Dear PCAM Member,
This is the latest in a series of Newsletters that we publish five times a year, following meetings of the PCAM Committee.
Each Newsletter contains a brief report from the recent Committee meeting, plus other current news and views and an edited version of a recent query to the PCAM Helpdesk.
We would like to receive more contributions to the Newsletter from PCAM members.  If you want to write something for inclusion or send us a link to something interesting you have read or seen, please contact PCAM Administrator Bob Fromer on:
Best regards,
The PCAM Committee


— Message from the PCAM Chair
— PCAM Summer Social Event
— PCAM/PRS Wellbeing Seminar Well Received
— Guide for Composers in the Video Games Industry Part 2
— PCAM Q&As Volume 4 Now Available!
— AI Seminar at PRS
— Restrictive Covenants in Music Contracts
— First New PCAM Podcast Released
— Virtual Assistant
— Notes from the PCAM Committee Meeting: 25 April 2024
— Remaining Committee Meeting Dates in 2024
— Case Study from the PCAM Helpdesk
— PCAM Social Media

Dear PCAM Members,
As we navigate through 2024, it’s essential to take stock of the state of our industry and the challenges we face.  Our recent PCAM Committee meeting (see below) brought to light some key issues that are continuing to shape the landscape of music composition and production.

One of the most pressing concerns is the ongoing trend of polarisation in advertising campaigns.  While we’re still seeing a number of high-profile, well-funded projects, there is a noticeable decline in the “middle-ground” work that has traditionally sustained many in our industry.  This shift is putting increased pressure on composers and producers, requiring us to adapt and seek out new opportunities.

On a positive note, some of our members have reported success in tapping into emerging revenue streams, particularly in the realm of experiential and immersive events.  As brands look for innovative ways to engage with their audiences, there is growing demand for music and sound design that can enhance these immersive experiences.

However, the overall picture in the UK appears to still be one of relative quiet, with a more subdued market compared to some of our European counterparts.  This underscores the need for us to remain proactive in seeking out new avenues for our work and to collaborate with international markets when possible.

Another area of concern is the apparent slowdown in new commissions from streaming platforms.  Writers who work across both television and advertising are reporting a sense of unease as the major players seem to be reducing their content output.  This development serves as a reminder of the importance of diversifying our skill sets and client bases to weather these fluctuations.

Despite these challenges, I remain confident in the resilience and creativity of our community.  By staying informed, adapting to new trends, and supporting one another, we can continue to thrive in this ever-changing industry.  The last two decades have seen many fluctuations, and whilst the current dip feels rather protracted, the industry always renews, providing new valuable opportunities.

Meanwhile, PCAM was pleased to resume our regular events schedule recently — a schedule that has been on hold since the pandemic.  We kicked off a new series of events with PRS for Music and the PRS Members’ Fund with a Wellbeing Seminar held at the PRS offices on 9 May. A summary and photos from the event are below.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the event, all those who came along, and all those who gave their time for free to help make it happen.  Aside from dealing with the difficult subject of wellbeing, the event provided an opportunity for our community to come together, something that has been sorely missed over the last couple of years.  We look to hold another event after the summer, so keep tuned for more information.

As always, PCAM is here to provide resources, advocacy, and a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences.  I encourage you to stay engaged with our initiatives and to reach out with any concerns or insights you may have.

Together, we can navigate this complex landscape and continue to create the innovative, impactful work that defines our industry.
Best wishes,
Paul Reynolds
PCAM Chair

We will be holding a PCAM Committee meeting earlier in the afternoon at Massive Music in Shoreditch EC2A, from 3.15 pm to 5.30 pm.  If anyone would like to attend the meeting, please contact PCAM Administrator Bob Fromer.

PCAM/PRS Wellbeing Seminar Well Received
PCAM held a seminar on wellbeing last week in conjunction with PRS at their headquarters in London Bridge. Titled Staying Balanced & Grounded in The Game, the seminar first looked at wellbeing from the angle of how music itself can contribute to improving our mental and physical health.

Tom Middleton from White Mirror told the audience about his research into evidence-based sensory solutions to aid sleep, anxiety, pain, focus, and productivity. ,He shared powerful stories of how music can literally save lives as well as highlighting career opportunities that have arisen in the music wellness space.

Next up. moderator Lucy Heyman (Elevate Music Podcast) was joined by Paul Reynolds (Massive Music & PCAM Chair), Pete Glenister (PRS Music Fund) and Anushka Tanna (BAPAM), for a lively conversation about how each of these organisations can support composers in times of need.  Some of those in attendance were clearly grateful to find out some of the surprising ways that these useful networks can come to their aid when most needed.

Using to make a word cloud, the most popular phrase which the audience submitted as something they would like to see more of is ‘community’.

The desire for a sense of community in our industry is exactly what drives PCAM to organise these events, and this was fostered afterwards with members interacting over networking drinks at PRS HQ before many continued the conversation in a local pub.

The seminar was well attended and PCAM would like to thank the speakers for their insights, Dave Newton and PRS for hosting, and all the attendees for making it such a success.

As it happens, this week (13-19 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year’s theme is: “movement: moving more for our mental health”.

More information and resources can be found here — Mental Health Awareness Week | Mental Health Foundation – and here:  Resources for Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 | Mental Health Foundation.

Do you have any requests or ideas for upcoming seminars? Get in touch and let us know.  PCAM would like to host more seminars in the future, to bring about a greater sense of community and explore aspects of the industry together.
And for those wanting to connect with like-minded members, as mentioned above, the PCAM social will take place on the 11 June starting at 6.00 pm at The Fox in Shoreditch.  We hope to see you and many others from the community there!

Over the past few years, the video games industry has entered its golden age and overtaken movies and TV as the largest entertainment sector, with a global value of $365.6 billion in 2023 and with an expected 3.04 billion users by 2027.
in Part 1 of this Guide, first published in a PCAM Newsletter in 2023, PCAM Committee member Chris Green, Director of Music & Audio at Crytek (one of the world’s largest independent video game developers), provided some insider tips, tricks, and tactics to help you get a foothold in the industry and land that first elusive gaming project and credit.

In Part 2 of the Guide (below), Chris considers the pros and cons of different types of employment contracts in the industry and addresses the tricky question of royalties.

The full Guide – Parts 1 and 2 – has now been published on the PCAM website here:

So, you followed the first part of this Guide and have secured that elusive first job in the video games industry.
But what do you do next?  How do you negotiate working together with the game developer, and how does music copyright and royalties work in the games industry?

Employment v freelance work
There are three main ways to work with game developers: full-time employment, contractor employment, or freelance composer.  The biggest differences between these are around being paid for your time (as a service) or being paid for your music (as a product).

The safest route is always as a salaried employee, where you will receive a monthly salary, benefits, training, and job protection.  The main negative is that you will be paid for your time, and everything that you create in that time will be owned by the games company – in effect a full buy-out!  Also, as an employee, you will normally be expected to work 9.00 am-5.00 pm, five days a week.  I feel that these in-house roles are perfect for people trying to break into the industry and build experience in a secure environment.

The contractor route can give you some nice flexibility while remaining a secure working option.  In this instance, you contract out your services through your own company, but you will normally be contracted as the provider of a service or in a specific role (eg, Audio Director).  As a contractor, you can normally agree working hours and holidays upfront, so you will have more freedom than a traditional employee.  Also, you can sometimes have clauses written into the contract that allow you to retain copyright and royalties, or whatever is agreed on when you initially negotiate the contract.

It’s important to note, though, that as a contractor you won’t have the same protection as a full-time employee, and you will have a shorter notice period.  However, contractors’ rates are normally 20-25% higher than salaried employees.

Working with a game developer as a freelancer carries the most risk, but also the most freedom in negotiations and in the way you work.  The major difference is that you are now selling or licensing your music as a product to the games company.  The amount of music and budget will be decided when you sign the contract, but at that point it’s down to you to decide how to hit the deadlines, how to use the budget, and also how to use your time.  However, the games company has no employer responsibilities to you, and they will expect you to cover your own equipment, travel (unless agreed upfront), recordings, staff, research, and development.  The final important point to note is that because of the responsibilities the freelancer has to take on themselves, the amount you get paid up front will always be higher.  But the amount you have to spend from your own pocket during the project is higher too, so always do the calculations!

When it comes to salaries, it’s hard to give an idea of the average rates; like most industries, they vary due to experience level and the number of games credits you have under your belt.

The best place to start for ballpark rates is the super helpful Game Audio Industry Survey 2023 put together by Brian Schmidt over at GamesSoundCon:

Music copyright and royalties in the games industry
The key question: how can I get royalties for music I compose for a video game?

I’m going to be honest with you: there isn’t much good news around royalties in games, with the easiest answer being, “you don’t get royalties!

To go into a little more detail, you will not “normally” receive performance or broadcast payments from PRS for any video game work from sales of the game itself (PRS did make a deal with Sony that results in payments from downloaded digital games but it’s still early days:

This is not to say that you can’t gain promotion and a fanbase from a game you compose music for, which would allow you to gain streams on Spotify or tour with a live concert version of the game soundtrack.

It is very important that the music usage rights are discussed and agreed on in the initial contract, because it is normal for the standard employment contract in the games industry to state that all music copyright and IP is owned by the studio, which means they would own all rights to streaming and public performance.

Sometimes, though, the studio has no plan to exploit these avenues, and will be fine with updates to the contract that allow you to own album and live rights.

By default, I try to start all negotiations around usage on the individual named game project release (all platforms worldwide) — (i.e., just the PacMan 5, not PacMan 6, 7, 8) — and all marketing needs for that project.

This means that you keep the soundtrack rights, and also that the games company cannot use your music for additional games without paying you further fees.

Finally, the lack of a “back-end” for composing work in the games industry means that it is standard to negotiate a large upfront fee for the music composition.  In AAA games the common rates are between £1,000 and £2,000 per minute, although much higher rates (£3,500) are also common for blockbuster titles.

The best resource for information on this is again Brian Schmidt’s studies through GamesSoundCon and I would highly recommend reading this:

Over the past few years, an edited selection of questions sent to the PCAM Helpdesk, and the answers provided by PCAM Committee member Tony Satchell, who runs the Helpdesk, have been published annually on the PCAM website.

Now, a new selection of Helpdesk Q&As from 2023 has been published here:

Because people in the industry often run into similar kinds of problems and ask similar kinds of questions, perusing these questions and answers may be helpful, especially for new members.

The 2024 PRS Members Day London, scheduled for Tuesday 4 June at IET London, 2 Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL, will include a panel called PRS Explores: AI and Music Creation. 

The session will delve into the latest uses of AI in music, looking at potential benefits for music creators, the challenges posed, and how to empower yourself by understanding your rights.

PRS members who want to attend the event and this panel discussion should book a free ticket through the PRS website now, as there are not many places left.

This update has been prepared for PCAM members by George Hyde, Founder & Director of Music Affairs.  The content of this update is for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice and should not be used, or relied upon, as such.  If you have any questions, please reach out to George Hyde directly

Restrictive Covenants: the basics
Whether you’re a music house hired by an advertising agency, or a composer hired by a music company, you may come across clauses in your engagement or commissioning agreements which place restrictions on you during, and sometimes after, your engagement.  These restrictions are likely to fall under the umbrella of restrictive covenants.

Common types of restrictive covenants in music agreements include non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-circumvention clauses.

When used properly, restrictive covenants provide an important and useful mechanism to safeguard a business’s legitimate business interests.  However, their enforceability hinges on their reasonableness, and English courts are not prepared to support clauses which lead to an unreasonable restraint of trade.

How are they justifiable?
A restrictive covenant may be used by a business to protect its commercial and financial interests. By way of example:

  • A music house might use a non-compete clause to stop a composer from supplying music services to direct competitors in relation to a particular brief or pitch, safeguarding against the risk of conflicts.
  • An advertising agency might use a non-solicitation clause to stop a music house from enticing away its clients or employees, ensuring operational security and commercial longevity.
  • A sonic branding agency might use a non-circumvention clause to stop a composer from bypassing and dealing directly with their client, protecting their commercial interests and the value of ongoing contracts.

Are they always enforceable?
For a restrictive covenant to be enforceable, it must be intended to protect legitimate business interests such as client relationships or trade secrets.

Restrictive covenants are viewed with caution because they can potentially restrain trade – in other words, the ability of a person to make a living.  To be enforceable under English law, a restrictive covenant must:

  • Be reasonable in scope, duration, and geographical area.
  • Protect legitimate business interests.
  • Not be against public policy.

When assessing the above, the courts balance the protection of business interests with an individual’s right to work and trade freely.  If a covenant is deemed excessively broad or unnecessarily punitive, it may be considered unenforceable.

Examples of restrictions and their enforceability
Historic court cases provide important precedent for determining whether or not a restrictive covenant is likely to be considered enforceable or not.

EXAMPLE #1:  A non-compete clause preventing a composer from working with competing music companies indefinitely.
An indefinite restriction is unlikely to be considered reasonable or proportionate.  It’s therefore unlikely to be considered enforceable.

EXAMPLE #2:  A non-dealing clause prohibiting a music house from working with any of an advertising agency’s clients, regardless of whether or not the music house has had dealings with them previously.

A restriction applying to all clients of an advertising agency, whether or not a music house had any dealings with them, is so broad in its scope that it is unlikely to be considered enforceable.

EXAMPLE #3:  A non-compete clause preventing a composer from working with direct competitors of a music house in relation to a specific brief, project, or pitch for the duration of their engagement.

By contrast, a restriction applying to a specific project or pitch is limited in its scope and duration.  The restriction protects the legitimate business interests of a music house by minimising the risk of conflicts without unduly restricting the composer’s right and ability to work on other projects for direct competitors.  It’s therefore likely to be considered enforceable.

EXAMPLE #4:  A non-circumvention clause specifically prohibiting a composer from engaging in direct negotiations with any of a music house’s clients whom they were introduced to or worked with during their engagement for a period of three months after their engagement ends.

The restriction is clear and specific in its scope, relates to a specific pool of clients, and lasts for a reasonable duration.  It protects the legitimate interests of a party to ensure that any follow-up requests relating to a particular project or related project are handled by the music house.  It’s therefore likely to be considered enforceable.

Practical considerations

If you’re hoping to rely on restrictive covenants to protect your legitimate business interests, ensure that they are clearly drafted, specific, and reasonable.  Consider seeking legal advice if you’re unsure.

If you’re on the receiving end of a restrictive covenant, make sure it is reasonable and fair.  If you have any concerns, raise them with the person issuing you the contract and seek independent legal advice.

In conclusion….
Restrictive covenants play an important role in protecting a business and its commercial interests.  However, they are only enforceable to the extent that they protect legitimate business interests and are reasonable.

Care should be taken by businesses seeking to rely on them, and composers and music houses alike should be alert to any restrictions imposed on them.

The first of six new PCAM podcasts was released on 26 April, and the remaining podcasts will be released in the order and on the dates below on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, and Google Podcasts (links will be available on the relevant dates on the PCAM website).

There and Then to Here and Now:  PCAM Past, Present, and Future (Released: 26 April)
Available now on:

This introductory episode of the new PCAM podcast series explores the origins of the organisation, what it has achieved over time in helping to regulate the applied music industry, what it offers its members, and what challenges it faces in dealing with an ever-changing and evolving professional, industrial, and technological landscape.  The contributors are PCAM Chair Paul Reynolds (Senior VP, Massive Music)  and composer, producer and PCAM Director Chris Smith (The Barbershop Music Company).

Can You Hear Me Knocking?:  How to Get into the Industry (Release date: 31 May)
This PCAM podcast episode features a discussion with three industry experts — Rachel Menzies (BMG), Greg Owens (GAS Music), and Sam Heath (Sounds Like These) — who share advice for aspiring media composers trying to break into the industry.  Topics covered include building relationships, creating a strong portfolio, understanding contracts, pricing work appropriately, dealing with criticism, and continuing to develop your craft.

Show Me the Money – Part 1:  Royalties and Publishing (Release date: 28 June)
This episode explores the subject of music royalties and publishing, how income is derived, and how to manage your copyrights, through a conversation between legal and publishing expert George Hyde (Music Affairs) and PCAM Chair Paul Reynolds (Senior VP, Massive Music).

One Bite at the Cherry:  Responding to a Brief (Release date: 26 July)
In this episode, we explore the briefing process for both short-form and long-form projects, how briefing has changed over the years, how to get the most out of the briefing process, and the benefits of forming collaborative creative relationships with clients.  Taking part in the conversation are PCAM Chair Paul Reynolds (Senior VP, Massive Music), Sam Heath (Executive Creative Producer at Sounds Like These), and Bankey Ojo, composer and sound designer.

Show Me the Money – Part 2:  Quoting and Budgeting (Release date: 30 August)
In this podcast, we discuss the important subject of how to construct, negotiate, and justify a music budget and how to interrogate a fixed budget to ensure it is sufficient to do the job, using the framework that PCAM provides to enable a detailed budget to be properly calculated and presented to the client.  Taking part in this conversation are composer and sound designer Bankey Ojo, Sam Heath (Executive Creative Producer at Sounds Like These), and composer, producer and PCAM Director Chris Smith (The Barbershop Music Company).

The Minefield That Is … Soundalikes (Release date: 27 September)
This episode explores the science and art of creating Soundalikes, the perils and pitfalls to avoid, tips for managing client expectations, the role of the musicologist, and the potential impact of AI.  Participating in the conversation are composer and producer Simon Elms (Eclectic Sounds; composer, producer and PCAM Director Chris Smith (The Barbershop Music Company); and Greg Owens (Creative Director, Gas Music).

VIRTUAL Assistant
PCAM’s very own Project Coordinator, Michelle, also works as a Virtual Assistant for the music industry (her background is BASCA, BBC, Arts Council and various TV production companies),

If you would like some assistance with your administrative and daily tasks, she’d be very happy to hear from you:

Michelle is now also a qualified Mental Health First Aider and a Wellbeing Facilitator trainee.

The PCAM Committee held its most recent meeting on 25 April as a remote meeting.

Those present were Committee members Paul Reynolds, Chris Smith, Tony Satchell, Blair Mowat, Bankey Ojo, Greg Owens, Amelia Vernede, Michelle Murchan, Bob Fromer, plus Toby Jarvis from A-Mnemonic Music.

Apologies were received from Simon Elms, Jonathan Watt, Becky Wixon, and James Bargent.

It was noted that George Hyde from Music Affairs, who has been a valuable resource on legal matters, has resigned from the PCAM Committee due to pressures of work but will still be available to provide help and advice. 

Below is a rundown of the main discussions during the meeting:

 State of the industry.  As has become the custom at PCAM Committee meetings, the meeting began with an update from those present on the state of the industry from their perspective:

Toby Jarvis from A-Mnemonic said that, for him, commercial work has picked up a bit, mainly mid-to-upper-level sonic branding.  He also noted the number of terrible deals being offered, which invariably include buyouts.  Also, Agencies invariably ask to license tracks for the World, but never intend worldwide usage.

Greg Owens said his situation was similar to Toby’s: more work around, but some terrible deals – plus the occasional good one.  The function of composing for ads is not what it used to be: the requirements now are much more for background soundalikes or library-type tracks.  The middle ground of original composition is shrinking.

Amelia Vernede from Father said that they have had some sonic branding projects through a particular design agency, but not many commercials.  And they have been offered some very bad deals: one asked for all-media buyouts for less than £10K.  Clients increasingly seem to want complete ownership, but, Amanda said, many of them can be talked out of this.  Father has also been dabbling in immersive projects, particularly for branding events.

Bankey Ojo said that he has recently been doing documentaries, but there has been little demand on the branding side, apart from a bit of sound design.  Most of the long form work has been international, not UK-based.

Paul Reynolds said that while Massive Music has been busy, traditional ad work has been very quiet – and not just in the UK.  The situation in Europe and the States is similar, though there is more activity in Asia.  So he agreed with Greg that the middle ground of original composition is declining.  Some brands are spending huge amounts of money on well-known hits for massive campaigns, but the rest are going for library music.  More money than ever is being spent, but it’s going to the major publishers and rights-holders: this seems to be our main challenge.  However, the effectiveness of this approach by brands remains to be seen, and things may yet revert back.

Blair Mowat said there is a real feeling of contraction in TV and streaming productions, both in the UK and the US, and as a result we are bleeding people from the industry.  There is also a concern among the younger generation about AI, with a lot of doomsday predictions, even though AI is facing various legal challenges and, as Toby pointed out, music created by AI can’t be copyrighted.  AI may be kept at bay in advertising for a while because Agencies and clients will be afraid of the legal risks.

We lost a sonic branding project recently to a company using AI, Amelia said, but we later found out that the company was facing lots of hurdles.  I would feel the threat from AI most strongly, Greg said, if I ran a music library.

The problem, Chris Smith suggested, is that so much work can be generated by AI so quickly.  What does this do to the value of the pool of copyrighted works?  Getting into a room with people to collaborate is something that AI can’t do, and this is our USP as composers and producers.

It would be good if we had a union, Blair said, to negotiate on these issues, as happened with the writers’ strike in America – but we don’t.  The technology is increasing exponentially – and, as Chris pointed out, we don’t even have the benefit of European legislation to protect us because of Brexit!

Key points from the ECSA Conference.  Chris Smith and Bankey Ojo attended the recent biennial European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) Conference in Brussels on 18-19 March, where three main themes were:

  • AI and its implications.
  • Streaming, and the need to implement recommendations on reporting and payment.
  • Coercive contracts, with a major push to gather information about the kinds of contracts composers are currently being presented with.

Chris reported that the European Parliament has passed an AI Act and is lobbying for transparency regarding copyrights — though sadly, Britain won’t have the benefits of this legislation.

Chris also told the meeting that FFACE (the media section of ECSA) is now chaired by Jesper Hansen from Denmark, and there is now a FFACE WhatsApp group that was instrumental in the campaign that persuaded SGAE in Spain not to go through with a proposal to significantly reduce royalties for certain types of music.

There was also consideration of the PCAM/IPA Contract as a model that might be useful in Europe.
As someoned attending an ECSA Conference for the first time, Bankey said that the key point brought home to him was the harm that Brexit has done to the industry in the UK.  “ECSA is a really great forum,” Bankey said, “and while the challenges we’re all facing have the same root causes, they play out differently in different territories – but we don’t have many protections here.”  But even if we’re not in the EU, Bankey said, we need to share information to help push back against the global forces we’re subjected to.

PCAM hopes to widen our engagement with ECSA by getting more people involved.  The next ECSA meeting will be in Paris in the autumn, alongside the annual Camille Awards.

PCAM participation in PRS Education Outreach Project.  The first PRS Media Music Workshop, on Writing for Advertising, will take place on 6 or 13 June at The Hub @ PRS at London Bridge, with PCAM members James Bargent from Rascal Music and Becky Wixon from Massive Music contributing.  The workshops are aimed at black music creators and creators from other groups under-represented in the industry.

Further sessions, to be spread over the rest of the year, will cover Writing for Film, Writing for Sync, Writing for Broadcasting, Writing Trailer Music, and Writing for Computer Games, and PCAM members—to be confirmed — will be speakers at each of these sessions.

Topics for additional Seminars or Webinars in 2024.  PCAM Committee members have been asked for ideas for additional Seminar or Webinar topics that we might present later this year, either with PRS or on our own, and it would also be good to have suggestions from PCAM members (send any topic suggestions to PCAM Administrator Bob Fromer:

There was agreement that a Seminar on the possibilities and effects of AI for the industry would be popular, and we will try to get this organised, hopefully with musicologist Peter Oxendale as one of the speakers.

New Women Committee Members.  PCAM’s Administrative Assistant Michelle Murchan will be meeting with Becky Wixon from Massive Music to talk about recruiting more women to the PCAM Committee.  We are looking for women who are composers or producers in advertising or perhaps work in the games industry – but also for more inexperienced women in the industry who want to learn and contribute fresh perspectives.

Meeting with UK Music to discuss AI.  UK Music has set up an AI Working Group, and Interim CEO Tom Kiehl has offered a meeting to discuss the issue with PCAM.  Paul Reynolds and Blair Mowat from the PCAM Committee will meet with Tom on 22 May.

PCAM Committee meeting dates in 2024
Remaining PCAM Committee meetings in 2024 will be held on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 11 June (in-person at Massive Music, followed by Summer Social Event)
  • Tuesday 17 September (remote meeting)*
  • Tuesday 26 November (in-person at Massive Music)

This date may be subject to change.

Any PCAM member interested in attending any of these meetings should contact PCAM Administrator Bob Fromer (

Below is a question-and-answer exchange from the PCAM Helpdesk (the question is in black type and the Helpdesk answer is in blue). 

Q:  I’m seeking some advice and wondered if I could ask a couple of questions.
I’ve been approached by a factual film production company to compose a three-minute track with derivatives of 60, 30, and 15 seconds.  They want to buy out all rights.

I’ve never done this kind of work, but I’ve also been told that it could be a regular gig with the company in question.  They want a keen but realistic price.

Any advice would be gratefully accepted!

A:  First and foremost, PCAM doesn’t approve of “buy-outs” and in 40 years I’ve never done one!  If you sell out all your rights and the control of your works you will never build up a sustainable business.  A Sync Licence for films (rather than Commercials) is for the life of the film and is strictly tied to that particular film only and cannot be used separately without your prior permission and any extra payment you deem fit.

The number of times I’ve been told that “this job will lead on to more and better paid work” is incalculable – I bet they want a “keen” price, but I doubt they want a “realistic” one (call me a cynic)!  Also, what are the derivatives for, as this sounds more like a commercial than theatrical film?

You should budget/quote all your work on the same basis:

Production – The costs of producing and recording the track including your time (at some sort of day rate), musicians’ and singers’ fees (even if they are all you!) and studio costs (even if it’s your bedroom).  We charge a basic Production Day Rate of £1,800 + time, studio, and musos costs.
Composition Fee – The current industry standard is between £1,500 and £6,000 depending on who you are, your experience, and your belief in yourself etc.  Ours is £4,000.
Licence Fee – Always based on the Term, Media, and Territory.  The PCAM website (if you are a member) gives guidelines based on a percentage of your Composition Fee, as well as having downloadable Contracts and advice etc.  For TV/Cinema/Radio Commercials we would charge 100% of our Composition Fee for a One Year, UK Only Licence and for a Factual/Documentary/Theatrical Film Sync Licence we’d also charge 100% of our Composition Fee.

I hope this helps.

For all the latest news on PCAM seminars and workshops, our new series of podcasts, plus industry-wide events and initiatives, be sure to follow PCAM on our socials.