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During The Coronavirus Pandemic, Dae Bogan Has Helped DIY Musicians Unlock Tens of Thousands Of Dollars In Unclaimed Music Royalties – Here’s How

Dae Bogan is a music creators’ rights advocate, music publishing and copyright administration technologist, and music royalties forensics expert who currently serves as the Head of Third-Party Partnerships at The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) and teaches music industry entrepreneurship at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

For over twelve years I have helped thousands of DIY musicians administer and monetize their copyrights to be properly accounted to and paid for the use of their musical works and sound recordings in the United States and abroad. To date, I’ve helped self-published songwriters and self-released artists collect millions of dollars in royalties that would have otherwise gone unclaimed and eventually forfeited and/or redistributed due to a confusing web of regulations and company policies surrounding the fragmented music licensing ecosystem.

I’ve also helped background vocalists, session musicians, and music producers understand how their contributions, while often detached from copyright ownership, generates entitlements that yield royalties that often go unclaimed for many years. I am passionate about the issue of remuneration for music creators and have published research, built technology platforms, and have spoken at the Library of Congress on the topic.

Dae Bogan speaks at the US Copyright Office’s Unclaimed Royalties Study Kickoff Symposium at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

A few years ago I wrote the free ebook “The DIY Musician’s Starter Guide To Being Your Own Label And Publisher” for the non-profit creator advocacy group CreativeFuture as a checklist for DIY musicians who own their publishing and/or masters. The ebook has helped many DIY musicians to get setup with US music rights organizations to collect their royalties. I’ve also written dozens of articles on specific issues surrounding royalty collection that have been published on my blog DaeBoganMusic.com and other websites.

“The DIY Musicians’s Starter Guide To Being Your Own Label & Publisher” free download.

All of this to say that for over a decade I have been championing, educating, advocating for, and empowering DIY musicians and yet I still feel that so many of them are underserved and missing out on their own earnings.

Right now tens of thousands of artists, songwriters, composers, lyricists, session musicians, background vocalists, and music producers have been hit hard by the closure of live music venues and slow down of music production during the coronavirus pandemic. Many have struggled to get financial assistance due to the gig economy nature of much of the work in the music industry. But the sad part is many DIY musicians may have money due to them from their music and contributions over the last 5 to 7 years!

Since the pandemic began, I’ve helped several DIY musicians uncover royalties that have been sitting in unclaimed royalties databases or so-called “black boxes” (Tip: Search “black box” in my search field above to find articles I’ve written on the topic) to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars (Note: I did this work prior to joining The MLC in May 2020 and I am not currently accepting clients due to the fact that I am 100% committed to my work at The MLC, but please continue reading to learn how to do this yourself).

Searching for unclaimed royalties is part of the royalty forensics process. Understanding what entitlements a musician has based on their contribution(s) to any given work, what royalties are due based on type of use and territory, and where the royalties flow to be accounted to and paid out can be a challenge. I did this work for my clients, but I also have a workshop on the topic (Tweet me @daeboganmusic to request FREE access to the workshop).

For example, my cousin, independent singer-songwriter Durand Bernarr had around $8k in unclaimed royalties for his contribution as a background vocalist on the song “Girl” by The Internet sitting unclaimed at just one organization in the United States. Although these royalties were due to him in 2018, the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund did not know who Durand Bernarr was or how to reach him. I helped Durand uncover these royalties during the coronavirus pandemic and the payment couldn’t have come at a more needed time.

Image of an April 2018 royalty check statement from AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund for royalties due to independent artist Durand Bernarr that had set in the unclaimed royalties database at the organization for over 2 years until Dae Bogan helped the artist uncover the unclaimed entitlement during the covid-19 pandemic.

Unclaimed royalties is a common problem for new and up-and-coming music creators (but it also affects emerging and established music creators) and it stems from poor metadata and production credits creation and distribution (this is why I founded TuneRegistry and RoyaltyClaim (I no longer own these companies)). It also stems from DIY musicians not being properly setup and registered everywhere (I cover this in my free ebook).

I now work at The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) as its Head of Third-Party Partnerships where I am building relationships between The MLC and a variety of organizations and companies to help self-administered songwriters and music publishers interface with us to unlock and collect digital audio mechanical royalties from the use to their songs in the United States by digital service providers such as Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, SoundCloud and more.

Now is the time for DIY musicians to take the time to hunt down unclaimed royalties that may go back as far as 7 years. Check out my free ebook as a starting point!

Pro Tip: If you find unclaimed royalties in one place, there may be more and other places. Check with the organization where you find your royalties if those royalties are for the US only or the world. If for the US only, you may have counterpart unclaimed royalties for the same set of rights and types of usage in other countries!

Dae Bogan To Join Other Music Industry Experts At US Copyright Office Symposium On Unclaimed Royalties Study in Washington, D.C.

I am honored to announce that on December 6th, three weeks from today, I will be representing the US independent music creators community at a symposium in Washington, D.C. at the The Library of Congress.

A few weeks ago, I was invited by the newly appointed Copyright Royalty Judge, Steve Ruwe, to speak at the Copyright Office’s symposium on unclaimed royalties at The Library of Congress. As a CRJ, Mr. Ruwe is among just three judges who are responsible for setting the royalty rates that all songwriters in the world are paid for the use of their songs in the United States.

Last year, my 2016/2017 research titled “The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States,” — research that led me to founding the world’s first search engine of unclaimed music royalties and licenses and a gateway to initiate claims, RoyaltyClaim (acquired by HAAWK Inc.) — was referenced, and I was personally consulted, by the United States Congressional Budget Office during its analysis of the economic impact of the then-current bill, Music Modernization Act. That bill became law in October 2018 and is now known as the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act 2018 (MMA or Music Modernization Act for short).

I have been fighting to ensure that independent and unsigned self-published songwriters are recognized, empowered, and represented in the US music industry for over a decade now. My first break-through was conceptualizing and co-founding TuneRegistry, which enables self-published songwriters to administer their catalog and unlock performance and mechanical royalties while keeping 100% of their copyrights and 100% of their royalties. TuneRegistry has helped thousands of self-published lyricists, composers, producers, and singer-songwriters protect their copyrights and unlock hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in unpaid and current royalties as well as enter into direct licensing deals with digital music services and social media platforms.

I look forward to discussing how the Copyright Office will develop outreach and messaging strategies to reach and engage self-published music creators and I hope to ensure that these creators continue to have a voice in the room, if not a SEAT AT THE TABLE.

US Copyright Office Announcement: https://www.copyright.gov/newsnet/2019/784.html

On Digital Radio Royalties: What Are They And How To Look For Unclaimed Royalties

afm & sag-aftra intellectual property rights distribution fund unclaimed royalties dae bogan

(This was originally post on my Facebook page, so my apologies if the hyperlinks directs you to Facebook pages of the mentioned companies).

On Digital Radio Royalties

DIY Musicians – If/when you get a recording placed on non-interactive Internet, satellite, or cable radio (e.g. Pandora, SiriusXM, Music Choice) it earns multiple royalty streams. It is important to understand how to collect them all. I will get granular below to break this down.

Let’s use for example the recording “6 Inch (feat. The Weeknd)” by Beyonce. When this recording is played on Pandora (or iHeartRadio, 8Tracks, TuneIn or any of the other 2,500+ properly licensed webcasters serving the United States), here are the royalty streams:

1. Master Royalties for Featured Performers – Royalties paid to SoundExchange for the featured performers, which are the “named” artists on the track. For “6 Inch,” the featured performers are Beyoncé (main artist) and The Weeknd (guest artist). They each must have an account at SoundExchange to collect these royalties. Here is the unclaimed royalties list for featured performers: https://www.soundexchange.com/…/does-sou…/search-for-artist/

2. Master Royalties for Master Copyright Owner (Label) – Royalties paid to SoundExchange for the copyright owner, which is the label. For “6 Inch,” the label is Columbia Records. The label must have an account at SoundExchange to collect these royalties. (A Few Notes: (1) Major labels have direct deals with most music services, so it is likely that Columbia is paid directly by Pandora. (2) Unsigned artists can collect this income if you properly create your free account with SoundExchange as the copyright owner. This means, you cannot only sign up as the Artist. You are the label!). Here is the unclaimed royalties list for copyright owners: https://www.soundexchange.com/…/do…/search-for-rights-owner/

3. Master Royalties for Non-featured Performers – Royalties paid to AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund (“the Fund”) for the background vocalists and session musicians who performed on the recording. For “6 Inch,” the non-featured performers include Ahmad Balshe (background vocalist) and Derek Dixie (session musician) among others. (Note: 5% of the royalties paid to SoundExchange is passed to the Fund. The Fund conducts research to identify the non-featured performers. They use published credits, such as those published on AllMusic.com (Ex: https://www.allmusic.com/album/lemonade-mw0002940342/credits), Discogs, and other resources to identify the vocalists and musicians on a recording. Keep in mind that if the producer of the track contributed background vocals or live instrumentation, it is important to credit him/her separately as such in addition to his/her producer credit, so that they can access this income stream. At TuneRegistry, we deliver credits to TiVo, which makes metadata available to AllMusic, among other services. If the Fund does not have the non-featured performer on their list, you can check and submit. See “6 Inch” only shows two (2) non-featured performers, but there may be more who just do not know: https://www.afmsagaftrafund.org/covered-rec-artist_SR_Maste…). Here is the unclaimed royalties list for non-featured performers: https://www.afmsagaftrafund.org/unclaimed-royalties.php and here is the list of recordings that the Fund has credits for here: https://www.afmsagaftrafund.org/covered-rec-title_sr_master…

4. Publishing Royalties for Composers/Writers – Royalties paid to performing rights organizations (PROs) such as American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP)Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and SESAC in the United States for the composers and writers, which is Jordan Asher, Burt Bacharach, Ahmad Balshe, Hal David, Ben Diehl, Beyoncé Knowles, Noah Lennox, Terius Nash, David Portner, Danny Schofield, Abel Tesfaye, and Brian Weitz. Because “6 Inch” uses samples, there are more composers/writers credited on the recording. You can view the full publishing credits for “6 Inch” at ASCAP here: https://www.ascap.com/repertory#ace/search/workID/890413300 (Note: US PROs, like most PROs/CMOs around the world, do not have a public list of unclaimed royalties. It is important to register your song before the release or as soon as possible after release to limit the possibility of having your royalties fall into the “black box,” which is an industry term of unclaimed or unmatched royalties. Also note that if you collaborate with someone who has not affiliated with a PRO, that can slow down the registration process.)

5. Publishing Royalties for Composition Copyright Owner (Publisher) – Royalties paid to PROs for the copyright owner in the compositions. This is the publisher or a self-published songwriter’s own publishing entity. For “6 Inch,” the publishers are 2082 Music Publishing, BMG, Domino Publishing, KMR Music Royalties, New Hidden Valley Music Co, Oakland 13 Music, Sal And Co LP, Songs of FujiMusic, Universal Music Corportation, WB Music Corporation. Because “6 Inch” uses samples, there are more publishers credited on the recording. You can view the full publishing credits for “6 Inch” at ASCAP here: https://www.ascap.com/repertory#ace/search/workID/890413300 (Note: In the US, if you are a self-published writer, you do not need to have a publishing account at BMI in order to unlock your publishing income. You will need a writer AND publisher account at ASCAP. So, if you do not have a publisher account at ASCAP and you are self-published, you literally leave 50% of your income on the table because ASCAP will not pay out the so-called “publisher’s share” to writers (unless they’ve changed this policy).)

In conclusion, if you get a recording on a digital radio platform and it takes off, make sure you have your business in order. We help with all of the above at TuneRegistry. This is what I am doing every day — helping thousands of independent music creators properly register their music so that they are 1.) identified, 2.) accounted to, and 3.) PAID.

Check out my free ebook “The DIY Musician’s Starter Guide To Being Your Own Label & Publisher” available for download at www.daeboganmusic.com (subscribe to my blog) and catch me speaking Oct 12th at A3C Conference in Atlanta or Oct 30th at Music Tectonics Conference in Los Angeles.

CC: Dae Bogan Music

Dae Bogan To Moderate Panel On Royalty Payments At Music Tectonics Conference

As music is more fluid across listening services, social music apps, and countries, royalties are more complex than ever. At Music Tectonics Conferece, experts from HFA, SynchTank, and Hyperwallet will unpack challenges and solutions, moderated by Dae Bogan, SVP of Global Music Rights at Jammber / TuneRegistry. Learn more at http://www.musictectonics.com

#MusicBusinessMonday: About Direct License ‘Black Box’ Royalties And Music Publishing Administrators

(Author’s Note 07/08/2019 10:33 AM PST: An industry associate of mine who is an independent music publishing industry leader and activist/advocate, as well as the owner of a small music publishing administration company, reached out to me to express his concern that my blog post paints all music publishing administrators in a bad light. He explained that entering into direct licenses is common practice for all publishers — including full-fledged publishers that own or co-own copyrights, as opposed to just handling administration like pub admins do — and not just pub admins. I know that. He felt that pub admins are being unfairly singled out in my blog post. As I explained to him, that is not my intent. I have many blog posts of opinions, analyses, criticisms, praises and reviews of many sectors and companies of the music industry. It is my role as a music creators’ rights advocate and watchdog, if you will, to raise awareness about these issues and practices, and educate music creators on their rights and business. This particular blog piece is not about small pub admin shops, like the one he operates, that has an overage of a few thousand dollars at the end of the year from direct deals, but rather the nature and effect of some of the large “catchall” pub admin services aggregating hundreds of thousands to millions of copyrights and the potential voluminous black boxes that direct licenses can accrue for their bottomline. These are some of the issues that we are asked about at TuneRegistry when speaking with songwriters who have or are considering switching to self-administration or to supplement the efforts of their existing large pub admin. Calling out provisions, or lack thereof, in contracts that songwiters may not be aware of, and which ultimately impacts their income, regardless of if it’s a small shop or goliath, is fair industry criticism. But, for clarity, this piece is in direct response to recent inquiries we’ve received at TuneRegistry regarding some of the popular catchall pub admin services on the market and not small pub admin businesses)

In this particular case, I get that he may take offense when the criticism may extend to parties that are not acting malicious — and I’m not saying that the big players are acting malicious anyway, but rather this issue is a fact of the deal that songwriters sign and should be aware of — and want to be presented in a fair light. So, to that end, I’ll update the post and my socials.

A music publishing administrator’s (“pub admins”) job is to register your musical works with CMOs/PROs/MROs in the territories for which you’ve hired them to represent your administration rights and to collect your royalties, prepare and remit income statements and payments to you. However, some pub admins go a step or two further and issue or enter into direct licensing agreements with companies on behalf of the compositions that it represents, such as direct performance licenses for startup social music apps or a blanket license for background music services.

The right to enter into direct licenses may be included in your contract with the pub admin. In this case, you will have explicitly granted the pub admin the right to license your songs, without asking permission per license, to third parties. In some direct deals, companies give advances or negotiate minimum guarantees to be paid to publishers. These advances and minimum guarantees are deducted from the actual earned royalties that are calculated from the usage of songs by the licensed service. However, in the event that there is an overage (meaning, the total volume of usage does not equal or exceed the advance or minimum guarantee) the difference between the overage and the actual earned royalties is the unallocated “black box” royalties.

It is important that these monies flow to the songwriters that the pub admin represent (less an appropriate commission) as the license fees were paid against the licensed catalog of songs, regardless of actual usage.

Surprisingly, although pub admins that ask songwriters to grant them the explicit right to direct license the songwriter’s songs, many pub admins do not have or do not communicate their policy for distributing unallocated “black box” royalties that stem from these direct licenses. And some cases, they just keep the black box royalties as miscellaneous income.

What’s in your contract? Talk you your pub admin about direct license black box royalties.

Introduction to Music Royalties Forensics (North America – USA & CAN)

Introduction to Music Royalties Forensics (North America)

Price: $90
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Order: Click here to purchase.

 

Course Overview

Every day, millions of music streams, downloads, digital transmissions, public performances, and broadcasts generate tens of thousands of dollars in unclaimed royalties. To date, the estimated pool of unclaimed royalties exceeds $2 billion.

These royalties are often due to independent music creators, heirs and beneficiaries, and legacy artists. After a period of time, these unclaimed royalties accrue in escrow accounts around the world only to be disbursed by market share to the major labels and publishers leaving the indies, to which much of the money belongs, underrepresented and unaccounted to. Music royalties forensics is the process of searching for, identifying, and claiming these royalties. This course is an introduction to the art and science of finding and unlocking unclaimed royalties.

Your instructor, Dae Bogan, is a music rights and royalties tech entrepreneur (original founder of music rights administration platform, TuneRegistry, and the world’s first search engine of unclaimed royalties and music licenses, RoyaltyClaim), music creators’ rights advocate, and lecturer of music industry entrepreneurship at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. He has written about black box royalties extensively on his blog DaeBoganMusic.com. He has helped hundreds of music creators and rights-holders find and unlock hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid music royalties from around the world. And his research on the state of unclaimed music royalties was used by US Congressional Budget Office in its analysis of the Music Modernization Act of 2018.

 

Learning Objectives

  1. What are your rights, entitlements, and income participations as a music creator and/or rights-holder?
  2. What are the most common royalty streams generated from a variety of music usage types and where do those royalties flow?
  3. How are music royalties allocated and distributed by music rights organizations?
  4. What are niche funds and sub-funds that often generate unmatched so-called “black box” royalties and how do you check for your records?
  5. How to track music usage to leverage usage and detection reports to reconcile or audit royalty statements?
  6. What are some tools and resources to help you search for, identify, and claim unclaimed royalties and music licenses?
  7. What are the requirements to properly setup to be accounted to and paid royalties from previously unaffiliated sources going forward?
  8. What are some tips for managing your music rights affiliations?
  9. What are some tips for preparing your music rights and royalties for beneficiaries?

Live Online Workshop: Introduction to Music Royalties Forensics (May 18th and May 19th)

Workshop Flier

About Me: I am a music rights and royalties tech entrepreneur (original founder of music rights administration platform, TuneRegistry, and the world’s first search engine of unclaimed royalties and music licenses, RoyaltyClaim), music creators’ rights advocate, and lecturer of music industry entrepreneurship at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. I have helped hundreds of music creators and rightsholders find and unlock hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid music royalties from around the world. And my research on the state of unclaimed music royalties was used by US Congressional Budget Office in its analysis of the Music Modernization Act of 2018.

 

9 Questions – 90 Minutes – $90

The 9 questions this workshop will answer:

  1. What are your rights, entitlements, and income participations as a music creator and/or rights-holder?
  2. What are the most common royalty streams generated from a variety of music usage types and where do those royalties flow?
  3. How are music royalties allocated and distributed by music rights organizations?
  4. What are niche funds and sub-funds that often generate unmatched so-called “black box” royalties and how do you check for your records?
  5. How to track music usage to leverage usage and detection reports to reconcile or audit royalty statements?
  6. What are some tools and resources to help you search for, identify, and claim unclaimed royalties and music licenses?
  7. What are the requirements to properly setup to be accounted to and paid royalties from previously unaffiliated sources going forward?
  8. What are some tips for managing your music rights affiliations?
  9. What are some tips for preparing your music rights and royalties for beneficiaries?

REGISTER

Register for Sat. May 18th @ 9am PST

Register for Sun. May 19th @ 9am PST

Register for Mon. May 20th @ 9am PST

If you can’t make either dates, register anyway to receive the full replay video.

10 Income Streams For A Music Producer

A breakdown of income you could earn by producing one hit (or at least, viral) record.

Production Icome

1. Production fee for your creative input in producing the track.
2. Recording Engineer fee for performing recording engineer duties in the studio.
3. Mixing Engineer fee for mixing the track.
4. Mastering Engineer fee for mastering the track.

(1-4 could be embodied all in one fee, or you could line item it in your contract and/or invoice.)

Master Income

5. Income share in the master sales, downloads, streams, often referred to as “points on the record.”
6. If you add background vocals and/or live instrumentation to the production, while you may not earn a session musician fee, you are still entitled to receive all or a portion of the non-featured performer share of statutory master royalties for US non-interactive streams, or so-called “digital radio royalties.” To get this, make sure that you are credited not only as a Producer but also as a background vocalist or musician for whatever instrument you played. These royalties in the US are paid out by the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund. These funds do not reduce the featured artist’s neighboring rights (US = digital radio) income. It is completely separate from the featured performer share of income and non-negotiable by that featured performer. If you don’t claim it, you still earn it but you leave it on the table!
7. Thanks to the passing of the Music Modernization Act, which became law on October 11th, 2018, and the inclusion of the Allocation for Music Producers Act (AMP Act), studio professionals such as producers and engineers have a legal and permanent right to directly collect non-interactive, digital royalties agreed through a letter of direction with the featured artist from SoundExchange. Join the Creative Affiliates Program at SoundExchange and submit your letters of direction.
8. A producer’s share of international neighboring rights royalties in several territories where recordings that you produce are performed on broadcast radio and TV.

Publishing Income

9. If you composed the melody or co-authored the lyrics, you should be considered a Writer on the musical work and be entitled to receive writer-share of publishing income (performance royalties, mechanical royalties, synchronization royalties).
10. If you composed the melody or co-authored the lyrics, as a Writer on the musical work, you are entitled to receive or assign the publisher-share of publishing income (performance royalties, mechanical royalties, synchronization royalties).

In conclusion, if you’re a music producer, make sure that you understand all of the income streams associated with the work that you put in on a recording AND your legal entitlements under copyright law and music publishing industry customs. Also, join the Recording Academy / GRAMMYs Producers & Engineers Wing.

Want to learn more? Download my FREE ebook “The DIY Musician’s Starter Guide To Being Your Own Label And Publisher.”

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