Since streaming and the general devaluation of music royalties, it’s become impossible to be a songwriter that will earn you anything significant. There may be exceptions but generally that is the new default. But there are, however, good royalties to be had for media usage like TV, Film, Radio, Advertising, general broadcast output as well as smaller projects and specialist videos. While the need for programmes and material increases, there is a virtually never-ending need for music, soundtracks, songs, jingles, incidental music, all of which can generate income. I’ve never felt that publishers should have an exclusive right simply to own and manage production library music especially when, most of the time, they don’t do anything with it.
While we were creating Topline and building the catalogue, we approached the PRS/MCPS (The UK Royalty Collecting Societies) to see if there was any chance of working together. Sadly, and for no real reason, it had never been possible to license music through a production music library platform unless you were a publisher. They created these rules and regulations many years ago, and they have remained unchanged and tightly controlled by the publisher’s lobby and the societies. I wanted to see if we could create a new model with them to establish what would hopefully be known as: ‘ The Single Writer Library Member ‘ (catchy eh?). For roughly eighteen months we discussed and negotiated to try and find a way to achieve this. Finally, we were told that it wasn’t possible with the existing structures. Go it alone or become a publisher were the only two options. It was clear that even those working within the great royalty societies didn’t really understand how it all worked, and certainly never wanted to address the real needs and requests of their members, some of whom, like me, had been members for years.
So, at the time just prior to launching Topline, we decided to go it alone, with a vague and paper-thin assurance that something might change in the future, and that we could create ‘The Single Writer Library Member’ status and manage Topline without having to be publishers. Clearly this would be a great way forward and allow composers and writers to license legitimately their music directly to the Licensee, and have MCPS look after the licensing and fees on their behalf.
Check out the About page which hopefully will give more information about all of this.