On Thu, 16 Mar 2006, Tom Fine wrote:

> I might be missing something here. Why can't Marston license the rights?

Surely EMI and Sony/BMG
> would like SOME money rather than NO money for ancient recorded music.

I can't speak for Ward, but I can speak for my own experiences at trying
to work with the former BMG. They wanted $1,000 search fee to track down
the master tape, plus costs for dubbing. They also wanted a check upfront
for a percentage of the "potential" sales for the first pressing...we
press 1,000. Add to that the mechanical rights on what we wanted to
issue...well, our best selling release has sold 2,700 copies. Not only was
coming up with the cash for the upfront costs problematic, I doubted I
could ever make back the costs for the search fee and other charges for
dubbing and the upfront costs for the license fee.

We did get a deal from Sony. We were able to clone the CD and pay them a
percentage of the sales. Yes, they were reasonable, but then the guy we
worked with is no longer with them.

I also tried to make a deal on some Argo releases...some of their
contemporary music. I believe one company had some luck, but the response
I got was...well, we will do the pressing and our minimum is 10,000 units.

Perhaps in time more companies will find that something is better than
nothing, but...I consider the unions and their relationships with
orchestras and the wonderful treasure to be found in broadcast recordings.
While I see some progress being things stand at the
moment with most of them, if you want to do it legally, you have to pay,
upfront, the basic union fee (what they would have been paid at a
recording rate), which is usually a minimum of $50,000+ for about 60
minutes of music. And what sort of sales can you expect...the New York Phil
sold about 2,000 copies of some of their historic sets of broadcasts.
Without a reduced rate from the union and many grants, those sets would
not have been possible.

Indeed, I would agree something is better than nothing, but try telling
that to the Boston Symphony or many of the majors. I hope things will
change. As for what Ward does, I believe he is in a unique position. I
believe that EMI can trust that he will do excellent work and that the
representation of their product will be better than what they could do.

From my perspective, many of their reissues are miserable.

Plus, I would assume he works with pressed copies most of the time and does
not require someone to search the archives. As I am sure most of you know,
the companies have not maintained their archives in the best of ways. At the
moment, we are trying to track down some masters possibly in the BMG-Sony
archives, discs that they pressed for another company.  Because the
request bypassed "normal" channels, a friend of a
friend...we might actually be able to get some information, and fortunately
the guys working with the materials seem to really know and value records.

Sorry for going on, but I am very frustrated as both a researcher and
producer, and yet extremely pleased at Ward has been able to do.