own brand compilations CD's - how does the licensing etc work ?
December 30, 2006 3:26 PM   Subscribe

I've noticed that quite small radio stations, shops etc now sell compilation CD's which are badged as their own ("SmallTown FM - 20 Greatest Hits" etc). How do these deals work ?

I've noticed that quite small radio stations, shops etc now sell compilation CD's which are badged as their own ("SmallTown FM - 20 Greatest Hits" etc).

Can anyone tell me how these deals might work - I mean from the point of view of the company who wishes to retail the CD (" Foo FM")

I imagine that putting together a compilation of tracks involving different artists, publishers, labels etc is very laborious (negotiations, contracts etc).

Is it possible for companies to buy "off the shelf" compilations which they are free to distribute using their own branding ?
posted by southof40 to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
SmallTown FM is likely "SmallTown FM, a division of MegaCorp Radio, Inc."

And then the conversation goes like this...

"Hey, BigRecordCompany."
"Hey, MegaCorp Radio."
"We're printing compilation CDs and selling them to our listeners. Want your bands' music to be on it? If not, we'll be less likely to play your band's music or promote them in other ways."
"OK. You can have Single X but not Single Y, because we're giving Single Y to SuperDuper Radio, Inc, for the same purpose."
"Thanks. Does the band need to be paid for this?"
"Not really. This is part of our marketing and promotions agreement with them. But because we're allowing you to use Single X, can the band be featured on your Special Summer Concerts?"
"Sure thing."
"Want another cocktail?"
"Yeah, and maybe some nachos, too."
posted by frogan at 4:06 PM on December 30, 2006 [5 favorites]

Most large record companies have a "Special Markets" division that exist for just this type of project. You can contact them and have a custom mix put together. They'll even design the label and packaging for you, and let you brand it under your own company name.

If that is too much work, or too expensive, there are smaller companies that have all kinds of pre-done mixes ready to bear your logo. A Google search for "promotional music cd's" brought me here.

For the radio stations, I would imagine that they get the compilation CD's from their parent company, or from the same company that sells them their format and music.

Some larger stores, like Old Navy or Pottery Barn use the same companies that provide their in-store music to create compilation CD's to sell.
posted by Futurehouse at 4:54 PM on December 30, 2006

Such releases could be found well back into the vinyl era. This KRLA comp was one of the few garage-heavy samplers available pre-Pebbles, featuring acts from many labels, each of which was likely willing to license the L.A. AM-band powerhouse anything it asked.
posted by Scram at 6:16 PM on December 30, 2006

Magnatune's license system is here and they claim a pricing about 30% lower than industry standard.

As others pointed out, compilations are nothing new or unusual and the industry sells licenses for use. Using Magnatune's online form they indicate they'll sell you the right to use 5 songs and manufacture up to 500 CDs for $750. 5000 CD is $7200. If their claim is right then you'd likely pay Sony $1000 for 5 songs for 500 CDs.

Pricing clearly is subject to some negotiation; the dude who came up with the idea for "Mob Hits" supposedly paid very little for those old rarely-used tunes he parlayed into a big pile of money. Newer stuff might not be available for license - that would certainly explain why we see tv commercials for compilation CDs with "hits" that haven't been top-40 for over five years.
posted by phearlez at 10:03 AM on January 2, 2007

If this does not answer your question then perhaps you should write in your own.
posted by phearlez at 10:09 AM on January 2, 2007

« Older What do I do with my journals?   |   what's up in Cincinnati on New Year's eve? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.