(Possibly) Controversial Question

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baggy

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« on: January 25, 2011, 11:32:07 PM »
I would like to put the idea out and ask if it would be at all possible (legally) for a songwriter to publically sell his songs outright completely - with remarketing rights. Meaning: a one time sale per song, whereby you buy the full rights to that song and the right to credit yourself as the writer and thus potentially collect royalty payments from it and anything else in the future. So, you'd buy the song and it would become exactly as if you wrote the song yourself???

You can do this with ebooks, and other interlectual property, why not songs? You might not agree with the idea (I'm sure many won't) but I am most curious to know if it could be done on the free market?

tone

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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 12:08:15 AM »
I'm certain that it can be done, and I've been approached by someone suggesting this (an instrumental track; not a song) in the past.

Are you hoping to sell your material in this way? Or buy, perhaps?
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baggy

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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 09:26:22 AM »
Thanks for your reply....I might be interested in developing it as a business model with new elements....

tone

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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 09:55:44 AM »
I wish you luck, then :) I will say, though, that if it's songs you're looking for, I don't know many/ any songwriters who'd be willing to sell a song outright and not retain some publishing or authorship rights. As a breed we're fairly precious about our work! Of course, you may prove me wrong... :)
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baggy

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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 01:15:07 PM »
To Tone:

Yes, you are right. But, I am a songwriter for starters, with a massive back catologue that I'd be willing to sell this way. I do not have a lottery-win mentality, so I am 'up for it' as we say in Manchester.

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hofnerite

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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 11:36:22 AM »
I think there is a market for this and I have thought about an online model for some time now to deliver this. If you do take this any further as a business model then I'd be interested in helping in any way.

As a songwriter I'd personally be open to selling *some* of my songs in this way and I reckon there are many more out there wanting to make some quick cash. I also think there'd be many producers out there willing to take a gamble on some songs, paying a set amount to make a profit themselves.

I think traditional songwriters will have different views but the way music has devoloped over the last decade with online sales, big pushes to sell as many records in one go and dwindling funds from record companies, I think this approach does have legs. It's a perfect business model on paper - the seller gets what they want, the buyer thinks they can get a profit and I guess the business makes a % of sales. Everyone's a winner. Also with the yoof of today doing all the producing, arranging etc themselves (compared to years gone by where this would be done in an expensive studio) the end result is often a decent quality finished song that is very marketable.

The hard part will be the legal aspect. As part of the service you would have to get each party to sign a legal document saying that the song and potential royalties has changed hands legally. Another potential problem is if the song that has been sold is then changed in any way, for example if the lyrics are sold on separately no-one gets sued. From experience this is very costly. I don't think you could viably get this off the ground unless you have some serious funds. I run a subscription website (no not porn!) myself and know how difficult it is.

TNMC

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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 10:38:18 AM »
Very late reply to this one guys but I think there are a few historical precedents for this - I read about Badfinger's 'Without You' (first famously covered by Harry Nillson in the early seventies...) written by Tom Evans and Pete Ham, who are both now deceased... apparently, and by whatever means, the song and the rights to it, somehow changed hands in a lot of legal wrangling to the point where by the time Mariah Carey had recorded and gotten a UK No.1 with it, it was credited to not only to Ham and Evans, but to the other two members of Badfinger and, the most unlikely co-composer attribution of them all, their former manager (at an ASCAP awards ceremony). Also, as far as I know, Paul McCartney only has the rights to one Beatles song, and that is 'Love Me Do', having (foolishly?) sold off the rest of the Beatle's back catalogue, which is now owned by the Sony Corporation, I think. Frankie Lymon and the Teenager's 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love' was collecting millions of dollars in royalties since the late fifties and two of the co-composers of it didn't receive a penny until 1992. Even then, a court ruling was overturned 4 years later and composer credits reverted back to Frankie Lymon and the music businessman Morris Levy, who, technically speaking, had nothing at all to do with the song's composition.

Paul Baxter

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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2011, 08:47:46 PM »
Hey

Library music is made a lot of the time for this purpose. The makers of a film/television can pay a musician a one off fee to make a song which they will give away their rights to. A famous commercial, legal situation was The Verve's 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' which was challenged as a copy of a Rolling Stones song, now Rolling Stones own the work 100%.
Although it is more common in library music and film, it is definitely possible to sell a song outright. It's just that usually the people looking for a song (e.g. Simon Cowell) are more concerned with their artist and the recording rights than whoever has written the song.

Hope this helps

Paul
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