#TCVideoFridays – July 27th 2012

It’s #TCVideoFridays again at TuneCore. Here are some videos from TuneCore Artists that are bound to put you in a good mood for tonight’s Olympic kick-off!

Quick reminder: you can now distribute videos to iTunes via TuneCore. For more information click here or contact video@tunecore.com.

Colt Ford, “Back (with Jake Owen)”

Charlee Drew, “You Did Me A Favour”

Kelly Kelz, “By His Grace (feat. A-FLO)”

Bell X1, “Sugar High”

Public Enemy, “Harder Than You Think”

William Beckett, “Compromising Me”

Matthew Mayfield, “Now You’re Free”

Ryan Beatty, “Every Little Thing”

Tim McMorris, “Overwhelmed”

Shealeigh, “Strangely Beautiful”

#TCVideoFridays – July 20th 2012

We’ve got another #TCVideoFridays post for you, featuring 10 awesome videos from TuneCore Artists.

Quick reminder: you can now distribute videos to iTunes via TuneCore. For more information click here or contact video@tunecore.com.

Dispatch, “Not Messin'”

The Aves, “Grow Up”

Gretchen Peters, “The Matador”

Kid British, “Until Monday”

Rawsrvnt, “On Fire” (feat. Richie Righteous)

PALO!, “Quimbombo”

Matt Bednarsky, “Happy Go Lucky”

Jamestown Story, “Drive By” (by Train)

Tim Korry, “Retrograde”

Master MC, “Don’t Get It Twisted”

Neighboring Rights: What They Are & Why They Matter

By George Howard
(Follow George on Twitter)

We talk a lot about the importance of understanding copyright, and, in particular, understanding how revenue flows from the bundle of rights that a copyright holder is automatically granted upon fixing an original work in a tangible medium.  That is, a copyright holder of a song (the ©), potentially has revenue flow to her whenever someone desires to reproduce or distribute her song—the rights of distribution and reproduction being two of the six exclusive rights automatically granted to a songwriter when she creates an original composition and fixes it in a tangible medium.

In fact, we show—over and over again—that it is the writer of the song, as opposed to the performer, who stands to receive the vast amount of revenue from the exploitation of a song.  As above, when the song is reproduced and distributed (on a CD, download, etc.) it is the songwriter, and not the performer, who gets paid a mechanical royalty from the person doing the distribution and reproduction.

When a song is used in a movie, TV show, or advertisement, the songwriter, and not the performer, receives the revenue for the synchronization, reproduction, and distribution (yes, the performer, may see some money via the master recording usage, but only if the performer owns the master recording and/or is recouped with the label who owns the master recording).  When a song is played on terrestrial radio, it is the songwriter, and not the performer, who receives a payment for the public performance of his/her song.

So…you may be asking: how do the performers make money?

Historically, the performers only made money from the record labels if they had recouped any advance that the labels paid them. This didn’t/doesn’t happen often, but assuming it did/does, the performer (the person signed to the label) typically receives a percentage of the suggested retail list price (srlp).  So, for instance, if the performer (person signed to the label) had a 12 point (“point” is just shorthand for “percentage point”) royalty, and the download for the album was sold online (iTunes, etc.) for $10, this would mean that the performer is owed $1.20 per album download for the “performer”/”artist” royalty. Remember, this is different from the mechanical royalty that is paid to the writer of the song for the label’s right to reproduce and distribute the song. This mechanical royalty is set by law (statute) and currently stands at just under a dime ($.091) per reproduction.

Of course, performers also (and, often exclusively) make their money from things like live performances, merchandise, etc.

However, there is another way that MANY performers can possibly make money. It’s called “Neighboring Rights.”  You can think of neighboring rights in the same way as public performance rights, with the difference that while public performance rights compensate the writer of the song when his/her music is publicly performed, neighboring rights compensate the master holder (typically, the label) and the performer when music is publicly performed.  Sounds great, right?

In case you’re wondering where the term “neighboring rights” comes from, it’s because these rights are not actually conferred by existing copyright law, but “neighbor” those that are: a copyright is conferred in the public performance of a composition, and while one is not conferred for the sound recording, because it “neighbors” the copyright in the composition, most countries treat it as essentially having the same qualities as the copyright in composition).

Here’s the thing: neighboring rights payments aren’t paid in the USA.

That’s right, only countries who are signatories to the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations of 1961 (frequently known as “The Rome Convention”) pay these rights, and only performers who are permanent residents of one of these countries (or if the musical recording was made in one of the countries who signed the Rome Convention) are eligible to receive these royalties.

You’re probably thinking: “Well, if the U.S. didn’t sign this, most other countries must not have either, right?” Here’s the list of countries that did sign (partial list):

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain and N. Ireland, Greece, Greenland, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan,

Lesotho, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

Here’s the full list.

The fact that the U.S. is not a signatory, and therefore does not pay public performance to performers and sound recording owners when their music is publicly performed raises a host of issues and questions, and gets to the Chinatown-like underbelly of the music industry (imagine, if you will, myself as a proxy for musicians everywhere, having my nose sliced open for asking too many questions, Jake Giddes style, by a Roman Polanski type who stands in for the old guard record industry played by John Huston).

For example, you’re a U.S.-based performer who recorded your song in the U.S.  This song gets publicly performed in, for instance, the UK (one of the signatories of the Rome Convention). You are owed Neighboring Rights money. You ain’t getting it.  Why not? Because, think about the reverse, a UK-based performer records a song in the UK, and it gets played in the U.S. (you know, like, maybe the Beatles).  The U.S. doesn’t pay Neighboring Rights moneys, and so, the countries that do, figure, “why should we pay your artists if you don’t pay our artists? You want reciprocity? Here’s your reciprocity [insert raspberry sound].”


While understandable from a quid pro quo perspective, it doesn’t answer the question of “Where’s the money?” Remember, this money has to be, and is, paid by the broadcasters via a blanket license fee in the same way the broadcasters in the U.S. pay a blanket license fee for public performance rights of the composition in the U.S., it’s just that it’s not distributed to the performers/labels.  Therefore, it sits. It goes into Black Box money, which then gets distributed to the companies in the territories who are affiliated with one of these societies.  In other words, they are getting your money.

As above, in most countries other than the U.S., there are societies much like the PROs (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC) in the U.S. that issue licenses for these neighboring rights in the same manner (and, often hand-in-hand) as they do for public performance of the composition.  These societies then distribute (after taking their overhead/cut) to their affiliate performers/labels.  And, again, as above, they distribute the collected, but not distributed, money to these affiliated labels/performers as well.

Money—lots of it—is being left on the table, and then, eventually, distributed to parties who have no rights to this money!

The U.S.’s refusal to recognize neighboring rights has created a ripple effect that hurts artists where they can least afford to be hurt today: their wallets.

The good news is that while the U.S. doesn’t require payment of neighboring rights royalties for terrestrial public performance (i.e. songs played on non-digital radio), with the Digital Performance Rights in Sound Recordings Act of 1995, there is now a public performance royalty in sound recording for non-interactive digital transmissions that works the same way.  That is, if you’re a performer/label, and your music is publicly performed via satellite radio, internet radio, or some other form of non-interactive stream (that is, the customer cannot pick a specific song, cannot rewind the song, cannot play the song repeatedly) like Pandora, both the owners of the master, the featured performer, and any non-featured performer are paid.  The splits are, respectively, 50%, 45%, and 5%.  The organization that collects and distributes these royalties on behalf of these parties is called SoundExchange.

If you are a label owner and/or performer, you must register with SoundExchange for them to be able to distribute the money they’ve collected on your behalf.

This helps, but, as should be abundantly clear from above, it doesn’t get us where we need to be.  For now, the vast majority of public performances (in the U.S. and elsewhere) still occur via terrestrial broadcast.  This leaves performers, producers, and labels out in the cold for a massive revenue stream.  Like so many things in the traditional music industry, this can’t (and won’t) continue to stand.  Chinatown it may be, but it’s getting harder to keep it all under the cover of darkness.

Click here to download all diagrams as a PDF.


George Howard is the Executive Vice President of Wolfgang’s Vault. Wolfgang’s Vault is the parent company of Concert Vault, Paste Magazine, and Daytrotter. Mr. Howard is an Associate Professor of Management at Berklee College of Music

Alex Day – Over 500,000 Songs Sold, 3 New Releases & Close to 100 Million YouTube Views

Alex Day, a 23 year-old musician from Essex, England is focused on releasing music that puts listeners in a good mood. And it seems to be working. He has over 500,000 YouTube subscribers, over 500,000 songs sold, almost 100 million youtube views, and was the subject of two recent Forbes articles. Read on as the pop artist talks about how his YouTube channel has seen such rapid growth, why he just released several singles at once, and how he feels about being called “the future of music.”

Without using any “conventional” genre words, describe your sound.
Bouncy happy fun-loving pop music to dance and feel good to :)

Congratulations on those back to back articles in Forbes!  How does it feel to be called “the future of music?”
Thank you, and it feels brilliant! I’m not doing things to try and be contrary or get attention, I’m just releasing music in a way that makes sense and works for me, so it’s nice that other people support my decisions (and publicly so).

You recently released 3 new singles. What was the motivation behind releasing them all together?
I didn’t wanna get caught in the same pattern of ‘here we go again, let’s release a song and try to get it in the charts,’ cause the charts are boring and outdated, and it just seemed like the clearest thing I could do to show I meant that was to release three songs at once, which kills the chart place but is a lot more fun and offers much more variety.

You started your YouTube channel in 2006 and now have around 100 million views on your videos. How have you driven this growth?
It’s basically perseverance. As you said, I’ve been doing it six years, and only in the last year have people really started paying attention to my music. I make sure I upload at least one video a week, keep my stuff consistent and entertaining, and don’t talk about music all the time because people would get bored.

You’re very well known for your YouTube videos. Do you get to play live often?
I could play live (I have in the past, I enjoy it), but I tend not to that much. I can reach more people in a YouTube video and I’m not excluding anyone in other countries that way because it’s all online. Some people live to play to a crowd but that’s not me, I prefer making songs for people to download, share with friends and enjoy—that’s where my passion is.

Aside from YouTube, what are some ways in which you promote your music?
Well I have Twitter and Facebook pages like everyone else in the world, but really it is just YouTube. I don’t have a label, a manager, a press team, a radio plugger, an agent, a publicist, not even a music producer. I make my own music, my own music videos, and YouTube is how I get the word out on those things.

I noticed on your site that you’re very vocal about encouraging your fans to use your music in their videos, projects, talents shows, and whatever else they’d like.  What’s your philosophy behind this?
Is that not the norm? I thought everyone would want to do that. I guess it’s just as I’ve said, I want as many people as possible to hear and enjoy my music, and if people are using it in their own projects, that’s a good way of sharing my songs with people. As long as you’re not taking the credit for the song and you’re doing something new with it (not just re-uploading the song with the artwork to YouTube when I already have a video there of my own to showcase it), you can help yourself.

Any advice for other independent artists?
Stop recording albums. I understand that an album can be a great form of art in its own right when all the songs are designed for it and they all weave into each other and they have a concept.  Great—but most don’t, most artists don’t write like that, and with the cherry-picking available on iTunes, there’s no point bundling them together. Just focus on making one great song. Keep writing and recording until you have one great song. Then go from there. You only need one great song to make it.

So what’s next on the horizon?
I just released the music video for my summer song “Good Morning Sunshine,” and I’m making the video for another song of mine about falling in love with a ghost (“She Walks Right Through Me”) which will be up soon. Beyond that it’s just spreading the word and hoping people listen, and always writing for the next big song :)

Download Music from Alex Day on iTunes

Follow Alex on Twitter

Check Out His YouTube Channel

Become a Fan on Facebook

Visit AlexDayMusic.com

Gadgets We Like: Songnote Lets You Send Messages Through Tunes

You know when you’re listening to music and suddenly a song comes on that immediately takes you back to a specific memory or person? Songnote, an app made by the Darling Group, can help you capitalize on that moment.  Compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, Songnote lets you express yourself by sending messages in the form of music.

So let’s go back to that situation where you’re listening to music on your phone. Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” starts playing.  You remember hearing him play it live at a concert your dad took to you when you were young, and you want to send your dad the song to remind him.

This is where Songnote comes in.

All you need to do is open the app on your phone, and if the music is still playing it will be preselected. Type a little note to your dad like “Hey Dad, remember those front row seats?” and then hit ‘send.’ You can choose to send it as a facebook wall post or an email (if your dad isn’t one of those hip dads who has a facebook account).

When your dad receives your message, he’ll be able to hear the full song if he has that song in his iTunes library, or the 1:30 preview in iTunes if he doesn’t own it.

So the next time you hear a song and it reminds you of someone, or you want to send someone a message that can best be expressed by a song, check out Songnote!

Songnote is available for $0.99 in iTunes.


Download Songnote from iTunes