Questions and Letters
was going to send something for a listing and it said that
the submissions must not contain samples or other elements
that require clearance. I am sorry but I am not sure I know
what that means. Could you please clarify that?
"Clearance" means getting the rights (permission) to use
material that you don't own
Music supervisors for film and TV productions are required
to get clearance from, and usually pay a fee to, the owners
of the copyrights (the song) and masters (the recorded version
of the song) prior to placing music in a film.
If an artist owns both the song and the recording (as most
independent artists do), the clearance process is relatively
simple. If an artist is signed to publishing deal and a record
label, separate negotiations must take place with both the
publisher and the label. This is obviously more complicated
(and more expensive) for the supervisor.
By using a sample from another artist's recording, the sampled
artist now has to give his or her permission in order for
a music supervisor to be able to use the song. This can get
mighty complicated, and the sampled artist can easily kill
Since music supervisors are often in a time crunch, they
can't afford to have legal squabbles interfere with the schedule
of the show, therefore they often require submissions that
contain no samples.
Taxi, It doesn't seem to me that publishing houses
looking for staff writers are listed very often. Is there
another inside resource or trade publication that deals with
South Canaan, PA
The staff writer thing these days usually depends on how
much "pipeline" income you have as a writer. Meaning: if you
have gotten your own cuts with artists who are selling records
and/or getting airplay then there are royalties already in
the "pipeline" to be paid.
This means virtually no risk for the publisher. They will
then give you an advance that is relative to the amount of
money they expect you to earn in a year. You as a writer get
the attention of the publisher, necessary administration of
your catalog, including collection of royalties worldwide,
and your money a little quicker than you would if you waited
for it to come down the pipe.
The days of a publisher hearing someone with talent and,
through hard work and persistence, developing that writer
into a successful "commodity" are by and large, gone. There
are still a few brave souls who might act on talent alone,
but most want to see not only a minimum of financial risk
in the deal, but also to know that this writer is connected,
networked, and persistent enough to make things happen for
himself. This is a good sign for future success.
They are always open to hearing writers that meet these criteria,
the hard part is getting the credits under your belt.
I should add that there are good publishers (usually smaller
companies) who will do single-song deals, and these can be
an excellent way to strike up a potentially fruitful relationship
as well as to get songs cut.
Another good way to accelerate the process is to co-write
with writers who already signed to publishers. That way, you
also get to know the publisher, and you get to have them pitching
your songs, as well!
To answer your question specifically, I know of no other
source that focuses on staff writers. In fact, I know of no
other resource that features publishing opportunities as much
as TAXI does.
One of the great things about TAXI (if we do say so ourselves)
is that it gives you the opportunity to pitch to many of the
same projects that publishers themselves are pitching to,
and to create exactly the kind of action that creates publisher
interest in a new writer.
Please address questions to:
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