In order to ensure all your marketing efforts will have a maximized return on investment we will need to make sure you are registered with all applicable outlets in order to receive all your royalties from your music and that you are setup correctly with all sales and radio reporting outlets so that you have the ability to make it onto the Billboard Charts if your project does well enough, We basically make sure no money is left on the table and that you are in the system the right way.
Performance Rights Organization (BMI/ASCAP/SESAC): A PRO is an agency that ensures songwriters and publishers are paid for the use of their music by collecting royalties on behalf of the rights owner. PROs collect public performance royalties. Some examples of performances that pay royalties are terrestrial radio spins, sync plays (xex. Film, TV, YouTube), and everywhere digital radio streams occur such as Spotify, XM Radio, Pandora, and retail outlets.
DSP Distribution: A Digital Service Provider (DSP) is a term used to describe retail stores such as iTunes, as well as streaming providers, such as Spotify or Apple Music. We collect mechanical royalties and performance royalties on behalf of our clients from DSP’s and pay those royalties to you directly.
SoundExchange Royalties: SoundExchange is a non-profit organization established by the Copyright Royalty Board. SoundExchange collects and distributes digital performance royalties on behalf of recording artists, master rights owners (like record labels), and independent artists who own their masters. SoundExchange is different from a PRO in that PRO’s collect performance royalties for M usical Works (Compositions) and SoundExchange collects performance royalties for S ound Recordings. Some examples of digital performance royalties for the sound recording a re XM Radio, Pandora, and all other places digital radio streams occur.
Publishing Administration (Songtrust, North Music, Tunecore): A Music Publishing Administrator is a music publishing company responsible for administering, registering and licensing compositions and collecting publishing royalties from them on behalf of the songwriters that they represent. Most Publishing Administrators have sub-publishing deals with other countries and territories to ensure that you are collecting all your Publishing royalties from the PROs, mechanical licenses from streaming with HFA and Music Reports, and more. They will also issue mechanical licenses and collect royalties for physical sales and synchronization licenses.
REPORTING OUTLETS OVERVIEW:
Nielsen Soundscan: Nielsen SoundScan is a tracking system operated by the ACNielsen, that tracks sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada. Any music product that carries a UPC or EAN barcode and ISRC code is eligible to be tracked by Nielsen SoundScan. According to their website, “Sales data from point-of-sale cash registers is collected weekly from over 14,000 retail, mass merchant and non-traditional (on-line stores, venues, etc.) outlets. Weekly data is compiled and made available every Wednesday. Nielsen SoundScan is the sales source for the Billboard music charts.”
In order to have a chance at making the Billboard music charts, any release must be registered with Nielsen SoundScan using UPC number (for the whole album) and ISRC codes (for the individual tracks). Without registration, the sales figures will not be counted, and will remain invisible to the system.
Mediabase: Mediabase is a music industry service that monitors radio station airplay in 180 US and Canadian markets. Mediabase publishes music charts and data based on the most played songs on terrestrial and satellite radio, and provides in-depth analytical tools for radio and record industry professionals.
Gracenote: Gracenote maintains and licenses an Internet-accessible database containing information about the contents of audio compact discs and vinyl records. It provides software and metadata to businesses that enable their customers to manage and search digital media. This is all fancy speak for: when you put your CD in a computer, if it’s registered on Gracenote, all the information will automatically show up in iTunes rather than just be “Track 1”, etc.
LEGAL ADMINISTRATION OVERVIEW:
Production / Beat Lease Agreements: Whether you are collaborating with a Producer, or licensing a beat exclusively, it is incredibly important to understand what the agreed terms of that transaction are. Most Producer’s have a standard Producer Royalty built into their contracts on top of their up front fee. This can be anywhere from 15% – 25% of the Artist’s Share in the recording, or sometimes thought of as 2%-6% of the Gross Revenue derived if that Artist is on a Label. When it comes to licensing or leasing instrumentals, the Producer often limits how their work is able to be used, requiring you to upgrade or have to re-license the instrumental if you exceed the terms of the Agreement. Either way, the last thing you want to happen is your song to blow up and make you a $1,000,000, only to find out you owe all of that money to a Beatmaker because you didn’t have proper rights to the instrumental, or 50% of the money to a Producer that demanded 50% of the copyright. You want to make sure in every step of the way, whether you are just starting out or already a well known artist, that you are setting yourself up for success and are ready for it when it comes.
Writing Splits: If you’ve collaborated with other songwriters, including producers who have composed instrumentation that you have performed over, you must agree on percentages of ownership in order to register your Musical Works / Compositions correctly and legally. In general terms, a song can be thought of as Lyrics, Chords, & Melody, each of which represent 1/3rd of the whole pie. However, each genre sometimes have their own standard of thought in the matter. For example, in Hip Hop most beat licenses declare the Producer as 50% owner in the Musical Work, and the Artist as 50% owner in the Musical Work. In Nashville, there is a saying “right a word, get a third!”, a cheeky way of saying that everyone in the room gets an equal share in the Musical Work whether they contributed substantially or not. Whenever possible, we suggest coming to an agreement ahead of collaborating with other writers so that you can ensure the creative process is about what’s best for the song, and not be worried about people trying to get a higher percentage in the ending work.
Band / Operating Agreement: If you are a solo artist, the flow of royalties is simple. When it comes to being in a group or band, it is important to understand how royalties and profits are shared and distributed. For example, if one band member is paying for the sound recording, it is not unreasonable that that member should own the copyright to that recording, while the other band members would receive a decided royalty for the monetary gain (from streaming or otherwise) from their performances on that recording. On the contrary, bands like U2 have kept it simple by splitting all royalties equally, regardless of who did what. When it comes time to register your music appropriately, the band or group should all be under the same understanding so that no disputes arise. Having a simple band agreement is crucial to streamlining this process. If you are going to register your band or group as a legal corporate entity, a lot of this would be decided in your Operating Agreement.