by Jeff and Todd Brabec
Because there are both separate audio-only and audiovisual aspects involved in these combination-type products, royalties are paid to the songwriter and music publisher at different rates for the different type of rights being granted.

Because one feature of the product plays audio only, mechanical royalties apply to every sale.

And because there are video aspects involved (e.g., videos of the songs or extra features that use music to enhance the visuals on the recording, such as concert footage, interviews, out-takes, rehearsal scenes, "making of" documentaries, etc.), there are additional synchronization and home video royalties payable because of the separate and different licensable rights involved in the one configuration.

As with audio-only albums, you may have a number of songs written or controlled by the writer/artist and the writer/producer which are subject to a controlled composition clause and its reduced or "capped" mechanical royalties.

As with any album, there may also be compositions on the album written by outside songwriters whose songs are licensed and paid at the statutory rate rather than the reduced controlled composition rate.

As with most artist- and producer-controlled composition clauses, there are provisions that deal with the calculation of artist video and other audiovisual royalties that are payable to the writer/artist and writer/producer for songs on an album when there are home video sales or other types of licensing of the audiovisual portions of the product.

And as with audio-only versions, outside songwriters and their publishers who are not bound by the terms of the artist or producer agreement with the record company can and do negotiate video royalty fees and rates that are different and, in most cases, higher than the rates paid to the artist or producer.

There are a number of ways that this type of audio-plus-video configuration is licensed by songwriters and music publishers.

If a writer is not controlled, you could conceivably license the audio at the statutory mechanical rate and the video aspects at a negotiated rate (e.g., 10 to 15 per copy).

If the writer is controlled, the audio and video rates, caps and limitations would be dictated by the terms of the artist- or producer-controlled composition clauses.

Another variation is a combination of the two under which there would be separate agreed-upon audio and video royalties for all songs but with an overall predetermined dollar and cents cap on the total amount of combined audio and video royalties payable to the writer/artist or writer/producer on each sale.

© 2008 Jeff Brabec, Todd Brabec

This article is based on information contained in the new, revised paperback edition of the book "Music, Money, And Success: The Insider's Guide To Making Money In The Music Business" written by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec (Published by Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales).

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