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So You Received A Notice From Music Reports Or Harry Fox Agency?

Earlier this week a number of artist managers in a Facebook group posted photos of letters that their clients received from Music Reports Inc. on behalf of Amazon. They asked what the notices meant and if they were legit.

I am sharing my post, which was shared to a number of other music industry groups:

In the last couple of days, several of you have posted about receiving a notice from Music Reports Inc. and questioned whether or not you should act on the letter.

Let me clarify what you’re receiving, why you’re receiving them, and what you should do about it.

The short answer: Unless your client is signed to a major music publisher or major indie (e.g. Kobalt) OPT IN TO ALL DIRECT LICENSES!

Who is sending these notices?

Music licensing clearing houses such as Music Reports Inc. and the Harry Fox Agency (via it’s service Rumblefish) are hired by digital music services (including the big ones like Amazon, Apple, and Spotify; as well as hundreds of small startups like what musically was but is now TikTok) to help the digital service to secure proper licenses (compulsory or direct) to use music in their service, to calculate royalties, and to make payments and remit statements to the proper copyright owners.

What are you receiving?

What you are receiving are opportunities to opt-in to a predetermined (generally nonnegotiable) direct license, alongside every other non-major / non-major-indie publisher in the world, to license your copyrights to a digital platform within the United States (sometimes the deal is worldwide, which can be problematic, but I don’t want complicate this post). There are also Section 115 NOIs, which goes out for every track released on a DSP for the US mechanical license for the underlying composition (this process is being disrupted by the Mechanical License Collective beginning Jan 1, 2021).

Why are you receiving the notice?

You’re receiving the notice because the agent has your information as the copyright owner (or authorized agent of the copyright owner) for copyrights (generally compositions) that have been matched to sound recordings that the digital service either already has or has access to. THIS IS A GOOD THING. This means that the digital service, via their agent’s (MRI, HFA, etc) database of song ownership information, knows who to pay once the copyright begins to earn royalties (or in the case of a one-time payment, they know who to pay from the pro rata advance pool). The flip side is if they do not have your ownership info, the copyright would not be properly licensed and the creators would not be paid — the royalties earned against their copyright would go into the so-called “black box” or the content will be blocked from the service altogether (e.g. notice that your music isn’t on or monetized on Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus?). Also, if the agent does not have your info for certain uses covered by Section 115 of the US Copyright Act, the notice is currently being remitted to the US Copyright Office.

How do you respond?

Review the license and decide if you want to opt-in or not. For most copyright owners, opting in is really your only shot at being licensed by the service. Up-and-coming artists are not going to be able to do a separate direct license with the service as the service has zero incentive to administer a separate agreement with you. They will do a deal with the major publishers and major-indie publishers and a unicorn artist here or there.

How to make sure that your contact information is readily available to these agents to ensure that they can contact you with licensing opportunities and have your payee info for royalties?

You can hire a pub admin (they’ll earn a 15% to 25% commission on all royalties collected) or you can do it yourself and keep 100% of your royalties in North America via TuneRegistry. See this article as an example of DIY.

On To The Next – Dae Bogan Departs TuneRegistry

Photo: Launch of TuneRegistry at SXSW Pitch Stage

After five passionate years of developing and operating one of the most important music rights administration companies that empowered thousands of DIY music creators and small to medium-sized rights-holders from around the world to “take back their rights” and unlock millions of dollars in unclaimed and unmatched royalties, I am humbled to announce that my journey with TuneRegistry has come to an end.

I want to thank every DIY music creator and artist manager who’ve flooded my inboxes with questions about music publishing, copyright administration, royalties, and licenses over the years. Your curiosities became source material for the ways in which my products evolved over time. From launching our relationship with Harry Fox Agency to enable you, for the first time, to unlock your Spotify mechanical royalties to onboarding Gracenote and TiVo to help you deliver and enrich your metadata in the digital music ecosystem, if it weren’t for the valid challenges that you faced and the ways in which you felt dismissed or overlooked by the music industry establishment I would have never had the courage and strength to found TuneRegistry and RoyaltyClaim.

We were disruptors.

I will be spending the coming weeks reflecting on the work that we did over the years, which led to my being named a Billboard “Digital Power Players 2019,” and explore opportunities where my journey may take me next.

Passionately Yours,

Dae Bogan

Music Creators’ Rights Advocate

2021 Prediction: The United States Music Publishing Market Continues To Grow And Fragment, Creating More Silos For Unpaid “Black Box” Royalties — DIY Musicians Hit The Hardest

As the U.S. music publishing industry grows (in terms of revenue, volume of copyrights, and number of income participants), the rights administration and licensing sector becomes ever-more fragmented; giving way to cracks in its foundation through which royalties fall into the so-called “black box” — the industry name for the unmatched and unpaid royalties earned against unidentified works or unidentified or unreachable income participants that accrue in escrow only to be later forfeited and disbursed to entities to which the funds do not belong; primarily major music conglomerates and those acquiring catalogs of copyrights to expand their market share position.

Black Box Royalties Myths, Common Misconceptions Debunked at Music Biz 2018

united states music publishing market music licensing rights administration royalty ecosystem

A picture of a white board illustrating the growth and fragmentation of the US Music Publishing Market, specifically the music licensing and royalty ecosystem, drawn during Dae Bogan’s lecture in his class, “Music Industry Entrepreneurship and Innovation” at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Winter Quarter 2019

 

In 1909, when the first federal copyright law that protected music creators and rights-holders was enacted, there were no massive music rights organizations as we’ve come to know them today. Although unions had existed — the American Federation of Musicians was founded 13 years earlier in 1896, but focused more on work conditions than collective bargaining, as it does today — ASCAP was formed in 1914 to license the performing rights of composers, authors, and publishers.

Fast forward to 2021 when the newly formed Mechanical Licensing Collective will issue its first blanket digital streaming mechanical license to the likes of Spotify, Google, and Apple. There will be over a dozen music rights and royalty collection organizations issuing thousands of licenses, administering millions of pieces of copyrights, and processing billions of micro-penny transactions.

Here Are 10 Ways That The Music Licensing Collective (MLC) Can Set The Bar As A Collective Licensing Organization In The 21st Century

The music licensing and royalty ecosystem in 1909: Individual music composers, aristocrats who financed or commissioned works, and sheet music publishers.

The music licensing and royalty ecosystem in 2021: Traditional non-profit and private music rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Global Music Rights, PRO Music Rights, SoundExchange, Mechanical Licensing Collective), royalty funds (AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, Alliance for Artists and Record Companies, Film Musician’s Secondary Market Fund, Sound Recording Special Payments Fund), unions engaged in collective bargaining (SAG-AFTRA, American Federation of Musicians), licensing clearing houses and agents (e.g. Music Reports, Harry Fox Agency).

If I wrote a popular commercial song that is exploited to the fullest extent — released on a commercial recording; performed live in concert; licensed for use in film or television; placed in a commercial; earns viral success on user generated content platforms and social music apps; covered many times; embodied in a music video; lyrics printed and sold on merchandise; used for a live broadcast sporting event; added to Spotify and Apple playlists where it takes off; picked up on terrestrial, Internet, satellite, and cable radio; etc. — I would need to ensure that my work is registered at all of the places where the royalties earned from the uses I’ve described are paid; the music licensing and royalty ecosystem. If I do not, then my royalties will leak into the black box.

The black box is estimated at over $2 billion — and growing — of which much of it is due to independent music creators, small music rights-holders, and the estates of deceased authors and performers who do not have the access, power, know-how or market share to navigate the web of black boxes; for which there are many.

Songwriters Are Owed Nearly $2B In Unclaimed Royalties!!! — Maybe More — I’ve Been Saying This For Some Time Now (Against Pushback), But Finally The Press Has Confirmed It

When entities charged with maintaining these black boxes distribute the funds in market share distributions, the major labels and publishers win and the independent and DIY creators lose. It is unfair and unethical. But what are we going to do about it?

Some artists, knowing that they do not know exactly how this all works, have found creative business ways to “make up” for potential lost royalties. But for the rest — the majority — of DIY musicians, they’re generally left out of the discussion and left to fend for themselves, even when they think they’re doing everything right.

What Can The Socioeconomic Context Of The Culture From Which Hip-Hop Is Derived Tell Us About How The Biggest Genre In The World Gets The Shitty End Of The Royalty Stick?

As the industry charges forward with new energy fueled by the growth of music streaming, we have to consider how the continued fragmentation of the music licensing ecosystem affects the most vulnerable — DIY musicians. Major labels have direct deals with DSPs and digital services that pay them advances and account to and pay them royalties. DIY musicians rely on music rights organizations, who are often disproportionately influenced by the majors, to handle these things for them.

Do So-called Music Advocacy Groups Avoid Deeper Discussions On Black Box Royalties To Appease Their Major Members?

I founded TuneRegistry to help DIY musicians be their own advocate, to demystify the music licensing and royalty ecosystem by aggregating the fragmented world of rights administration into one economical platform. To this end, our team has helped hundreds of small to medium-sized music rights-holders and DIY musicians unlock thousands of dollars in new found royalties and to register their works to ensure that they are identified and accounted to in the future. Not all music rights organization have joined our network, but we will continue to advocate and fight for the rights and entitlements of DIY music creators as long as we can.

My Response To Ari Herstand’s Comments Regarding TuneRegistry

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.

Ari wrote,

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

I Was Interviewed By The Congressional Budget Office Regarding The Music Modernization Act, And Now I’m Even More Concerned For DIY Musicians

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I just spent the last hour giving a copyright law and music publishing crash course to a Principal Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office who’s tasked with determining the economic impact of the revised Music Modernization Act (which, by the way, now includes the Musical Works Modernization Act (which is an update to the originally proposed MMA, affecting songwriters and publishers), AMP Act (affecting producers and engineers) and CLASSICS Act (affecting recording artists of Pre-1972 records)) on states, DSPs and music creators.

He emailed me yesterday and asked to speak with me about the magnitude of the unclaimed royalties market, although we ended up discussing much more than that. Apparently he had discovered a presentation that I gave at the Music Industry Research Association’s MIRA Conference last year titled “The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States.”

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Email from a Principal Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office

At the top of the one hour call he began by stating that he’s had to learn copyright and music publishing in 2 days (2 days!!!). The guy who’s going to contribute to a recommendation to Congress that will impact whether or not 3 different bills will be enacted and change our copyright law has spent only 2 days learning about the complex web of regulations and customs that govern an entire industry and its millions of constituents. I guess this is how legislation is vetted; economically.

The good news is he had a lot of great questions and had did a significant amount of research prior to our call. To be fair, I meet plenty of music industry professionals who have (or at least demonstrate) less knowledge of what’s going on in the world of music rights administration and music publishing than this gentleman; and they’ve spent years in the industry! It is refreshing to know that the government does inquiry with non-lobbyist from time to time when considering the impact of proposed legislation.

At any rate, he was open to hearing my advocacy on behalf of music creators (specifically songwriters, music producers, and recording artists of Pre-1972 records) as well as my substantiated opposition to some features of the revised MMA (generally those features that would disproportionately benefit music licensees (primarily, DSPs) and major publishers while leaving DIY music creators to fend for themselves).

[This paragraph was omitted on 4/20/2018 as a result of a clarification that I received for Title 3 of the MMA]

Another issue I have is with the ownership of the unclaimed mechanical royalties fund(s). The Musical Works Modernization Act (Title 1 of the MMA) would, for the first time, codify the existence of a mechanical royalties black box in the United States. The current US Copyright Act does not give copyright owners a right to earn or collect mechanical royalties if their musical works are not registered with the US Copyright Office.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my articles on the matter:
After the NOI has been filed, it is then the copyright owner’s responsibility to become aware of and locate the NOI, and then take action in order to receive mechanical royalties. The law states, “To be entitled to receive royalties under a compulsory license, the copyright owner must be identified in the registration or other public records of the Copyright Office.” (17 USC 115(c)(1))
The law also makes it clear that the licensee is not required to pay mechanical royalties until after the copyright owner has been identified. “The owner is entitled to royalties for phonorecords made and distributed after being so identified…” (17 USC 115(c)(1)) What’s worse, the law does not require the licensee to pay retroactively for mechanical royalties earned before the copyright owner is identified. “…but is not entitled to recover for any phonorecords previously made and distributed.” (17 USC 115(c)(1))

However, intermediaries (e.g. Harry Fox Agency, Music Reports, Loudr) that process NOIs (Notice of Intent to Obtain a Compulsory Mechanical License) on behalf of their DSP clients do encourage their clients to set aside unattributed mechanical royalties into an escrow account (the so-called “black box”). The royalties sit there until the copyright owner raises his/her/their hand to collect the earnings or until the entity decides to disburse or absorb the uncollected funds.

Generally, this is a “good faith” policy.

Now, since the MMA will codify the black box as a matter of law, this private sector matter will become a government matter. The question, then, is will federal government or state governments have the right to maintain the unclaimed royalties black box?

Currently, unclaimed property laws enable states to receive and hold unclaimed property (such as money) when the property owner can not be reached. For example, California’s Unclaimed Property Law requires corporations, businesses, associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies (referred to as “Holders”) to annually report and deliver property to the California State Controller’s Office after there has been no activity on the account or contact with the owner for a period of time specified in the law – generally (3) three years or more. I’ve had a few refunds from services that I used and cancelled when I moved from one place to another. I did not provide the service with a forwarding address, so my refund became unclaimed property and ended up with the California State Controller. By searching the CSC’s database, I was able to find and then claim the property (pictured below).

If your property goes unclaimed too long (each state has their own statute of limitations), the state has the right to liquidate the property (e.g. sale an unclaimed vehicle) and absorb proceeds as miscellaneous revenue to the state’s budget [lawyers, correct me in the comments if I’m wrong].

Because states unintentionally (benefit of the doubt) benefits from unclaimed property, I could see states with significant music industries (e.g. California (Los Angeles), New York (Greater New York City), Tennessee (Nashville), Georgia (Atlanta)) suing the federal government or the Mechanical Licensing Collective (the entity that would be granted under the MMA to administer a new blanket licensing system along with a centralized database of musical and sound recording copyrights to match works with usage reports submitted by digital services) over the right to collect unclaimed royalties, especially if the black box is hundreds of millions of dollars (which I believe it is).

There are many other issues that I have with the MMA such as the proposed formation, structure (especially the imbalance of representation on its board where there would be 10 publishers and only 4 songwriters (why not 7/7?)), and governance of the MLC and similar unclaimed royalties issues related to the CLASSICS Act; among other issues. I’d be happy to discuss, but this post is already yuge!

In a word, I am all here for improving royalty rates, ensuring the fair treatment of music copyrights and moving towards a more equitable representation of music creators. However, the MMA is not quite there yet and passing it as-is, with all of its ambiguity, would be a shame. I don’t know if the music industry will have another shot to make this kind of update to the Copyright Act in the next 20 plus years (the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 was the last significant update).

We should probably get it right — now.

5 Music Business Tasks You Can Do Before The End Of 2017

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2017 is coming to an end. Here’s a quick rough rundown of some things you can (and some that you must) accomplish before the end of the year:

1. GET YOUR GROOVE MUSIC MECHANICAL ROYALTIES BEFORE ITS FORFEITED. Microsoft is shutting down Groove Music on December 31, 2017. Legally speaking, they are not required to pay mechanical royalties to songwriters and publishers who have not registered their copyrights with the United States Copyright Office. Therefore, in theory, on January 1st, 2018 Microsoft could expunge any unclaimed mechanical royalties. Royalty Claim shows you how to find your songs and begin the process of unlocking any accrued mechanical royalties.

2. GET DISCOUNTED CONFERENCE PASSES FOR 2018. If you’re thinking about going to music industry conferences in 2018, you should know that many of them offer early-bird discounts now. These savings really add up when you attend multiple conferences in one year. SXSW is currently offering lower rates that end on set dates. The next rate increase will be on Nov 17th. NAB is offering a variety of packages at more than 50% off through Nov 24th (including a FREE pass for the Exhibit floor). There are more offers out there such as Music Biz Expo with discounted rates through March and ASCAP’s “I Create Music” Expo with discounted rates through the end of the year.

3. RELEASE A HOLIDAY COVER SONG LEGALLY AND SUBMIT TO BLOGS FOR END OF YEAR EXPOSURE. It’s not too late to record and release a holiday song this season and leverage the exposure from blogs and background music services. I breakdown how to do this in my piece “5 Tips For Making, Marketing And Monetizing Holiday Music This Season”.

4. GET OR RENEW YOUR GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC MECHANICAL LICENSE. If you distribute music to Google Play Music, you may be earning mechanical royalties that you have not collected. Mechanical royalties are different from your master use royalties (paid to labels, distributors, and aggregators) and performance royalties (paid to performing rights organizations (PROs) such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and GMR in the United States). Mechanical royalties are royalties paid for the distribution of the underlying musical work embodied in a sound recording — that is, the “song.” Mechanical royalties are owed to songwriters and publishers and is not paid to labels, distributors, aggregators, or PROs. To enter into a direct agreement with Google for your Google Play Music mechanical royalties, you can do one of two things: (1) Sign a direct deal with Google Play Music, whereby you will be responsible for data ingestion as well as ongoing account management. Please reach out to indiepublisher@google.com should you like more information about the direct license; or (2) Opt in via the Harry Fox Agency, whereby they will manage your content on your behalf. You can do so by logging into your HFA account at harryfox.com and click the “Authorizaions” link located in the “Licensing” box. If you do not have an HFA Online account, you can fill out a Request for Administrator Account form at https://secure.harryfox.com/public/forms/online-account/form.jsp. You do not need to be a member of HFA to pursue this option. You can easily streamline and expedite the delivery of your song registrations to Harry Fox Agency (and Music Reports Inc., Loudr, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SoundExchange, and many others) using the affordable music rights and metadata management platform TuneRegistry. TuneRegistry was built to empower the independent music company and DIY musicians who self-publish.

5. CLAIM / VERIFY YOUR ARTIST PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA. Go into 2018 with a tight marketing infrastructure by making sure that you control all of your presence across the top DSPs and social platforms. Symphonic Distribution breaksdown how to claim your label/artist page on DSPs and music marketing agency View Manic can help eligible artists verify their profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

***BONUS ITEM – DUE IN EARLY 2018***

6. PREPARE AND SEND FORM 1099s. Did you hire a publicist or digital marketing consultant to work your campaign this year? Did you book a photographer for a photo shoot? Hire a graphic designer to overhaul your website? Got a new music video from a production company or indie video director? If you hired freelancers or independent contractors this year, make sure to prepare and send them a Form 1099. This form is required (few exceptions) to be sent to non-employees when you’ve paid them $600 or more for services remitted. The information for the form is gathered from payments you’ve made and the contractor’s information, which you should also collect on a Form W-9. Contractors must receive the 1099 by January 31st, 2018. Read more about 1099s here and W-9s here. In the past, I’ve used Track1099 to easily generator and file 1099s. Check them out or others on the market.

 

Featured photo by aiden marples on Unsplash

[Podcast] Copyright Clearance Center Adds Recording Of “View From The Top: The Future Of Machine-To-Machine Rights Management” Panel Discussion From RightsTech Summit 2017 To Its Beyond The Book Podcast

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“View From The Top: The Future Of Machine-To-Machine Rights Management” panel at RightsTech Summit in New York

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Left to Right: Dae Bogan (CEO, TuneRegistry), Benji Rogers (CEO, dotBlockchain Music), Michael S. Simon (President of Rumblefish & CEO of Harry Fox Agency), Michael Shanley (Vice President of IT Business Development, Music Reports)

Machine-to-machine communication is the ideal scenario if we want to enable on a global scale, with as little friction as possible and at a reasonable cost, the licensing of works and the payment of royalties to rightsholders.  That at least is the stated premise for a recent discussion at the annual RightsTech Summit conference.

But how far have we come?  How close are we to achieving a digitized business environment for rights and royalties that is as fully realized as we see today in media distribution and consumption? Until code entirely does away with contracts will human beings will continue to add a value that no machine ever can?

“I think all of this starts with a human being. No matter what technology we apply to these systems, if a person doesn’t know how to interact or create the data that they need to disseminate, it’s just not going to get there,” said Michael Shanley of Music Reports. Technology evolves all the time, and I think we’re getting to great places in technology.  But education and information is, I think, paramount.”

Panelists for the session moderated by CCC’s Chris Kenneally included Dae Bogan co-founder & CEO of TuneRegistry, a music and rights metadata management platform; Benji Rogers, a British-born, New York-based entrepreneur, who co-founded the Dot Blockchain Music Project, an attempt to create a de-centralized global registry of music rights using blockchain technology; Michael S. Simon, President of Rumblefish, a world leader in music micro-licensing and YouTube monetization and also CEO of the Harry Fox Agency LLC, the nation’s leading provider of rights management, licensing and royalty services for the music industry; and Michael Shanley, Vice President of IT Business Development at Music Reports, developers of proprietary databases and software applications that facilitate music rights administration.

Listen here.

podcast

Royalty Claim Unleashes Another 22 Million Section 115 NOIs

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Royalty Claim Initiative‘s mission is clear:

“To aid in creating transparency in the global music licensing ecosystem.”

We do this by conducting research into the global music licensing ecosystem to understand where and why royalties go uncollected. The Royalty Claim Platform is a FREE online search engine empowering music creators and rights-holders with access to the data about unclaimed royalties and music licenses.

After a rocky launch weekend, we are happy to announce that we’ve just made over 22 Million more Section 115 NOI records searchable. Copyright owners (or their agents) can create a free account, search for free, and initiate claims for free.

Harry Fox Agency, Music Reports Inc, MediaNet and Loudr are among the licensee agents that will receive claim notifications via Royalty Claim for Section 115 NOIs filed on behalf of digital service providers such as SpotifyGoogle Play MusicMicrosoft Groove Music, PandoraiHeartMedia and Amazon Music.

Join today and search for free at www.royaltyclaim.com

Dae Bogan To Speak At Copyright & Technology Conference – January 17 – New York, NY

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Conference Program

January 17, 2018

Fordham University School of Law, Lincoln Center Campus, New York, NY

Copyright and Technology NYC 2018 is the ninth annual one-day conference that focuses on the dramatic and fast-moving influences that technology has on copyright in the digital age. We are the unique forum where technologists, attorneys, media industry people, and public policy decision makers get together in the same room for intelligent dialog over current hot topics related to copyright and technology.

Copyright and Technology NYC 2018 will offer New York State CLE credit for afternoon panels.

1:15 – 2:15 pm

Match Game: The Problem of Matching Music Recordings to Compositions

The dramatic growth of streaming has exposed an Achilles’ Heel in the music industry: matching sound recordings to their underlying musical compositions.  Music services face challenges in determining which songwriters and music publishers they should pay royalties for the tracks they stream for their users. Accurate linking of sound recordings to compositions has proven problematic: it has led to controversies and lawsuits as well as opportunities for technological solutions. We’ll discover the state of the art in technology as well as industry-level attempts to solve this growing problem.

  • Moderator: Paul Jessop, Founder, County Analytics
  • Michael Simon, President, Rumblefish and CEO, Harry Fox Agency
  • John Mancini, Partner, Mayer Brown
  • Dae Bogan, Co-founder & CEO, TuneRegistry and Founder & Chief Researcher, Royalty Claim

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https://copyrightandtechconf.com/

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