By Jamie Purpora
President TuneCore Music Publishing Administration
- What is a mechanical from a stream?
- Mechanicals from streams aka streaming mechanicals: A mechanical royalty is a royalty paid to a songwriter whenever a copy of his or her song is streamed via an interactive service.
What’s an Interactive Service vs. Non-Interactive Service?
Interactive Service: The user selects the specific song so a mechanical royalty is due (e.g. Spotify, Rhapsody)
Non-Interactive: The user does not select a specific song so only a performance royalty is due (e.g. Pandora, Rdio)
(We’ll cover performance royalties from streams in a future article.)
Whenever a song is streamed via any interactive service (e.g. on Spotify, Rhapsody, Zune), a mechanical royalty is owed to the Songwriter/Publisher. The royalty owed varies by digital service and is based on subscriptions and ad revenue. On average, a mechanical stream pays around $.0008 per stream.
What happens when a song is streamed in the U.S.?
In the United States, the mechanical royalties are deducted by the digital store and held until they are notified by the Songwriter/Publisher of where to send the royalties. These royalties are NOT paid through with your distribution royalties! If you are represented by TuneCore Music Publishing Administration, we register your compositions directly with the digital stores in the United States so you get paid. Remember, being affiliated with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC will not get you your streaming mechanical royalties. They are performance societies and do not collect or license mechanicals.
What happens when a song is streamed outside of the U.S.?
For any stream outside of the U.S. (e.g .on Spotify, Deezer, Simfy), a mechanical royalty is deducted and paid to the local collection society (e.g. JASRAC in Japan, MCPS in the UK, GEMA in Germany etc.).
In order to receive this royalty you need to be affiliated with each one of these entities and also individually register each one of your compositions separately with each society. If these societies are not notified properly that your compositions exist, you do not get paid. Period!
Another interesting point that most songwriters are not aware of is that not all of the societies will let you affiliate with them directly. Yup, you read that right.
Two prime examples of this are Japan and Australia. If you are already affiliated as a songwriter with any other society in the world (like ASCAP, BMI, PRS/MCPS, GEMA, SACEM, etc.) you cannot become a member of JASRAC in Japan or APRA/ AMCOS in Australia.
In both cases you must also be a resident of that country. So without a publishing administrator like TuneCore, you cannot receive your mechanical royalties in those territories.
So how do I become affiliated with each collection society?
This whole process of affiliating with each entity will cost you upwards of $7,000, plus countless hours of your time—time you can better use to create, perform and promote. Language barriers can also make this a painful process. Every time you release new songs, you would need to submit new registration forms for each territory.
By opting into TuneCore’s Music Publishing Administration service, we handle all of this for you. We will register your compositions as your administrator, and you are still listed as the publisher if you have previously affiliated as one. We do the registrations electronically, within one week of receiving your information.
If you release songs through TuneCore, you should send us the new titles to be registered by submitting the % you control through your TuneCore Composition Manager (click here to learn more about how that works in your account).
If the compositions have been released by another artist, label or distributor outside of TuneCore, you can fill out the registration form here.
When will I get paid?
One of the most common questions we’re asked iswhen will I get paid? Well, that depends on the collecting society, but this process usually takes between twelve and eighteen months. Why? Some of the societies account quarterly and some every six months.
Also, if your mechanical royalties have been sitting unclaimed, the society will have to sort through their back log of data to locate your mechanicals due for the streams from previous quarters.
Unprecedented power to get you more money.
One of the big advantages of hiring TuneCore to collect your streaming mechanicals is the built-in audit trail. If you distribute songs through TuneCore we have your sales data.
We use this data to notify each digital store in the U.S. and each society Worldwide of the streams that occurred, so the society or digital store can then release any funds being held for your previously unclaimed compositions. This is a key point that should not be overlooked: never in the history of publishing administration has any entity had the ability to do this, and it results in more accurate and complete accounting.
What countries are covered by TuneCore Music Publishing Administration?
The major territories currently covered by our service:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
Now go and write that next hit song and let us make sure you receive your mechanicals!
President TuneCore Music Publishing Administration
(If you missed our article about how we’re collecting your mechanicals from DOWNLOADS, check it out here!)