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The (Not Quite) Definitive Guide To The Exploitation Of Music Royalties

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about music royalties; those pesky micro-pennies that add up to something worth fighting over after millions and billions of streams.

With the music industry seeing revenue growth powered by streaming, coupled with shrinking per-stream royalty rates caused by a combination of horrible statutory royalties, unsustainable subscription models, and more content than ever before splitting up the pie, music royalties have never been more scrutinized in modern music history, IMO.

In the United States alone, there are several legislative measures being proposed that directly address music royalties — Fair Play Fair Pay Act (artist royalties), Songwriter Equity Act (songwriter royalties), AMP Act (music producer royalties), CLASSICS Act (legacy artist royalties) — with powerful proponents (music rights organizations, music creators’ rights advocacy groups, and music industry trade associations) and even more power opponents (digital media and Internet company coalitions, broadcaster lobbying organizations, and in some cases, DSPs themselves) on both sides.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting time for music royalties.

Technologists and music licensing experts have come together to create a variety of offerings to music creators and rightsholders to help them exploit their music royalties. Whether you want to find unpaid royalties, get a loan against future royalties, sell your royalties or allow music fans to invest in your music royalties, there’s a platform for that.

Here’s a (not quite) definitive guide of music royalties tools and services (A-Z):

FIND & CLAIM UNPAID MUSIC ROYALTIES

  • Paperchain (Revenue Share) – Enriching the music supply chain. Paperchain solves the problem of unpaid royalties in the music industry. Paperchain empowers music copyright owners with products and services to solve the problem of unpaid royalties.
  • Royalty Claim (Free/Subscription) – Search, Find, and Claim Millions of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses. The Royalty Claim Platform is powered by data made available through the ongoing research of the Royalty Claim Initiative, its researchers and data scientists, and valued music industry partners.

GET ADVANCES & LOANS AGAINST FUTURE MUSIC ROYALTIES

  • Sound Royalties (Flexible Repayments Terms) – Next-generation royalty financing. Retain your music rights. Keep your royalties.
  • Lyric Financial (Flexible Repayment Terms) – Advances, Loans, and Financial Solutions for the Music Industry
  • Royalty Advance Funding (Interest Loan) – Royalty Advance Funding has funded hundreds of established music royalty earners including songwriters, composers, publishers, producers, and their successors.

SELL, BUY OR INVEST IN MUSIC ROYALTIES

  • Royalty Exchange (Ownership & Dividends) – Your online marketplace for buying and selling royalties.
  • SongVest (Dividends) – The Stock Market of Music. For the first time ever, both investors and fans can own and get paid by the music that they love.
  • Perdiem (Dividends) – Investment platform for creatives. Start your own record label and build your brand in music.

 

Featured Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

Have You Searched The Royalty Claim Database? What Are You Waiting For?

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Another Royalty Claim user shocked to find that they have unclaimed entitlements in our database.
 
Are you a music creator or represent music creators? Have you taken the time to create a free account and search our nearly 50 Million records? What are you waiting for? With each day that passes, thousands of unclaimed royalties fall out of the statue of limitations!

Royalty Claim Announces Unclaimed Neighboring Rights Database – Launches With Nearly 1 Million Records

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Neighboring rights is becoming a hot ticket music rights issue as download decline (and thus, mechanical royalties) and Internet streaming soars. However, the fact that US music creators and rights owners get the short end of the stick in terms of the global view of neighboring rights protections and financial reward, it is more important than ever of US stakeholders to see where and how their music is performing around the world. Neighboring Rights Agencies have boomed over the last several years to address this issue, but they’re still highly selective and most work with a few dozen performers, if any at all.

This is why we are happy to announce our Unclaimed Neighboring Rights database which launches today with nearly 1 Million records from several collective management organizations (CMOs) and foreign collection societies.
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Complete details and a demo here.

If You’ve Never Received Mechanical Royalties From Google Play Music, This Might Be Why

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Is Google Willfully Refusing To Use Its Own Assets To Identify Copyright Owners?

In recent weeks Google and YouTube has come under fire by high-profile music industry professionals in regards to Lyor Cohen’s statements on the royalties it pays to artists. This piece is NOT about that.

At Royalty Claim, we periodically randomly select and investigate records that our researchers and data scientists ingest. Random investigations — sometimes against pre-determined hypotheses and sometimes just to follow down the rabbit hole — has helped us uncover nuances in the music licensing ecosystem that manifest into trends that suggest major systemic issues.

Earlier this month we reported that Google has filed nearly 7 Million Section 115 NOIs on the US Copyright Office for musical works in which it claims to be unable to identify the copyright owner. Then, Lyor Cohen boasted about YouTube’s royalty payouts and its growing ability to match music to videos (Google it, it’s everywhere). And then we remembered that this is only possible due to YouTube Content ID, which is arguably the largest database of copyright information with music codes, audio samples, etc.

So, if the largest submitter of “copyright owner unknown” NOIs is also the owner of the largest private database of copyright owner information, it makes no sense that Google cannot seem to identify copyright owners to pay mechanical royalties for the use of the copyright owner’s songs on Google Play Music.

So, we investigated this.

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

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Over the last few weeks I’ve come to consider the notion that some of the biggest so-called “advocacy” groups for music creators censor their discussions on black box royalties due to the top-heavy makeup of their membership.

I’m Working On A Side Project Addressing ‘Black Box’ Royalties

I feel that some directors avoid, or lighten, their criticism of major labels and publishers, at the expense of their independent and DIY members, because representatives of the majors sit on the boards of these organizations. They have deep pockets for annual gifts and dues, and a non-profit can’t afford to see those dwindle.
In my presentation on the state of unclaimed royalties and music licenses at the Music Industry Research Association’s first inaugural MIRA Conference earlier this month, I presented several arguments of how black box royalties manifest. This included cash advances paid to music companies by digital service providers that go unattributed to their artists at the end of the contract term. What I didn’t include are the distribution of unattributed royalties to major publishers, by market share, from music rights organizations.

[Preview] The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States (7)
Major labels and publishers cannibalize most distributions of black box royalties in an unfair and imbalanced manner. It is my belief (and feel free to correct me if I am wrong) that the majors have the resources and manpower to do a better job of registering their works and claiming their earnings. It is my opinion, based on my work through TuneRegistry — a music and rights metadata management platform for the independent music community — that the independent sector have the most difficult time in this respect; especially the DIY segment, which is all but blacklisted from being represented in these secret imbalanced conversations and distributions.

But who should be the outspoken opponents of these types of distributions? The advocacy groups? When “watch dogs” should be shining the light in every dark corner of the royalty vault, some of these groups tend to prefer dim conversations regarding black box royalties and how those funds are cannibalized by their major members.

This is why I believe A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) and AIMP (Association of Independent Music Publishers), despite my concern for how the music industry categorizes independents, is a great thing overall for DIY musicians.

DIY musicians need to do a better job of joining and navigating the worlds of trade associations. After all, they are their own record label and music publisher.

Lead Photo by Jonny Clow on Unsplash

(Almost) Everything That You Want To Know About Royalty Claim’s Data

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QUESTION: WHERE DOES ROYALTY CLAIM’S DATA COME FROM?

ANSWER: MANY PLACES.

Royalty Claim Initiative researchers and data scientists locate, retrieve, synthesize and ingest an array of published and unpublished data that reference statutory notifications of certain music licenses, unattributed royalties (so-called “Black Box” royalties) and settlements; and income participants (payees) in undistributed royalties that stem from collective bargaining agreements, international reciprocal agreements, statutory royalties, and more. We also analyze data related to music consumption (e.g. downloads, streams, sales), broadcasts, performances, and other types of data to identify trends from which we can interpret insights into the global music licensing ecosystem.

THE FOLLOWING IS JUST A SAMPLE OF THE TYPES OF ROYALTY FUNDS IN WHICH WE ARE INTERESTED:

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Royalty Claim’s Full Presentation At The Music Industry Research Association Conference

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Royalty Claim attended the Music Industry Research Association‘s first inaugural MIRA Conference at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center this week. Royalty Claim’s Founder and Chief Researcher, Dae Bogan, MIA, had the honor of presenting a preview of our in-progress The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States report before an audience of economists, sociologists, and researchers from universities and institutions from around the world, as well as music industry executives representing firms such as Nielsen, Pandora, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Entertainment.

For the first time, updated statistics regarding the filing of “address unknown” Section 115 NOIs on the US Copyright Office during the first half of 2017 was revealed. Insights included an overview of the organizations that have utilized the procedure, including Amazon, Google, Spotify, iHeart Communications, and Microsoft. However, those large music users were expected. Interesting inclusions to the list were The Recording Academy and the Christian music service, TheOverflow and interesting omissions from the list are platforms that boast millions of tracks — Apple and Tidal — but may not be reaching every independent rightsowner that may have compositions available on those platforms.

A slide from the “[Preview] The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States” presentation at MIRA Conference.

A slide from the “[Preview] The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States” presentation at MIRA Conference.

The presentation also discussed the nature and causes of so-called “Black Box royalties”. A black box is an escrow fund in which music royalties are held due to an organization’s inability to attribute the royalties earned to the appropriate payee. Examples were given, including unattributed advances from DSPs to music companies, the US’s limitations on sound recording rights, and other issues.

A slide from the “[Preview] The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States” presentation at MIRA Conference.

 

The presentation concluded with a video demo of the Royalty Claim Platform, which received positive reviews from conference attendees. The full presentation is  here.

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