Historical Survey of Composers’ fees for the
Commissioning of Original Screen Music, 2015 Edition.
The purpose of this document.
For many years, the AGSC has been asked by its members and various organisations for guidance on what constitutes a reasonable fee for the commissioning of a screen composer.
As a result, the AGSC has undertaken a survey of services and corresponding pricing ("composer's fees") recieved by its members in the last five years for the commissioning of original music for Australian screen productions.
The results of this survey (below) are intended to provide some general guidance to members and the wider Australian screen community about pricing. Use of this document is not obligatory and individuals must make a unilateral decision about fees independent of others.
Important legal information
The figures in this document are indicative only.
Composers are not obliged to use this document in any way.
Composers must make a unilateral and independent decision when determining fees for his or her services.
Nothing in this document will be taken to constitute an agreement or understanding between any two composers about fees they may offer for the same service.
No warranties expressed or implied may be interpreted by the use of this document.
When entering into a screen music commissioning contract, producers and composers should seek independent legal advice.
The terms "composer's fee", "package deal", "pricing", "music budget" "rates" are interchangeable and generally refer to the same thing.
This document may not be copied in part or in whole without the written consent of the AGSC.
This document must be interpreted in it's entirety and no individual section quoted or interpreted out of context.
For clarification regarding this document, please contact the AGSC.
Assumptions and Variables
It is of utmost importance to understand that when responding to this survey composers have taken the following "assumptions and variables” into consideration. Therefore the results must be interpreted with these points in mind.
the screen composers (survey respondents) are members of APRA and the AGSC.
the figures quoted below do not include a provision for the licensing of pre-existing songs or source music (aka diagetic music). Both a fee to license the music and a fee to license and/or commission a new recording fall outside the scope of this survey. For more information in this regard, please seek the advice of a Music Supervisor.
the figures quoted below are indicative of the "composer's fee" only. Use of live musicians, music production personel and facilities may have been engaged at the composer's discretion within the fee; or may have been subject to additional fees and further negotiation. For further information in this regard please seek the advice of a Music Services Provider.
The categories "LOW / MEDIUM / HIGH", for the purposes of this survey, relate to a wide variety of factors including but not limited to, the production budget, composer experience, and the commercial profile of the production.
The LOW category may include:
• lower than average production budgets.
• commissioning of a less experienced composer with few credits.
• commissioning of a simpler and/or shorter than average score.
• contracting for a non-exclusive synchronisation licence of the original Music.
• allowing the composer to retain ownership of the Master Recording including re-use rights in the Music.
• limiting the territories, licence period and/or the formats licensed.
• negotiating a share of the Producer's profits, DVD or On-line revenue for the composer.
Note: The Fee does not entitle the Producer to any share of performance royalty income.
The MEDIUM category may include:
• an average production budget.
• commissioning a composer of average experience and skill.
• commissioning a score of average duration and complexity for the production type.
• allowing the Producer to retain ownership of the Master Recording.
• prior to any rights vested with APRA, the fee includes an exclusive synchronisation license of the music, in perpetuity, throughout the universe, for all visual formats.
• the Right of the Producer to re-use the Music and Master recording in future related programs, series or productions for an additional per minute fee. (As negotiated but generally $600 per min).
Note: The Fee does not entitle the Producer to any share of performance royalty income. There is also no obligation of the composer to contract any live musicians or additional music production services and does not include the cost of any supervision, re-mastering, re-mixing or editing costs associated with the production of a Soundtrack Album.
The HIGH category may include:
• a higher than average production budget.
• commissioning a more experienced, highly skilled composer with many credits.
• commissioning a musically complex and/or longer than average score.
• allowing the Producer re-use rights in the Master and the Music for future related programs, series or productions without further payment.
• a particularly short period of time to complete the work.
• the Producer, in some cases, receiving a share of the Publisher's share of performance royalty income.
• the use of live musicians and/or additional music production personnel and facilities within the "package deal" fee.
All figures x Aus $1000 ex GST and have been rounded to the nearest $500.
NOTE: Without carefully considering and comprehending the definitions, assumptions and variables above this table, the figures herein have little historical value. Without considering all the assumptions and variables the reader may be seriously underestimating historical fees to commission an Australian screen music composer.
In plain language, if you have skipped straight to this table you are getting an incomplete picture and the figures will be of little guidance to members and the wider Australian screen community.
The AGSC wish to gratefully acknowledge Sar Katdare and Johnson Winter & Slattery
for their support and advice in the creation of this document.