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Topic: Music Cue Sheets

  1. #1

    Music Cue Sheets

    Hey there,

    I've got a couple of questions about music cue sheets if anyone here is familiar with them. I've used them in the past mostly for referencing storyboards and my music. However, if the film is being submitted to a broadcaster, should the film production company provide cue sheets (ie. should I tell the director/producer to send my cue sheets along with the film)?

    Also, I know from previous discussions that certain PROs will pick up certain broadcasters and not others - is this mostly just because they are not "looking" everywhere? Or is this because cue sheets are not done properly? Just curious about this second question.



  2. #2

    Re: Music Cue Sheets

    You should always try and get a copy of the cue sheet from any project and check it. Also, you can submit it directly to ASCAP or BMI yourself - many times they don't make it from the production company/network to the PRO's, unless it's network TV. At this point, most of the major networks and cable channels are picked up on what's called a census - everything that get's paid will be paid out as long as the cue sheet's there. Many cable networks in the past were paid on a survey and much stuff was never picked up, but it's gotten much better. (This is for instrumental underscore stuff, I know ads and promo's are a totally different story). I keep a spreadsheet of projects I work on and the original airdate. Then, if a performance doesn't show up on your statement, you can call and tell them the date to look and get it sorted out for the next one, it's busywork but 9 times out of 10 it will amount to you getting paid.

    Just my opinion of course -

  3. #3

    Re: Music Cue Sheets

    Yeah, you definitely need to follow it and make sure that your PRO has all the info that they need. It's your money and nobody else cares as much about your money as you do.

    Just stay after it and you'll reap the rewards.
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  4. #4

    Re: Music Cue Sheets

    Thanks for the response guys. I do appreciate it.


  5. #5

    Re: Music Cue Sheets

    to be clear...the cue sheets don't go to the broadcaster. Rather, you need to make sure they are filed with your PRO.

  6. #6

    Re: Music Cue Sheets

    Thanks Rob.

    I learned about cue sheets in relation to TV shows that already have a scheduled air time on a particular station. But what about independent films or other films that don't have a scheduled broadcast. Should I still submit a cue sheet even if I don't know if it will get played? On standard cue sheets (I'm looking at the one from ASCAP since I'm a member), there is a space for station on which the program aired and the original broadcast date, both of which aren't applicable for films that don't have a scheduled broadcast. Any thoughts?


  7. #7

    Re: Music Cue Sheets

    Arya, I only do TV stuff. But as long as there might be public performances of your work anywhere, I would assume a cue sheet should be on file at ASCAP.
    Good luck with what you're doing! (BTW you know you can always call ASCAP directly with your questions...)

  8. #8

    Re: Music Cue Sheets

    All of the above sounds good.
    As long as you have your pencile on the notepad, write down:

    (1) Be very cautious of studios re-packaging TV pilots, or 90 min dramas as 'Theatrical Releases' ( Films ) to the European markets. Different scales, different submission process, and often it is done ( the packaging ) exclusively within the studio.
    Always check the 'Composer Name' on EACH of these re-packaged cues !!! Remember, many years ago, there was a rather large criminal scandal with a major studio ****** about this very dishonest pratice. Indictments and jail terms were given to selected studio employees/offenders.
    I know my name was removed and another name substituted on many cue sheets of several 90 minute TV dramas before re-packaging for Eurpoe.
    There were about 1/2 dozen of us composers who were affected by this illegal practice.

    (2) If you have the time, money or political connections, you can also cross-check with the other guilds ( writers, directors, producers, etc... ) to track re-packaging or additional distributions of specific products. These groups of people never seem to miss out on any additional royalities sources...

    (3) Foreign royalities are only as reliable and accurate as the Foreign Society doing the auditing, and there are many. ( each with different currency rates, levels of effective & authentic auditing by the society, etc ... ) I had one particular 2 hour TV drama re-run air in England, it returned several thousand dollars for 1 single airing. The same piece of film aired in a far eastern european country, and I picked up $ 7.53

    (4) As someone else mentioned, watch out for yourself. The societies don't really care who gets the royalties, as long as they have a valid address to send out the checks to. ( and in fairness, nor do they have the time to always check for authenticity ).

    Good luck,

    -- atonal

  9. #9

    Re: Music Cue Sheets

    Quote Originally Posted by atonal
    I had one particular 2 hour TV drama re-run air in England, it returned several thousand dollars for 1 single airing. The same piece of film aired in a far eastern european country, and I picked up $ 7.53
    Ha ha ha! I had a similar experience, where the same show paid royalties of several grand after playing in one place and, IIRC, about $10.91 somewhere else. Had me scratching my head with a bemused look on my face, for sure...

    I hadn't actually heard any confirmed stories about names being replaced on cue sheets for foreign distribution, but that's something to look out for. That's so greasy it makes me shudder just thinking about it...

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