Networks Need to Stop Shaking Down Music Composers (Guest Column)

This week, the Production Music Association will hold its annual conference in Los Angeles. Production music represents a significant yet often overlooked segment of the music industry.

The PMA conference will bring together hundreds of songwriters and composers to talk about making music for television and film. These brilliant creators make the music that brings motion pictures and your favorite television shows to life. However, their livelihood is currently is being threatened by a disturbing trend among major studios and networks who are using their market power to demand unreasonable and morally-questionable compromises from the composers on which they rely – and who have very little leverage to fight back.

For context, one must understand that production music companies are mostly small businesses – individual composers and songwriters – who depend on synchronization and performance revenue to survive. These creators are already at a huge disadvantage when it comes to bargaining with the ever-consolidating multi-national film studios and conglomerate cable and broadcast networks that use their music in myriad movies, shows and spin-offs.

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