#TBT Reflecting On Being Named A Billboard 2019 Digital Power Player And Looking To The Future Of Music Rights
Exactly one year ago, I was named a Billboard 2019 Digital Power Player in recognition of my work at the intersection of music rights and technology.
As the founder and CEO of two music rights software companies—TuneRegistry and RoyaltyClaim—I empowered independent music creators and rights-holders from over 40 countries with tools to protect and administer their copyrights in the United States and to uncover unclaimed royalties and music licenses around the world.
I started my career in the music industry as an independent artist and self-published songwriter, then evolved into an advocate of music creators as first an artist manager and eventually the owner/operator of an independent record label and independent music publishing company. Later, I pivoted from being hands-on the music to conceptualizing and developing technological solutions to address some of the challenges I faced while wearing the many hats that I had worn.
Today, I am writing yet another chapter in my career book as the Head of Third-Party Partnerships at The Mechanical Licensing Collective and as a Lecturer of Musicology (music industry entrepreneurship) at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. At these organizations I play a new role in supporting music creators from the earliest start of their careers through the legacy of their musical works.
As I reflect on my passion and look to the future I am excited to imagine how I can contribute in some meaningful way to the careers and livelihoods of thousands of music creators; especially independent artists and self-published songwriters.
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.
Music Creators’ Rights Advocate
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
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.
I look forward to joining Marcus Cobb at this year’s A3C Conference to present “Ownership & Song Registration in the Palm of Your Hand” on Saturday, October 12th, at 2:30pm.
Presentation Description: In this digital age of music, songs have the ability to go from conception to the public in the blink of an eye. Within this new age, it has never been as vital to establish ownership and collect metadata as it is today. In short, your money depends on it! Learn how Jammber’s game-changing technology puts ownership and song registration in the palm of your hand.
I am super excited about this!
I’ve been a fan of Marcus and Jammber, and they of me/TuneRegistry, since I first learned of Jammber. Over the last few years, TuneRegistry has been empowering thousands of songwriters, artists, and publishers while Jammber has been empowering producers, engineers, studios and labels. By bringing our expertise and resources together, we believe to have established the first economical end-to-end music business platform for music creations and workflow management, rights administration, and royalty processing for all music creators and rights-holders.
In the coming months, we will be working to integrate TuneRegistry into the Jammber product suite as well as beefing up the Los Angeles-based music rights administration department under my direction as Jammber’s Senior Vice President, Global Music Rights. I look forward to continuing to empower music creators and rights-holders with effective tools and resources to self-administer their catalogs via Jammber’s suite of products.
Nearly 10 years ago I founded my first music company. It was called Renaissance Artist Management (RAM Artist) and I managed DJs who I had for several years prior booked often to play club events that I produced while in undergrad at UCLA. Some of these DJs were also aspiring music producers, so later I launched Loft24 Records and Loft24 Publishing to help them collaborate with artists and topliners. I picked name Loft24 because I was 24 years old and I lived in a loft in Downtown Los Angeles, which had been a goal of mine since my youth (I have no idea why). I had also signed my first two live acts – a singer/songwriter and a rapper/songwriter — after producing a multi-city mall talent search tour for Reebok…they were the winners.
Prior to founding RAM Artist, Loft24 Records, and Loft24 Publishing, I had some music business exposure having grew up in a multi-generational music family and having been an aspiring musician myself, but my knowledge was nowhere near as expansive as it is today (insert a lot of self-teaching and an eventual masters degree in music business).
One of the things I was really good at as a manager and music entrepreneur was creating systems and processes to make workflows efficient. This was necessary considering all of the tasks I had to juggle as an artist manager, label owner, and music publisher. And I had a daytime job as VP of Marketing & Partnerships of a youth-targeted retail chain and founder/GM of its music division.
I had previously built database-driven e-commerce systems at two companies where I had worked in marketing; and with a history of event production, I was generally a very logistical and process-oriented person.
At the time that I was managing artists, DJs, producers, songwriters and marketing music, I was unaware of software that would make my life easier in these administrative tasks. So, I built my own.
I had previously developed a checklist of everywhere that I was aware of where my client’s music needed to be registered before it was released. I used this “Song Processing Checklist” for every work in our catalog. I’d manually login to ASCAP and the Copyright Office systems to register works and record confirmation numbers. It was daunting!
To pitch our catalog, I built an internal platform called “Music Licensing Portal” (basically an early version of what DISCO or SourceAudio is today). I’d invite music supervisors to search our catalog and initiate sync license requests.
Then I built what would be my first music tech startup, SongBank, a marketplace where A&R’s could shop for unpublished songs using an audio fingerprint of a reference songs. SongBank was described as a robust cloud-based project management platform developed specifically for songwriters and record label A&Rs (I’m still unaware of anything like it on the market). I wanted to help undiscovered songwriters get placements on major label projects after my experience pitching my writers to A&Rs. I had brought on advisers who were A&Rs or VP of A&R at Hollywood Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Roc Nation, and Atlantic Records. I later stopped working on SongBank to launch Maven Promo (formerly ChazBo Music), which is an in-store independent music video network, which I sold to EMPIRE Distribution last year to fund the development and launch of RoyaltyClaim, the world’s first search engine of unclaimed music royalties, which I later sold to Haawk Inc and then to Made In Memphis Entertainment this year.
All of this leads me to this: TuneRegistry.
TuneRegistry is a software like no other. I conceptualized it based on all of the above experience (although I had been working on it prior to RoyaltyClaim). What started as a Word Doc checklist of places to register my client’s songs has evolved into a robust software to streamline the process of registering works across rights organizations, delivering music metadata across the music industry, the management of disputes and conflicts, and the insurance of royalty accountability, all in one place.
We had a setback for a few months, when I had to buy the company back from a company that had acquired it in 2017, but will be launching an new and improved platform on October 1st and I can’t wait
(Photos below are of the tools and platforms that I referenced above. I built these in my early twenties to operate my music companies and manage my clients’ careers more efficiently.)
In light of the CRB’s ruling today to increase mechancial royalty rates for on-demand DSPs, I would caution against passing the Music Modernization Act without first amending it to include some very necessary guarantees for DIY musicians.
Given the recent ruling to increase mechanical rates, penalize DSPs for late payments, and remove the TCC cap DSPs will be more incentivized to cling to the safe harbor components of the MMA to limit their financial responsibility to songwriters.
I also fear that the blanket license (combined with the elimination of the statutory damages provision against infringement) would hurt more DIY musicians than protect compared to the existing compulsory licensing schema where today an independent can fully self-administer his/her mechancial rights via a service like TuneRegistry or with a third-party administrator like Songtrust. Why? Because the unclaimed/unpaid (aka “black box”) royalty fund will also increase by 44%, giving major publishers a bigger windfall of market share distributed gains from a royalty pool that generally belongs to unidentified independent songwriters.
What incentive does DSPs, who must pay the rates anyway, and major publishers, who will undoubtedly control the mechanical licensing collective body, have to ensure the works of DIY musicians are properly represented and accounted to and what power do DIY musicians have to assert their limited rights?
I could be completely and utterly wrong.
However, the devil is in the details and the MMA, while it does streamline the process of mechancial licensing in the United States for DSPs it also effectively limits the warranties and representations of DIY musicians.
Every article written about MMA is generally written from the perspective of publishers and NMPA members. As an advocate for and service provider to DIY musicians, my perspective is a bit different and more nuanced.
The decision today by the CRB was a win for all songwriters. The MMA is a win for major publishers. It must be amended.