(September 18, 2005) I requested and received an interview with Dan Matovina. I have been extremely curious as to how aggressive Bug Music was going to be in promoting the material of Ham and Evans. I was hoping Matovina could provide some insight on this matter and some other questions I had (including does this make it easier to release an Ivey's demo disc etc...). I'm sure a good portion of Matovina's responses are going to delight Badfinger fans who have been waiting a while for some good news!
What follows are questions I asked Matovina on two separate occasions this past month via email. I also want to thank Matovina at the beginning for giving me the opportunity to interview him and thank him for the insight he is giving all us fans on Bug Music's efforts to promote the catalog of material created by Pete Ham and Tom Evans. Enjoy!
1. Regarding Apple's overpayment which you cited in your story; did Apple just reduce the amount distributed to band members until the money is recouped?
DM - To clarify, the Badfinger parties involved are Joey Molland, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans' estate, Pete Ham's estate and the Bill Collins estate. As of today, September 17, 2005, the overpayment, as calculated by Apple, has now been recouped. And money once again will be distributed. There was an almost a two year period with no royalty payments from Apple. It was very difficult for all of the parties, as it came up unexpectedly.
2. Was the Bug Music advance a welcome relief when it arrived?
DM - It certainly was. Many of the parties expressed great relief to get that money to help pay off increasing debts at that time. Thankfully, the situation is back in the black. The overpayment, as it was handled, could have been disputed, especially on grounds of interpretation of a Statute Of Limitations, but, logistically, economically, that legal exercise wasn't very feasible. Plus, the scenario would ultimately be massively complicated. I think everyone involved will just move on.
3. Are there any current developments with Bug Music at this early stage?
DM - There's been great news from the get-go. First off, a license has been issued through Bug and Apple for use of a song, which will be airing this Thursday, September 22nd, on the television program, The O.C. Pete Ham's composition, "Baby Blue," as covered by a band called Sad Girls Are Beautiful, will be played as the backdrop of a scene described by the production company as "Kirsten and Sandy trying to work through their problems." Featured in Episode 3.
This is a massively popular show, now seen worldwide. It's had as many as 20 million viewers at times - is what I've been told. The song's use is described by the production house as extending for as much as two minutes and thirty seconds. It will be interesting to hear and see. "Baby Blue" may get into their next soundtrack CD, which would be great. The others have sold very well featuring many new artists - often alternative music artists - such as The Eels, Super Furry Animals, Death Cab for Cutie, Keane, The Doves, Jet, The Dandy Warhols and Beck.
DM - Yes, because this situation needed to have deals cleared for the entire world, as The O.C. is now a fully international program with a highly successful DVD/CD series of releases. Apple needed to be cleared for "outside the U.S." for this program. I did need to help accelerate the process, as the okay's came through only at the wire. What is an extra factor with Apple is that Warner/Chappell still are any license-seeking-company's contact of origin, so the chain is a bit longer than usual regarding communications to work out any deals. Neil Aspinall of Apple was fabulous in this instance, as he took care of Apple's end very promptly. He has an excellent lawyer in the U.S. who is extremely accessible, cooperative and open with the Ham Estate. There has been no fall-out from the Estates choosing to continue with another company. Apple realizes these are business decisions in the end. They just wish it hadn't taken so long for a the decisions to be made, as I fully agree. But I think everyone will be benefiting even more in the long run.
5. Are there any other projects in the works?
DM - "No Matter What" was already agreed to on a synch license for uses for ESPN's "The X-Games II." The original airing and seven re-airings. Up to 3 minutes and 30 seconds of cumulative timing - background, montage, teasers, rollouts - that type of thing. I have not yet seen it, nor gotten any verification it was definitely used, though I would think so. Hopefully someone will inform me.
6. Anything else?
DM - Def Leppard was cleared for "No Matter What" to appear on their upcoming DVD. And there are two MAJOR companies that have requested quotes for uses of "Without You' and "No Matter What." At this point, these songs are being considered. Either one would be a massive promotion, as we are talking the highest echelon of the corporate business world. So, my fingers are crossed. But Bug has told me, you simply have to wait. You make your quotes and either they get back to you for more negotiating, or they may never get back. The advertising world moves fast and furious. Many ideas and plans also get cancelled at the last minute.
7. There appears to be a great deal of activity surrounding the catalog. What does this mean?
DM - I think its a testament to Pete and Tom's songwriting. The amazing thing is, the promotion of the material hasn't even begun full-force by Bug yet. Loose legal ends, setting up the logistics of the changeover, all are still being worked out and it will take months. I think there are fantastic things on the horizon.
8 - These deals are for Tom and Pete's former Apple and Warner Brothers material - could Joey and Mike's material somehow get included in these agreements?
DM - No, because the ability to enter these new agreements came from specific legal opportunities that eventually came to regarding the heirs of deceased songwriters whose material was copyrighted and published specifically in a certain time frame. But, of course, Mike Gibbins and Joey Molland share in ASCAP and publishing royalties of Ham and Evans material, as do Ham and Evans in Joey and Mike's material - all due to a 1985 settlement. Bill Collins Estate gets a cut, too.
There is an added bonus here - for example, the song "Better Days" is a co-write of Molland and Evans. Joey has asserted it was basically his own composition, and being that he sang it, it may very well be. Because Tom is a listed co-writer, Bug has it in their system to promote. Well, the runner-up of the last American Idol, Bo Bice, was taking on offers for material for his solo album. Bug felt this was a good song for Bo. It has been sent to him for consideration. That would be fantastic, as the album is sure to sell well. A country-rock feel is perfect for the song. Joey and Mike have a lot of great material and lets hope they also get some cover versions and uses down the road. Everyone benefits. The sincere fans want to see everyone enjoy the fruits of the work they put forth for us.
9 - Did you get a sense in working with Bug Music of how committed Bug Music to promoting the catalog?
DM - Absolutely, very excited, this is a real coup for them. Very down-to-earth people. They are an artist-oriented company, very communicative, detailed and honest.
10 - What are the different ways the songs can be used? How complicated is it all?
DM - Well, it is complicated. There are so many ways for music to be used and it is evolving with cell-phones, the internet, international laws changing - Bug tries to stay ahead of the curve. The Badfinger versions are owned by Apple, so their actual use has to have deals swung through Apple.
For example, one of the corporate companies considering "Without You" (co-write of Pete and Tom) wants to use the Harry Nilsson version. And they are only intending to air the commercial in the U.S./Canada. So Apple is almost out of the loop there, except for the fact Evans "publishing" in Canada won't be fully re-claimed for a few years, because of the date of his death.
I've compiled over 23 covers of "Without You", a dozen for 'No Matter What" and these are available to Bug to relay to the companies if they don't want to use Badfinger versions, or if the angle of working out a deal with Apple is not desired or worked out. But some of those versions, for example REM doing "No Matter What," would probably also be of a rather high-end scale.
11 - How will Bug Music earn money for the catalog? In other words, if a
band records "Day After Day" do they have to pay for the rights up front
(flat fee) or would Bug Music collect on the basis of sales? For the use of Ham or Evans song in a commercial, TV show or movie, is there a flat fee for the right to use the song or can the fee be based on viewership of the commercial or show?
12 - Will the Evans music written between 1978 and his death eventually fall
under this agreement?
DM - No, it will not. There is a separate deal for Tom's previously unreleased material, as with Pete Ham and Bob Jackson.
13 - Can people make suggestions to Bug Music for potential use such as
using a portion of "Day After Day" for a commercial or whatever lines of the songs may convey something tied to a product?
14 - From a fan perspective I have to ask: Does the finalizing of this major deal with Bug Music make it easier to release any related unreleased Badfinger/Iveys material.
It's time this Badfinger legacy get back into the direction it was always meant to be - the positive exposure of some exceptional, sincere, well-arranged, universally themed, long-lasting music that touches people and changes their lives. It's inspiring and more people can benefit from hearing it in a quality setting. We desperately need improved packaged CD's with better mastering and rarities released. It hurts that they are still not available, but I will continue to try and do my part to correct that.