Tonight, I finally had time to read a recent piece by Ari Herstand in which he reviewed a Spotify playlist submission service called Playlist Push owned by an acquaintance of mine. It was a good piece because Ari spent time using the service and met with the founder to ask questions. His review was credible because he was knowledgeable. Like the good journalist that I generally respect him as, he did his research well.
However, I was taken aback when I clicked through to another article — on registering music with music rights organizations (an obvious interest of mine) — that was referenced in the Playlist Push article and came across a passage at the end where Ari precedes to pass judgment on my company, TuneRegistry, and tells his readers that he can’t recommend us. This was shocking and upsetting because, unlike his review of Playlist Push, Ari has not used TuneRegistry and has never set with me, the founder, to discuss what we do or ask questions (despite the fact that I have invited him to do so in the past). In fact, he states in what is basically a sort of rant against our model, that he has questions about our service.
Worth mentioning that TuneRegistry is a new company that was created to get your songs registered most places for a fee. They don’t take a commission, so they don’t really put much effort into tracking down your royalties, they just get your songs registered and hope that the appropriate organizations pay you correctly (but you are required to register yourself with all the organizations they collect from – which is a major headache and NOT recommended). TuneRegistry takes a lot more effort and hands on work by you, but they serve a purpose for those that have the time, energy and understanding of how all this works and want to manage it themselves (and keep all their royalties).
But, you do not need to use them. Let me repeat, you do NOT need to use TuneRegistry (I got some questions about this). I just listed them as an alternative to an admin publishing company. To be honest, I can’t recommend them because of the headaches they cause in making you register with all these orgs. But some people like headaches. So… go for it! I recommend giving up 15% to a full-fledged admin publishing company and saving yourself the headache.
In response, I left the following comment on the article so that readers of Ari’s piece would receive more context from me, the founder of TuneRegistry:
TuneRegistry founder here. I appreciate that Ari decided to mention us in this piece. He’s one of the champs out here providing information to independent artists. That being said, as a music creator rights’ advocate, speaker, writer, music business educator (https://daeboganmusic.com/category/educator), and former indie artist and music manager, I would like to add some context to our offering as a counter to the negative-leaning and misleading tone presented in the piece.
TuneRegistry is an affordable (two Starbucks coffees a month) software that empowers DIY music creators to administer the music rights that they own and control, while retaining 100% of their copyrights and 100% of their royalties. We enable both composition side and master side rights administration, all in one place.
Prior to launching TuneRegistry — which was co-founded by a music industry professional & educator, two lawyers, and a technologist…all of whom are also musicians — I spent 2 years working with all of the U.S. music rights organizations to get them onboard to allow self-published music creators to reap the benefits of being their own publisher. This means, you do not have to give up 20% of your publishing income in perpetuity (until you cancel) just because a 3rd party publishing administrator registered a song for you with a PRO one time several years ago.
Ari states that we “don’t take a commission, so they don’t really put much effort into tracking down your royalties, they just get your songs registered and hope that the appropriate organizations pay you correctly.” It is correct that we do not take a commission. 100% of the royalties flow to the rights-holder. The notion that we do not care about your royalty flow is grossly misleading. We care immensely about your ability to be accounted to and paid royalties. It is this fundamental idea, the creators should be paid all of what they are due, that is at the heart of TuneRegistry. We work with creators every single day to clear conflicts, disputes, push customer service inquiries at societies forward, and provide education on how royalties work and how to collect them (see our free ebook “The DIY Musician’s Starter Guide To Being Your Own Label & Publisher” https://www.tuneregistry.com/lp/the-diy-musicians-starter-guide-to-being-your-own-label-and-publisher). I personally spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in the music industry, at conferences and meeting with organizations and societies to improve outcomes for indies. In a word, we care. We are smaller than all of the traditional publishing administration companies that Ari mentioned in his piece, some of whom boast about having over 150,000 songwriters in their catalog. Without disparaging any of them, I will say that it is impossible to actively “track down” royalties for 150,000 songwriters. Passively receiving royalty payments and unauditied royalty statements, is not the same as tracking down royalties, something that I’ve done with my other company RoyaltyClaim.com, the world’s first search engine for unclaimed royalties, but I’ll digress.
Ari also mentions that, “you are required to register yourself with all the organizations they collect from – which is a major headache and NOT recommended.” We do not collect from any organization at this time. Because you receive 100% of your royalties, you must go to the organization and create accounts to provide them with your banking information so that they can pay you. You must also create accounts so we have an account to register your music into from the TuneRegistry dashboard. This is a one-time thing for only up to 6 organizations. It literally takes an hour or two to submit the applications. This isn’t really that much of a headache. In my opinion, a much bigger headache is giving up 20% of your U.S. publishing royalties in perpetuity (until you cancel) to a 3rd party because you couldn’t put a few hours on a Saturday afternoon aside to get this done. You (the reader) should do the math and be the judge. Can you take out one afternoon to join a few U.S. music rights organizations and then keep 100% of your U.S. music royalties or are you too busy to complete a few forms and would therefore opt to give away 20% of your publishing income in perpetuity? Also, the notion that creating your own accounts is “not recommended” is a fallacy. Not only do all of the organizations encourage music creators to be proactive in their own rights administration, they actively suggest and educate you on how to do so. See this article (https://daeboganmusic.com/2018/03/12/how-to-apply-for-a-harry-fox-agency-online-account-as-a-diy-musician-a-step-by-step-guide/) that we wrote with the approval of Harry Fox Agency showing indie songwriters step-by-step how to get their own account and unlock their Spotify mechanical royalties, which we’ve been doing for some time now (including facilitating opt-ins into direct Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus licenses). Our free ebook mentioned above provides instructions on how to properly setup your own music rights company. We’ve helped many artists and managers do so, and they’ve written positive feedback from this guidance (https://twitter.com/MissAlexWhite/status/1044997438753435649?s=19).
Ari stated, “TuneRegistry takes a lot more effort and hands on work by you, but they serve a purpose for those that have the time, energy and understanding of how all this works and want to manage it themselves (and keep all their royalties).” Yes, we built TuneRegistry for music creators who care about knowing what’s going on with their music business, who care about the ownership and management of their catalogs, and who’d rather get paid all of their U.S. music publishing income faster (no 2 calendar quarters delay by a 3rd party administrator) by being paid directly from U.S. music rights organizations.
Ari writes, “But, you do not need to use them. Let me repeat, you do NOT need to use TuneRegistry.” Technically, you do NOT need to use anyone. This was a bit of an unnecessary statement. He continues, “I got some questions about this. I just listed them as an alternative to an admin publishing company. To be honest, I can’t recommend them because of the headaches they cause in making you register with all these orgs. But some people like headaches.” I would be happy to discuss. I’ve invited you to this discussion several times. You have my email. And please drop the “it’s a headache” bit. That is an incredibly subjective and unfair characterization of the process, by someone who has yet to go through it with us, no less.
Ari concludes, “I recommend giving up 15% to a full-fledged admin publishing company and saving yourself the headache.” To this I say, to each his own. I think there are great admin publishing companies out there doing great work. Many, however, do not accept DIY musicians. In fact, one stated this during his panel at Music Biz Expo this summer. An artist in the room asked what he should do since traditional publishing administrators would not represent his small catalog. The speaker said that artists will just have to wait until their careers grow. I stood up and rejected that notion and introduced TuneRegistry. I do not accept that music creators need to give away up to 20% of their U.S. publishing income. And we’ve been proving this with our users since we launched at SXSW in 2017.
In closing, Ari I appreciate your desire and work to spread information to music creators. Many look to you for advice, insight, and truth. As a writer or contributing journalist myself, I respect your usual research-driven evaluations of services and resources. However, I don’t think you gave us a fair review here since you’ve neither used TuneRegistry nor set down with me to talk about what we’re doing or how. Since you chose to mention my company in your article, a company that my team and I spend and sacrifice so much time and resources to help hundreds of DIY music creators, I would like to invite you, again, to have a discussion with me so that you can get a demo and ask any questions that you may have.
– Dae Bogan
Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, TuneRegistry
Lecturer of Musicology, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music