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Composer needing royalties advice

Hi there, would appreciate any help please. My wife has written a few compositions and is now being asked about the written music and also permissions for recording (from choirs). Having had a look at the copyright and publishing minefield it is all somewhat daunting. We have decided not to go down the get-a-publisher route. Can someone give a few simple answers to a couple of questions please?
Would someone who ordered sheet music be ok with Sibelius formatted sheets?
What might one charge (I know it's not much usually), and does one charge for each copy (eg if a choir of twenty are singing it)?
Is the pricing similar if we just sent a download option?
And finally, how might we charge a choir that wants to record a song? Let’s say they will make a thousand CDs.
 
Not looking for the finer details here really, but hoping for a few pointers from someone who has been round this block before.  Would be really appreciated. I should perhaps add that we are not looking to be too restrictive in terms of cost or permissions (as it obviously very nice to see other people using the stuff) but  at the same time we don't want to undervalue it by throwing it out too freely! We are in the UK. Any help really appreciated ;)
 
Replies (6): Threaded | Chronological
on December 30, 2014 3:09am
~~Hi folks, thank you for your superb and helpful replies. (a)John Wexler – I really like your site. Can I ask for your advice on the issue of mechanical licensing? In my view, the PRS rates are prohibitively high, especially if the CD was for charitable purposes etc. (I thought the same a few years ago when I myself made a CD for charity and paid PRS for the use of one song – which I ended up not using anyway!). But one advantage of registering one’s music with PRS (have I got this right?) is that it is probably the only realistic way of receiving any performance royalties? Or is it feasible to manage that oneself? Or if a composer was registered with you, would you do that somehow? And if, or if not, could you suggest a reasonable fee for such things? Main reason for asking is that one of my wife’s songs was recently played on the radio (recorded by an excellent local choir with which she is involved) and as a result a couple of people, representing choirs, have emailed saying they would like to record it too. I’m asking a lot of things here, I know, but I thought I’d push the boat out! Thank you very much for any advice. And thank you for interrupting your Christmas festivities!
on January 2, 2014 6:58am
[Apologies to American readers, for whom the technicalities of UK copyright are unlikely to be of any interest ...]
 
PRS rates for using other people's music: my (limited) experience is different from yours. I've made several CDs on minimal budgets, and I did follow the licensing process through PRS, and I didn't find the fees particularly daunting. They seem to calculate them based partly on the price at which you propose to sell the disc, and they allow for discs that you plan to give away rather than sell, and there may be other concessions for charitable purposes.
 
PRS for collecting royalties for your own music: I don't know of a better way to do it. It costs a lump of money to register yourself as a composer, but you don't have to renew your registration annually. Once you're on their books, you stay there. When you're registered, it doesn't cost anything to register your individual works. If we publish a composer's music, we like the composer to be registered with PRS. If they aren't, there's no way we can help them to get what's due to them except by registering ourselves as the copyright holder for their music - which would be a lie, since our composers retain the copyright of the music that we sell for them.
 
In short, I recommend registering with PRS. It won't make you a fortune in royalties, but it will save you weeks of hassle and frustration.
on January 2, 2014 9:59am
Hi all, many thanks for the superb replies. Theye have been most helpful.
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