MusikPitch Offers Lame Explanation Of Terms That Grab Ownership From Songwriters

image from www.hypebot.com(UPDATED) Last week MusikPitch launched an online marketplace for custom songwriting. Clients post their needs for songs along with a budget and songwriters submit tracks.  But as some astute Hypebot readers discovered, the terms (see terms after the jump below) require songwriters to give up all ownership of the chosen songs to MusikPitch.

So if your dream is to hear your song in a movie or commercial and then release it on your own…pretty much forget it. In response to the criticism MusikPitch issued this statement:

"You are correct in that MusikPitch will take ownership of the song. You are also correct in that our service is directed more at songwriters creating something specific and new in order to win that contest – if the prize amount is worth it to the songwriter to compete of course.

We understand that songwriters will have existing material that will fit certain contests and love the fact that they will be able to possibly earn some revenue from a song in their catalog that may have not been used otherwise."

Here are some of the restrictive terms that MusickPitch demands

b. Grant of Rights. Musician hereby sells, assigns, delivers, grants and sets over to MusikPitch, its successors and assigns, all of its right, title and interest in and to the winning Music, which the Customer selects in respect of a Contest hosted by the Customer, including the title, words and Music thereof, all world-wide rights therein, all copyrights therein and thereto, all registrations with respect thereto, and the exclusive right to secure copyrights and extensions and renewals of copyrights in the same and in any arrangements and adaptations thereof, all throughout the universe, and any and all other rights, claims and demands that Musician now has or to which Musician might become entitled at any time in the future, or to which Musician might be entitled or that Musician hereafter could or might secure throughout the universe with respect thereto if these presents had not been made, and to have and to hold the same absolutely and forever unto MusikPitch, its successors and assigns, subject only to any existing agreements between MusikPitch and Musician.

UPDATE: Has MusikPitch given up already? As of Tuesday morning a visit to the MusikPitch site yielded only a message that read:

"We are undergoing maintenance right now,

please try again later."

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  1. You are the man BH, The music biz’s answer to Anderson Cooper’s “Keeping them honest”. Nice One.

  2. Just got off the phone with MusikPitch and your voices have been heard!
    They are reworking the agreement to something that seems much fairer. Stay tuned for an announcement. ghton said…

  3. I don’t see what is wrong with this setup as long as it is made clear to the songwriters what the deal is. The whole idea of “custom songwriting,” as this claims to be, is that a musician writes a song for a client and then the client owns it. This is how it works with other products- if I make gallon of orange juice for someone and sell it to them, I have no further claim over that orange juice. Even if I sold someone an orange tree and that tree happened to produce way more oranges than I expected, I have no claim over those oranges. I don’t see why the default expectation here is that if I sell my product to someone I should still be able to go and sell it to others.
    If an artist wants to set up a licensing arrangement so that he can retain ownership of the material and distribute it for other purposes, that is fine, but the custom songwriting area of MusikPitch doesn’t appear to be the correct marketplace for that. It’s unfair to criticize the company for not being something that it isn’t claiming to be, at least not with this particular service offering.

  4. I agree with ‘Economists’. MusikPitch has every right to define their terms of ownership. There are plenty of other places songwriters can find clients, if they don’t like those terms. They should not change because of a blog.

  5. If the person who commissions the song wants ownership of it, that seems fair. They should be able to choose, and that should be reflected in the price agreed between them and the songwriter.
    It does not seem right that MusikPitch, which is a marketplace, should take ownership of the song. I do not expect Ebay to take ownership of my car when I sell it to someone in their marketplace. A commission or a small fee is fine, however.

  6. I agree, it’s just a work-for-hire agreement. Except usually the client would take ownership of the song, instead of MusikPitch (the middle man) taking ownership. Really, it’s a worse deal for the client than the songwriter.

  7. This is one of the first things I notice about this service.
    They are not trying to hide anything.
    It’s was very clear after looking at their site.
    Personal I would never use this service or any that makes you sign over your rights for your songs, but maybe some others would.
    There are many services out there for Music Listening.
    Check them out and find out what works for you.
    And always read contracts.

  8. The work-for-hire concept is certainly common. As others have mentioned, it is perhaps unusual for MusikPitch to own the song rather than the client. And would MusikPitch then turn around the license the song for other uses and pocket the money? Or in its agreement with the client, does it give the client exclusive use of the song in perpetuity?

  9. MusikPitch doesn’t own the rights to the submissions, does it? Just the winning submission that receives the money?
    In some cases there are contests where everything sent in becomes the property of the contest creator, not just the what has been sent in by the finalists or the winner.

  10. They have every right to define their terms, though consumers have every right to take their business elsewhere. I think the inclusion of those terms would drastically reduce the number of people willing to use the service. I know it would turn me off. So, I think it is probably a smart move for MusikPitch to make the change.
    Does anyone know if Jingle Punks has any terms like that? Are there any other similar services that are noteworthy?

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