To answer your question, everything depends on the size of the label involved. 
A limited pressing of 1,500 copies is about the minimum for a CD release, and 
is typical of very small labels. The budget for a pressing of that size is 
around $2,000. In that case, I would think that $1,000 for master/sync rights 
for an experimental film project is a bit steep.

However, if you're dealing with one of the "major" independent labels (e.g., 
Merge, Matador, Sub-Pop, DFA, Domino…) then they might be used to working with 
ad agencies, in which case master/sync licensing fees are considerably higher. 
To give you an example, if an ad agency wanted to use a tiny, unrecognizable 
snippet of a song as a stinger in a TV commercial, they would pay a minimum of 
$5,000. To use a recognizable chunk, the fee would be at least $10,000-$20,000.

Of course you shouldn't pay even close to that much! But if you're working with 
a "major" minor label you might need to convey to them just how small the 
experimental film world is.

If they're asking you to propose a fee, chances are they're as unsure as you 
are about what's appropriate in this case. I would use the total production 
budget of your project as a framework. Make the music licensing fee a 
percentage of your budget--no more than 20%? 25%?

Again, everything depends on the size of the label and the initial pressing. If 
you'd like to give more details off-list, I'd be happy to advise further.


From: zach vonjoo <>
Subject: [Frameworks] Fees for music rights.
Date: September 9, 2013 9:41:12 PM PDT
To: "" <>
Reply-To: zach vonjoo <>, Experimental Film Discussion List 

Hi All--

I'm in negotiations with a musician and label at the moment, and they've asked 
me to suggest a fee for music rights.  

I don't have much money, but if pressed may be able to raise as much as 
thousand dollars.  Is this a "low-ball" amount?  I've asked around and it's 
been suggested that I try to get master rights for free, but I don't feel right 
about that.

This is only for submitting to festivals, not DVD rights.  It's an experimental 
short, and unlikely to net me any funds.  



FrameWorks mailing list

Reply via email to