ROYALTY CHECKS AND REALITY CHECKS
© 2002 by Mark Holden

"WHERE'S THE BEEF?"
PRO Policies and the Nondisclosure of Music Usage in America

“We have learned that a right that goes unadministered
can be forever lost. We have learned this.”

Prof. Dr. Jurgen Becker, Executive Director of GEMA,
the Performing and Mechanical Rights Society of Germany.


Most of my catalog as a composer is in feature film scores, themes and series television—
even a couple of musicals— so I’m not particularly predisposed to be a rabid advocate of
CPA music. In industry jargon, that’s music used in commercials, promotional spots, film trailers
and company logos.

But I will claim advocacy for strong music copyright overall, and one can’t help but observe the
enormous prevalence of music used in American broadcast advertising. “It’s everywhere you
want to be”
— and in abundance. Strangely, this category of music is treated rather like a pariah
by our performing rights organizations (PRO’s). Better swept-off into a closet like some evil
stepchild, seldomly discussed and then reluctantly.

So, what’s the actual beef with this category of music? It’s the same beef as in all domestic usage
categories— known as feature performances, themes, so-called "background" instrumental and
CPA music. There are no available industrial statistics which tell us how our music is utilized. Let
me demonstrate this with an initial question: In a given year, what percentage of television spots
containingmusic utilize popular songs in contrast to the percentage of spots which utilize instrumental
post scoresor cuts from music libraries?

This is of vast economic significance because certain pieces of music (typically songs qualified by
radio plays) earn 400% more money than instrumental scores or jingles when used in advertising.
Start thinking along those lines, and then broaden the scope of your queries about how music is
used in American broadcast media.

Composers and songwriters are kept utterly in the dark about the numeric versus durational
prevalences of usage categories. Numeric refers to the number of instances of plays in a given
category. For example: 'KZZZ-TV broadcast 25,000 CPA performances in the first quarter of the
year.' Durational refers to the aggregate lengths of plays in a given category: 'KZZZ-TV broadcast
1200 hours of "background" instrumental in that same quarter.' Are you having any difficulty
correlating the number of plays performed in one category to the number of hours performed in
another category? You're not alone— they're apples and oranges. Still, this fruity concept remains
a cornerstone of domestic royalty distribution— unlike anything we can find in Europe or elsewhere.

The question remains: does distribution based on non-correlative elements inherently advantage
one member group over another? For lack of hard data, I can't prove or disprove this hypothesis.
I will attest that executives, board members and Member Services staffers at ASCAP have declined
to substantively answer questions regarding usage weightings and their resulting effects on distribution.
It's a black hole; a data void. (For a more complete description of PRO usage categories, please go to:
www.filmmusicmag.com/columns/rck/rckv03n01.html)

Further, and perhaps even more significant, is the unpublished nature of the substance and functions
of PRO samples, surveys and other monitoring methodologies. In a digital age, how statistically
accurate are the methods employed by our PRO’s? What percentage of American music
broadcasts are actually monitored and paid, and what percentage is ignored? As it is, no
such reports are available to members and affiliates of America's PRO’s. Simply put— we know
very little about the statistical effectiveness of music performance administration in the United States.

Now, glance up at Prof. Dr. Becker’s statement, above.

Don’t take my word for this lack of disclosure, try it for yourself. Contact your PRO representative
and ask what percentage of music on network television constitutes feature performances, themes,
instrumental score and CPA music. Or, you could direct your question to address premium or basic
cable usages, local television, radio— whatever venue or medium you wish within a given period of
distribution..

To get the actual picture, your question should be asked in two ways: the percentage of instances
which were counted in every usage category, and secondly, the durationall prevalences as well.
You see, only “background” instrumental is paid strictly by minutes & seconds. This enables at least
one domestic PRO to pay a 1-second feature performance the same royalty as 90 seconds of post
scoring. There’s a great distributional significance to music royalties paid by instances in contrast to
durations. This is especially true in conjunction with what a sample or a survey is actually designed
to find. Finally, is 50% of network televison revenues distributed to music occupying less than 5% of
the airtime? Amazingly, we're not allowed to know statistics of that nature.

So, as far as your queries go, you won’t get any substantive answers. You’ll be kept in ignorance
about how music is used in America. A PRO can say the data is “proprietary” and that disclosure
might compromise their negotiations with broadcasters. What a crock of propaganda! The
broadcasters can find out anything they wish through the discovery processes afforded them
under the law as enforced by the United States Department of Justice and adjudicated by the
Federal Court of the Southern District of New York. The fact is, nondisclosure of basic data is an
age-old ploy to keep folks in the dark. Ignorant people are those most easily subjugated. And sadly,
subjugated people lose their rights. Lots of rights.

Even a cursory examination of the landmark lawsuits against domestic music copyright over
the past 50 years reveals an alarming pattern. Many of our rights as American music creatives
have been diminished or eliminated entirely; rights that are healthy and enforced throughout
most of Europe and in the great majority of industrialized nations around the world.

In this context, let me again call your attention to Prof. Dr. Becker’s statement above— the most
profound quote I’ve ever heard from a performing rights executive. I admire his statement
because it smacks of the truth. American composers and songwriters should be wary of rights
that go unadministered— because history bears testament that those rights can go away.

Think it can’t happen here? It already has. There are no royalties paid to music performed
publicly in films and trailers exhibited in American movie theaters. At one time, those public
performances were paid. There are no statutory royalties paid for film music contained in
domestic videocassette and DVD releases for sales and rentals. Yet these mechanical
royalties are routinely paid throughout most of Europe and much of the world. Only American
instrumental score is subjected to crushing usage weightings— unlike any other distributional
scheme in the world. As for the percentage of American TV & radio music performances which
actually receive a royalty? We’re forbidden to know.

Getting back to CPA music, I’d like to have anyone interested in music copyright peruse the
following list and proclaim that music used in advertising and promos is of little or no inherent
value as per the performing right. Yet, what percentage of CPA performances in America
are actually administered? Again, we’re not allowed to know. We don't know what happens
inside of that black bag of certain non-transparent aspects of PRO operations. In the meantime,
unadministered and mismanaged rights can be forever lost.

As composers and songwriters, we pay our PRO’s to administer our performance royalties.
We’re entitled to full disclosure as to how our music is utilized in American culture. Ask for it by
name— “Where’s the beef?” That is, where’s the substantive proof of fair and effective
performance administration by our PRO’s in every music usage category?

Mark Holden is a professional composer and arranger in Los Angeles. He is a member of AFM Local 47,
the Society of Composers & Lyricists and is Acting Secretary of the American Alliance of Composer Organizations.


Songs Licensed For Use in American Advertising & Promotions
Partial Listing / Television Broadcast, 1999—2000

Makin' Whoopie ------------------------------------------------------------------ Cadillac
(Somewhere) Over the Rainbow -------------------------------------------- Dial soap
(Somewhere) Over the Rainbow -------------------------------------------- Oldsmobile
Right Here, Right Now ---------------------------------------------------------- CBS Network Promo
Ev'ryday People ----------------------------------------------------------------- Toyota Camry & Corolla
The Best Is Yet To Come ----------------------------------------------------- Nestles' Drumsticks
Kokomo / The Beach Boys (parody/promo) ------------------------------ David Letterman Show
Fever (French commercial used during Olympic feature segment) ---- Sanex Toiletries
Fever ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Harrah’s Hotel & Casino
All Together Now ---------------------------------------------------------------- AT&T
Love Is Feeling ------------------------------------------------------------------- Johnson & Johnson
Stand By Me --------------------------------------------------------------------- Buick LeSabre
Don't Worry, Be Happy ------------------------------------------------------- Alamo Car Rental
(Do) The Hustle ------------------------------------------------------------------ MCI
Please Release Me ------------------------------------------------------------- Direct TV
If You're Happy And You Know It ------------------------------------------- Hartz Advantage
Take Good Care Of My Baby ----------------------------------------------- General Electric (Ultrasound Imaging)
Mr. Big Stuff ----------------------------------------------------------------------- "Primary Colors" trailer (starring John Travolta)
Let It Snow, Let It Snow. . . ---------------------------------------------------- AT&T Cellular Services
City of New Orleans (Good Mornin' America, How Are Ya'?) -------- Ex Lax
The Very Thought Of You ----------------------------------------------------- Jaguar
One (Singular Sensation) from "A Chorus Line" -------------------------- Sunkist Oranges
Tonight (from "West Side Story") -------------------------------------------- Mountain Dew
The Slinky Jingle ----------------------------------------------------------------- Isuzu Amigo
Makes Me Feel Fine (Summer Breeze) ----------------------------------- Hampton Bay Fan & Lighting
(Ya Know It Makes You Wanna) Shout ------------------------------------ Shout (S. C. Johnson Wax)
I'll Take You There --------------------------------------------------------------- Chevy Malibu
One (Is the Loneliest Number) ----------------------------------------------- Burger King
She Works Hard For The Money -------------------------------------------- Burger King
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) ---------------------------------- Burger King
Things That Make You Go Hmmm (adapted to Mmmm)--------------- Burger King
(A) Second-Hand Emotion ---------------------------------------------------- Burger King
King of the Road ----------------------------------------------------------------- Burger King
In The Mood ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Burger King
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough ---------------------------------------------- Burger King
America ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Burger King
Lovin’ You ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Burger King
I Believe in Miracles ------------------------------------------------------------ Burger King
I Believe in Miracles ------------------------------------------------------------ Jergens Lotion
I Believe in Miracles ------------------------------------------------------------ "Millenium Man" promo (starring Robin Williams)
Theme from “Rawhide” -------------------------------------------------------- Wal-Mart
Play That Funky Music, White Boy ------------------------------------------ Lancombe / Macy’s
Play That Funky Music, White Boy ------------------------------------------ DuraCell Batteries
One Less Bell To Answer ----------------------------------------------------- “Home Improvement” Promo
(There’s a Reason) Let Your Love Flow------------------------------------ Pier 1 Imports
(Oh, Oh, Oh, It’s) Magic -------------------------------------------------------- AT&T
Simply The Best ---------------------------------------------------------------- Toyota
Simply The Best ---------------------------------------------------------------- Celebrity Cruises
Battle Hymn of the Republic -------------------------------------------------- Mercedes-Benz
Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough --------------------------------------------- Treetop Apple Juice
Bad to the Bone / Groovin’ On A Sunday Afternoon -------------------- Cadillac
Kum Ba Ya ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Tostitos
Make Someone Happy ------------------------------------------------------- Kay Jewelers
Feelin’ Alright ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Nisson
How Come You Do Me Like You Do? ------------------------------------ Lemon Pledge
Oh I E Vie ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mervyn’s California
Fame (I’m Gonna Live Forever) ---------------------------------------------- Maytag
Time of the Seasons ------------------------------------------------------------ Tampax
I Feel Pretty (from “West Side Story”) -------------------------------------- Intel
Mister Roboto -------------------------------------------------------------------- Volkswagon
(This Will Be) An Everlasting Love ------------------------------------------ Red Lobster
I’ll Be Seeing You --------------------------------------------------------------- Transition Lenses / JC Penney
(It’s) A Sign of the Times ------------------------------------------------------ Target stores
I’ll Be There ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Blockbuster Video
It’s a Wonderful World ---------------------------------------------------------- Nasonex Inhaler
It’s a Wonderful World ---------------------------------------------------------- Estee Lauder
Look For The Silver Lining ----------------------------------------------------- Turner Classic Movies
I Believe I Can Fly --------------------------------------------------------------- MCI
Come Together ------------------------------------------------------------------ Nortel Networks
You Better Shop Around ------------------------------------------------------ Burlington Coat Factory
C’mon Get Happy (Judy Garland vocal) ----------------------------------- Clinique
(I’ve Had The) Time of My Life ----------------------------------------------- Sandals Resorts
I Want To Get Away ------------------------------------------------------------ Nisson X-Terra
What’s New Pussycat? --------------------------------------------------------- Kraft Foods
Stayin’ Alive ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Surge soft drink
There’ll Be Some Changes Made ------------------------------------------- T. J. Maxx
There’ll Be Some Changes Made ------------------------------------------- Club Med
Can’t Touch That ----------------------------------------------------------------- "The Muse" (film trailer)
Get On Your Feet --------------------------------------------------------------- Toyota National Clearance Sale
(I’m Just A) Love Machine ----------------------------------------------------- Denny’s restaurants
As Time Goes By --------------------------------------------------------------- BV Winemakers
Fly Like An Eagle ---------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. Postal Service
(I’m a) Yankee Doodle Dandy ------------------------------------------------ U.S. Postal Service
(Won’t Be Fooled Again) Who Are You ----------------------------------- Nisson Maxima
(After Midnight, We're Gonna) Let It All Hang Out ----------------------- Rio Hotel & Casino
That’s Amore --------------------------------------------------------------------- Dodge Neon
Night and Day -------------------------------------------------------------------- Lady Speed Stick
Night Fever ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sprint
S’Wonderful ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Allstate Insurance
Who’s Sorry Now? -------------------------------------------------------------- Allstate Insurance
Feel Like A Woman ------------------------------------------------------------- Revlon
One Way or Another ------------------------------------------------------------ Snoops (series promo)
(Hey There) Lonely Girl -------------------------------------------------------- Toyota Camry
Out Of My Dreams -------------------------------------------------------------- Mazda
Take Me Out To The Ballgame ----------------------------------------------- Country Time Lemonade
In My Life / Dress You Up In My Love ------------------------------------- The Gap
Mellow Yellow -------------------------------------------------------------------- The Gap
When The Red, Red Robin Comes. . . ------------------------------------ Lunchables
Spinning Wheel ------------------------------------------------------------------ Pets.com
I’ve Got The World On A String ---------------------------------------------- Hanes Her Way
Papa Loves Mambo ----------------------------------------------------------- Hanes underwear
Ode To Joy (fourth movement, Beethoven's 9th Symphony) ------- Starz cable channel
Everybody Wants To Rule The World ------------------------------------- “The West Wing” series promo
Blue Skies ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Claritin
On The Road Again ------------------------------------------------------------- Progressive Insurance
C’mon To My House ----------------------------------------------------------- Target stores
You Can’t Always Get What You Want ------------------------------------ Motorola
Temperature’s Risin’ ------------------------------------------------------------- Velveeta
Someone To Watch Over Me ------------------------------------------------ HBO promo
Get Down Tonight --------------------------------------------------------------- ABC promo
When You're In Love (It's the Loveliest Time of the Year) ------------ Mercedes-Benz
Gettin’ Better (All The Time) --------------------------------------------------- Philips (Flat TV)
Silver Bells ------------------------------------------------------------------------ MCI
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas ------------------------------------ Glade air freshener
Saved The Best For Last ----------------------------------------------------- Lincoln Continental
Watermelon Man ---------------------------------------------------------------- Aetna
Downtown ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good Morning America promo
Come On Over (Come On In) ----------------------------------------------- Good Morning America promo
In My Room ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Behr Paints
Whatever Lola Wants (from "Damn Yankees") --------------------------- Levi’s
Ain’t She Sweet ------------------------------------------------------------------ “The Relic Hunter” UPN promo
Bend Me, Shape Me Anyway You Want Me ---------------------------- Flexon Glasses
I Just Wanna Celebrate / Ev’rybody Look What’s Goin’ Down ------- “3 Kings” promo
The Look of Love ---------------------------------------------------------------- Scope mouthwash
(Try To Love One Another Right Now) Get Together ------------------ NBC Today Show promo
Wouldn’t It Be Loverly (from "My Fair Lady") ----------------------------- Lazyboy
Shake Your Booty (adapted to Bake Your Cookies) ------------------- Nestles’ Tollhouse cookies
Getting To Know You (from "The King & I") -------------------------------- IBM
Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire --------------------------------------------- Pontiac Sunbird
Joy to the World ----------------------------------------------------------------- Polaroid Joycam
(I’ll Be Loving You) Always --------------------------------------------------- ”The Best Man” trailer
I’m Too Sexy. . . ----------------------------------------------------------------- Toyota Camry
Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You (Too Good To Be True)--------------- Hallmark Cards
I’m the Happiest Girl In the Whole USA ------------------------------------ Nordstrom's
I Love the Night Life ------------------------------------------------------------- Sprint
Shake, Rattle & Roll / A-B-C -------------------------------------------------- Rock ‘n’ Roll Elmo
I’m Walkin’ On Sunshine -------------------------------------------------------- Claritin
Let It Be ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- NBC promo
It’s Your Thing (Do What Ya Wanna Do) ----------------------------------- Lilly Humulin Pens
I’ll Never Make the Same Mistake ------------------------------------------- Timberland
(This Will Be) An Everlasting Love ------------------------------------------ National Football League
Twist & Shout --------------------------------------------------------------------- Samsung Digital
(Memories Are Made of These) Sweet Dreams Are Made of This-- Honeybaked Ham