Music Supervisor “Shocked” That TV Studios Still Pay Labels to Use Music…

…rather than the other way around.

PJ Bloom, who is the music supervisor on Glee and CSI:Miami, has told an audience of independent musicians and music companies in the UK he was “shocked” that TV studios had to pay to use music, as the potential exposure opportunity for artists is “immense“.

“I would argue that you as music rights owners could buy the right synch,” he concluded.

Aah, the old “exposure” chestnut – it’s an argument musicians hear on a regular basis and, these days, it would be fair to ask: “For what?” Perhaps actors, too, should pay to be in the TV programmes, as it’s exposure for them?

In the US, terrestrial radio corporations have successfully argued the “exposure” point in order to not pay artists for using their music (incidentally, the only other countries where this happens is Iran, North Korea and Rwanda). This despite the US industry pulling in $17.4bn in advertising in 2011 alone  – more than the entire worldwide record industry was worth that year .

US radio says it shouldn’t have to pay as it’s “promotional”, and helps sell records. An argument to which Rob Dickins, the former chairman of Warner Music UK, once replied:

“It’s promotional when you play my record when I want you to!”

But as revenue from recorded music has almost halved in the past decade – as has the effective price of a CD  – artists are being told to not expect to make money off records.  Instead, they’re advised by a multitude of tech websites that they should give their records away for free in order to promote their live shows.  Though, of course, the reason record labels traditionally have provided tour support is because, for emerging artists, touring costs more than they make from it.  It’s even common to have to pay the headlining artist for the privilege of opening up for them.

Live venues also use the “exposure/promotion” argument in order not to pay musicians properly. Professional musicians approached by the London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog) for the Olympics, for example, were told the policy was not to pay artists and that they should do it “for the exposure.”

Considering rehearsals, travel, parking (try taking a drum set on the tube) and the overpriced food on location, the bands were effectively expected to pay to play at the numerous events Locog organised around the Games.  Not even the acts performing at the opening and closing ceremonies got paid. A friend who played in George Michael’s band at the closing ceremony told me the artist paid the band out of his own pocket.

So, to sum up: musicians shouldn’t get paid for radio as it is promoting record sales. They, in turn, should not expect to be able to charge for their records, as everyone can get it for free anyway on the hundreds of pirate sites.  But not to worry, because their records promote their live performances – never mind if they have to pay to play, as performing is promotion for their records (that they don’t get paid for).

Getting a “sync”, as in getting their music used in on TV, commercials, film and video games, has remained a welcome revenue stream for artists and songwriters – especially as artist deals tend to stipulate that half the payment for the use would go to the artist, compared to the average 16 percent they would get from record sales.

However, as Bloom pointed out, the days of scoring big lump sum payments from sync placements are over.  And now, in a complete reversal of fortune, he thinks artists should pay for the privilege of having these corporations use their music – as it’s promotion.

Promotion for what?

109 Responses

  1. Visitor

    I’m shocked that actors and writers get paid for their work in television. After all, they’re getting such huge exposure on these shows, why should they have to be paid?

    • Tarek

      And for that matter, Netflix & Hulu shouldn’t have to pay to let subscribers stream Glee and CSI, right? What terrific exposure for those shows!

    • Eric

      I’m suprised that PJ still gets paid for supervising Glee, considering all the promotional value like this that he gets for doing it.

      • Rob

        If “pay to be played” becomes a new norm, then supervisors will see a whole new stream of revenue, and I’m sure an increased paycheck.
        PJ can’t just be suggesting this for mere ethics of placement. He wants more money.

      • Jason

        Ok, Go ahead and re-read the article. What the author is saying is Exposure is only beneficial to artists if it leads to other revenue, and it doesn’t. Also, most of the time the music supervisors are the ones requesting use of the song, not the other way around. Wouldn’t you be skeptical if someone came to you and asked you to pay them for something you own?? And also, Does George Michael need exposure? Does Lady Gaga? Do the Beatles? I think they’re doing fine without their songs being used in Glee.

      • Alan Warrick


        from what I understand; Actors and screen play writers get paid very well for films but musicians and writers of songs/music don’t. I understand that actors make millions of dollars for a movie but to write a score is much less. I don’t know exactly but that’s what I understand.

      • Nate Pierre Nelson

        Like anything else, playing an instrument skillfully, takes hard work and dedication. In other words,it is a craft and a skill deserving of just compensation. It also is intellectual property which priceless to it”s creator. If you haven”t been blessed with the talent or skill, writing great songs could be an almost impossible task for a lot of non musicians. Nate Pierre Nelson

      • Visitor

        Yes I agree with you. Maybe that is why Television sound tracks are so blasé . The real networks, and you hear the same music on many shows. Every good show and network have their own signature pieces. If this Music Supervisor doesn’t understand why we get paid for our music I don’t understand how he even has a job and getting paid for it, after all, he gets his name in credits, and that is exposure isn’t it.

  2. A-J Charron

    Major labels used to do anything not to pay the artists. Radio in the US… I got 7 cents for two listens to my album (complete, not partial) on Grooveshark and .11 cents (that’s $0.0011) for 2 uses on Rumblefish…
    I’m not surprised this guy doesn’t want to pay. Excellent article!

    • Visitor

      You got paid by Grooveshark? I thought that didn’t happen…

      • A-J Charron

        Well, according to CD Baby, they paid me .11 cents. I’m thinking about asking for a cheque… It wold be worth framing!

  3. dayna lynn

    Apparently, the sole goal of any creative artists is to be seen. Doesn’t matter by whom, or where. As long as someone sees us, then we should be happy.
    We, as artists, must be aggressive in demanding and defining our worth. And also constantly creating our own methods of generating revenue that do not rely on the machine…which is cannabilising itself, anyway.

  4. Visitor

    Did he really say that or was he misquoted? I’m shocked that someone like PJ would say this.
    Also it works differnet in the UK than here, PPL pays the rights owner directly so they have to get paid either way. PPL have blanket licenses with the major networks there, BBC etc.

    i’m really disappointed if he actually said that.

  5. steveh

    This is an absolutely excellent post Helienne.
    The “exposure” canard is the ugly sister of “you can sell t shirts”.
    I loathe the “exposure” argument because it falsely defines our musical artistic profession as some kind of hideous vanity project.
    The tech and media companies seek to devalue our work so they can exploit it and rip us off.

    • ceebee

      I agree! This is a profession, not a vanity project.
      If a commercial venture (TV) needs a product (music) to be successful, they should pay accordingly for it.

  6. Beanz Rudden

    I was there at the AIM Sync Licensing panel and I heard him say that exact quote…you should have heard the gasp amongst the audience members!
    Very good article Helienne, thank you for posting it and encouraging conversation and debate about this subject.

  7. Chris

    Maybe LA music supervisors should also work on their shows for free, given those jobs have such a huge promotional effect for their careers speaking on panels allover the world.

  8. Visitor

    Please, please, pleasssseeeeeee revise your writing before posting it. I know this isn’t the BBC, but stumbling through your work makes it extremely difficult to understand and visualize your point.

    • steveh

      Are you dim or what? The article makes it’s hard hitting point perfectly clearly.

    • Myles na Gopaleen

      I guess the honeymoon is over and the grammar/font/graphics police are back to help edit DMN.

  9. Marx

    Musicians and artists are such narcissistic and egotistical Capitalists!!

  10. Zak

    I see why he would be suprised why the fees are still high, but to be shoked that the artists still needs to eat and survive? Its inevitable the industry needs to hit the parodigm shift already, and it makes sense that companies controlling music will continue to do just that. Artists will once again need to adjust to cultivate their own exposure if they want any of the benefits. Platforms like the new Daisy will be the new exposure. If Music Supervisors want to pay less money, look in a market of DIY artists not represented by lisencing companys. Or apply pay cuts, but not at the expense of the product and artists.

  11. steveh

    Here is a good comment on this I found on Music Week (thanks “Globetrotter”):-
    Globetrotter • a day ago
    I’m a film producer and distributor myself and there’s been many times when I’ve been offered projects for which the music is insufficiently cleared for wide release. Thus this notion proposed by PJ Bloom would be attractive to many in my business and should be to me, but I reject it because its wrong in principle.
    Music is an integral element in the movie and TV programme making process. Imagine Chariots of Fire without the Van Gelis score or that famous scene in Reservoir Dogs with Stealer’s Wheel – “Stuck in the Middle with You” etc. etc. The movie exposure did bring that music to new audiences but it was also one of the reasons why those movies were successful and the people who’s music was used should be entitled to a direct reward from that financial success. Plus all the airplay which allows DJs to chatter about the film its in – also contributes to the film or TV show’s financial success.
    It’s also perpetuating a mentality where artists are expected to see the benefits “somewhere else”. Every media now wants to present itself as a form of promotion, the single is promotion, the album is promotion, the tour is promotion – all pointing fingers at each other as the bit that makes money for the artist, and now the sync licence want’s to present itself as promotion.
    Where I do have some sympathy with PJ Bloom, is with the budgets that are available to pay for music. Budgets for drama and documentaries and even theatrical feature films have gone down massively, audiences have fragmented over so many channels and the advertising pie is spread more and more thinly, diminishing production budgets. Thus a worldwide all media clearance for a one minute excerpt for a documentary or TV drama cannot deliver in revenue what it did 10 years ago. There is an argument for realistic fees but not for freebies.

    • writerproducermanager

      Exactly. I think we all accept that during these changing times budgets may well be necessarily reduced – and deals that make sense to all sides can always be done for a reasonable fee but we don’t want to go back to the concept of ‘ payola’ where only those who can afford to pay, get the exposure – and, as Helienne says, if EVERYTHING is promotional then where is the income?

    • Mystery Meat

      As an independent Music Publisher and Production Music library owner I could not agree with this post from steveh more
      We should be paid not only on principle but it is the law after all and these new practices not onsly serve as a dangerous mechanism and presedence to severely devalue copyrights but in my opinion are clearly not only a poor excuse for the studios to get out of paying but are ant business period!

      I also find it not only hipocritical but highly insulting that I watched and heard PJ give a guest speaker lecture at UCLA during Dina LaPolts class in which he vociforously claimed to be pro writer and pro composer and vehamently declared that nothing gave him more jot and satisfaction as when he could call a writer/composer to inform them that there was a sych deal in place and that the front end check was in the mail
      ( I am paraphrasing of course)
      So to have the same guy six years later totally change his tune
      to me is unexcuasble and two faced
      no one I know wants to engage in any course of business or transactions for promotional purposes exclusively and those writers/artists that do are sadly ignorant of their rights

      Further more this whole trend of using the terrestrial radio model as an excuse to engage in these sort of practices to me (and I realize I am being sinical here), are in my opinion a potential mechanism for a new brand of payola by which instead of radio it is television and only a select few who are in the loop will profit from these practices thus opening the channels of / to corruption and secret sweet heart deals
      Either that or some of these people have some severe and misguided collectivist/comunist leaningsand are just plain anti busine
      Also I would llike to add that there seems to be this trend
      of these special guest speaker circuit put on by groups such as
      NARIP and AIMP
      I know both Tess Taylor and Richard Feldman
      and I would suggest that they pay attention and exercise some quality control in booking and organizing some of these expert speakers at their events
      In the case of Mr Bloom:
      Please make up your mind and decide who’s side you are on

  12. Visitor

    Perhaps PJ Bloom should work for free, after all he does get his name in the credits.

  13. Suzanne Lainson

    Unfortunately I think a lot of places can get away without paying for music because there is an excess of music. If you won’t give them your music for free, someone else will. Therefore I don’t think we can count on the situation reversing itself. However, I think it is important to stress to musicians that in most cases the exposure won’t lead to any sort of financial payoff for them. As people here have pointed out, if you don’t collect any licensing fees, if you give your recorded music away for free, and if you are playing live gigs where it costs your more to get to the gig than it will pay you, you don’t have much left to sell. Sure, people talk about merchandise or Kickstarter rewards, but how many t-shirts are your fans going to buy from you and how many wealthy people will pay you $10,000 for a private party?

    Level with musicians and tell them exposure probably won’t lead to income.

    I also like to suggest that if musicians and artists are encouraged to give away their art for free, let’s in turn give them free or low cost food, housing, health care, and so on. Some people like to suggest that the reason musicians are being asked to give away their music for free is that it’s all digital now and it costs them nothing to make endless copies. However, when Amanda Palmer was talking about getting paid from fans, she was talking about non-digital events. Busking, for example. She smiles and someone drops money into the hat.

    So if everyone likes this approach for Palmer, how about we encourage doctors, landlords, Google, and other businesses to operate in the same fashion? Let them ask their clients/customers for payment, but if those clients/customers don’t pay, no harm, right? If free is good for artists and musicians, let’s adopt it across the entire economy.

  14. David@indigoboom

    Excellent article. I will copy it in my blog (that should give DMN some great exposure ) I specially love the comment from the WARNER guy. ”
    “It’s promotional when you play my record when I want you to!”
    This is so much more inspiring than the drudgery of endless anti spotify pieces you have been running for the last year.

  15. Visitor

    This isn’t really a new practice. MTV has been doing this for a while now with shows like “16 and Pregnant”. You make a valid argument, but at the same time how many bands would be willing to pay to perform on Letterman or The Tonight Show?

    • Mike Corcoran

      Good point. As far as I know, guests on late-night talk shows are never paid for their appearances. They do it for the exposure and to plug their new album, movie, etc.

  16. Sally

    Songwriters should never give their music away for free even if it would be good ‘promotion’. What kind of message does this send out about the value of music? All writers must stop doing this otherwise we continue to be exploited.

  17. self interest

    wholly self-interest on pompous PJs part. he’s given a budget by the production; he doles out to the bands according to what he thinks they’ll accept. (this is always what happens). it’s always low-balled. music supervisors are also in a hurry/lazy: if you don’t say yes to their first figure right then, they move on. and they make sure to publicize that in interviews and at conferences.
    if a supervisor comes under budget (“saves” money), he keeps it, or is perhaps given an incentive bonus if he brings it in under budget. it’s like a contractor for a house. the cheaper materials you can get away with using, the more your profit.
    PJ’s been saying that line for a few years, btw. maybe he’s trying to position himself as the go-to-guy to get paid for “exposure”.
    and as for that exposure… what happens (and i’ve tracked it) is that when a show airs, everyone jumps to Youtube to watch/link/get the song. via analytics you can even see what search terms they use; of course .zip or torrent or free show up as terms, so you know there are 1000X as many people going to the pirate sites to get it.

    also: do i care if, when the show airs in bolivia, or croatia, or new zealand, or greece, or other places i’ll never tour, lots of people have been ‘exposed’ to my music? no. pay me. i’ll make more music.

  18. Saumon Sauvage

    Not surprised. There is an oversupply of music and it is all easily procured for little to no money from one’s home or office or cellphone… What incentive is there for the buyer to pay? Conscience?
    Withdrawing or limiting supply, along with rights enforcement by a well-funded association, is the only remedy to this problem. If you could dig up salt down the road for free, you’d never buy any.
    When the means of producing recorded music was limited and in the hands of capital intensive industries with stable distribution channels, lots of musicians made money (as did the recording companies). And more were paid for live performances because the recordings did not cannibalize their business. Everyone knows they can squeeze the musician — unless he has a significant draw — and they will, simply because they can.
    The only winners now are the IT firms who distribute but do not make content. Until the market imbalance is rectified, and until musicians control the supply of music to their markets, nothing will change for the better. But that is very unlikely to happen.

  19. Rob B

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about. All my artists and composers pay their rent with film credits, they buy their food with page impressions and they feed on adulation.

    Why get paid, surely money is for bankers!?
    Musicians need exposure to live, the rest of the human race dies from exposure.

  20. Indy Music Publisher

    I don’t blame PJ for asking for something for nothing. It’s like asking a band to play at your restaurant opening for “the exposure.” Turn it around and doubt you’d get too many chef’s cooking for a bunch of musicians simply for “the exposure.”

  21. hippydog

    1.) The Reason a guy like PJ can even say something boneheaded like that is because in the USA Terrestrial radio gets a free ride..
    You cant bash him for stating something like that, then turn around and PAY or give away your music to be played on radio..
    Lets be honest, especially today, if we compared its ability to promote, TV & movies win by a long shot..
    2.) the widespread “freebies” needs to end, but more importantly the stupid exemptions to one medium and not the other..
    IE: many radio stations only play top 40, does nicky minaj REALLY need more promoting from some small market radio station? and yet the TV show that continously breaks new artists, why are they paying full pop..
    3.) the entire system needs an overhaul.. TV and FM radio are not the only weird ones..

  22. R.P.

    He’s a moron. any idiot can troll the internet and pick music for a show. Maybe he should be downgraded to an intern monkey.

  23. julannag112

    So..someone tell me how musicians are paying their bills with no labor compensation. This is getting ridiculous

  24. Visitor

    1) To compare a sync to radio is naive. Radio is direct promotion, a sync is passive promotion. The money can range from ok to great, but at the end of the day, the music is enhancing an unrelated piece of media. Because the producers, networks, and music supervisor feel that a given song works (for whatever number of reasons) above all other songs, the fee is warranted.
    2) “However, as Bloom pointed out, the days of scoring big lump sum payments from sync placements are over.” This is simply not true. Also, there is not a single full sentence quoted in this entire article. If you’re going to make PJ sound completely ignorant, at least use his words. Otherwise, you run to risk of making him into a villain for nothing. Not fair to PJ.
    3) As others have pointed out, everyone involved in a production (the actors, the director, the sound editor, the composer, etc) stand to benefit from the exposure. Why single out music, especially in the context of a show that is worthless without music?

    • Mike Corcoran

      I agree with your #2 above. Payments for sync licensing on shows like “Glee” are not a thing of the past. Your song is not just background music. It has a featured part on the show. The music on the show is content comparable to the script and actors. Definitely musicians (and actors, directors, and writers) will be paid for that type of content. And, Glee will no doubt run for years in syndication. Any artist to give away a song on that show for exposure only would be a fool.

      Now, a one-off reality show like “16 & Pregnant”, which (Im assuming) airs short, 15 to 30-second snippets of your song, can probably get away with not paying artists by using the “exposure” angle. As others have pointed out, there’s no shortage of up-and-coming artists who will take the chance on the promo value and forego any direct monetary payment.

    • Helienne

      The quotes are in the Music Week article that I’ve linked to in my article. Beanz Rudden, who also was at the event and commented above, also confirms in his comment that the quotes are accurate. Whatever PJ’s intentions, I’m addressing the bigger issue, not making a personal attack.

  25. Visitor

    Do a Google Image search for PJ Bloom and look at the second lmage. This explains everything. C’mon, give the poor guy a break, this job is all he has..

    • Guest

      Not nice. He’s an ok guy, I’m sure he was misquoted or misunderstood. Can’t believe he would really say something like this.

      • heard before

        i heard him say it, at least 5 or 6 years ago. he’s been saying it for awhile.

  26. dhenn

    Very disapointed in Bloom. I won’t waste my time going to anymore of his appearances where he’s looking for music.

  27. John P

    If I had a dollar for everytime I heard and fell for the old “exposure” line. Well…

  28. dhenn

    Maybe Mr. Bloom should start working for free. He spends a lot of time trolling LA songwriting events looking for songs. Didn’t realize he was also looking to screw the musicians as well. My question to all these assholes who think they should be able to use music for free is, promo for what? Music sales?!?! Oh, you mean the music that kid just stole of the internet? What a tool!

  29. mdti

    I’m shocked this guy has this job.
    Most people doing music for TV/movies don’t give a sh**t about exposure. They want the cash for the product delivered, AND they want the royalties on the broacasting.
    They don’t want exposure; many do not want be exposed and that’s why they deal with you.
    It is also super-stupid for a TV channel to negotiate with labels because there are a lot of databases that allow you to use music for free or for peanuts.
    So what, you want better music for nothing? You want exclusivity in exchange of nothing? you want to take advantage of the name of a musician who did something for you.
    But it will work as long as their are dumb musicians and starving ones that have no other choice (but that’s the dumbest thing they can do in my opinion).

    • mdti

      This guy should not get his salary this month. He got enough exposure this month to be able to seek a better job somewhere else 🙂

  30. Matt McKeever

    I would love to see this wise gentleman tell the trade unions on his set that they will now be working for exposure.

  31. Jake at Fair Trade Music PDX

    Four Things Every Musician’s Gotta Know: #4 Exposure kills.

    Brought to you by Fair Trade Music

  32. Music Publishing Executive

    I’m surprised that the music supervisor of Glee gets paid for his “work” on Glee. All the songs are written into the script, the assistant to a lawyer for Fox could clear it.

    • Over Exposed

      I have had a couple placements on Glee – they were non-scripted source cues. They didn’t pay great fees, but they paid something. One was only 6 seconds long (my shortest use yet) – but they paid.
      Some daytime shows have moved to the MTV model (blanket use), pretty depressing considering that those shows used to pay $1500/$2000 for a background source cue – those fees would add up over the course of a year.
      We are on a slippery slope indeed. I guess the best thing you can do is create some really great music that they really want/need – and then you’ll have some negotiating power.

    • The CANDYMAN

      Agreed~ hey I just figured out a way to free up a LOT of money for everyone… FIRE all the “music supervisors.” PJ Bloom’s pose is pretty pretentious coming from a guy with the most expendable job in the industry!

  33. Zoe Keating

    I’ve had my music on tv pretty often (CBS elementary, dateline, several PBS American masters programs, teen wolf, a jeep commercial, others…). In my experience it leads to very little to no “exposure”. The people who recognize it are my fans.

    • exactly

      fans recognize it, exactly.
      i’ve had a few instance where i’ve gotten the real-time “song by” drop down (there’s an industy word, like icon or sigil or cypher or something for it)… but even then, hard to tell if it’s effective.
      also had a track used in a long sexy scene with a high-profile actress. as a result the scene got uploaded onto youtube in various versions and has over five or six million views… but it hasn’t translated much into sales. in fact, i’ve had people contact me via youtube asking for me to send them the mp3 for free.
      i love exposure dollars. i’m an exposure dollar millionaire.

      maybe i’ll pay PJ Bloom with my exposure dollars to place one of my songs… i’m sure he’ll accept them, since all money is based on believing it has value.

  34. antonio garcia

    And what if an artist or composer doesnt want to play live shows?
    Does that mean that his work and creativity is worthless?

  35. RedsterLA

    As a music supervisor and an artist, I encounter this argument on a daily basis. It is not new, but it is as ethically unsound today as it was almost fifteen years ago, when a well-known cable music television channel used it to strong-arm artists into providing their music for free.
    It’s total BS, especially when the composition in question is used for ten seconds under dialogue in a noisy club (or whatever). The only time the “exposure” card can be considered even remotely valid is for an opening/end title or a montage with little or no dialogue — where the song/composition almost becomes another character in the scene — and even then, it’s a matter of negotiating the fee to be paid to the owner(s) of the publishing and master rights… NOT vice versa.
    Unfortunately, music libraries, composers and indie artists have been supplying their music regularly on a so-called “royalty free” basis (which is a misnomer, since it’s actually simply allowing the music to be used for no upfront licensing fee, with the only income being generated is from the writer/publisher’s PROs [BMI, ASCAP, PRS, SOCAN, etc.]). As a supervisor, I refuse to use such libraries because I feel it is a disservice to the artists and composers. Even if it’s only a few bucks, you need to charge SOMETHING. People need to be reminded that music is VALUABLE to a production.
    If the artist is not also a writer (and/or sharing in the publishing of the composition) and owner/co-owner of the master recording, without an upfront license fee, it means that they get NOTHING for the use of their performance.
    Should craft services be “grateful” that one of the stars may hire them for a party because they provide lots of yummy stuff on set? I don’t see them working for free. What they do can also be considered “art”, but the “exposure” argument doesn’t fly with them.
    Why? Because they’re not idiots. They KNOW that what they provide is valuable to the production and aren’t afraid to say so.
    Artists and composers need to grow a set and start saying “NO!” when supervisors ask for their music for no upfront licensing fee.
    From experience I know that when a director REALLY wants a song or a specific composer, they always manager to wrangle the bucks from the budget. Somehow the money just “magically” appears.
    The “oh, we have no money for music” crap is today’s “boy crying wolf” scenario. The only time I supply my own music for free/a miniscule fee is if I believe strongly in a project (usually a documentary) and its message, and the indie film company is TRULY on a tight (or almost non-existent) budget — you know… the kind where the director has maxed out his/her credit cards to pay for the color correction? 😉
    An example of the duplicitous way in which some productions work:
    A particular flagship, prime time show on a major network had a $200,000 PER EPISODE budget for licensed music. They didn’t know that WE knew that, and tried to nickle and dime us for a really low license fee. We countered with a modest, yet fair fee, which we eventually received. When we got copies of the cue sheet from the supervisor’s assistant, they sent us the wrong one — as in the one with the prices paid for each licensed piece of music. One cue from another company was paid $10K, we were paid $6K — for almost identical placements, for artists of the same stature. That didn’t bother us, since we had ongoing relationship with the company so gave them a sort of “repeat business” rate for placements. What really rankled us was seeing that a couple of other cues with similar timings and uses were paid ONE DOLLAR and $500, respectively. Those poor folks were probably ecstatic to have some “exposure” – and probably never saw another dime (other than performance rights royalties) from its use. It didn’t get anyone fans. It didn’t result in CD/download sales. It was a blip on the radar of the show, and they were rooked.
    Yep… a $200K music budget and the company paid $16,501 for four cues, leaving a slush fund of $183,499 for OTHER episodes, for OTHER songs they really wanted (can anyone say SWEEPS?).
    So shame on you, PJ. It is this kind of thinking that caused the early R&B artists to end up penniless in old folks’ homes. It’s bad enough that so many shows don’t even want to properly file cue sheets anymore — the main source of writer/publisher income — but to keep pushing the idea that artists should be paying the film/TV companies for the “privilege” of the ever-elusive “exposure” is just morally bankrupt and ludicrous.
    Next time you go to your hair stylist, try using the “exposure” argument and you may end up getting your head shaved.
    And as an FYI… the “new radio” is NOT television or films, it is advertising – and it’s not so new. There’s a lot more money in ads and trailers, since they are paid for out of advertising budgets, NOT the production’s paltry music budgets.

    • Helienne

      RedsterLA – great comment! Fascinating. I’d love to talk further about this. Haven’t set up a DMN email yet, but maybe you could email and he could pass your message along? In strictest confidence, of course. I protect my sources.

  36. Deep Throat

    What you are proposing is called Payola Mr. PJ.
    Sync is the last decent revenue stream available to artists and songwriters. We all know that the job of the music supervisor is to solicit ideas from major and indy labels and publishers and to re-present them to your producers (except in the case of your show Glee – we all know Mr. Murphy chooses the music). Your job is then relegated to getting the lowest fees for the music you use in your shows. Hence your brilliant Modest Proposal. Job security for you, with a steady stream of hungry and eager artists to exploit on your way to the next season.
    This is shameful…. Hollywood is starting to treat artists the way labels have for so many years. No wonder we are left with musical homogeneity and lowest common denominator drivel.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah PJ’a got a really great concept there… now if he can just get all the actors directors and writers onboard he may really have something there!

    • The Candyman

      Yeah PJ’a got a really great concept there… now if he can just get all the actors directors and writers onboard he may really have something there!

    • The Candyman

      Yeah PJ’s got a really great concept there… now if he can just get all the actors directors and writers to work for free he may really have something there!

  37. deanchristesen

    Like paying for radio play? That sounds familiar…

  38. consumer

    Hey, lets vote with ouir pocketbooks — if the musicians are pumping out some groaning version of grunge or (gag) emo shit…let’m starve.

  39. ninerox F

    oh, and that exposure leads to what, “increased sales”…seriously?? Spoken like someone who uses music rather than creates it…….let’s see how he’s feel if he stood to lose the sync fee.
    The exposure cannard…….advertising likes to use this as well. How about the credibility that the artist confers upon the user? Great music makes the ad or the show better………more viewers….more advertisers…….more revenue.
    And with a fair amount of music supes and networks asking artists to give up their Publishing……..his revenue stream argument gets a lot weaker. TV sync fees are embarassing low as it is…..even for major atists.
    When PJ gives up his salary then artists can give up their fees. He shoiuld go go write some music and give it away free and then see fast the massive profits come rolling in.

  40. Visitor

    Context, people, context! Please read the entire transcript!
    Does this sound like someone who thinks artists shouldn’t be paid? I have known PJ for over 10 years and in that time, I would venture to guess he is responsible for more synch revenue paid to the artistic community than all but a handful of others.
    His point, eloquent or not, is the competetive nature of the synch business and the changing models that, sadly, face the industry today.
    But I ask that all of you please take the time to get all the facts before rushing to judgement, character assassination, or name-calling.
    And Helienne, while I appreciate your intention to start a discussion on the larger issue, I have to disagree with the last line of your post wherein you claim PJ “thinks artists should have to pay for the privilege of having these corporations use their music”. As the interview shows, this is simply not the case and the conversation, and your readers, would benefit from a clarification.
    Thank you.

    • steveh

      Hey whoever you are. I have read the PJ “pushback” MW article. And look what I find:-
      “Personally I’m shocked that [labels] don’t pay [studios] to get your music in there. I don’t say that to piss anybody off, I’m just saying that it’s amazing to me that we still pay anything for it. To me the potential disclosure opportunity is immense and potentially a great thing. I would argue that if you as music rights owners could buy the right sync you probably would. It’s the same as purchasing some sort of publicity – or in the States where you have to buy your way on to radio.”
      HE SAID IT!!!!!!!
      What exactly are you trying to prove in your “pushback”?
      This quoted above is the exact point that Helienne focussed on and which has caused the controversy. He said it!!!
      It is crystal clear here that PJ does indeed think “artists should have to pay for the privilege of having these corporations use their music”.
      Yes perhaps they can develop a sync income stream later, but PJ said “Personally I’m shocked that [labels] don’t pay [studios] to get your music in there”
      He said it.
      He said he is “SHOCKED” that labels (ie. artists) don’t pay.
      How can you deny that he said it?

  41. ya

    The sad thing is that he’s right and he’s just calling it like it is; there would be artists in line for a shot at getting their song into a popular tv show paid or not. But I also know this, PJ Bloom (what a stupid fucking name), there are probably more music listeners waiting in line to choose the music that gets played in a popular tv show, so you’d better be fucking careful about when you choose to call a spade what it is because the sword is double edged my naive fucking friend, and it takes a hell of alot more skill to make an album than it does to send a few clearance emails.

  42. Jeff Tobias

    This article needs to be read and re-read VERY closely. PJ is not saying bands should give away their music to TV shows for exposure. It is not clear and then it gets editorialized. Author may want to do a follow-up. (Not to mention, a full transcript of what PJ said, not just a quote, would be insightful.)
    I’m pretty sure supervisors like PJ make no money if bands give away their music to TV shows.

    • drala

      PJ gets paid a salary – all supervisors do. They don’t make any kind of royalty like composers/songwriters do.

  43. Hot Blue

    Doesn’t he know that most writers and composers are not artists and their only income is from writing? Does he remember that in the UK and most other countries artist get paid for radio play but not so in the U.S.? He needs to have a discussion with Ralph Murphy, VP, ASCAP, also a Brit, who knows the history of music royalties, because obviously the so-called “music supervisor” in this article is an uneducated, entitlement minded child.

  44. Joe Blow

    PJ Bloom may be an established music supervisor but he’s out of his FUCKING MIND to say artists should “pay” to have their music placed in television!
    Does he also think he’s entitled to get a “kickback” from the artist for placing their song in a tv show even though he’s been hired by a production company to music supervise the show? That’s what a lot of scumbag supervisors are doing today.
    PJ man, get out of the music biz. It’s people like you that are screwing up the industry.

  45. joe livoti

    if i want exposure, i’ll take off my clothes and go play in the snow.
    try asking four plumbers to come to your house and work for four hours, for exposure.
    what a dweeb. i’m so sick of hearing that argument that it makes me want to puke. what other profession is continually asked and expected to work for free?

    • Jon

      Any creative job will be taken advantage of because it is something people want to do rather than something people have to do.
      I struggle with this problem because although I work in entertainment, it is purely on a technical level, but too many people know nothing about my work, and try to rope me into working for exposure like the creative departments. When I tell them that this is not how my job works, they say that they hadnt budgeted for what my job costs. Simple as that. So stupidity plays a large role in this as well…

  46. Jon

    I work in the entertainment industry and I can say that this is not new news unfortunately, and it is not limited to musicians. You really have to look at things from a bigger perspective.
    Big budget movies arent as common as they once were since the studio system has been crumbling, and unions arent as strong as they once were. This has a lot to do with the thousands of film students churned out by cash cow schools that preach to Generation iPod that there is ample work in “fun” industried like entertainment, instead of getting a practical or realistic job. So: Big Budget movies arent as common, and Unions cant enforce their rules because of an influx in wanna be film makers (that were never told that the entertainment industry is a Business) who will work for less than the going rate for “experience” or because they dont know any better.
    What all this means is that budgets are shinking because there are too many people, and the majority of films being made are on an independent scale. That and that most television is Reality TV, which is essentially low budget television (do to the fact that with so many channels now available, advertisers dont have to spend as much to air a commercial, or have one made for that matter). So all these people coming from an idea of not paying for music in the first place (re: Generation iPod), not knowing enough about their craft, not understanding good business, and yes, greed, along with technological advancements, job consolidations, an influx of musicians with readily available music from their home studios, etc etc etc: A lot of productions either dont have the budget for properly licensing tracks, paying actors (or crew), and convincing everyone that their project will give them “experience”, “exposure”, “material for their acting/camera reel” and “credits”, so that they can go on to continue to make zero to little on any potential jobs that those “benifits” attract.
    The point is that it is a lot more complicated than you think. In the case of Glee: If you are going to have a television show about music, you should have a budget to license songs built into your budget. If you dont, you are what is wrong with the industry, and what is killing talent, and probably the reason why we are in this douchey faux wanna be 80s materialistic no talent club music era in the first place. So thanks for that!
    Solutions? Well, if everyone in entertainment decided to charge what things cost, pay what is due, budget appropriately, NOT BE GREEDY, and of course, shut down all those film/recording/art schools that just churn kids out and take their money, over saturating the job markets with scabs undercutting unions and bring that whole world back into the apprenticeship system, then things might go back to the way they were, when musicians could make a buck off of their record.
    But believe me, most people in any aspect of entertainment arent making anything close to what they were 10 years ago. Its all just a big race to the bottom. Soon enough no one will be able to afford to pay anyone and we may only have home demos and youtube videos as antertainment media from here on out.

    • mdti

      and we may only have home demos and youtube videos as antertainment media from here on out.
      so what? youtube already has enough to keep most people happy for decades.

  47. mdti

    if someone tries to not pay you, hand him a flute, and let him know that “you” will be paying him a few dollars to replace you in the deal, and to see hear what he will do with it (muscially of course, not interested in other things here!!).

  48. drala

    I’ve been writing music for TV and film for almost 20 years and make a decent living from it. I am not interested in exposure, I’m interested in sync fees and royalties. Sync fees as well as “back end” royalties have been slumping downward for years. However all my bills still go up. I’m assuming that PJ isn’t a musician otherwise he wouldn’t have said such an inane thing, let alone think it was a good idea wothr supporting. Truly a sign that society is in decline when it doesn’t value the arts. Fail.


    Exposure for the artist, but what if the music makes the crappy show better? A piece of media isn’t just perceived visually. Sound has alot to do with it to, and should be funded equally.

  50. a union singer

    Amazing the clueless perspective expressed by Bloom. Does he realize that vocal performances are also payable under the SAG-AFTRA union contracts. At least, vocalists could hope to get paid for their media performance along with health and pension contributions.

  51. Music Library

    Really? Taking someone’s content to create a show and they want it free in exchange for exposure…? Come on… really? Lets ditch paying for content/IP and just swap it. I use it, I make money and you get seen. That’ll work…
    Mark at Music Library

  52. Pirate Bay is ultimate exposur

    I think it’s great that bit torrent sites like the Pirate Bay provide such amazing expsoure for shows like Glee.

  53. D

    Funnily enough I had a long argument with a music biz “expert” who swore up and down that artists only ever made money on sync licensing and never on mechanical royalties, hence piracy was AOK.
    Its as if they won’t rest until artists have to pay for the privilege of making art.

  54. the evac

    What an ass.

    TV budget = WAY bigger than the budget for recording, let alone being an artist…

    And if you want your shitty TV shows, advertisements, and visual media to be effective, and oftentimes tolerable, by our music you shouldn’t have a problem paying for it…

    What if every artist boycotts music to picture (including silent film orchestras, etc.)… your pictures will suck.

  55. lowryagency

    As a manager and musician myself, this gentleman does not speak for us “business” people. He is off his rocker if he thinks that his “multi-million” dollar show should not have to pay for music rights.
    People like this have no business working in music period.

  56. künstler treu

    do i get a refund, if the program that uses my music turns out to be somewhat unpopular?

  57. Anonymous

    Simply, sabotage Glee ! DO NOT watch those greedy shows… That will send them a message. “Fame” is an interesting issue, It seems even a popular show claims “Star” treatment. (Everything must be given to them). We seem to loose value in many levels…How this people sleep at night???
    If you think Movies create stars so that they could claim 10- 20 millions/film for their face in one movie- and they were promoted through film… Crazy world… (Do not dare to say that agents are negotiating – the whole background entourage of distributors, banks make a lot on those too ) My heart is bleeding for those TV and film giants stars and popular shows… The business is soon dying if you do not turn profit into the benefit of the whole industry. …and yes, the entertainment business is full of wanabies and stars all they see is money, not the expression or creativity.
    How about pay for skill, talent, and intellectual or material property as it should….? When it comes to shopping, buyers do not like to overpay neither value free bees… Why insult someone to offer nothing for their work/talent/property? Why anyone is fool enough to overpay one person. The industry can create stars of almost anyone if they want to and – of course pay ridiculus amount because of their own benefit.
    I want to go and listen to live music anyway. If I like the artist I buy their CD on spot — I know I’m old fashioned, but I do not want to ridicule the artist to giving them less than a cent earnings per download…
    SORRY it was long . I want “real value”… and naturally not for free.

  58. TheBaron

    Yeah, this infinity loop of “promotion that will eventually lead to income” BS is getting a bit ripe, had a few tracks through publishing randomly used on some terrible reality shows for sweet FA comparatively to audience / how much dollar the stations making on it…. Still yet to meet any “Real Housewives of New Jersey” fans down at any shows! ha

  59. sbyrd

    As a full time composer, reading quotes like this makes me want to break things (bones of certain people)

  60. Javier Mendez

    I would agree with this if it wasn’t for the fact that the corporations need the music. I’d love to see how many films and commercials survive without music.