Category Archives: Music Publishing

What You Don’t Know About Publishing May Be Costing You

[Article originally posted on SoundCtrl]

By Jamie Purpora, President, TuneCore Publishing

If you’re a musician in the US, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the names ASCAPBMI and SESAC. You also likely know that joining one of these Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) will help you collect royalties that you’ve earned as a songwriter.

What you may not realize is that the world of rights and royalties is incredibly complex, and in this increasingly global, multi-platform world, you might not be quite as covered as you think. In this article, we take a look at the royalties PROs can and can’t collect and demonstrate how a publishing administration partner like TuneCore Publishing Administration, in conjunction with PROs, can help ensure you’re able to get your hands on all the revenue your songwriting earns.

Performance Is Just One Type of Right

The first misconception held by many songwriters is that copyright is a single thing – like a blanket – that covers your work. The reality is it’s more like a quilt, and if one piece of that quilt is missing, you may be left in the cold.

There are multiple ways compositions generate revenue for songwriters. Organizations like ASCAP and BMI cover one of them: the P in PRO, Performance. While Performance encompasses much more than an actual stand-on-the-stage-and-play situation, it by no means covers all uses of a composition. It’s these other revenue generators that, if you only work with a PRO, may represent earnings that are just sitting on the table.

MusicInk

What Is Performance?

Performance quite obviously includes live public performances, but it also includes radio play and even having your composition played as background music in a public place like a restaurant or hair salon. As a group, these are referred to as “Analog Public Performance,” and the royalties they generate are based on negotiations between your PRO and the radio station, TV network, bar, restaurant, airline, office, etc. using your composition.

Thanks to the Internet, royalties are also collected for “Digital Public Performance.” This category is then subdivided into Non-Interactive and Interactive “Streaming” Public Performance. Non-interactive services are those that don’t allow you to pick songs, create playlists or otherwise “interact” with the music. Pandora, iHeartRadio and Sirius XM Satellite Radio are examples of non-interactive platforms. Interactive service examples are YouTube and Spotify. For any of these uses, there’s no set royalty rate. Royalties are negotiated between the PRO and the other entity and are often based on a percentage of that entities’ gross revenue.

If the song you wrote is performed or broadcast publicly in one of these settings, and you’re affiliated with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC, you can feel safe in knowing that they will collect on your behalf and pay you…at least in the United States.

US-Based Organizations Cover the US

Copyright regulations are laws, and as such, they are codified and enforced in each territory. Much like how the NYPD won’t be giving you a traffic ticket in Los Angeles, ASCAP isn’t collecting for you in Germany. Or France. Or Malaysia. Those countries have their own “societies” for the enforcement of copyrights and collection of royalties.

Fortunately, there is a measure of cooperation. ASCAP or BMI will work with the society in whatever country to get you paid, but again, this is just covering PERFORMANCE. So imagine you gave permission for your song to be used in the TV Show Breaking Bad. It airs in the US so your PRO collects any resulting performance royalties for you and pays you. As a result of the song being in the show, your iTunes downloads skyrocket, and again, your PRO will get you paid. But if the show airs in Germany, and as a result your song catches fire on Spotify in that country, you will only get a part of what you’ve earned – the performance royalty. You will NOT receive royalties collected as a result of the streaming mechanical or download mechanical. Instead, the society for the region will collect the money on your behalf, but because they don’t know who to pay, they’ll just sit on it. By contrast, once you’ve registered with a company for publishing administration, they will track rights and collect on your behalf worldwide.

These internationally-earned royalties can really add up, too. For example, TuneCore Songwriter Brian Crain, an ASCAP member, had distributed and even licensed his music for a few years before he learned that his PRO wasn’t collecting everything he’d actually earned. As soon as he signed up for TuneCore Publishing Administration, TuneCore was able to get $4000 in download mechanicals to him that had previously just been sitting in Canada.

royaltysign

“Performance” Covers a Lot, but Not Everything

In addition to performance, royalties and revenue are generated when your compositions are sold, streamed through interactive services, downloaded, or when they are licensed for use in something like a TV show or movie. These avenues can be incredibly lucrative. But if you’re just relying on a PRO, the money generated by them may never make it into your pocket. In these cases, a publishing administration service is essential. In the past, these services were only available to the most elite tier of songwriters. Today, in much the same way that digital has opened the door to global distribution for all, any songwriter can get a publishing administration partner.

Mechanical Royalties

If you write a composition and someone copies, prints, covers or even transforms it into something else, you’re owed a “Mechanical Royalty.”

Reproduction is one of the main ways compositions generate mechanical royalties, and these royalties are owed on every single CD, LP or other physical manifestation of that composition. As soon as that “thing” is made, the royalty has been earned. If a million CDs are burned but not a single one sells, it’s still a reproduction of a million units. Every time a sound recording is downloaded or streamed (interactively) on digital stores like iTunes, Amazon or Google, it counts as a separate reproduction, as well.

Mechanical royalties are also collected for “Derivatives” of your composition. An easy example of a derivative use would be someone doing a bossa nova rendition of your hip-hop song. While this transformation no longer counts as a reproduction, you’ve still earned royalties for the use.

According to the letter of the law, derivative works include any work based on one or more pre-existing works. This could be a translation or new musical arrangement but could also include a dramatization, fictionalization or even a movie version. A good and complicated example of this is “Born in East LA,” a movie that was derived from a Randy Newman composition that was derivative from Bruce Springsteen’s composition, “Born in the USA.” Every time the movie gets shown, Bruce earns mechanical royalties.

PROs like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or SOCAN do not collect mechanical royalties. This means any revenue you’ve earned from streams, downloads (outside of the US & Latin America) and physical sales are not collected by ASCAP and won’t make it into your pocket. While the royalties will be collected per the law by places like digital stores that stream and sell downloads outside the US & Latin America, without publishing administration, they won’t know who to pay. The money, therefore, goes unclaimed. A publishing administrator, on the other hand, will register your information with these sources, song by song, and you’ll collect the mechanical royalties that you’ve earned.

Bon-Iver

Licensing

If we go back to the example of the bossa nova rendition of your hip-hop song, we’ve already established that mechanical royalties will be collected on your behalf, but you may not ever receive that money. What we haven’t yet discussed is the fact that you have to give permission to the band in order for them to legally do the rendition in the first place. That permission – or more accurately, the licensing of your intellectual property – is another avenue to revenue. It’s also a road the PROs can’t help you navigate.

Licensing comes into play with more end uses than just our derivative examples. Use of samples requires a license, and as we’ve seen through lawsuits against Robin Thicke, Jay-Z, Moby, Kanye West and scores of other artists, failure to obtain the correct permissions can have costly results. Also in this category are things like mobile ringtones, printed sheet music, online guitar tabs and even lyrics posted online. Legally, anyone doing these activities without the proper license is in violation of the law.

In a lot of these cases, it’s completely plausible that the violators are unaware of their crimes, but ignorance does not make them innocent. They’ve violated your rights and you could sue them. But first you’d have to find the unlicensed use, then you’d have to figure out how much it’s worth and then good luck actually collecting. ASCAP and BMI can’t help you here. A publishing administrator can.

[Closing]

We at TuneCore believe very strongly that Performing Rights Organizations are an incredibly important and necessary tool for songwriters and publishers. They are the watchdogs of the airwaves, so to speak, with the enormous task of collecting performance royalties from thousands of sources. However, we also see how this is a very different business than it was back in the days of physical media on brick-and-mortar store shelves. Now, both the media and shelf can be digital and the channel and audience can be anywhere in the world.

Every year, millions of dollars in royalties that are collected on behalf of songwriters by societies all over the world just sit, unclaimed, because the songwriter doesn’t have a publishing administrator locating and obtaining these funds. That’s why it’s crucial to have a publishing administrator in addition to your PRO, so your share of those millions of dollars makes it into your pocket.

Jamie Purpora has 20 years of experience in music publishing administration. Prior to joining TuneCore, Jamie helped make Bug Music one of the largest independent music publishers in the world, serving first as Director of Royalties then becoming Vice President of Administration.

At Bug, Jamie was responsible for overseeing publishing administration of the company’s entire catalog, which consisted of over 300,000 copyrights. Clients included Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Iggy Pop, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Guess Who, The Kings of Leon, Johnny Cash, Ryan Adams, Wilco, Tradition Music, Average White Band, Del Shannon and the Trio/Quartet Music catalog. Jamie also served on the Publisher’s Technology Board at the Harry Fox Agency for the last three years.

July News from TuneCore Music Publishing

Lots to report in the way of TuneCore Music Publishing news.  Get the lowdown on who joined our community of songwriters, and which compositions were recently featured in film and TV…

Songwriter Highlights

Vita-ChambersRaised in Barbados to Canadian parents, Vita Chambers began her professional career at age 16.  Plucked from Myspace obscurity by Universal Motown execs, Vita’s first major performance was as the opening act at the 2009 Thanksgiving Day NFL half-time show.  The TuneCore administered composition “Fix You” is certified Gold, was nominated for Best Dance Record at the 2013 Juno Awards and enjoyed time in the Top 40 Pop Chart in Canada.  Chambers’ newest single “What If” is available now via all major digital stores.

TuneCore Publishing Administration client Dana Johnson is a writer, producer and classically trained guitarist who accounts for one half ofAvery-Sunshine the critically acclaimed R&B/Soul act Avery*Sunshine.  Always true to their roots, the two met in a Philadelphia, PA church where Johnson was understandably taken with Sunshine’s thunderous, gospel-bred pipes.  Relentless touring with the likes of Ledisi, B.B. King and Musiq Soulchild have helped her singles “Ugly Part of Me” and “All in My Head” reach heavy rotation on Music Choice, VH1 Soul and Centric.  TuneCore distributes and administers the compositions for their latest effort, The Sunroom, a bold collection that takes listeners through themes of love, longing, pain, power and redemption.

Burning-SpearTuneCore Publishing Administration client Winston Rodney, better known by stage name Burning Spear, is a celebrated Jamaican roots reggae writer and performer.  One of the most influential Rastafarians to emerge from the 1970’s movement, Burning Spear has 12 Grammy nominations and two wins for Best Reggae Album; one at the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000 for Calling Rastafari, and one for 2009′s Jah Is Real.  Featured compositions administered by TuneCore include “Marcus Garvey,” “Slavery Days” and “Columbus.”

TuneCore Publishing Administration proudly represents the catalog of former Kid N’ Play label mate and frequent Gangstagrass Tone-zcollaborator Jason Keaton aka T.O.N.E-z.  Affectionately referred to by fans as the collaborative Rap + Appalachian genre “rappalachia,” Gangstagrass and T.O.N.E-z composed the theme song to the breakout hit Justified on FX.  The composition titled “I’m Gonna Put You Down,” received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music, making Keaton the first rapper ever to be nominated for the award.

Recent Licenses & Placements

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 11.16.34 AM

Want more info about how TuneCore Music Publishing Administration can help you collect your songwriter royalties? Click here.

 

TuneCore Pays Out $33.2 Million in Artist Earnings

Sees 300% Growth in Revenues for Publishing Administration Clients in Q2 2014

Growth in streams, downloads & licensing deals illustrate healthy opportunities in evolving business of music 

Increases in Asia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico and Scandinavia demonstrate power of digital music globalization for driving success

New York, NY – July 16, 2014 – Demonstrating growing opportunities for artists in the evolving business of music, TuneCore today announced that digital music distribution payouts to TuneCore Artists in Q2 2014 exceeded $33.2 million, an 18.4 percent increase over Q2 2013. Since its inception in 2006, TuneCore has paid $438.8 million to artists from a total of 8.8 billion streams and downloads.  Q2 also saw the company reach the 1 million milestone for registered artist account holders, a testament to the increasing opportunities for the emerging population of musician-entrepreneurs.

In Q2, TuneCore Music Publishing Administration drove an impressive gain of 300 percent in songwriter earnings over the same period in 2013. Through TuneCore’s unique solution for worldwide composition registration, royalty collection and YouTube monetization, more earnings from sources around the world are being delivered into songwriters’ pockets. Songwriters are becoming more aware of the complexity of royalty collection and understand that a publishing administrator such as TuneCore is necessary in order to maximize and collect revenues they earn globally.

An infographic with year-to-date milestones can be found at http://www.tunecore.com/index/artist_milestones

Tapping High-Growth Markets Outside of the US

The ability to easily distribute music to new and emerging markets throughout the world is also proving to be of increasing importance to independent artists. In Q2, TuneCore saw incredible gains in markets outside of the US, with artist earnings from music distribution increasing 43 percent in Germany, 46 percent in Mexico, 52 percent in Asia, 65 percent in Scandinavia and a staggering 147 percent in Brazil.

Maximizing artists’ ability to capitalize on these high-growth regions and ensuring artists’ music is available wherever audiences are looking for it, TuneCore continues to expand its relationships with top stores and services around the world.  In Q2 2014 TuneCore added a number of international distribution channels including Asia’s largest subscription-based music service, KKBOX, and the leading music distribution service in Africa, Spinlet. With these additions, TuneCore distributes to more than 80 partners operating in over 200 countries and territories, driving opportunities for musicians in some of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

Securing Lucrative Sync Licensing Opportunities

TuneCore’s Music Publishing team also continues to offer innovative earning opportunities for songwriters through TV, commercial and movie placements thanks to the company’s proprietary Sync and Master Licensing Database and in-house Creative team.  In Q2, TuneCore-attained music licensing deals resulted in placements in Birdman (Movie), on Fox Sports TV, in NBC sitcom Growing Up Fisher, and in advertisements for Fairfield Inn as well as a  Chevrolet promotion featuring the famed Manchester United soccer team.

“TuneCore is proud to give artists and songwriters the tools to succeed in the ever-evolving business of music and to be a driving force supporting a new generation of musician-entrepreneurs,” commented TuneCore CEO Scott Ackerman. “The results we’re seeing show that the music business is still ripe with opportunity, and we are committed to providing the comprehensive toolset to ensure musicians and songwriters get their music out to the world and that they earn all they can from it.”

About TuneCore

TuneCore brings more music to more people, while helping musicians and songwriters increase money-earning opportunities and take charge of their own careers. The company has one of the highest artist revenue-generating music catalogs in the world, earning TuneCore Artists $438.8 million on 8.8 billion streams and downloads since inception. TuneCore Music Distribution services help artists, labels and managers sell their music through iTunes, Amazon MP3, Spotify, Google Play, and other major download and streaming sites while retaining 100% of their sales revenue and rights for a low annual flat fee. TuneCore Music Publishing Administration (based in Burbank, CA) assists songwriters by administering their compositions through licensing, registration and worldwide royalty collection, including collection of YouTube revenue in partnership with INDMUSIC. TuneCore is based in Brooklyn, NY and is backed by Opus Capital and Guitar Center. For more information, visit www.tunecore.com.

Drehz

Music Producer & Songwriter Drehz Talks Publishing Success

TuneCore’s Music Publishing team works with a diverse community of songwriters, helping them collect the worldwide royalties generated by their compositions.  Today we’re shining a spotlight on one of the talented songwriters in our community, independent music producer Drehz, whose instrumental arrangements have been used on shows like Dancing with the Stars and Dance Moms.  We caught up with Drehz to learn about his journey as a songwriter and find out what results he’s seen since signing up with TuneCore Music Publishing…

How were you collecting and managing your songwriter royalties before becoming a TuneCore music publishing administration client?

Before becoming a TuneCore client I wasn’t able to collect my royalties as an independent producer.  TuneCore is working on my behalf to collect thousands of dollars in royalties I would have not seen if I was trying to figure it out on my own.

Why did you decide to get a publishing deal with TuneCore?

I decided to go with TuneCore from a referral of another independent musician/friend.

You’re a versatile producer, especially known for your work in hip hop and dance music.  Have you noticed any trends in genre popularity?

I have definitely seen a trend in the style of music I’ve produced.  I’ve had many requests from around the globe, starting in the U.S., then Canada, and now my compositions are recognized in over 60 countries worldwide.

Can you talk about your journey as a songwriter?  Were there particular challenges you faced early on in your career (or some you still face today)?

There have and will always be challenges in writing.  That’s what makes the journey fun.  To stay progressive, you have to look for new ideas, new experiences, and work hard.  Having a team is always a blessing, and collaboration is key.

I travel a lot and work through mobile with other writers and producers.  Advancements in technology have only benefited us by making it easier to share ideas across the globe.

What has been the most lucrative publishing revenue stream for you? 

The most lucrative publishing revenue stream has been from synching my music with television networks, and also through digital streaming.

How did TuneCore Publishing play a role in helping negotiate sync licensing opportunities that came your way?

TuneCore has helped negotiate sync licenses for my music placements on television.  When I’ve gotten outside requests for TV features, the TuneCore Publishing team has handled the negotiations and paperwork and they’ve secured fair fees for the use of my music.

Is there a sense of loyalty with shows or productions that use your music?  Do you notice a snowballing in placements from this kind of publicity?

Yes,  a lot of my requests worldwide have been due to people hearing my music on television, or finding it through social media.

Have any of the royalties you’ve received come from a source that surprised you?

I’ve received royalties in over 60 countries, some of which I’ve never heard of before.  I’m happy to be able to make such an impact with my music.

What do you think is the biggest opportunity for songwriters related to music publishing?

The biggest opportunity for songwriters is the exposure they will get.

How do you see the role of the songwriter shifting as the music industry continues to evolve?

As the music industry continues to evolve, I see songwriters being able to create more opportunities themselves.  With the help of companies like TuneCore, songwriters now have the knowledge and resources to learn the business.  Songwriters are able to spend more time on the creative side and do what they do best—write—while trusting a publishing administrator to handle the rest.

The Latest from TuneCore Music Publishing Administration

We’re cruisin’ through June and we have lots of news to report from the TuneCore Music Publishing Administration office.  Get the latest on who joined our community of songwriters, and find out which compositions were recently featured in film and TV…

Songwriter Highlights

JesseBoykinsIII_5Chicago bred and New York trained, TuneCore Music Publishing songwriter Jesse Boykins III embodies all the trappings of a global superstar in the making.  After participating in the highly respected Red Bull Music Academy, Boykins went to work on what became the full length April 22 release Love Apparatus with collaborator/producer Machinedrum (Azelia Banks, Theophilus London). The lyric/dance video to the first single, “Plain,” reminiscent of Maxwell and D’Angelo, debuted on ebony.com and is reviewed by Esquire as “a rocket shot of a single that’s dashed with a bit of R&B, a little soul, splattered with electro flourishes.”

Recognized for leading the 90’s Swing Revival movement, a long-Eddie-Nicholsrunning residency at LA’s The Derby (of Swingers fame) and a featured onscreen performance in The Mask, TuneCore Publishing Administration is proud to announce the addition of primary Royal Crown Revue songwriter Eddie Nichols to our catalog. Nichols’ TuneCore administered compositions have been heard live in support of The Pretenders and B-52’s as well as several film and TV appearances, more recently in Gene Simmons Family Jewels.

Ilan-RubinAlthough he’s known in most circles as the touring drummer for Nine Inch Nails, Angels & Airwaves and Paramore, TuneCore Music Publishing client Ilan Rubin shines as a multi-instrumentalist and anthemic rock songwriter for his solo project The New Regime. Released as the first in a series of E.P.’s, Exhibit A is a stellar eight song collection, reminiscent of Dave Grohl’s post-Nirvana ascension to becoming a world class front man.

Recent Licenses & Placements

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 11.00.47 AM

Want more info about how TuneCore Music Publishing Administration can help you collect your songwriter royalties?  Here you go.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 1.25.46 PM

10 Touring Must-Haves from Blood on the Dance Floor

It’s release day for electronic pop band Blood on the Dance Floor—their latest album Bitchcraft is now live on iTunes.  Though the duo’s busy touring the US, we had a chance to catch up with Dahvie Vanity to get his quicklist of must-haves for every tour…

1. Travel with a joint Sound Guy/Tour Manager.  It’s always good to have a dude who can handle two jobs at once—someone who can lead and be an inspiring force to others, while also making sure you sound awesome.

2. Nutella is an essential for any tour.  Don’t question it!  Just take my advice.

3. Always always always make sure you have an epic light show that sets the mood for your music.

4. Verizon can get you coverage pretty much anywhere on tour.  I’ve tried them all and Verizon is your only reliable source of communication on the road.  Save yourself the time and get Verizon.

5. Make sure you have wireless internet to keep your fans aware of your tour dates. You can also Instagram all the wonderful memories you make on the road and share them with your fans and family.

6. Gratitude is the attitude!  Say thanks to your team for their hard work and service. Your team is the family you make on tour.  Treat them with respect and always show your appreciation for having them help make your dreams come true.  It will go a long way for you!

7.  Keep your hygiene in check on tour.  Stock up on deodorant, tooth paste, and socks.  Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit as you may injure yourself on tour.  I’ve been touring for almost seven years and on almost every tour I’ve gone on I’ve ended up in the ER at some point.

8. Baby wipes!  You never know what accidents will happen on the road.  Baby wipes will clean up anything. This is a tour essential.

9. Books and video games are great ways to pass the time on long road trips.

10. Stay healthy and avoid fatty foods—you want to make sure you perform at your best every night.  Make sure to keep your cardio up by running or lifting weights.  Work hard for great results!

And that concludes my top 10 touring needs!  Farewell and may joy be with you on the road.

Got your own list of tour essentials? Let us know in the comments!