May 14, 2011

My friend, manager, and lawyer, the legendary Marty Machat ( pictured with Leonard Cohen) once told me “A songwriter should audit a publishing company every seven years to make sure that they get every penny coming to them.” Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to him.

Now that it’s statement time, I’ve decided that it’s about time to take his advice. A company I should’ve paid more attention to is Rondor Music, which I ran when it was called Irving/ Almo music. Over the years since it was sold to the Universal Music Group, writers who have copyrights with the company, seem to be treated as a number in an accounting system, as opposed to the creative people they are, who made the company worth the $400,000,000 that it was sold for.

I hadn’t received a writer’s statement in years, and attributed it to lack of current activity. A few months ago someone I didn’t know alerted me that my name was on a list from the California atty. General’s office that said unless they found me, $600 I had coming to me from Rondor Music would be turned over to the state.

I don’t why it was so hard to find me, since I’m quite visible out here, but be that as it may I finally contacted someone named Paul Woodruff at Rondor to straighten things out.

On March 17, he sent me change of address forms which I got right back to him.

On April 19, I wrote him, “I sent you the signed papers about a month ago. I still haven’t received my money. Is there any problem?”

On April 20, he wrote back, “No problem except a very large number of people we have located an backlogged A/P service. We will be processing a supplemental payment file for the previously address unknown writers early next week.”

On May 6, after still not receiving a check I wrote him, “…I know how companies as big as yours work. There is always somebody there who can sign my check today and get it to me overnight, so please don’t expect me to believe otherwise. I’m sorry, nothing personal Paul, but your “non-excuse” seems lame and gives me reason to write about what your company has turned into. You might want to check out what I wrote about BMI and what happened since” as well as

On May 6, Paul e-mailed me back, “I didn’t forget about you, I do expect the check shortly. Thanks for forwarding your new book, I really look forward checking it out. Having started at Rondor, I do miss the small company that was so writer oriented. Many changes that lie ahead for the music business, already has little resemblance to what it once was.”

It’s May 14, and guess what? I still haven’t got the check!

When it finally comes, I decided to use the $600 plus add a few more grand to it and audit not only Rondor, but also Warner Brothers Music (where I worked as general Professional Manager). Warners was just sold and I’ll bet they’re still holding onto monies that belong to the writers to make their bottom line look better to the investors.

I’m urging every songwriter who has ever earned money with these companies to audit them NOW and like the late Marty Machat once said, “get everything that’s coming to you.”

Regards, Artie

Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne

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