Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

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Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby Brian Tang on Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:46 am

I'm trying to get a mechanical license for a piece I'd like to arrange, but I'm having an extremely difficult time tracking down the correct means to do so. The piece was not composed in America, but the agency's site (JASRAC) pointed me to those AMRA, SESAC, and HFA as places where I could obtain permission for a mechanical license. However, a search through their databases are not turning up the piece in question.

I am getting a bit frustrated at how inconvenient this is, and any advice that might point me in the right direction would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Brian

Here's JASRAC's page:
http://www.jasrac.or.jp/ejhp/international/index.html
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Re: Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby JohnGouwens on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:29 pm

Oh, I do sympathize! I am very careful about such things, and I commend you for being so conscientious. I had quite the chase getting such information about my two Dave Grusin arrangements (two pieces from film music). What's the piece, and other information. Maybe I can help you hunt.
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Re: Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby JohnGouwens on Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:27 pm

FYI, Brian and I have communicated further about all this, trying to figure out who the best contact is for permission. The film in question was released in the US by Disney, so I suggested trying there. Perhaps he'll let us know when there is news.
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Re: Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby JohnGouwens on Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:28 pm

Any progress on this. Brian?
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Re: Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby Brian Tang on Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:07 am

John suggested that I reach out to Richard (Giszczak) for advice and he turned out to be the perfect person to ask. He promptly determined that I was actually looking for a print license (for arranging), not a mechanical license (for recording), and through one of his contacts, got me to the page I needed, which was http://www.halleonard.com/permissions/.

Thanks both for saving me a great deal of time and frustration.
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Re: Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby JohnGouwens on Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:55 pm

Glad it helped. Hal Leonard is very good to work with in such matters.
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Re: Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby margaretpan on Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:26 pm

I'm trying to find out about licenses to arrange also and wanted to ask if anyone with more knowledge/experience wouldn't mind sharing info on:
- About how much does a license for a carillon arrangement typically cost (per piece)?
- Who usually owns the copyright on the arrangement?

Thanks a lot -
Margaret Pan
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Re: Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby JohnGouwens on Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:10 am

The owner of a copyright is often the composer, but in many case, the work has been signed over to a particular publisher, who then handles all permissions as well. Once in awhile, if you get the right person, you can get permission gratis, as I did from BMG Music for a few Mompou transcriptions I did. (It took about a year to get that permission, however!) I've run into asking prices of $150 pretty often, and usually I can haggle them down to $75, pointing out that the arrangement will be used by one person only (me) in a venue that rarely generates revenue. There certainly is no fixed rule about such things, and a copyright owner can ask whatever he or she wants to, or refuse to grant the permission at all. Sometimes it's a real challenge finding someone who will work with me at all (or even return messages). In nearly all cases, the copyright holder then "owns" the resulting arrangement, granting you permission to perform it. (I had one contract that granted me the right to perform it for one year - and I told them nothing doing, I wanted it in my repertoire permanently, and they capitulated.) There is some quirky legal language about calling it a "work for hire," which isn't strictly speaking what it is, since you wouldn't be paid for making the arrangement. Rather, it's the legal terminology they use so you can't ask for a piece of any royalties generated by someone performing it.

Note that permission to arrange does *not* include permission to distribute. Unless you've arranged otherwise, the permission you obtain is to arrange something for your own use, and they (the copyright owners) could then sell the resulting arrangement to others. (I asked this question about one of my Dave Grusin film music arrangements, and that was the answer I got, and that it wouldn't be cheap for the other person to get that copy.)

That's the experience I've had with it, and I've done this many times. Hope it helps!
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Re: Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby margaretpan on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:58 am

Thanks a lot John -- that's very helpful and actually answered a couple other questions I had.
Coincidentally I'm also asking for a Mompou piece, but here the original publisher is Salabert.
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Re: Advice on obtaining mechanical licenses.

Postby JohnGouwens on Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:35 pm

Last I knew, Salabert's permissions were handled by BMG Music. Good luck with that!! It took them forever - and many phone calls. I'd check, though, preferably by way of whoever their US sales representative is. Such things do change.

I just looked online on what is now the common website for Salabert/Durand/Ricordi and a few others. The US sales representative is Hal Leonard.

Hal Leonard Corporation
7777 W. Bluemound Road
P.O. Box 13819
Milwaukee, WI 53213
Phone : +1 414-774-3630
Fax : +1 414-774-3259
halinfo@halleonard.com

That's good news. They are very good to work with. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are the ones handling permission to arrange. ("Permission to arrange" is the usual term for what you are asking.) I would contact them, and they can either help you or steer you to the correct people.

- John Gouwens
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