
If your orchestra is AFM (union) or even part union, your recordings
are supoposed to come under the AFM's "limited pressing" (under 10,000
copies) guidelines and wages.
If the music you are performing is not "public domain," you should be
paying mechanical royalties to the publishers (who split with the
composers) or their agents, or if the work is unpublished, directly to
the writers--which can be composer *and/or* poet (or poet's
publisher--if the work of both/either is not in the public domain. So
yes, you need permissions (mechanical rights) to publicly distribute
recordings of individual works on a CD.
This is true whether you are selling to chorus members and friends or
selling to other public through a record store. But with a record
store, it is even more important, especially the mechanical royalties.
In part, this is because the record store may be reporting sales to
SoundScan (and maybe not) with is important to the composers/poets, and
*ought* to be important to you if you distribute over 2000 copies of one
CD in all in sales actually reported to SoundScan (which could make
you/your group eligible for voting NARAS membership).
Frankly, you should not fear "doing it the right way," but welcome it.
Good recordings, properly distributed, benefit your chorus, your
college and, frankly, yourself in a "publish or perish" academic world
(even if you are quite comfortably tenured). Your college's legal
department will also apperciate you, even if it is a community chorus
rather than the college chorus. :-)
Think outside the typical limits.
I offer to be available if you have further questions.

Cheers,

--Mark Gresham
mgresham(a)luxnova.com
Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/


You really should have releases from singers and instrumentalists even
for those CDs you distribute only to members and friends. You MUST have
them if you sell commercially. (I've attached examples of forms we
use.)

Again in ANY case, you must have permission in the form of a
"Mechanical License" to record any publshed material for any
distribution. In our experience the licensing of over 95% of the things
we've recorded fell under the auspices of The Harry Fox Agency.

http://www.nmpa.org/hfa.html

(If Harry Fox doesn't cover some piece you want to record, you'll need
to ask the copyright owner for mechanical license.)

This all seems rather daunting, and the first CD is somewhat. After
you've been through the maze once, however, it gets easier.


1) Whether you use union or non-union players, one player's refusal to let
you record or sell recordings could keep you from doing so. If you use
union players, then you are liable for a percentage of the proceeds to the
players, or a set fee to them for the right to reproduce. I'm not sure, but
there may be a fee to the union's Music Performance Trust Fund as well.

2) But you've also got the performance permissions from the copyright
holders to deal with, and that can be sticky and time-consuming. If the
music you perform is under copyright you must contact the copyright holder
or agent (like ASCAP or BMI) and pay a per-reproduction per-piece fee before
you can release the recording even to your own chorus members, let alone the
general public. For shorter pieces, or for non-profit use, some publishers
may waive a fee, but you still have to have that piece of paper granting
permission.

I'm sure that the ACDA website has links to explanations of the copyright
law which will apply. I would strongly advise that you check!

David McCormick
dmccorm(a)erols.com

go to http://www.nmpa.org/hfa.html

Harry Fox agency is the clearing house for payments of copyrights and
recording materials.

They can guide you to what you need to pay. Generally, the CD producer
should pay the agency...it is around 7 cents per minute per song for a
registered ASCAP or BMI song artist....depending on the size of the CD run
you are producing and whether it will be offered for resale to the
public,etc.etc.

Good luck!

Jim Hohmeyer
Midland Music Society

Be sure you visit ChoralNet's resources on this:
choralnet.org > Technology > Recording tips

Some short answers:

1. You need releases from everyone on the recording, including chorus
members. This usually involves a small additional fee for performers
who are paid to perform (volunteers usually sign it for nothing).
Union membership doesn't affect this, although if they're non-union
you'll be able to get away with a smaller fee (or even none if you
ask really sweetly and they like you a lot).

2. You need a "mechanical license" (available from Harry Fox Agency
[http://nmpa.org/hfa.html]). This will cover all composers,
publishers, etc. Not necessary if all music is public domain. The
cost is usually roughly $1/CD, but there's a formula on their
website--the costs are fixed by law, generally a per-minute, per-copy
charge (applies even to copies you give away).

3. In theory, you need all this even to distribute recordings just to
singers; in practice, it's when you start selling commercially (i.e.
now) that you should jump through the legal hoops.

Congratulations on having a store ASKING for your CD. It's usually
the other way around.

--
Allen H Simon
VP for Website Development
ChoralNet Inc.
http://choralnet.org
allen(a)choralnet.org


You really should have releases from singers and instrumentalists even
for those CDs you distribute only to members and friends. You MUST have
them if you sell commercially. (I've attached examples of forms we
use.)

Again in ANY case, you must have permission in the form of a
"Mechanical License" to record any publshed material for any
distribution. In our experience the licensing of over 95% of the things
we've recorded fell under the auspices of The Harry Fox Agency.

http://www.nmpa.org/hfa.html

(If Harry Fox doesn't cover some piece you want to record, you'll need
to ask the copyright owner for mechanical license.)

This all seems rather daunting, and the first CD is somewhat. After
you've been through the maze once, however, it gets easier.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
John M. Crowell Learn from the Past
Sacramento Master Singers Live for Today
Music Librarian Look to Tomorrow
jcrowell(a)mastersingers.org Take a Nap This afternoon
______________________________________________________________________

Dr. Carroll J. Lehman
Director of Choral/Vocal Activities
Keene State College
Keene, NH 03435-2402
Ph. 603-358-2179
Fax 603-358-2973
clehman(a)keene.edu
Music Director and Conductor
Monadnock Chorus
www.monadnockchorus.org

on December 25, 2007 10:00pm
When recording a medley, do we pay on the single piece of music or on each song that comprised the medley? Also, are there typically discounts for nonprofit choral groups?

Thanks for any information you can provide.

Regards,
Gerri