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Zibon
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Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:59 pm
Location: Atlanta

Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:29 pm

Hello, since this is probably the related forum I'm most active on, I thought I'd see if anyone has any recommendations, suggestions or anecdotes to share on my current situation.

I compose and produce my own works for licensing. This includes libraries and sync agencies. I did this for a music library in the early 2000's. I got placements on TV with networks like TBS, HGTV, Discovery & LIfetime. I stopped in the mid-2000's and just did live work and recently started back in the last year or so. I have works with several sync agencies (Crucial, Scorekeepers, Tunedge) and got a placement recently on ABC. Generally I have been a composer of instrumental works for licensing (as opposed to a popular music artist using solo/band songs for sync licensing...but I am submitting more of the songs of various bands I'm in for licensing also). I have always been the "artist" but haven't put a lot into any promotion or distribution as the "artist", but I would like to start at least putting my works out there for streaming and downloading as an "artist".

I have always been with BMI, and that's all I've ever joined or registered with. BMI collects publishing on my behalf (for self licensed works) and I don't have a publisher or pub admin. I am looking into collecting mechanicals (USA and foreign) and also considering digital distribution and then collecting royalties for digital downloads and streaming, which wasn't a big thing back in early 2000s. I have read and researched the ins and outs of royalties and publishing etc. but I wanted to see what those who also do this for a living have to say about choosing distribution, publishing admins, and mechanicals collection globally.

Since I plan on trying digital distribution as an "artist", do these one stop shops like CDBaby or TuneCore seem like viable choices to also be publishing admin for my works distributed by them and also for collecting mechanicals globally for these same works that get also placed with sync agencies? Or does it make more sense using BMI for performance royalties and then using someone like Harry Fox or TuneRegistry for US mechanicals and then someone like SoundExchange for international mechanicals...and just use CDBaby (or similar) for digital distribution?

Again, I want to:
1) start using digital distribution & collect all global mechanicals for that
2) keep getting placements with sync agencies & collect all global mechanicals for that
3) generally improve metadata and tracking for all my works to help all royalty tracking and collection

Any bit of info you'd like to reply with is appreciated. Thank you for your time in advance!

Shawn
 
BluprintZ
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:18 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:55 pm

I'm a music publisher and label owner in the Uk.
I've released about 30 albums for client i've recorded and published since 2004.
All of the tracks on the albums were registered with PRS/MCPS and PPL.
I never submitted the tracks to any music libraries but they have all been used on radio and TV stations worldwide, so as the publisher i recieve the royalty income and then i distribute the agreed prcentages to the clients that have had their music used.
I also provided CD's to CD Baby pretty much from the beginning of release time and have sold quite a few hard copies, of course now with the era of downloads, the hard copies aren't in demand these days, so i now recieve a quarterly royalty income statements to my email address, whereas several years ago i'd recieve the statements in paper format.
One bit of advice that i was given in the early days of distributing from a TV producer, was when the promo copies were posted to to the various media for review, the advice was when sending them to the TV and Radio stations, make sure that instrumental versions were included, so they could be used as idents, background, etc.
This made a hell of a difference to royalty income, due mostly to the mechanical usage on TV.
What i realised over the years, was that you don't really know where the music is going to end up.
A six track EP i released in the Welsh language (i live in North Wales, UK), became record of the week on an Italian radio station, so it can be an amazing business.
I would certainly consider startinga publishing company, if you intend submitting the music of the bands you are in, as you state.
I'm not sure what the situation is in the US but here in the UK, it's very unlikely that radio and TV stations will take the submissions seriously, unless they have been submitted by a publisher.
I have two record labels, one for the Welsh language releases and the other one for everything else.
A music publisher can have several labels under the publishing umbrella, depending on how many genres of music is intended for release.
So i would seriously consider taking on the role of a publisher and a label owner, it tends to keep everything under control, plus you have the added kudos of owning/holding the copyright via the publishing company.
Maybe do a touch of checking out what i've mentioned online and see how things are for a similar business in the US.
Any other questions, just ask.
Take care.
 
MikeRobinson
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Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:31 pm

In general, the most important thing in the United States is that you should belong to a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) such as ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, and register your works with them.

In general, these companies are in the business of monitoring world-wide use of your material and ensuring that you get paid for them. I believe they handle both types of royalties: performance and mechanical.

Of course, you must always formally register your works for US Copyright ... which you can do online at "copyright.gov" for a $35.00 fee which covers a so-called "collection" of up to 100 works at a time. (The notion of a "collection" is purely an administrative practicality.) Your copyright claim is legally effective and verifiable as soon as the web-site finishes processing your on-line payment: "the pretty piece of paper will show up eventually."

Basically, no one, for very obvious reasons, will dare to touch your work unless you can first thereby prove that you have legal title to it and therefore the right to peddle it. (Any more than a reputable car dealer would offer you any money for your car without the certificate of title.) You give them the registration number, and yes, they look it up [online].
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
BluprintZ
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:18 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:07 am

Yeah, pretty much the same here with PRS/MCPS but we don't have to pay to register the works for copyright ownership, i find that very odd considering that if you register the works with the collection agencies (PRS/MCPS), then that is your proof of ownership.
Certainly some years back, each track had to be registered in triplicate on paper, each sheet being a different colour, you kept one, the other two were posted to PRS/MCPS in London and it could be aright ballache filling them in, especially if there were say 12 tracks.
Anyway, i'm sure each country has it's own way of registering works and i expect they are very similar.
 
MikeRobinson
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Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:12 pm

I honestly can't speak to the national differences between implementation of copyright laws. The key benefit to all of us is that they have subscribed to international copyright conventions.

In the United States, registration of a song costs you 35¢ apiece if you register 100 songs at a time. (The public servants at the Copyright Office will thank you.)

And it means that US Marshals can actually show up to enforce your rights. In the early 90's I worked for a software company who fired a Vice-President who then used them to exact his revenge. He reported them for having too many Word Perfect® licenses. (Does anybody remember Word Perfect? Does anybody want to??) :D Nevertheless, one day the US Marshals showed up. They were actually very nice people. All of us just went out for an early lunch and let them "do their thing."

Of course, the people who are in the business of [legally ...] buying and selling music – and ensuring that all of us get paid for what we managed to sell them – have zero interest in experiencing a visit from US Marshals! So, when you go to sell your car (in the US), be sure to bring your title certificate number with you. With it, they can "polish their company's nose" in less than sixty seconds.
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
BluprintZ
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:18 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:38 pm

It's all pretty different here Mike, similar in some ways but slightly different.
The government here have messed about with the vehicle licencing a few years ago, 2014 i think it was.
You had to have a road fund disc in the windcreen of the car, usually held in place by a circular soft plastic wallet, that the paper disc was inserted into and the plastic was such that it stuck to the windscreen.
We've had the road fund disc since 1937 but due to some twit deciding it would stop vehicle road tax evasion if we went from selling the car with the road fund disc, until it ran out (annually, or bi-annually), wheras the new owner would then have to tax it again when it ran out, to sending the disc back to the licencing authority (DVLA) and they would refund you the amount left to run on the disc, the new owner would have to tax the car before he could drive it away, which has caused all kinds of problems.
So if you sold the car in the middle of the month, the new owner would have to tax the car from the beginning of that month, so it was a win-win for the government.
It wasn't really thought out properly, as a report says that "In 2008 it was reported that flaws in DVLA enforcement practices have meant that more than a million late-paying drivers per year have evaded detection, which lost £214 million in VED revenue during 2006".
Go figure.
 
MikeRobinson
Posts: 1074
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:58 pm

Indeed, an entirely different concept, based on nationally-supported and taxpayer-funded ("BBC-X") venues. A concept that entirely does not exist on this side of "the pond."
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
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Christopher11
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Fri Dec 18, 2020 6:46 pm

MikeRobinson wrote:

In the United States, registration of a song costs you 35¢ apiece if you register 100 songs at a time. (The public servants at the Copyright Office will thank you.)

And it means that US Marshals can actually show up to enforce your rights. In the early 90's I worked for a software company who fired a Vice-President who then used them to exact his revenge. He reported them for having too many Word Perfect® licenses. (Does anybody remember Word Perfect? Does anybody want to??) :D Nevertheless, one day the US Marshals showed up. They were actually very nice people. All of us just went out for an early lunch and let them "do their thing."
.

Is it still true that we can register a collection of 100 works at a time? I wrote to the US Copyright office recently, and thought they had said it had been downgraded to less than 10 works per 35 dollar collection. I thought that was appalling. Still 100?
Logic 10.4.1
Mac OS 10.14.6 Mojave
2015 MacBook Pro 15 Quad Core 2.8ghz
RME Fireface 802
 
MikeRobinson
Posts: 1074
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:41 pm

Only "copyright.gov" knows the answer. Still just a cost of doing business as far as I'm concerned ... and, probably your smallest expense of all, for being by far the most important. "Mind your P's and Q's!"
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
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Nunstummy
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Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:55 pm

In Canada we have SOCAN. I’ve only sold albums and songs in the USA and Canada. I used a local company to manage distribution and royalty collection. We’re not talking big bucks, so everything has been good.
J$

Logic 10.6.1 / MacOS Catalina 10.15.7 / Mid-2014 MacBook Pro 15” w 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
Novation LaunchKey 49 MK3/ Novation LaunchPad X / FaderPort 16
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Glenn Lancaster
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Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:06 am

Quick anecdote on SOCAN:
I was busking in the Montreal Metro when I was an impoverished student, when someone approached me, showed me a SOCAN membership card, and asked me 'do you have a licence to play that song?' First I was agape. Then I laughed at him.
Late 2015 27" iMac, i7, 4ghz, 32 gb RAM, OS 10.14.6, Logic Pro 10.5.1, 2020 M1 Mini, 11.3, Logic 6.2, RME FF802, Novation 61SL Mk II. Martins and Fenders and Gibsons, oh my!
 
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Nunstummy
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Re: Music Licensing Distribution Royalties Suggestions

Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:57 pm

Ah, ha ha ha.... those French unionists! While I love living in Toronto, Canada, I prefer to work in the USA.
J$

Logic 10.6.1 / MacOS Catalina 10.15.7 / Mid-2014 MacBook Pro 15” w 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
Novation LaunchKey 49 MK3/ Novation LaunchPad X / FaderPort 16
UA Apollo Twin X / MOTU Traveler & 8Pre/ Adam T7V pair/ Inspiration