During The Coronavirus Pandemic, Dae Bogan Has Helped DIY Musicians Unlock Tens of Thousands Of Dollars In Unclaimed Music Royalties – Here’s How
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.
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.
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.
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!
Music payment and workflow management startup Jammber has developed a series of mobile apps that helps artists eliminate guesswork from the process of recording music ownership, allowing them to focus on doing what they love: writing music. Last month, Jammber announced that it had acquired TuneRegistry, a move that would establish Jammber as a full-service solution for creatives to both report music ownership and manage rights administration. We sat down with Jammber CEO Marcus Cobb and the company’s newly appointed SVP of Global Music Rights, TuneRegistry co-founder and CEO Dae Bogan, to discuss the acquisition and what it means for both the future of the company and the industry.
Read the full interview here.
Last month I had the pleasure of curating and moderating the panel “Music Tech Investors and Incubators — Investing in the LA Music Tech Scenes” at the Amplifying Music in Our Los Angeles conference produced by the UCLA Center for Music Innovation.
My panelists included representatives of investors, accelerators and co-working communities in Los Angeles that focus on music industry entrepreneurship including Techstars Music, Capitol Music Group’s Capitol360 and gBeta Music Tech Accelerator, and The Rattle LA, as well as more open format accelerators including Expert Dojo and Startup UCLA & Blackstone Launch Pad.
In this <60 minutes discussion, we covered plenty of information that any founder of a music startup would want to know about where and how to seek resources to develop, launch, or grow a music venture in Los Angeles.
Bios of my speakers can be found below the video of the panel.
- Moderator: Dae Bogan, Founder, TuneRegistry; Lecturer, UCLA Alpert
Dae Bogan is a music rights executive, serial entrepreneur and educator with over a decade of experience in the music industry. He is the founder and CEO of TuneRegistry, which develops music rights administration software and solutions for small and medium-sized music rightsholders. He also offers music rights, business, and technology consulting through his firm, Rights Department. Dae also teaches the Music Industry Entrepreneurship course at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and was an Innovation Fellow at the UCLA Center for Music Innovation. Previously, Dae owned and operated an independent record company (Loft24 Records), a music publishing company (Loft24 Publishing), and an artist management company (Renaissance Artist Management) until 2012 when he founded an in-store independent music video network (Maven Promo), which was later acquired by EMPIRE Distribution in 2017. Dae also founded the world’s first aggregator and search engine of unclaimed music royalties (RoyaltyClaim), which was acquired by HAAWK in 2017.
- Jonathan Wallace, Investment Director, Expert Dojo
Jonathan Wallace joined Expert Dojo upon its inception as an investment analyst. Over the course of the next 3 years he established relationships with some of the largest venture capital funds in the world and helped dozens of startups raise investment. Jonathan is now the investment director for Expert Dojo and oversees all follow on investments. Expert Dojo has over 30 companies in its portfolio after investing for the last 12 months.
- Josh Remsberg, VP, Business Development, Capitol Music Group
Josh Remsberg is Vice President of Business Development at Capitol Music Group. At Capitol, he oversees the Capitol360 Innovation Center, and is focused on finding & developing new revenue opportunities to exploit and extract value from CMG’s copyrights, content, brand assets, and artists. Josh also leads the eCommerce, CRM, audience ownership and gaming strategies for the label group.
- Leah Nanni, Venture Coach and Outreach Coord., Startup UCLA & Blackstone Launch Pad
Leah is a business owner and Venture Consultant at Startup UCLA, where she helps Bruins become confident and competent entrepreneurs. She also co-leads Startup UCLA’s outreach and inclusion efforts with the goal of reaching entrepreneurs at any stage, in any industry, and from any background and any area of study. Leah holds a M.S. in Social Entrepreneurship and a Master of Social Work, and she brings more than 9 years of business ownership experience to the UCLA and greater Los Angeles communities.
- Jen Hall, Director, TechStars Music
Jen Hall is a music industry veteran having worked in management with major artists and at record labels over the past 15+ years. Jen joined Techstars with the inception of the Techstars Music program in 2016. Techstars Music has just finished its 3rd program. Alumni companies from the Techstars Music 2017 and 2018 class have gone on to raise over 50 million dollars in follow on capital.
- Michael Frick, Advisor/Executive Producer, The Rattle, LA
Michael Frick is a creative solutions innovator with the ability to build consensus among disparate stakeholders. His expertise in music driven strategies for brands, motion pictures, television and digital entertainment has seen him partner with numerous major global brands, agencies, networks and studios. As advisor to the Rattle he is assisting with the launch of the UK-based collective in Los Angeles, CA.
Most independent artists do not know that 5% of their digital radio master royalties earned in the United States from the likes of Pandora, SiriusXM, Music Choice, iHeartRadio, Slacker, TuneIn, Last.fm, etc. are automatically allocated to a pool that is to be paid out to background vocalists and session musicians.
This money is allocated, *even if there are no background vocalists and sessions musicians on the record,* and are paid out in the United States by AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund (aka “The Fund”).
Knowing this now, what should you do?
- Invite musician friends to perform background vocals or an instrument on your record.
- Invite the producer of the record to add background vocals or live instrumentation to their production (then, the producer would be able to qualify for these royalties; which is separate from his/her other producer royalties).
It is important to know that if you have background vocalists or session musicians on your record you MUST PUBLISH THE TRACK CREDITS! The Fund does track credit research to identify the individuals entitled to these royalties. THERE IS NO REGISTRATION PROCESS. They look for credits at places like AllMusic.com, Discogs, MusicBrainz, etc.
Don’t let your royalties go undistributed.
Get 👏 it 👏 done.
TuneRegistry, we deliver track credits to TiVo, which supplies data to AllMusic.com. We also deliver metadata and audio fingerprints to Gracenote, Audible Magic, Medianet, ACRCloud, Quantone, Exactuals – RAI, and Crunch Digital. These services power search and discovery features in hundreds of music apps, websites, audio devices, and smart speakers around the world.
A breakdown of income you could earn by producing one hit (or at least, viral) record.
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.)
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.
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.”
It is always a pleasure contributing to Bobby Owsinski’s books and podcasts. Get your copy of “The Music Businesss Advice Book: 150 Immediately Useful Tips From The Pros” in Amazon.
Dae Bogan Included In Bobby Owsinski’s ‘The Music Business Advice Book: 150 Immediately Useful Tips from the Pros’
Bobby Owsinski is one of the music industry’s greats. His ability to curate music industry knowledge into easy-to-ready texts across his over 20 books has helped thousands of music creators and music industry professionals in their careers. I’ve had the pleasure of being on Bobby’s podcast, Inner Circle, and participating on several music conference panels with Bobby. He is truly an inspiration. In fact, it was partially my participation in the making of his book “Music 4.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age” that inspired me to write my first, very short, ebook “The DIY Musician’s Starter Guide To Being Your Own Label & Publisher.”
I am honored, once again, to have been included in Bobby’s latest book, “The Music Business Advice Book: 150 Immediately Useful Tips from the Pros,” available on Amazon.
About the book:
The music business can prove to be a difficult career road when you’re first starting out, but it can be traveled a lot easier with some helpful guidance from a pro who’s willing to share a few hard-earned hints. The Music Advice Book is a compilation of the pearls of experience from 130 top music pros from various segments of the industry who have previously shared their most important tips on Bobby Owsinski’s Inner Circle Podcast over the course of almost 5 years.
These 150 tips cover everything from following your passion, learning to network, and working well with your musical team, to owning your own content and even figuring out how much to charge for your services. Also included are even some useful music production words of wisdom, as well as the indispensable “10 Rules Of Networking.”
The insights in The Music Business Advice Book are essential for those new to the music industry but valuable to seasoned pros as well.
Ask me your music business question and I’ll attempt to provide you with an answer or direct you to a resource with a better answer or guidance. I cannot provide specific legal advice, but I can discuss general music business practices. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or DaeBoganMusic.com. Simply drop your question in the comments section wherever you see the above image.
Several members of the Artist Managers Connect Facebook group (a global networking group of artist managers and other music industry professionals such as service providers, music tech founders, and label/publishing reps) curated a list of third-party Spotify playlists.
This amazing resource is a Google Sheet posted by AMC member Jorge Mejias with a caption:
Since I truly hate the fact that there are “PR” companies offering “Spotify Playlist Pitching” for upwards of $1K+ making false promises they know and then saying something around the lines of “it’s just how the industry is” or “Spotify playlisting is tough” or whatever-
Here is a google sheet w/ info on some of the most popular third party Spotify playlists that most of these companies are pitching to because-
1) this information is all public so I don’t feel bad giving it out & saving people some research
2) what you get out of it = how much time you dedicate to it
3) getting scammed in 2017 / not helping prevent it when you can is silly
Contact info is all out there so stop making excuses. Also the follower count on these are outdated.
*Edit* – also this is a thank you to everyone from AMC who has helped me out thus far. you rock~
*Edit2* – also please refrain from publicly posting any contact info- thank youuu!
*Edit3* – this post by no means aims to discredit companies who do properly provide pitching services. Dan put it best by saying “Would like to caveat that some of us work records at Spotify and Apple Music very transparently and based on years of repertoire and success for our artists within the platform’s respective ecosystems. ”
*Edit4* – thank you Dustin for contributing his spreadsheet
The list requires you to do a little bit of work to reach out to the curator, but the awesome thing about the list is that they’ve already done the work to identify the curator’s Spotify username and have tracked followers and genre to help you sort and prioritize.
Go forth and pitch your music!
Let me know if you land a placement.
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