The Rules All Digital Music Services Must Follow

And To Whom They Must Pay Royalties In Order To Sell Music In Their Stores

In order for a digital music service like AmazonMP3 and others to allow a song to be downloaded, it must get two separate licenses and make two separate payments.

The licenses are:

-One from the person or entity that controls the recordings (like a record label)
-One from the person or entity that represents the rights of the songwriter

The two songwriter rights needed by digital music stores to be able to sell your music outside of the United States are:

1. The Right of Communication (aka Public Performance)

2. The Right of Reproduction

When a song sells in the United States, a digital music service like Amazon pays the songwriter money to the record label and then the record label pays the songwriter.

When a song sells outside of the United States, a digital music store must get the licenses and pay the person or entity directly that controls the songwriter rights.  The digital music service does not pay the money to the record label to pay the songwriter.

Therefore, any royalties paid to you by TuneCore distribution for the sale of your music and songs outside of the United States do NOT include the additional money owed to the songwriter.  The digital music services outside of the US must get the necessary licenses and make payments to the person or entity that controls these rights.

The digital music service must pay a separate royalty to the person or entity that wrote the song for each sale outside the United States.

If an artist is affiliated with a performing rights organization in the US like ASCAP or BMI, it is only for the right of Public Performance, not for Reproduction, which is just one of the two needed songwriter licenses.

The digital music service still needs to obtain the second license (the right of Reproduction), and make payments to the person or entity that controls that right for the songwriter.

Outside of the United States, the amount of the second royalty that typically gets paid to the songwriter for the download of a song via a digital music service is between 8 – 10% of the purchase price.

Some digital music services might try to get the licenses and make payments to a local, third party that does not represent all the rights (or any of the rights) of the songwriter.

These local collection agencies hold onto the songwriter’s money, take over 20% of it, and give the rest of it away to others companies like Warner Bros., Universal, EMI, Sony and others based on what % of the “market” they control.

In many cases, these local collection agencies never had the right to issue licenses and take the songwriter’s money in the first place.

It is not known if digital music services know this and turn a blind eye.

But what we do know is this: for songwriters, the digital music services must obtain the two licenses from songwriters, and make payments to them each time a song is downloaded from their stores.

If they do not have these licenses and are not making these royalty payments, they are violating copyright law and not paying artists the money they are owed.

  • Anonymous

    I love thia post. I am from Indonesia and running a digital music store, keep up the good post

  • http://www.a-lyric.com/ Anonymous

    Lots of “mights” in this piece. For the record, I receive rights as a writer for sales on iTunes as well as plays on Spotify and Deezer from my PRO, Sabam. 

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      the issue, however is getting paid via amzn.

      Best,George

      • http://twitter.com/braccinocorto braccinocorto 

        the issue regards ONLY US writers, who are losing that quota, NOT rest of the world writers (in an ideal world where everything is reported correctly to the PRO societies). 
        You Americans should lobby to change your scheme which is asymmetrical compared to the other ones in the rest of the world. Why shouldn’t a composer be registered with a mech copyright society with reciprocal agreements? Why does HFA accept only publishers as members? 

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robbie-Fields/574371120 Robbie Fields

          The USA took a completely different path to the rest of the world in restricting the ability to receive royalties collection to a minority.

          ASCAP sounds official but isn’t.  It is owned by its members and historically denied membership to most newcomers.  By the 1940’s, the Broadcasters found they had a problem in “pop” music :  the repertoire they wanted to play could not be licensed through ASCAP, so they set up their own privately owned PRO, BMI, which had an open door policy and even managed to capture a few disaffected ASCAP songwriter members.
          For the collection of mechanical royalties, HFA was an initiative by the private trade body the NMPA, representing the music publishers.  HFA was open to all but did not win universal acceptance due to 2 factors :1.  Songwriters/publishers could direct license to record companies and users and avoid paying commissions and incurring delay in payment (Jeff Price’s pet rant).

          2.  Even though the U.S. sets compulsory mechanical royalty rates, the law permits the record companies to upend the spirit of the law by imposing “controlled compositions” provisions into recording agreements.
          The rest of the world does not abide by this.  Record companies elsewhere have a legal obligation to pay the full amount of proscribed mechanical royalties to the MCPS type society for further distribution.  Only record companies who can demonstrate a policy of not shafting the songwriters are exempt from having the society making the payments for them.

          Unlike BMI and ASCAP, HFA does not divide song ownership revenue into 2 halves :  one for the publisher, the other for the songwriter, with possibility of a songwriter capturing both halves for an unassigned copyright.  HFA pays out 1 lump amount to a “publisher principal”, but contrary to your implication, a songwriter can register with HFA as a publisher principal.  The problem, of course, with the HFA system is that the publisher may not pass on the 50% plus it owes to the songwriters. I’d say gratuitously the worst offenders are songwriters not paying their co-writers.
          It is only now that the USA may be inching towards a similar situation, at least on the mechanical royalty front, and just as before with the foundation of BMI, private interests are seizing the initiative, as the bar to doing better than the current set up is set so low.

          First, we had iTunes provide a real alternative to dealing with record companies.  And, as you can see, the rout of the dinosaur companies is far from complete, 10 years on.
          Second, Google has adopted also “one size fits all” like Apple’s 70% payout across the board.  In Google’s case, they are creating the infrastructure to bury HFA in their own filth, through their purchase and development of Rightsflow.  So long as a media company is prepared to pay compulsory royalties, Rightsflow will take care of the business and pay out 100% on direct licensing on a monthly accounting basis.HFA lost its credibility a long time ago.  It has become a minor player.
          On the other side, ASCAP and BMI are much more involved and have improved their systems.  More significantly, they are notoriously difficult to leave for greener pastures and, of course, it is not the publisher’s decision.  It is the songwriter’s decision.  (A side note :  a fully involved U.S. publisher needs to set up 3 different entities to do business with the 3 different PROs).  In recent history, it was basically only the third U.S. society, SESAC able to bribe a relatively few songwriters to go with them.  Now SESAC have placed themselves on the block, unprepared to make the new investments going forward.  Rather than use a purchase of SESAC as a stepping stone, Google may have decided it’s better for the moment to have a modus vivendi with the PROs rather than a war of annihilation. So that’s going to be a tougher nut for either Google or Jeff Price to crack!
                  

  • Clintonslurvey

    Technically they should ALL be paying for STREAMS as well (even if the music doesn’t sell) with the exception of iTunes as they have a direct contract with HFA and it’s affiliated publishers to allow them to stream 90 seconds for free, at least until it expires in late 2012.

  • johnney culture

    i belive its right  i am waiting  and looking forward to recive  my rights

  • JRK

    I’m about to release a new album through Tunecore, and I really am rethinking the concept of streaming the album. I guess right now the big player is Spotify — if I understand their business model correctly it seems terribly unethical — they payout a fraction of all revenue generated by advertising weighted towards the majors. So when someone listens to one of my songs I get paid a fraction of one ad impression with some part of that going to other labels… so I get a fraction of a fraction of nothing? In the end someone can listen to my album a few times, dismiss it, and I will only receive a tiny fraction of a penny. 

    Why should I not just prefer to forgo the steaming, give anyone the free 30/90 second preview with iTunes or Amazon, and make them purchase it? It would mean my music would get added to their collection and maybe over time they could grow to like it. I don’t think people listen to streamed music in that same type of way.

    I’ve signed up for Tunecore’s songwriter service and I’m about to sign up with BMI, does that somehow level the playing field (increase revenue) with Spotify? 

    • Anonymous

      @JRK

      If you signed up for TuneCore’s songwriter service, you do not need to sign up with BMI – we do that for you, its part of our service (and there is no additional cost for you).
      bare with me on this, i know it can be confusing

      Spotify pays TWO royalties for each stream – the “Record Label” and the “Songwriter”
      RECORD LABEL ROYALTY CALCULATION
      (the entity that controls the rights to the recording of the song)

      To figure out how much to pay the “record label” for each streams, Spotify collects money over 90 days, deducts out some allowed expenses and then divides that number it by the number of streams that occurred over the same 90 days
      This amount changes each 90 days as the amount of money they make and/or the number of streams go up and/or down
      SONGWRITER ROYALTY CALCULATION (the entity that controls the copyright to the music and lyrics of the song)
      There are two royalties that must be paid to the songwriter (also sometimes called the “publisher”) of the song
      Public Performance
      For each stream, the songwriter/publisher is paid between 6% – 10.5% (depends on the country the stream occurred in) of Gross Revenue
      Mechanical Royalty –

      In the U.S. this rate is set by the government. It is more or less 10.5% of Gross Revenue minus the cost of the Public Performance royalty

      Outside of the of the US, there is no government set rate and varies a lot from country to country but will not be more than 7% and not less than 3% of Gross Revenue

      Therefore the amount of money paid by Spotify fluctuates month to month based on number of streams and amount of money they collect.

      In regards to your songwriter money from Spotify, TuneCore would collect this directly from Spotify for you meaning you will get more of it more quickly with transparency and an audit trail (vs. if it went via BMI you would make less money, have no transparency, have no audit trail and get paid 9 to 18 months after it was earned)

      jeff

      • Michael

        I imagine most artists don’t have a record label so what happens to that
        share of the royalty,does it go straight to the artist?

        How would the songwrite service work for artists outside the US.

        • Anonymous

          @Michael

          This money is owed to the songwriter.

          In the US, some of this money is paid to the entity that controls the recordings of the songs (i.e. the record label) and this entity has to pay the songwriter. If you use TuneCore, then you are the record label. If you wrote the song, whether you know it or not, you are paying yourself from the money iTunes, Amazon etc pay you.
          Outside of the US, these services must go the person or entity that controls the rights to these TWO rights. Both of these rights may be controlled by you in which case the digital service has to get the licenses and pay you directly.
          In other cases, one of these rights (i.e. Reproduction) may be with you and the right of Public Performance with another organization like ASCAP/BMI etc. If this is the case, and the digital store is paying ASCAP/BMI etc, then it only has one of the two rights it needs (Public Performance) and must come to you directly for the other.
          In still other cases, you could hire someone like TuneCore to represent your songwriter rights, in which case TuneCore would license these rights to the digital store, collect all the money and get it back to you – this service works for all songwriters for the world.
          Jeff

      • Gowzo

        Hi Jeff – regarding Tunecore’s songwriter service – I already have an account with BMI and about half of my catalog is allocated to various publishers – does it still make sense for me to sign up to the Tunecore service? What conflicts should I look out for? (i love the idea of the audit trail and faster payment – two disappointing factors with BMi and publishers).

        • Songwriters

          If they are publishers not controlled by you then we would not be able to collect for you.  They would have administration rights.  If they are publishing entities you created and you control then we would be able to collect as long as you have not done an administration deal with another entity.

  • ANFIBIO

    ok, i gree with the terms and i waiting and looking forward to recive my.

  • martha guthrie

    what does all this mean, do I have to have a Licenses to sell my music.

    • Anonymous

      @martha gutherie

      what all this means is, the burden is on the digital music stores to get the right licenses and make the payments to the right people
      you dont need to do anything, the digital stores do.

      jeff

  • http://facebook.com/MitchellTrupia Mitch Tru

    I found one of my songs on two different compilation albums outside the U.S.

    • Anonymous

      if you wrote the songs, you are owed money from the sale and use of your songs.
      jeff

  • Ricky

    Great post, thanks! How does one collect that money though?

    • Anonymous

      @ricky

      In the US, some of this money is paid to the entity that controls the recordings of the songs (i.e. the record label) and this entity has to pay the songwriter. If you use TuneCore, then you are the record label. If you wrote the song, whether you know it or not, you are paying yourself from the money iTunes, Amazon etc pay you.
      Outside of the US, these services must go the person or entity that controls the rights to these TWO rights. Both of these rights may be controlled by you in which case the digital service has to get the licenses and pay you directly.
      In other cases, one of these rights (i.e. Reproduction) may be with you and the right of Public Performance with another organization like ASCAP/BMI etc. If this is the case, and the digital store is paying ASCAP/BMI etc, then it only has one of the two rights it needs (Public Performance) and must come to you directly for the other.
      In still other cases, you could hire someone like TuneCore to represent your songwriter rights, in which case TuneCore would license these rights to the digital store, collect all the money and get it back to you – this service works for all songwriters for the world.
      We started the TuneCore Songwriting service specifically because our customers were not getting their songwriter money
      You can learn more about it here – http://www.tunecore.com/songwriters
      Jeff

  • manager

    How do you get Amazon to take music down that the record label no longer has license to and songwriter has not licensed?

  • Midge

    I just recently joined the TuneCore Songwriter Service however; I’m also with ASCAP; been with them almost a year.  I’ve heard a couple of my songs playing on the radio quite often; I know some of the radio stations that have been playing my songs yet; I haven’t received one dime from ASCAP.  When I inquired about this they said something to the fact that they do a 6 hour survey of the radio stations and if your song wasn’t played in that 6 hour slot then you would not get paid.  I find that a little odd.  Since I’ve recently joined TuneCore’s Songwriter Service, is there any way that you can look into this matter and get them to pay me for my songs being on the radio? I am both the publisher and the songwriter. Thank you for your time.  Midge

    • Anonymous

      @midge

      I have asked the TuneCore Songwriter team to get back to you

      Jeff

    • Songwriters

      Please send us the details for the song and publisher and we will contact ASCAP on your behalf.  Send that info and your customer name to songwriters@tunecore.com. But it may be because of their credit sysytem.  Depending on the radio station it sometimes takes hundreds of plays to get paid depending on the market or type of station. 

  • Genfrao

    I wrote my songs and i recorded my songs, so i have both of all the rights.

    • Anonymous

      exactly.

      Therefore, you must be paid as the songwriter!

      jeff

  • Ngraham24

    When is tune core going live with google music store any news ?

    • Anonymous

      we are still waiting on google

      we delivered a number of “test” deliveries to them and after we did that they changed their technical specifications
      so we then re-coded and delivered to those specifications, and then they changed them again
      so we recoded and sent to the newest specifications and are now waiting to hear back if they are good to go
      i hope it goes live in the next 14 days (but if they change their specs again, we need to make changes again)
      jeff

  • Dodgechargersrock87

    So the only way to claim the money that Jeff is fighting for is by paying Jeff $50 and 10% commission?

    • Anonymous

      @Dodgechargeersrc87

      absolutely not, you can use any method you want. TuneCore offers a songwriter publishing administration service that works for you to license, represent, administer and police all six of your legal copyrights, not just these two.
      There are other music publishing companies in the world you can use outside of TuneCore
      We are better at it than they are and get you more money, more quickly with transparency and an audit trail. its there for you to opt in for if you want.
      jeff

  • Gerry

    Hey Jeff – How would I get iTunes, Amazon, and all other outlets to stop selling my music without the proper licensing?

  • Anonymous

    Making substantial money off digital music is not common, first off internet radio play pays next to nothing if you can collect, which is most of the time a pro-rated amount somewhere close to fraction of a penny-you may think this adds up, but a song has to be played multiple times to add up to once cent, then imagine making ten cents which means a song needs be played around 30 times. And when it comes to today’s musician/artist, them or us creating an environment and standard where music can be downloaded at no cost or is “free” doesn’t create a consumer, but a person that gets used to NOT paying so when you try to sell music-they won’t be bothered. I like Trent Reznor well enough-he also is in the 1% of musician. performer/arts business person that makes millions of dollars, and he comes from a time in the music business when music made money from its sale per copy. He complaints are justified that record labels took alot-then again alot and alot of artists/musicians also made money. The independent music revolution seems great, idealistic and has power, if one takes the time as to understand how much power it has-just listen to mainstream commercial FM radio where the royalty rates are high and return pay out is enough to pay for school, that G6, Dior handbag, and home, alas however almost no one from the independents or self published is getting played in that market, what is played is controlled-designed and intentional, corporate. Had the independent community had the power it would have flipped the radio, and majors invested into it, instead they bought into Myspace with Rupert Murdoch, turned into a file sharing site, and let it rot, then it was sold at a great loss to its purchaser. It was valuable only when it catered to independents and provided a place and time for everything. MTV and Fuse did not showcase and transfer over the independents, assisting in the sale and promotions of new music, if you want to compare notes go to http://www.gbh.tv  and go thru their archive of video’s from the past 8-10 years, not only was none of that played or sold as new music and images but it is the music which shaped much of sub-culture, although none of it was marketed to the public which caused no economic growth or turn over-Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Rihanna and so forth took over. if your smart you’ll look into who did get PAID, most likely it isn’t you. Had the independent music revolutions purpose held, major labels would have changed their tune a bit and given power to the artist, instead they moved their business either away from or ontop of the movement-it proved disastrous results.

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      this is sort of a sad post. i understand where you’re coming from, but i don’t think it’s nearly as hopeless as you present it (if it were, why would anyone bother?). the key is that we need better tracking and collection of digital usage of (c)’d music. certainly, the margin has gone down from when the business was driving primarily from dl’s, but there are also vastly more opportunities now for people to have their music used. so, again, we need better tracking and collection (good news is that we CAN do this).

      George

      • Yardell

        I don’t feel its hopeless but it is an unfair and not regulated system-good luck getting “tracked” Harry Fox is the only agency to track sales for sellers of music they will not assist Tunecore customers because its not considered a third party provider and unless you have sold thousands of units they also are not going help. And people will do the same over and over and get the same results, like using drugs they will do more of the same to reach a desired affect and possibly never experience what they try to achieve.

  • Guest

    Broad generalizations which show nothing but ignorance and lack of experience of international composition rights

    • Anonymous

      @guest

      hoping you can provide more specific examples?

      Jeff

  • http://twitter.com/JNathanielson Justin Nathanielson

    I hope BMi is aware of this http;//www.soundcloud.com/justinnb1

  • Justin

    Is the songwriter administration only for individual songwriters or can I as a publisher also work with Tunecore for this service?

    • Anonymous

      @Justin

      it is for both. It sounds a bit off but an individual artist is by default the publisher. We can work for that artist or any other entity that controls the rights to the underlying composition
      Jeff

  • Carmensentertainment

    What about on-line music radio stations do they have to pay song-writers if the song is played on the on-line radio station?  The song is not being sold.  If they do pay how does one collect?

    • Anonymous

      @carmensentertainment

      in the US, on-line radio has to make two payments as well

      one goes to the entity that controls the recording
      and the other goes to the songwriter

      however, unlike an “interactive” service like Spotify, Rhapsody or a download service like Amazon or Apple, internet radio does not need to negotiate the license for the recording – it is allowed to use it provided it pays the rate as set by the government
      The money for the recording of the song is paid to SoundExchange – a government sanctioned collection agency that distributes this money. Its free to join and get paid – soundexchange.com
      the money for the songwriter goes to the entity representing the right of public performance – if you are with ASCAP/BMI they get the money. If not, then the on-line radio station has to get the license and pay you direclty
      jeff

      • Filthy_victorian1872

         Okay, I’m new at this music business and I wrote, performed, and sang all my songs except three which the lyrics were written by someone else who I’m not in contact with anymore and am trying to get in contact with.  I have no label and really don’t want one.  How does this work for self publishers and performers like me.  I do not plan on playing a tour or to any gigs in my town.  My voice isn’t up to it.  It’s dropped an octave from what I recorded back in 2001.  I just want rights to my music and to be able to sell it to friends and family and perhaps others.

        • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

          the key is to remember that – if you’re the writer of an orig work – and unless you assign any rights to a 3rd party (i.e. publisher), you ARE your own publisher, and are due royalties from the usage of your work (that usage could be sales (for which you’re due mechanicals), radio play (for which you’re due public performance), use in movies/tv (for which you’re due synch royalties).

          we’ve created a really brief pamphlet called “6 legal rights” that you can download for free, that outlines all of this.

          Best,George

      • Tan

        Music copyright holders will not see a dime let alone penny from Rhapsody, Spotify, etc……all that money will go into BMI, ASCAP and SESAC;s pockets as uncollected amounts0as they only pay if each publisher attains a quota in sales, unless your song or single is generating tens of thousands of streams and sales
         BMI, ASCAP and SESAC are not required to pay the copyright holder or publisher they will not pay “you” ubless its a hit and good luck with that close to 95% of music makers will not get paid. period. BMI, SESAC and ASCAP will take each small amount earned from streams or plays and keep it because it did accumulate to the amount  required for “pay out” to its clients so they keep the small amount and it goes into a larger pool with all the other amounts not required for payout and they then keep the money.

        • Anonymous

          @tan

          BMI/ASCAP/SESAC represent and administer money owed from public performance royalties, not mechanical royalties .
          Artists are not getting the money they are owed from mechanical royalties.
          As an example, if you are a member of BMI/ASCAP/SESAC, and your song is downloaded outside of the US, BMI/ASCAP/SESAC will eventually get you back the public performance royalty owed for the download.
          The digital music service has not gotten the license nor made the payment for mechanical royalties back to the copyright holder.
          Jeff

  • SAY-Kay

    hi 
    this message is to Jeff

    have you seen this clip and what are your views on this

  • Greg

    Let’s address the fact that music not being available in the EU/UK on Amazon means significant lost revenue for some of us. I now count on this regular money to pay bills! Also, Tunecore is addressing songwriter royalties — I would bet that most Tunecore users have not signed up for the Songwriter service (though I have). I would have preferred to hear that there were contract issues beforehand and had a chance to express an opinion.

    Another potential issue are Amazon search algorithm affects. If a song was doing well in Amazon search results, having the songs down could affect those future search results. I now have no idea is my songs will do as well on Amazon.uk amazon.de, etc. when/if the contract negotiations are worked out.

    • Anonymous

      @greg

      You, not TuneCore get to make this decision.

      TuneCore has a dispute on your behalf with Amazon regarding your royalty payments. The delay in settling this dispute resulted in Amazon temporarily stopping the ability for people to buy your recordings in the Amazon European Union and United Kingdom MP3 store.
      You are part of a group that has sold over half a billion songs and earned over a quarter billion dollars. If you remove major label catalog sales (i.e. The Beatles, etc) all of you represent over 60% of all new music sales in the United States.
      The power and market share all of you control has literally brought us to a crossroads in the music industry – keep things as they are or change them further.
      I absolutely understand that you may lose income as we fight on your behalf to get your owed royalties.
      And as sure as I am typing this, there will be more disputes like this one.
      Do you want to allow digital music stores to sell your music and not pay all your royalties or, when they don’t pay all your royalties, have TuneCore fight on your behalf to get them?
      This is your income, these are your rights and this is your decision. If you want things to change and have artists get all their money, there is no other way to do it unless you confront those that are not paying.
      So here is the question: when you signed up for TuneCore you also asked us to make sure you get paid all your royalties. How much are you OK with a digital music service not paying you before you would like us to say something?
      What % of your money not being paid to you is acceptable. If a service owed you $1 but only paid you $.80 would that be ok? What if they store owed you a $1 and only paid you $.50.
      What if you used another service for distribution and they did not pay you all your money, would that be ok?
      Help me understand how much of your money cannot be paid to you before you would like us to say something, what is the cut off point for you?

      Would you prefer that the next time TuneCore discovers you are not being paid your royalties it say and do nothing?

      I mean that honestly and sincerely. (on a side note, a deal with Simfy was just signed and another deal with a European based store will be singed this week).

      If you want TunCore to fight for the collective voice of all of you, we will. And we will win – but sometimes it might not be easy and take some time. When these entities are confronted, it is possible they will use every tactic they can to get you to give up.

      We know this is easy for us to say as we are not the ones that may be missing out on sales until things are sorted out. But believe it or not, they need you more than you need them. Without you, the music stops and therefore so does their service.

      Ultimately, this is your money and we recognize that. You get to decide if you want to fight for it or forgo it.

      If you want it, we will fight for it. If you don’t and you’re cool with not getting paid all the money owed to you, we will let it go (or you can simply go to another service that does not care, will not fight for you, and will not review the royalty statements to make sure you are getting the money you are owed).

      For you, it sounds like you would prefer to not get paid all the money you are owed as in the short term the financial hit is too great.

      I might not agree that allowing digital services to get away with not paying all their royalties is the right thing to do, but its not my music and its not my money, its yours

      We just need you to let us know….

      jeff

      • Greg

         Jeff,

        Please don’t get me wrong. I truly appreciate all that you and Tunecore do to enable independent music throughout the world. It has enabled me to imagine life as an independent musician/producer after earlier disillusionment with the ‘rockstar or bust’ archetype our society has created with music. I also appreciate your impassioned response.

        The way this information strikes me is ‘By the way a few days ago we went on strike in Europe..we don’t know how long it will last but your pay may be cut up to 30% for the foreseeable future. If you don’t like it you can take a hike.’ There should be appropriate channels for Tunecore artists to express questions and concerns regarding these collective negotiations. If this is the forum then let’s make that clear. I’m pro-Union, pro Artist’s Rights, pro Tunecore. Of course I don’t want to give up any legal rights to money due in any jurisdiction. But if we are about to go on strike, I would prefer advanced notice, transparency and clear channels of communication.

        • Anonymous

          @greg

          i love what you wrote and i straight up 100% agree with you.

          Your music was pulled by Amazon, not by TuneCore. It was done with no advance warning, they did not need to pull it but they did.
          We just simply asked to see the licenses to assure all artists were getting paid their royalties
          I suppose I could not have asked the question. I did not expect much of an issue. To me it was kind of a “gimmie” – that is, I would expect any legitimate service to say “Well of course we have all the licenses and we make all the payments”
          As it appears they did not have all the licenses and were not making all the payments I asked them to make them. They more or less agreed and then, out of the blue, took down the tracks
          The things you are reading on line are not accurate – usually just spin placed on it. Some entities or people (usually competitors) seem to have a bug up their butts about us. I truly dont understand it. If another entity had announced that it discovered royalties were not being paid, I would have pro-activly called them up, learned about it and then worked in tandem with them to help right things
          Artists should get their money. How hard can that be (apparently very hard).
          I am waiting to see how some things shake out over the next few days and then provide an update
          I am also planing on doing a live video chat with real time questions etc that I would answer and I also intend on replying to as many blog posting as I can with all the info as I get it
          If there is any other question I can answer, please dont hesitate to let me (or anyone at TuneCore) know
          Jeff

        • Anonymous

          @greg

          i love what you wrote and i straight up 100% agree with you.

          Your music was pulled by Amazon, not by TuneCore. It was done with no advance warning, they did not need to pull it but they did.
          We just simply asked to see the licenses to assure all artists were getting paid their royalties
          I suppose I could not have asked the question. I did not expect much of an issue. To me it was kind of a “gimmie” – that is, I would expect any legitimate service to say “Well of course we have all the licenses and we make all the payments”
          As it appears they did not have all the licenses and were not making all the payments I asked them to make them. They more or less agreed and then, out of the blue, took down the tracks
          The things you are reading on line are not accurate – usually just spin placed on it. Some entities or people (usually competitors) seem to have a bug up their butts about us. I truly dont understand it. If another entity had announced that it discovered royalties were not being paid, I would have pro-activly called them up, learned about it and then worked in tandem with them to help right things
          Artists should get their money. How hard can that be (apparently very hard).
          I am waiting to see how some things shake out over the next few days and then provide an update
          I am also planing on doing a live video chat with real time questions etc that I would answer and I also intend on replying to as many blog posting as I can with all the info as I get it
          If there is any other question I can answer, please dont hesitate to let me (or anyone at TuneCore) know
          Jeff

      • JeanM

        is itunes paying you songwriter royalties in the uk direct?  i bet not!  so why are you discriminating against amazon

        • Anonymous

          @jeanM

          that is awesome! That’s an amazing spin on things: TuneCore is discriminating by stating all artists should be paid all their royalties.
          I dont care what music service it is. They all should pay artists their royalties. And unlike apparently ever other distribution company in the world, I will ask the question : Are you paying the royalties you are required to pay by law.
          If the answer is no, then all of you can decide if you are happy not getting your money.
          And for the record, no mater how you seem to want to spin it, Amazon took down your music, not TuneCore.
          They could have kept your music live, They didnt. We just simply asked if they could provide us the licenses required and showed the paid the royalties they owed.
          This is what TuneCore was hired to do – distribute your music and assure your royalties are being paid.
          Of course if you yourself dont want your royalties, you have every right to give them away and/or not sell your music
          This is your income, not TuneCore’s. If you dont want your royalties, totally cool with me.
          So tell me JeanM, are you happy if you dont get all your royalties – because I know of some other distribution companies that may take some of your earnings and not tell you

          Jeff

  • Basslock

    How do i help appeal with Tuencore?

    • Anonymous

      @basslock

      best thing to to do is directly contact the digital music store directly and tell them you control the copyright to the composition.
      Ask them to provide the license and proof of payment

      they may try to suggest you dont know what you are talking about. Ignore that. Make it simple for them
      tell them you control the copyright to the song, they need two licenses to include it in their music service
      if they cannot provide proof of the licenses and payments, they are violating your copyright

  • Anonymous

    What is the latest? Any news? Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      I will provide more detailed updates when I can…at the moment, we are in the middle of working through the issues.
      Both myself personally, a number of lawyers and TuneCore overall, is spending a lot of time, effort, energy and money to deal with this royalty dispute.
      I can also state that TuneCore asked Amazon if it had the appropriate licenses and paid the entities that controlled the copyrights.
      I can also state that Amazon took recordings down after that question was asked.
      I can also point you to this article that describes the legal rights needed by all digital stores – http://blog.tunecore.com/2012/02/the-rules-all-digital-music-services-must-follow.html
      I can also state that TuneCore is in deals with Spotify, Google, Rhapsody, Simfy (with a few others about to close) to collect and pay back songwriter royalties directly to any songwriter that chooses to have TuneCore work for them.
      In the interim, you should feel free to contact a Amazon etc directly and ask them for proof that they have the licenses necessary and are making the payments to you.
      I encourage you to have other artists contact them and ask the same questions and post the replies here.
      The first thing that needs to be done is make certain artists know their rights so they can identify when their copyrights are being violated and/or they are not being paid their royalties
      Jeff

  • Joe

    ok so, just by writing my own beat and lyrics, and publishing  them through tunecore via the uploader, and paying for the songwriter service….the money should funnel to my tunecore account until i claim it from here?

  • Rene’ Soler The Cuban Way

    i like very good, maby we take are royalies

  • Nate

    are you calling downloading a song purchasing a song? What is downloading defined in this article!
     

    • Anonymous

      @nate

      yes, in the context of this article, a “download” is when a digital music store allows someone to download the song from its store – either for free or paid
      jeff

  • Greg

    Hi. Have their been any updates on this? Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      @greg

      Bare with me on this response – I will provide more detailed updates when I can…at the moment, as we are in the middle of working through the issues.
      Both myself personally, a number of lawyers and TuneCore are spending a lot of time, effort, energy and money to deal with this royalty dispute.
      I can also state that TuneCore asked Amazon if it had the appropriate licenses and paid the entities that controlled the copyrights.
      I can also state that Amazon took recordings down after that question was asked.
      I can also point you to this article that describes the legal rights needed by all digital stores – http://blog.tunecore.com/2012/02/the-rules-all-digital-music-services-must-follow.html
      I can also state that TuneCore is in deals with Spotify, Google, Rhapsody, Simfy (with a few others about to close) to collect and pay back songwriter royalties directly to any songwriter that chooses to have TuneCore work for them.
      Finally,

      Jeff

  • Tyler

    First of all the tracking service which checks for digital sales does not and will not service Tunecore customers because its not a third party provider. BMI, SESAC and ASCAP do not pay royalties for streams unless your generating thousands which would amount to the required amount for payout to its clients. The prorated fee for stream and online radio is fractions of a penny. The money does not go to music makers most of the time. And if the independent

  • SJ

    How do you know if your music is getting spins on spotify?

    • Anonymous

      @SJ

      if you are using TuneCore, you would get the information in your Spotify accounting report
      jeff

  • MATTHEW CASTLE

    i dont get it. i may sue

    • Brawdcast714

      y take down my music??

  • Concerned

    Because Tunecore seems to be the only ones on the globe who really cares about these things, I am going to try and get some help here. I run a record label and have been doing so for a number of years, believing in the “digital revolution”.

    My concern over the years has always been: does the mechanicals actually get payed out and accounted for properly? So iTunes pay the mechanical licence for any music sold outside North America. Fine – sounds good, makes my life as a label boss simple. That is… if I don’t bother. 

    So, an example. I release an album on iTunes with music written by a French songwriter and published by a French company. When uploading this album to iTunes via an aggregator, all song-writer credits and publisher info is properly tagged in the metadata. Now, the album happens to be a huge hit in… Greece. Wow, we didn’t expect that! We’re getting a lot o master license royalties from our aggregator, and the mechanicals are payed out by iTunes to… wait now. To whom? To the local collection society in Greece? They never heard of the song, they never heard of the song-writer. 

    So how does iTunes get the mechanical license accounted for and payed out? ISRC codes have nothing to do with it as far as I can tell?

    This is just an example but a case scenario I believe is incredibly common in the digital distribution world. And… it’s a big problem.

    Dear friends at Tunecore, who I have been more and more interested in using as my aggregator, what is your words of wisdom on the above situation? How common is this problem and why is no one talking about it?

    Thanks,

    • TuneCoreSongwriterInfo

      @ Concerned

      Thanks for getting in touch. If your song is downloaded on iTunes in Greece, the mechanical royalty is paid to the PRO in that country and just sits there because no can claim it. Within the US, iTunes downloads will automatically include the mechanical royalty rate of 0.091 cents per the government. Please keep in mind that outside if the US, the mechanical royalty rate varies by country. If you would want to collect these additional mechanical royalties for downloads outside of the US, you would literally need to register with each of these entities and it would cost thousands of dollars. Luckily, we have our Publishing Administration Service that can help you collect these mechanicals for downloads outside of the US. Please refer to the following attached links for additional information. http://pub.help.tunecore.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/159 
      http://pub.help.tunecore.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/197

      TuneCore