Composers get as excited as Meghan Markle when you say the word “royalty”, but not me…that word makes me sweat like Eminem’s palms after his mom’s spaghetti.
You see twice a year here at Mama Dance, our composers and us have an amicable divorce. We take everything we have earned together over the last 6 months and split it 50/50. Somehow I ended up as the guy in charge of this process. While that might sound like a simple thing to cope with, we don’t just have a busker’s hat of coins that we count out, our income comes from a whole bunch of different sources and consists of 100’s of 10000’s of individual usages:
CAPASSO Blanket Licences
Our esteemed colleagues at CAPASSO (Composers, Authors & Publishers Association) work very hard to secure blanket licence deals with the major broadcasters in SA (SABC, Multichoice & eTV) who use as much music as they need for an annual fee.
Mama Dance then works equally as hard getting our music onto all those TV shows. Music cue sheets are completed and sent to CAPASSO (and SAMRO). CAPASSO then process those cue sheets by dividing the blanket licence fee by amount of music used and they send us statements listing these usages. We are talking millions of Rands divided into per 30sec chunks…so you do the math as to how many lines in Excel we are talking about. Seriously, do the math, my brain is fried!
SONOTON – Worldwide co-publishing royalties
We are very fortunate to partner with the largest independent music library, Sonoton, in getting Mama Dance to the world. Sonoton has agents in over 50 countries around the world which is why you can hear our music in everything from Samsung ads in the US to the Chinese news. Again, all these usages come back in the form of spreadsheets with thousands of lines of income.
In the UK, all production music licensing must go through the mechanicals society MCPS. So yes, we get statements from them too!
Those annoying copyright notices you get when you are uploading your video with you and your cat dancing to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” … those are thanks to our partners at AdRev who scan Youtube, Facebook etc for our music and monetize it through ads you can’t wait to skip…and more importantly let us know when music hasn’t been licenced correctly.
No, not the United States or the Unibrow Society. US as in Mama Dance. We help hundreds of production companies, ad agencies, corporate video producers, online marketing agencies and even people making cat videos, to find music that works. And then all these licences also need to be added to the pot.
Fortunately, we now have a wonderful royalty program from a company called Backbeat that makes processing all this income a lot simpler than a few years ago where I captured it line by line. There is still a fair bit of work to do though and it is always on top of the day-to-day music searches, costings, album production etc so I’m am always happy when the royalty statements go out and our bank account is drained (at least until the next royalty run is due)!
As seen in the March edition of Screen Africa…
The music industry is changing fast, and as artists have seen their CD sales slashed and are still waiting for streaming and download income to catch up, other business models have stepped up to provide much needed income to composers and musicians worldwide.
Due to the explosion of media, especially online content, but also TV, radio, apps, podcasts and games, a huge demand for “ready to go” music has been created. And because the aim is to maximise eye balls or ears on the content, the creators are reluctant to infringe copyright legislation by using unlicensed music. The swathe of digital monitoring technologies that constantly reports all music broadcast and streamed online also helps copyright owners identify illegal music usage.
Numerous high-quality music libraries are now supplying a wide variety of production ready music to content producers, final mix engineers, ad agencies, corporate communications companies, podcasters and thousands of amateur YouTubers!
One such library is The Mama Dance Music Library. Started in 2002, 16 years and 170 albums later, the library is booming in South Africa, Africa and Internationally.
Much of the library’s success is due to its niche as an African production music library, which covers genres from Boeremusiek to Kwaito to Bongo Flava and Maskandi. Its focus is both on traditional sounds as well as the latest urban and EDM flavours from Gqom to Hip Hop, Trap and House.
With a reputation for releasing high quality albums, the library has attracted renowned composers such as Dizu Plaatjies, long-time Johnny Clegg collaborators Andy Innes and Barry Van Zyl, Freshly Ground’s Josh Hawks, Bright Blue’s Tom Fox, Themba Mkhize and Steve Newman.
Here is what Andy Innes and Josh Hawks had to say about the industry and Mama Dance:
What made you decide to compose for production music libraries?
Andy: Production music is a last bastion in many respects. The composer has more freedom to create than they do in other spaces in the industry. Production music is also a space that is still profitable in the long term if you can find enough avenues to keep pushing out product, providing the quality of your output is top notch.
Josh: The decision to compose for libraries is a natural progression of a composer’s life. We’re content providers and the libraries are becoming more and more prevalent and relevant. If you are a composer and have a catalogue of ideas knocking around it’s a great avenue to pursue!
How has your experience been working with Mama Dance?
Andy: Mama Dance is a professional and hard-working outfit who look after their writers. I’m really glad we’ve managed to build a good relationship.
Josh: Experience with Mama Dance was easy going and collaborative. We’d throw some ideas their way and with their experience and knowledge of the landscape, they would advise as to what was working and how to shape the material. Everything took shape quite quickly; a painless collaboration.
These great artists music can be easily auditioned and downloaded at www.mamadance.com using simple music search functions.
For a taste of some of their fantastic compositions check out the sampler playlist below:
And if clients prefer searches to be done for them, this is where the friendly Mama Dance team is on top of their game – they know and love music! Their free, personalised music searches are fast and on point. After receiving a music brief, the team will send the client a playlist of track selections within an hour.
This type of service, together with compelling music from big name composers, keeps clients coming back for more and ensures that Mama Dance remains South Africa’s favourite music library.
The simplified 2018 music rate card can be downloaded from their website and new clients will be pleasantly surprised at how little it costs to license fresh and innovative music produced by big stars!
Mama Dance is a CAPASSO affiliated library and can be used under the blanket license agreements with SABC, ETV and many Multichoice (DSTV) channels.
It’s a gorgeous mix of classy, elegant electronica with dreamy synths and hypnotic voices.
Any fans of Caribou, Flume and Cashmere Cat etc be sure to check this album out…it’s a real gem!
Over the past couple of years “Team Mama Dance” have been hard at work expanding into Africa.
And the hard work always seems to pay off!
Late last year they heard from the head of DSTV Media Operations in East Africa that the Mama Dance ! Music Libraries are their preferred libraries of choice for productions in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. TV shows on channels such as Zambezi Magic (Zambia), Maisha Magic Bong (Tanzania) and Maisha Magic East (Kenya) are now filled with music from the popular homegrown Mama Dance library as well as the 22 international libraries represented on the Mama Dance site!
The dynamic team have also formed good relationships with a number of Production Houses and Ad Agencies in East Africa who are constantly searching for fresh African flavoured tracks as well curated international music that works for their markets.
“It’s exciting times for us, and in 2018 we’ll be pushing even harder to source and compose more quality country specific African music as well as getting our libraries into more and more productions across the African continent” says Jeff Moffatt.
For a taste of some of the Pan African releases on Mama Dance, click on the albums below: