Pump Audio Cuts Composer Sync Fee Share 30%

Film Music Magazine • May 21, 2009

In a letter to composers with music represented by Pump Audio, the retitling library has announced that beginning July 1, composers will receive only 35% of the sync fee for placements, a 30% cut from the current 50% paid to composers. Pump Audio’s share of the sync fees increases to 65%.

The letter says that “…to fully support the 400+ person Getty Images sales staff and invest in marketing and technology needs that we must make adjustments to the current revenue split system” and states that those composers who do not accept the new split will have their music removed from the Pump Audio/Getty Images system “no later than December 31, 2009.”

Pump Audio was acquired by Getty Images in June, 2007 for a reported price of $42 million.

For more information, visit http://www.pumpaudio.com


By Sammy on September 4th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Nick- so 50-50 doesnt impress you more than Pump’s 35-65?
You gotta work with the status quo- we all want change but Musicdealers is good and Im definitely going to work with them , they have a track record and better deal. Still keeping my old stuff with Pump. PRO’s make decisions on their own about how they pay out royalties, licensing companies don’t have any say in it so I don’t understand your comment. If youre looking for change on that level, lobby some people/organizations to affect the PRO’s directly

By daznez on September 17th, 2009 at 12:56 am

I’m gutted, I really am.
Pump is the only place i’ve made any decent money from my music in the last 5 years. I’ve never totalled it but it’s probably around $5000 in all.
However, I don’t rely on this money to pay my bills – it’s just a nice bonus twice a year. Or was.
The only way to make sure this doesn’t become an industry trend is to pull your music and not accept the new deal.
I toyed with the idea of leaving what they had of mine with them, but believe – if artists accept less than 50/50, other companies will soon follow suit, and it will become an industry norm.
Not everyone will do this, but if enough artists do, the quality and range of their catalogue will diminish, and licensees will soon look elsewhere – probably to the new company we’ve all just signed with on a fair 50/50 split. Best recommendations?

By JILL COHN on September 25th, 2009 at 2:10 am

i terminated my agreement w/pump on 5/9/08, and now, 1 1/2 years later, they are now getting around to re-naming my songs, and claiming publishing, even when they NEVER did this DURING the term I was legally bound to them.
when i confronted them about this, they said that they even have rights to perpituity that servive on existing licenses. the problem is they won’t disclose when any license were issued, let alone what they were actually paid.
these guys are crooks, and I’ve HIRED A LAWYER who sucessfully seud AOL over copyright infringement.

We are looking for other artsits who have been wronged by getty images/pump audio.

JOIN US, change the world, and stop companies taking atdvantage of artists once and for all..

.if it wassn’t for US MUSICIANS providing MUSIC, OUR Product, that company, Getty images would be OUt of BUSINESS.
I CALL for all musicians to TERMINATE your agreement with Getty/Pump Audio ASAP–STARVE THis SHAM of a “Business”.., then, they won’t have any music to exploit, and they will be out of business in a matter of months… OR, they will continue licensing our works, (as they still are with me, even since I TERMINATED my agreement with them), and then we will have more evidence to sue them
yes, i’m mad. I have every right to be, these people are crooks, and I am going to do what ever I can to bring them down,

By daznez on September 27th, 2009 at 1:21 am

In fact, if Getty’s goal is really to ‘become the largest music licensor in the world,’ it would have been better for them to change the split to 35/ 65 in the composers’ favour. How much positive vibe would that have generated? How hard would we all be working right now to finish and produce more tracks for them?
Another example of big business being short-sighted, that will end up losing them share (and goodwill) in the long-run. Plenty of good suggestions for alternative avenues for licnesing on here, which I will be following up.

By zartan on October 1st, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I’m considering getting out of the game all-together. I’ve been working full-time house composing and writing for around 25 publishers and libraries for five years and on the creative (and damn near personal) sides…it’s taken it’s toll! Someone mentioned (twice!) above Indigi and Scorekeepers….if your pulling your stuff out of Getty Images/Pump I’d seriously consider knocking on their doors as they are great organizations and both Non-exclusive. Indigi if your urban/mtv ish and Scorekeepers if your reality/documentary by all means email them!

By Jason Kadlec on October 7th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I just put together this quick survey – if you have ever had your music placed by Pump Audio, please tell me about it. I DO NOT work for Pump Audio – I’m an independent music consultant and musician.

Thank you for your time- it’s just a few short questions that you can answer anonymously. You can also let me know who you are if you wish, the choice is yours.

Click Here to tell us about your experience with Pump Audio

Thank you!
Jason Kadlec

By mansfield on November 15th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

BOYCOTT TIME. I really thing we as a group need to take some steps to unify on this, as if things keep going the way that Pump is pushing them…we’ll be paying people to use our music. We are the content owners and don’t need Pump Audio. They need us, and this is ridiculously disrespectful. Let’s all pick any other competitor and transfer our work there. After tax, Pump thinks it’s now ok for us to spend thousands of dollars creating work to then let them act as the majority earner? The risk is actually 100% on our sides since they don’t pay for the creation of the work. The founders just made millions selling contracts we made with them onto Getty. Let’s bin them please.

By Chris on November 16th, 2009 at 12:27 am

Has anyone really thought this through?


YES, there will always be those that are willing to take the cut. 30% of something is better than nothing.

But WHO will be the ones taking that 30%? Don’t forget that the composer pool is NOT the only place that experiences competition. There is also competition among publishers. Those who are desperate enough to need the placements will be willing to take 30% over nothing. Those who have valuable catalogs will pull them, and go where they can get more.

And where will that leave Pump? With a less valuable list of catalogs, that’s where! I’m not with these guys, but when I am ready, if they are still there, I might, MAYBE take them over nothing, but would likely try somewhere else first. Lacking placements elsewhere, I would go with 30% over nothing, knowing that the competition level is probably lower with Pump. If my stuff moves, come time for reup on the contract, good bye Pump!

They are shooting themselves in the head!

By PAINTREND on November 29th, 2009 at 8:46 am

The free alternative is http://www.youlicense.com
They offer different types of licensing, and look to be getting popular, in fact they are the number one result when you google “music licensing”… better than feeding the greedy’s out there too!

By Joey on December 8th, 2009 at 12:04 am

I was with pump audio for over 2 years. When I received the notice about the new agreement I told them to shove it up their a$$ without hesitation !! They sent me two emails explaining their position but all that did was insult my intelligence. The ONLY way to stop this raping of the artist is for the artists as a collective to say “NO” !!! Actually, it’s up to each and every artist to say NO on their own. Any artist who says that 30% is better than nothing is part of the problem and can equally share in the blame for what the biz has become !! I did my part with saying NO to Pump Audio , now I hope others do their part !

By Danny B on December 29th, 2009 at 6:39 am

Hi everyone –

There is an alternative to Pump – in fact one that was there before Pump.
http://www.musicstate.com splits everything 50/50 with the writers and has a long- standing customer base of over 100,000 registered users worldwide. Also, unlike Pump they don’t just focus on the US but target Europe and the emerging markets in the rest of the world. Check ’em out.

By John Dudley on January 27th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Pump Audio has proven to me most ineffective in providing an overall stable of competitive professional talent.
There has been talk amongst industry circles that they may have an investigation targeted at their company in 2010, especially with lowering the split to their advantage.
There are many companies offering this type of service, and 95% are effective and honest.
Try them.

By David Elvin on February 20th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

This is awful for any music library to do. I’ve taken my music to Platinum Music, based on a several recommendations. They’re based in London and have already placed a few of my tracks. They seem really nice guys too. They seem quite selective, turning down most of my stuff 🙁 but I suppose that’s to keep quality high. Hopefully they won’t sell out like Pump!

By Max on June 16th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

It is disgusting but typical. Getty have been going through the creative world like a cancer taking everyone out of business. They buy the company – reduce the amount of money the people who actually create their product get and then undercut their competitors and then buy them at some point in the future. I used Pump Audio to avoid having to deal with Getty but they sucked it up along with everything else. 50/50 was not a great deal. 65/35 in their favour is a disgrace and undermines the whole creative industry. The fact that they are using MY royalties to undercut other companies is a joke that isn’t funny anymore…

By Max on June 16th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Sorry forgot to mention that i agree with many others on here that they should be told to stick their royalty rate where the sun don’t shine. If you want people to produce good quality music with all the expense and hard work attached at least have the decency to pay a fair share for it.

By EP0CH on June 21st, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Yeah, this is quite outrageous. Keep those links comin, though, folks… stuff like MusicDealers and MusicState is pretty golden as far as I’m concerned. And I completely agree with that guy’s post up there about musicians not stayin together on stuff and being undercut more often than others. Keepin an active discussion going on stuff like this is among one of the ways we can do that, at least.

So, any other ideas? Has anyone heard of or had much experience with https://www.productiontrax.com

I’ve had some pretty good results with ProductionTrax so far… but ehh..

\\ keep the music alive \\
-EPoCH | http://soundcloud.com/ep0ch

By Supajam on June 29th, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Anyone know how many tracks are licensed globally each year (film, adverts, games, TV) and where I could find that sort of info?

Its time to strike back I think!

By bobskeyboardz on August 1st, 2010 at 10:13 am

it would be nice if there were other companies that promote artists for free; there is none. Pump Audio is the only company that will promote for free in an attempt to sell licenses to your music, all others charge a fee and even then you may not sell any licenses.

Until this changes Pump audio can take any percentage they want, this is very very sad!

By Billy on August 4th, 2010 at 8:01 am

I don’t know about none, music dealers just contacted a buddy of mine for some information because they were trying to do some partnership or something and i know their blog is focused on their artists. I think its really awesome that some companies would go far beyond their normal duties as a licensing company, especially a free one.

By victor on September 4th, 2010 at 9:25 pm

i was going to join pump but then i read this page and decided not to… slippery slope will lead to more % increase.. thanks for your comments everyone..

By Yadgyu on September 26th, 2010 at 8:21 am

Pump Audio is only “hated” because it is a big company.

I find it funny that musicians want their work to be heard by the masses, but berate a large company like Pump for playing by their own rules. Getty Images was smart for scooping up Pump. This will only help small composers to become more successful and prosperous.

From many of these comments, I can tell that some people here are bitter and a bit envious that they were not accepted. It took me a few times to get songs added to Pump. But I just kept plugging away. I did not cry and talk bad about this company. It doesn’t help at all!

By Billy on October 6th, 2010 at 8:57 am

So pretty much- you work or are in some way associated to Pump?

They aren’t hated because they are big, they are hated because they are greedy.

There are plenty of companies out there that do not take as much as Pump, but because it is a larger company they feel they are able to do so and get away with it.

“We have a track record, if we take more stupid artists wouldn’t be able to do anything about it because they want their work placed.”

Its pretty much the same as dating a chick who is a b**** all the time because she knows she looks good.

By Sterling on November 4th, 2010 at 5:40 am

Listen, the artists / bands who are making good money in the new music business are the ones who are selling smaller amounts of lots of things.

Sure, 35% of 10 songs isnt going to net you much but 35% of 50 or 100 songs………you get the idea.

By Mike Burnett on January 20th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Sterling, the irony of your argument is that 35% of the licensing from 50-100 songs is also way less than 50%, let alone 65%, which is the cut Getty Images/Pump is now taking. Composers can go elsewhere to find that 50/50 or better split, e.g., Rumblefish or all the other places people are naming here. (This thread is a great resource.)

I have a couple dozen tracks or so licensed through Pump and I’ve had placements, but because of the 35/65 split, I’m going to be focusing on other licensing services until Getty/Pump gets their act together. I hope everyone else does the same.

By JIll Cohn on March 3rd, 2011 at 11:23 am



thank you! this is not a scam.. this is REAL, and that’s my personal email.. so give me a shout.

By Peter Miller on March 22nd, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I agree with most of the above. I had small amounts of earnings coming in from Pump Audio. When the new lower Artist cut came in from Getty, I was so disappointed. I hardly make anything and to have more taken out is so greedy. My Music is still there but it eats at me every now and then knowing how much they take out of it. doesn’t make sense

By Doug Martin on March 28th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I was going to sign on but after reading the 35% cut, I will definitely pass now. That is totally unfair.

By Brad Stark on October 16th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Getty Music has recently partnered with SoundCloud and their rate for musicians is 35%. I’ve written an article on this and posted it on the Audiogang website with the title: Getty Licensing Partnership with SoundCloud: 35% Licensing Fees for Musicians. The 35% royalty rate is part of Getty’s larger business strategy of acquiring and profiting from content providers and it is the same strategy they have used in the photography industry with payouts of 35% and lower.

By Greg Savage on October 23rd, 2012 at 3:24 am

I really don’t understand why people are having an issue with the % split. It’s not like this is an exclusive contract. I have no problem with the split and I make great money from Pump. Sure, it would be more if they took less but again, I’m free to put my music in other libraries as well.

So again, what’s the big deal here?

By annom on September 9th, 2013 at 3:49 am

My problem with pump is slightly different although i agree that the cut they are taking is beyond unreasonable.

They always seem to accept (give the green light) to my old amateurish B material, but they always reject anything even remotely interesting music theory wise.

for example I did a song in messiaen mode 2 with a key change to f arabic using half step resolution in the transition and keeping common tones in the voice leading in there as well. The song was #1 on the fiercebark charts for a month, did 100 times better feedback wise than the stuff that passed, and pump still rejected it.

I have a feeling there are some very unimaginative people working there screening our audio if they don’t recognize a simple messiaen scale as being correct music theory. By my experiences it seems the only really accept things that are in standard typical scales without anything like key changes.

I’m totally not working with them anymore. It’s not a constructive relationship if I have to dumb down everything I do for these guys.

By Amurco on April 2nd, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Great article. Really informative.

By FilmComposer on August 20th, 2015 at 11:27 am

Finally stumbled on this article and comments. Good.
I’ve been with MusicDealers as long as I have with Pump. I went to one of MD’s way early selective parties (only 20 or 30 people invited). Super cool company. Really cool guys. The problem is, I’ve had the same music in both MD and Pump and over 5 years, I’ve made $50 from MD and thousands from Pump…

Bottom line is, put your music everywhere. How else are you going to stay afloat?


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