Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Pre-Show Music?

   
Author Topic: Pre-Show Music?
Andy Bundy
Film Handler

Posts: 9
From: New Bremen, Ohio, USA
Registered: Jul 2016


 - posted 09-22-2016 04:28 PM      Profile for Andy Bundy   Author's Homepage   Email Andy Bundy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello there! I help run a small, one-screen movie theater and I had a question I couldn't find an answer to online.

We run a Powerpoint presentation for our pre-show and since the theater has been open they play music before the show starts. To my knowledge I'm not sure that we have the correct license to play music (one of the workers brought in a CD she made). I had some old Movietunes CDs but I don't think they do those anymore. I couldn't find it. Is there somewhere in which I could either: a) get royalty-free music that would be cinema friendly, b) ease my conscience about playing the music (I don't handle the budget, and I feel the person doing so wouldn't be interested in purchasing said license), or c) come up with an alternative to the pre-show? I went a few times just not playing anything, but people (the coworkers at least) weren't that keen on it, as it's awkward for the patrons we get.

I guess I don't quite know where to go with this. I'd eventually love to do a pre-show video, but that's a long way down the road project.

Thanks!

 |  IP: Logged

Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 828
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 09-23-2016 01:40 AM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think licensing is very expensive. Maybe like $100 a year? I'm not sure but I really don't think it's too ridiculous.

You could also look into a service like CinemaSounds

 |  IP: Logged

Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12106
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-23-2016 01:08 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe licensing is a lot more expensive than that, which is why most theaters don't do it. On the ASCAP website, it's impossible to get specifics because they screw, I mean charge, each place individually; but their FAQ says "smaller businesses may pay only a dollar or two a day," meaning it probably costs between $365 and $730 a year, and that's just for ASCAP. (BMI is the other major licensing service, if you want to be totally protected you would need both).

One possibility would be to get a "business" subscription to Sirius satellite radio - that's 24.99 a month and would cover all the music you could ever want to play. That's still $300 a year but it would cover both the BMI and ASCAP music and you wouldn't have to pay for two licenses.

We used to play pre-show music here but since we do ads before the show now, there's no need for it.

 |  IP: Logged

Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 09-23-2016 01:31 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
An ASCAP license is based on seating capacity. I have 453 seats and paid $245 for 2016 for recorded music. It does go up a few dollars every year.

If we were to use our pipe organ for preshow music that would be an additional $12.50 per day for live music. That is the reason we no longer use the organ for preshow. Actually that price was quoted a number of years ago, so it would be higher now for live music.

 |  IP: Logged

Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5116
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 09-23-2016 01:42 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The CinemaSounds website gives precious little information about how the service works or its fees or even how the programs are delivered; it also seems like they feature a very narrow music style, i.e. primarily contemporary artists which may or may not be what would be most appealing audiences in every market. Certainly it wouldn't be right for our art house demographic mix, which is heavily younger baby-boomers. We mix classic rock and instrumentals for our preshows. If we were to play play the spastically gyrating Kala Bhianna video or the threatening Skrillex videos at our place, my patrons would walk out of the theatre. Even some of the less aggressive offerings are picked by what are new releases, i.e., a marketing collusion between CinnemaSound (DMI Music and Media Network) and the record labels. There is no suggestion that music is programmed for a specific demographic in any meaningful, scientific way.

When I worked for the LaBrie FM Network (we packaged music for FM stations in one hour blocks, and the formulae that they developed was done with a team of musicologists and marketing experts and was honed down so specifically so as to select cuts targeting what demographic was listening at what quarter hour of the day to what tempi and what actual instrument sounds were appealing (or not) to their ears (strings vs. horns & brass for example, for women vs. men age 25 to 45, etc). A station had a choice of four very different types of music to buy. Lots of very expensive R&D went into the development of those formulae and they were patented by the company.

CinemaSounds doesn't seem to offer that kind of science to what they package together and for what markets. They are pretty much just promoting the latest albums of the labels they are in cahoots with and marketing. You could do that yourself and probably know your audience's taste and do it much better.

And from your question about licensing, it does seem like you are indeed looking to create your own preshow material, not looking to buy a pre-packaged program which would of course be more expensive than you picking out your own album cuts. You just want to be sure you are cleared with the proper licensing, yes? If that is the case, then as Buck says, getting blanket licensing coverage for your venue(s) is not at all very expensive or difficult. All three licensing agencies, ASCAP, BMI and some third one which I can never remember the name (Sescam? perhaps) cover 99.99% of all the music you are ever going to find on CDs. Their annual fees are based on theatre seat-count or if you are like us who have a large seat cap that is never more than half sold and many times much less than that, you can petition for a lesser fee if you can show your annual ticket sales. Bottom line is, you buy the big two (ASCAP and BMI) coverage and you are good to go for any music you play anywhere in your theatre. The third agency covers mostly gospel music, so unless you are a church, you really only need the two majors. Once covered, you never have to worry again what music you choose to play.

 |  IP: Logged

Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7867
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-23-2016 03:01 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The 78 RPM archive at archive.org has lots of PD recordings, if you are willing to spend the time to sit through some awful recordings in order to find the good stuff. There is lots of jazz and big band music there, which might work well in an historic theatre.

Alternatively, I know of one cinema where a talented employee actually composed and recorded his own piano music for non-sync playback.

At one point, I tried to convince a theatre owner to buy and install a player piano and some rolls of PD music for house music, but I was unsuccessful in this endeavor.

 |  IP: Logged

Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5116
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 09-25-2016 04:45 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fantastic idea, Scott...wasted on an unimaginative exhibitor. Hey, now with digital, you could aim a cam at the player piano and project it on the screen as preshow content. It sure would be more entertaining that the commercial crap they run now. In fact, given that 99% of the cinemas don't have curtains, the image of the piano workings would avoid the mortal sin of an audience walking in and seeing a "naked" screen. With just a bit more ingenuity, you could set up small cameras in the belly of the piano looking at, say, the hammers, one looking at the keyboard, one at the paper roll, etc and feed them thru a switcher set to auto-change the inputs so the audience sees all the moving parts while listening to the music. And they have some incredible music now available for player pianos. But who knows, they may also need license clearance.

 |  IP: Logged

Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1511
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006


 - posted 09-25-2016 04:39 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was doing some temp 35mm projection at a multiplex theater recently
and noticed they were using a service from MUZAK. I got some info from
the theater manager at the time, which I have since lost, but it wasn't
all that expensive, and there were a number of audio "feeds" with
different musical theme-beds that they could select from.
(but with their hook-up, all auditoriums got the same audio feed)

Unlike 'the old days' where MUZAK service required a dedicated 3k or 5k
leased line from the telephone company, which significantly added
to the monthly cost, it's now delivered over the interweb by a dedicated
IP-modemthingy.

I don't know the (audio) bandwidth, but since walk-in music is usually
not played at a loud level, it's probably adequate for the purpose.

They could switch feeds by logging into their account and selecting
from the music menu on MUZAK's website.

As I said- - IMO it wasn't all that expensive, so you might look into it.

 |  IP: Logged

Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7867
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-26-2016 12:59 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In case anyone wants a player piano, Bernie Houle in Rhode Island sells and services them. He also has old and new piano rolls for sale. (I have no relationship to him, but I did enjoy chatting with him once.)

Alternatively, there is the newer style of player piano that is computer controlled and is probably more flexible (but less visually interesting) than the roll-type. Yamaha and possibly other manufacturers sell these. The newer "recordings" probably have copyrighted arrangements (if not the entire composition), though.

(I wonder if ASCAP counts player pianos as "live music" or "recorded music"?)

 |  IP: Logged

Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1511
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006


 - posted 09-26-2016 01:42 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
I wonder if ASCAP counts player pianos as "live music" or "recorded music"
Great question, Scott!

I've always considered player piano rolls to be one of the first actual
examples of "digital music", since on the roll you either had a 'hole', or
'not a hole'~ ~sort of a primitive paper equivalent of digital "ones & zeros".

 |  IP: Logged

Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2199
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-26-2016 02:13 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Google and you shall find:
from ASCAP's site
quote:
Technology has always impacted jazz composition. The earliest jazz stars learned from ragtime player piano rolls. Even today, performers need to secure a “mechanical license” to record a song, but how many of them realize that the term (which dates back to 1909) first referred to the player piano mechanisms that were our first copy-and-playback devices?

 |  IP: Logged

Andy Bundy
Film Handler

Posts: 9
From: New Bremen, Ohio, USA
Registered: Jul 2016


 - posted 09-26-2016 03:35 PM      Profile for Andy Bundy   Author's Homepage   Email Andy Bundy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for all of the responses!

I'm not 100% sure what I'll eventually end up doing, but this is a great resource. I did like the idea of Sirius for Business subscription, as well as the PD idea (other than going through all of the songs)

 |  IP: Logged

Terry Monohan
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 238
From: San Francisco CA USA
Registered: May 2014


 - posted 10-01-2016 09:27 PM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We were up in Sparks NV a few days ago at the over the top Galaxy Theatre. They ran pre show ads with just stereo music. It was like a slide show but the images did move and some were film.

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central (GMT -6:00)  
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:



Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2018 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.