Tag Archive | royalties

Dear Indie Musician: Do you have a will?

Screenshot (227).png

Screenshot of unclaimed royalty checks list at Film Musicians Secondary Market Fund

What musicians should keep in mind is in the event of an untimely passing, your royalty streams are bona fide assets that need to be discussed in a will. Some of the unclaimed royalty information that we have at Royalty Claim is from musicians who’ve passed away, but did not file a beneficiary with the various music rights organizations. So, their music continues to earn revenue, but the organizations do not have beneficiary info to pay it out. Or, musicians who’ve passed away and left no instructions in their will on how their royalties should be allocated, and various claimants have created a dispute.

We should definitely talk more about musician estates (even smaller musicians can have estates). Royalty streams are assets with which musicians can receive loans from companies like Lyric Financial or Sound Royalties, or even sell via platforms like Royalty Exchange. If you’re serious about your music career, be serious about your estate.

Royalty Claim Initiative Unveils RoyaltyClaim.com

Royalty Claim website

I’m so proud to be able to unveil the info website for Royalty Claim today. I’ve had endless sleepless nights developing and designing the info site, and the actual database platform that’s launching soon.

Check it out, get your questions answered (see FAQ page), and pre-register for the beta. 

The first public demo will be this Thursday at SCMIP x AMC LA Music Industry Meetup | DTLA Arts District.

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

music_and_money_by_bobvogler

As of this writing, there are currently 116,133 verifiable* payments owed to music creators and rights-holders that are sitting in unclaimed/undistributed royalties escrow accounts (referred to as “Black Box” funds**) in the United States.

The actual number of individual payments owed is likely closer to or exceeds 1 Million, however the actual number is unknown because the administrator(s) of some of the biggest Black Box funds have not made public their list of payees to whom they owe royalties.

Unfortunately, due to the statute of limitations on these funds many of these payments expire. Every month payees unknowingly forfeit their rights to these payments and the interest in the royalties revert back to the administrator. This happens because the payee does not contact the administrator of the fund to claim their royalties. Granted, most payees are unaware that these payments are waiting for them because the administrator is unable to reach the payee for various reasons.

It has been estimated that the global “Black Box” royalties could be in the billions of dollars owed to music creators and rights-holders.

Imagine working somewhere and then you do not receive a paycheck because the HR department does not have your new address. Not a perfect analogy, but not receiving monies that you’ve earned as a result of your hard work seems unfair.

THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM

So, I am happy to announce that I am working on a side project called Royalty Claim. Royalty Claim will attempt to work with as many of these administrators to aggregate their databases of millions of records of unclaimed/undistributed royalties and make that information available to the public. There are other services and insight that we will offer through Royalty Claim to help educate music creators and rights-holders on Black Box funds and how to limit/prevent their earnings from falling victim to the broken global music licensing ecosystem (such as taking control of your music catalog with TuneRegistry).

Want to get updates on the Royalty Claim project and be the first to know when we have something to reveal? Sign-up for our email list at www.RoyaltyClaim.com.

Also, follow @RoyaltyClaim on Twitter.

* These 116,133 payments are specifically verifiable because the list of payee names can be gathered from several databases.
** I am currently aware of over 30 funds and sub funds being managed in the United States. However, there are definitely many more that are “private”.

#NewToolTuesday: Music Streaming Royalties Calculators

spotify-royalties

Welcome to #NewToolTuesday. NTT is something I’m going to try for a while. Every’ish Tuesday I will share one or more tools that I use in the music industry (or as an entreprenuer in general).
For this inaugural NTT, I’d like to share a couple tools that I utilize in my royalty forensics activities. Here are some cool online streaming royalties calculators that I use to gauge the potential value of unclaimed royalties for any given release:
 
“All-In” Streaming Royalties Calculator for Spotify, Apple, Tidal, Google Play, Deezer, Amazon, Groove Music, Pandora, and Napster/Rahpsody: http://www.streamingroyaltycalculator.com/
 
Spotify US Streaming Mechanical Calculator: http://resources.audiam.com/rates/
Want to learn more about royalty forensics? Go here.

5 Royalty Streams Every Indie Artist Should Know

pexels-photo

This post was originally written for and published on Repost Network’s blog.

With the rise of music distributors and digital music aggregators, it has never been easier for an indie artist to release and monetize their music across the global digital music ecosystem. The Digital Music Era has significantly lowered the barriers to entry to the top outlets for music search and discovery; and startup entrepreneurs continue to develop and launch new platforms to innovate search, discovery, sharing, and access.

Today, music fans can easily access music from their favorite artists or discover new artists to fall in love with, pitting major established artists against their up-and-coming indie artist counterparts. And the music industry is changing for the better as a result (the Recording Academy now recognizes music released on free services for GRAMMY Award consideration and Billboard has accepted YouTube and SoundCloud streams for the purpose of charting).

Innovation in technology has made it possible for any indie artist with decent enough production tools and access to the Internet to record and release new music at any time. And with thousands of artists pumping out new music, it is no wonder that the industry has grown to over one million new tracks entering the global music market every month.

Each of these tracks begin earning royalties from its first play on any of the 400+ digital music services and 3,000+ webcasters operating around the world. And all of these royalties, billions of dollars of royalties, flow through a complex network of pipelines into various buckets of royalty collection with the ultimate goal of trickling down to the appropriate music creators and rightsholders. While this sounds straight-forward for a number of reasons this is far from a smooth process; and millions of dollars in royalties are in fact not making its way to the music creators and rightsholders to which they are due.

Part of the reason starts with you, the music creator. It is especially important for independent artists to understand the various income streams that your releases generate and the ways in which you must be setup to collect your royalties.

Here is an awesome infographic created by Future Music Coalition that visually breaks down how creators are compensated. Below it, I highlight five royalty streams that every indie artist should be setup to collect.

FMCmoneyflow

If you plan to release music digitally, you should be aware of and setup to collect all of the royalty streams that your music earns. Your music earns royalties for the use of two different copyrights. The first is the copyright for the composition (song). The second is the copyright for the sound recording (master). These two copyrights earn royalty streams that are collected and paid out by different sources to different income participants, as explained below.

Royalty Stream 1: Performance Royalties for Compositions

With few exceptions, virtually all uses of your composition earns performance royalties. Performance royalties are earned when your composition is played on digital radio-like services (e.g. Pandora), when your composition is accessed and played through on-demand streaming services (e.g. Spotify), and when your composition is performed in venues, bars, and restaurants. All of these companies have performance licenses from one or more performing rights organization (PRO). In the United States, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and Global Music Rights are the PROs who issue blanket licenses for the performance rights in compositions to digital music services. In return, these services pay royalties to these PROs. The PROs then pay 50% to the songwriter(s) of the composition and 50% to the publisher(s), in accordance with the publishing splits reported to the PRO by the copyright owners. In order to collect performance royalties, you must join a PRO and register your composition (your songs) and the associated ownership splits (for example, 4 Writers might have equal ownership (25% each) or varied ownership (Writer 1 – 25%, Writer 2 – 50%, Writers 3 – 12.5%, Writer 4 – 12.5%)) to the PRO in a timely manner. One of the reasons music creators and rightholders do not receive the performance royalties that their compositions earn is because they have not joined a PRO or have not registered their songs with their PRO.

Royalty Stream 2: Mechanical Royalties for Compositions

Mechanical royalties are earned when your composition is reproduced and distributed in phonorecords (a medium in which a sound recording is stored). This includes compositions embodied in sound recordings stored in physical formats (CDs, vinyl, cassette), MP3 permanent downloads (e.g. iTunes), and interactive streams (e.g. Spotify). In the digital music sector, streaming services secure mechanical licenses either directly from copyright owners or by utilizing the compulsory license as provided by copyright laws. Regardless of how they secure their mechanical license, the major services pay mechanical royalties to Harry Fox Agency (HFA) and Music Reports Inc. (MRI), who then pay the publishers of the composition. One of the reasons music creators and rightsholders do not receive the mechanical royalties that their compositions earn is because they have not registered their songs with HFA or MRI, who help digital music services secure the mechanical licenses. For unsigned indie artists, this can be much more difficult if you do not have a publisher because HFA only represents eligible publishers who’ve affiliated with them. MRI is a rights administrator and will issue notices to copyright owners if their digital music service clients intend to utilize the copyright owner’s composition in a manner that requires a mechanical license. Spotify pays HFA mechanical royalties for the compositions used in their platform. Amazon Music pays MRI mechanical royalties for the compositions used in their platform. (Note that in the United States, iTunes passes the mechanical royalty to the distributor, who then pays the label. If you’re an unsigned artist, then you receive the income since you are your own label. Outside of the United States, iTunes and on-demand services such as Spotify pay mechanical royalties to a mechanical licensing society in the territory represented by the society. In order to capture these foreign mechanical royalties, a publisher or administrator must affiliate with and register the compositions with the foreign mechanical collection society.)

Royalty Stream 3: Permanent Download Royalties for Masters

A permanent download is generally a sales transaction through a digital retail store (e.g. iTunes). This income is passed along to the distributor, who then pays the label (less any applicable commissions). If you’re unsigned artist, then you receive the income since you are your own label.

Royalty Stream 4: Interactive/On-demand Streaming Royalties for Masters

Just like a permanent download, interactive/on-demand streams (e.g. Spotify) of sound recordings generates master use royalties that is passed along to the distributor, who then pays the label (less any applicable commissions). If you’re unsigned artist, then you receive the royalties since you are your own label.

Royalty Stream 5: Non-Interactive Streaming Royalties for Masters

Unlike a permanent download or interactive/on-demand streams of sound recordings, non-interactive streams are not paid to your distributor. Webcasters and digital services that broadcast recordings over the Internet (e.g. Pandora, iHeart Radio), cable (e.g. Music Choice), and satellite (e.g. SiriusXM) in radio-style programming where the end users/listeners have limited to no control over the selection of music (non-interactive) pay a royalty for the digital performance of sound recordings to SoundExchange. SoundExchange then pays out 45% of the royalties to the featured performers on the recording, 50% to the copyright owner of the master recording, and 5% to a fund for background vocalists and session musicians maintained by AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund. One of the reasons music creators and rightholders do not receive the non-interactive royalties that their masters earn is because they have not joined SoundExchange or have not registered their tracks with their SoundExchange.

When you release music digitally, you should be aware of the various royalty streams that your music earns, where those royalties are collected, and how to claim your earnings. Your distributor is one source of income for two of the royalty streams mentioned. To unlock the rest of your royalties, you’d need a capable publisher and a record company or you’d need to stay on top of the administration yourself.

A great way to keep track of all of these royalties is a service we recommend called TuneRegistry.

TuneRegistry is an all-in-one music rights and metadata management platform for the independent music community. Easily organize and store your song details, recording metadata, credits and ownership splits, and release information in your TuneRegistry account. It’s your robust music catalog manager that’s accessible online, so you don’t have to worry about tracking down emails, storing through documents in various desktop and cloud folders, losing collaborator contact information, or any of the other messy issues that most indie artists face.

TuneRegistry is your one-stop source for keeping your music catalog in check.

The advantage of TuneRegistry over other catalog management systems is that we’ve integrated the registrations process directly to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Music Reports, SoundExchange, and many more. Save time, reduce errors, and unlock royalties with our integrated registrations module. We make it super easy to get your music registrations to the organizations and data services who need it.

The Elephant In The Room: Unclaimed / Undistributed Royalties

bn-bx232_0313bi_p_20140313163924

In the United States, there are several “unclaimed / undistributed royalties” funds held by music rights organizations. These funds collectively consist of tens of millions of dollars in undistributed earnings generated by the use of music within the greater music industry, from legislative appropriations imposed on manufacturers of audio home recording media, and from agreements with foreign entities.

Some of the organizations (SoundExchange, AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund, Live Television Videotape Supplemental Market Fund, and although this is not royalties per say, the US Copyright Office has a Section 115 NOIs Filing database that can be used to track down missing mechanical royalties) have created public databases so that music creators can search to see if they have royalties sitting in these funds. However, the biggest funds do not have public databases and often music creators can not be reached by any of these funds to be notified that they have unclaimed royalties.

I am working on a side project called RoyaltyClaim.com to address this issue of unclaimed / undistributed royalties. The goal is to get each of these funds to join the RoyaltyClaim.com Disclosure Program and to encourage them to submit very basic information to us on a periodic basis regarding the income participants who are due royalties. We will then aggregate these disclosures and maintain one searchable public database accessible for free by music creators and income participants.

By aggregating these lists of unclaimed / undistributed royalties information, we can aid income participants — including songwriters, recording artists, publishers, labels, musicians, background vocalists, composers, and beneficiaries (in the event of musician parents or spousals who passed away, but their music still generates royalties) — in locating and claiming their monies.

If you are a music creator, you should signup at RoyaltyClaim.com to be notified of our launch. We are currently in conversations with the various funds to get them to cooperate and help creators and their families.

#MusicBusinessMonday: Session Musicians

04-11-2016 - Session Musicians Header

Session Musicians: Quality music starts with talented musicians. Your mastery of instruments, performance, and sometimes improvisation can make the difference between a recording that’s just Ok and a recording that’s a masterpiece, so your skills should not go unrewarded.

Did you know that session musicians and background vocalists may be entitled to royalties when the recordings on which they’ve performed are played on digital services such as Pandora, SiriusXM, Music Choice, and thousands of Internet webcasters?

Read More…

#MusicBusinessMonday: Music Producers

04-04-2016 - Music Producers Header

Music Producers: You’re often the underdog in the royalty fight. Although the Recording Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing is pushing for an amendment to the U.S. Copyright Act that would provide an allocation of non-interactive digital streaming royalties (SoundExchange royalties) to producers, no laws currently stipulate that you must receive sound recording royalties from your work when Pandora, SiriusXM, Music Choice, Slacker, iHeart Radio, or any of the other 2,500 digital services perform music that you produced (however, producers can receive publishing income if you’re a “writer” on the song).

So, what’s the solution? How do you make more money from your works when retail record sales royalties are becoming a myth?

Read More…

Independent Artists: TuneRegistry Wants To Help You Register Your Music Rights

TuneRegistry Website Promo.jpg

After months of planning, we are finally excited to release additional information about TuneRegistry.

TuneRegistry is an easy-to-use and cost-effective solution to streamline music rights registrations and metadata delivery. We’re building TuneRegistry for the independent music community — to empower you with a powerful, yet simple, platform to manage your music catalog and associated rights administration all in one place.

TuneRegistry Screenshots

Who is TuneRegistry for?
From indie artists and artist managers to indie record labels and music publishers, we believe that the any music creator and rights owner within the independent music community will find value in TuneRegistry’s suite of tools and services. Even music attorneys like us!

We are currently seeking private beta testers from the independent music community. Request an invite.

Infograph: Understanding U.S. Music Royalties

The Music Business Association (Music Biz) published an infographic, “Music Royalties USA Quick Start Guide,” which gives songwriters and performing musicians a simple way to understand the complex framework they must navigate to receive proper payment for their work.

Click to enlarge and download.

Click to enlarge and download.

The document illustrates how royalties are handled for songwriters, publishers, and performers in various media, such as Physical Products and Download Sales, Radio & TV, Satellite & Cable Radio, Non-Interactive Streaming Radio, On-Demand Streaming Music Services, and Synchronization – Movies, TV, Games, Etc. The infographic also explains some of the more misunderstood jargon related to royalties and tells songwriters, publishers, and performers exactly which entities they need to register with.
“Because the rules governing music royalties are so complex and differ so greatly from one medium to another, many artists are leaving a significant amount of money on the table without even knowing it,” said Bill Wilson, Vice President of Digital Strategy and Business Development at Music Biz. “This infographic arms songwriters, publishers, and performers with the knowledge they need to ensure they get everything they are owed, allowing them to get back to what they do best: making music. We’d also like to thank our Affiliate Partners ASCAP, BMI, The Harry Fox Agency (HFA), The Recording Academy, SESAC, and SoundExchange, who all helped review the infographic to ensure it fully captured the process.”

The “Music Royalties USA Quick Start Guide” is the latest in a series of informational infographics that affirm Music Biz’s commitment to the artist community by providing vital information needed to understand how the music industry works and tips to get the most out of the services available to them. Previous entries include the “Global Music Licensing Quick Start Guide,” “SEO for Music Websites,” the “Artist Website Toolkit,” and more.

The infographic is available for free and can be viewed as a JPG or PDF.

Source: http://musicbiz.org/press-releases/music-biz-decodes-u-s-music-royalties-new-infographic/

%d bloggers like this: