Anyone Familiar with CDBaby Pro Publishing?

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Anyone Familiar with CDBaby Pro Publishing?

Post by Petros_K »

I've tried to reach out to reps with CDBaby and I'm not getting a response. Hoping someone here might have had the same concerns as me if they signed up for CDBaby Pro Publishing deal. They affiliate you with BMI or ASCAP and will collect royalties for streaming over the internet, which those two organizations apparently don't do. As a performing artist who made the recordings I have a problem with the following terms of their Publishing Administration Addendum. Unless I'm not reading it correctly, it looks like I'm granting them the right to potentially give my songs to another artist (i.e., they may sell the publishing rights). Note the caps (my emphasis):

"c) At your request or with your permission, TO DO OR ALLOW OTHERS TO do the following: (i) substitute new titles for any of the Compositions; (ii) MAKE ANY ARRANGEMENT, adaptation, translation, dramatization or transposition of any of the Compositions or of the titles, lyrics or music thereof, in whole or in part, and in connection with any other musical, literary or dramatic material;(iii) add new lyrics to the music of any Composition or new music to the lyrics of any Composition, and (iv) PREPARE DERIVATIVE WORKS based on the Compositions, regardless of any so-called 'moral rights'.

d) To make or cause to be made, and TO LICENSE OTHERS TO MAKE phonograph records, master recordings, digital downloads, streams, podcasts, ringtones, transcriptions, soundtracks, pressings and any other mechanical, electrical or other reproductions of the Compositions, in whole or in part, including without limitation, the right to grant licenses to third parties authorizing so-called "sampling" and/or interpolation of the Compositions, and to use, manufacture, advertise, license, sell, or otherwise exploit such reproductions for any and all purposes, including, without limitation, private and public performances, radio broadcast, television, sound motion pictures, wired radio, phonograph records, and any and all other means and devices, whether now known or hereafter conceived or developed, but excluding any synchronization rights. Synchronization rights, if applicable, are covered by the CD BABY Sync Addendum.

e) To print, publish, sell and distribute, and to authorize others to print, publish, sell and distribute, copies of the Compositions, in all forms, including, without limitation, sheet music, orchestrations, arrangements AND OTHER EDITIONS OF THE COMPOSITIONS [my emphasis], separately or together with other musical Compositions, including, without limitation, in song folios, compilations, song books, mixed folios, personality folios and lyric magazines, with or without music."

Source: (scroll down about 3/4 of the page to get to the section that says, "Publishing Administration Addendum"

Above, c,d, and e contain language that suggests, even if I opt out of sync licensing (which I am doing), I am granting CDBaby as publishing administrator to sell/give the composition (i.e., grant publishing rights) to another artist for use such as re-recording, and I'm granting CDBaby the right to make what constitutes derivative works. This addendum applies only to a Pro Publishing agreement. I do not want another artist recording my songs, at least not yet, given I'm the person who performed them for the recordings.

Am I reading the terms wrong? Am I wrong and CDBaby as publishing administrator can't grant third party publishing rights without my permission?
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Re: Anyone Familiar with CDBaby Pro Publishing?

Post by blinddrew »

I think the wording does do what you say, but I am not a lawyer.
I suspect it's boilerplate stuff though and if you want a different agreement you're going to need to keep trying to contact them.
You'd think that if they had an opt out option for something the T&Cs would change accordingly but maybe they've just found it too difficult to manage millions of artists on non-standard T&Cs.
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Re: Anyone Familiar with CDBaby Pro Publishing?

Post by BigRedX »

Unless the agreement has changed significantly since I last looked at it properly, CDBaby Pro offers no benefit for most songwriters that they couldn't get from directly joining their national PRO themselves. They don't act like a traditional publisher and try and push for your songs to be included on TV or film sound tracks or for other artists to cover them. What they will do is take their share of ALL your performance royalties including those they have had no involvement like when you perform your songs at a concert/gig.

AFAICS the only advantage is if you are based in the US where many performance royalty distributions will assume that you have a publisher and will deduct the publishers share even if there is no publisher to pay it to, and then only if the increase in writer performance royalties received by releasing your music through CDBaby Pro is greater than the amount of publishing royalties lost overall through assigning them as your publisher. In most situations that will not be the case.
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