Category Archives: Music Publishing

May Songwriter News

By Stefanie Flamm

As the days get longer and we gear up for summer, there’s some exciting news happening in the music publishing industry:

  • A new deal could mean improved songwriter royalty distribution from DJ remixes and mashups.
  • ASCAP stands by their songwriters, all the way to Capitol Hill.
  • MediaNet works with SOCAN to provide faster and more reliable methods of royalty distribution.

It’s an exciting time to be a songwriter.

A new deal will allow publishers and songwriters to profit from DJ remixes.


In an exciting new partnership between The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and digital distributor Dubset Media Holdings, songwriters and publishers can now collect from DJ mixes and remixes of their original content. Through this agreement, NMPA members can opt-in to dictate the terms and conditions of using their music in DJ mixes, in addition to receiving derivative royalties for the use of their music.

Dubset’s MixBANK is the first fully cleared distribution platform for remix content, using pre-negotiated licenses to provide equal distribution rights for DJs, songwriters, and publishers alike. Through MixBANK, Dubset can search a remix or mashup for “derivative content,” determine the appropriate royalty owed to the copyright owner, and relay this information to streaming stores like Apple Music.

This is an enormous step forward in the name of songwriter advocacy, and will be a huge benefit to songwriters as more DJs distribute to streaming markets. It’s especially beneficial to independent artists because the deal is focused on collecting for individual songwriters and small, independent publishers. Billboard writes, “Making participation in this new sub-economy available to individual songwriters and smaller publishers is a noteworthy advance, especially within the digital music economy, which so often seems to reward the largest of players.”

One more step in the right direction towards fair royalties for songwriters.

Songwriters urge Congress to reform music licensing at ASCAP’s “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.


May 18th was a big day for US songwriters, as they met with elected officials on Capitol Hill for ASCAP’s “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day.

Some of the country’s top songwriters, including Desmond Child (co-writer of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”) and MoZella (co-writer of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”), spent the day lobbying for updates on licensing laws and regulations. With WWII-era licensing regulations still in place, both ASCAP and their songwriters are striving for a major update that will incorporate the ever-growing streaming population.

“The music business is among the toughest and most competitive industries, and our songwriters and composers should not have to accept below-market rates for their work,” said Utah Senator Orrin Hatch.

Two days before ASCAP’s Capitol Hill takeover, they released a video highlighting the advancements that the world has made since these songwriter regulations were enacted in 1941. While calling to attention that these laws were imposed before Hawaii and Alaska were part of the United States, the featured songwriters note that streaming companies exploit the outdated laws and urge for a total overhaul of the archaic music licensing legislation.

75 years seems like long enough to wait for licensing reform, but it looks like changes are on the horizon.

MediaNet teams up with SOCAN to improve royalty distribution for songwriters.


Canadian-based collection society SOCAN recently acquired MediaNet, a music tech provider boasting a catalogue of more than 51 million tracks. In a May 12th press release, MediaNet announced, “[we] will provide SOCAN with authoritative information pertaining to master rights (sound recordings), and will augment already strong matching capabilities for all kinds of performances and reproductions of music on radio, digital, live, satellite, film and TV and other delivery of music to public audiences.”

This acquisition now brings SOCAN to the forefront of collection societies for digital matching. It means enhanced royalty reporting for SOCAN’s four-million members, as well as increased profits from services like YouTube, SoundScan, and Facebook. It is also expected to increase the rate of digital match-rates, which should result in faster royalty payment speeds.

Faster, more accurate royalty reporting means less stress and more time for songwriting!

With all of this great songwriter advocacy coming to fruition, now’s the perfect time to be a part of our Music Publishing Administration.

SOUND BYTES

Wednesday Video Diversion: May 25, 2016

Happy May 25th! Did you know that the two musical icons Lauryn Hill and Paul Weller share this date as a birthday? Well, in their honor, we invite you to get completely lost in the mid-week afternoon haze that has no doubt taken over by now and enjoy these awesome music videos:

 

Ayo Jay, “Your Number (feat. Fetty Wap)”


Jessta James, “Introducing”


Ancient Cities, “Juice”


Adley Stump, “Don’t Wanna Love Him”


Fly My Pretties, “Turnaround”


Helly Luv, “Revolution”


Christian O, “Better Than You”


Cimorelli, “I’m A Mess”


Sincere Show, “Came Up On A Plug (feat. O.T. Genasis & Papi Chuloh)”


Keep Up, “Fear”

4 Pro Tips to Find Music Supervisors and Get Your Foot in the Door (That Actually Work)

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Paul Loeb and was originally featured on the Sonicbids Blog. Paul is a producer and founder/CEO of both DropTrack and No Ego Records.]

Now, more than ever, songwriters and producers hunger for visual-media placements as opportunities for sync licensing surge and traditional record sales from CDs and downloads sag. Busy music supervisors hold the keys to placements in ads, films, TV, and video games, but how do you find them and get your foot in the door?

Of course, once you’ve introduced yourself, you’ve got to create great songs tailored to individual projects with high production values. Hundreds of articles tell how to do that. But trying to sell your music cold without having met or corresponded with music supervisors is likely to fail. If you’re not affiliated with a song plugger, licensing firm, or music library – and don’t want to be – outreach to individual supervisors can work. Still, to even get a listen, you’ve got to meet as many music supervisors as possible and make first impressions count.

I’ve helped secure over 20 sync placements on MTV, Comedy Central, Bravo, Oxygen, E!, and elsewhere through my company, DropTrack. Our personalizable music marketing platform connects artists with music supervisors, label reps, DJs, and radio pros. To maximize placement opportunities, I advise musicians who use DropTrack – as well as those who don’t – to apply the following techniques.

1. Study up

Good old Google is a fine place to start researching music supervisors and choose your targets. SongwriterUniverse has an excellent directory of them, and Tunefind shows what music many are interested in. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is a great tool for identifying who works on TV series and films. You can even get a free 30-day trial of IMDB Pro, where you can find contact information. The National Association of Record Industry Professionals is another resource. Go to NARIP.com, search with keywords “music supervisors,” and read articles telling who they are and how best to approach them.

Also, search phrases like “music supervisors looking for music.” Once you know names, Google them for more information. Watch their ads, shows, and films. Get familiar with them. Be fluent in how music is being used, know the common practices in the field, and embed this knowledge into all the strategies discussed below.

Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t submit songs to music supervisors who’ve never worked in your genre. Personalization leads to monetization.

2. Get on LinkedIn

Everyone on LinkedIn is looking for the same thing: professional advancement. Pitching music through Twitter and Facebook is done to death. Music supervisors don’t have time for the former and use the latter for friends, family, and fun – that’s not where they’re looking for the perfect hook for their ad. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is ideal for forming business relationships. It’s expected to request connections with people you don’t know.

But do it right. Make sure your profile is up to date and describes your skills and experience. When you invite someone to connect, delete the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message, and instead enter a personal note like, “Hi Scott, I’m a big fan of your work on Entourage. I’d like to see if you’re looking for music for upcoming projects. I run an independent record label focusing on dance/electronic music, and I’d love to send you some tunes.”

Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t connect until you’ve completed your profile with a good photo and a clear description of what you do. Crush the first impression.

 

3. Attend trade shows and conferences

Passes can be pricey, but conferences are worth it if you stay in the target market for your genre. Ones worth attending include (but aren’t limited to):

  • SF Music Tech Summit (San Francisco)
  • Billboard/THR Film and TV Music Conference (Los Angeles)
  • Sync Summit (Los Angeles, New York, London)
  • ASCAP EXPO (Los Angeles)
  • MUSEXPO (Los Angeles)
  • MIDEM (Cannes)
  • Winter Music Conference (Miami Beach)
  • EDMBiz Conference and Expo (Las Vegas)
  • Amsterdam Dance Event (Amsterdam)

With meetups, mixers, and message boards, contact opportunities are endless.

Prepare by finding out who’s going and research them online. Make a list of your marks. Email them in advance and ask for an appointment to meet during the show. Alternatively, tweet them during the conference to see where they are and if you can come to them.

Attend the biggest panel discussions, sit in the front row, and be the first to ask a question. Stand up, introduce yourself loudly, and make it a good one. Many conferences have panels featuring sync reps and supervisors, though some cost extra. When you’re first building relationships, the added fee is worth being part of an elite group of attendees.

The best networking happens in the hallways, the bars, and the line for coffee. Ask lots of questions about what kinds of music they need, and ask even deeper follow-up questions that show you’re genuinely interested and you’ve done your homework about their business. Make yourself relevant. And don’t forget to exchange business cards.

No more than a week after the conference, email each contact to follow up and allude back to your conversation. Say, “John, it was nice to meet you and talk about your work at Disney. You mentioned needing dubstep tracks for an upcoming project. Would it be okay for me to send you a few songs?”

Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t just sit and listen. If you leave with no business cards, you’re doing it wrong. Also, don’t hand out flash drives or CDs at conferences. Now’s the time to form one-on-one bonds, not pitch your music.

4. Seal the deal

Ask your new acquaintances to add you to their email lists and let you know when they have specific needs for songs. Offer to tap them into your network of other industry pros to fulfill those requests as well. Mention that you understand they would only consider music that’s easy to clear for both master and publishing copyrights. If applicable, mention that you have instrumental versions and vocal splits available of all tracks.

Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t send MP3s as email attachments. Send links to your website or DropTrack playlist promoting no more than three tracks for a specific project.

Following these recommendations will boost the likelihood that music supervisors will at least listen when you submit your music. Laying the groundwork makes all the difference to meeting and dazzling the right people and getting decent shots at the deals you want.


New Music Friday: May 13, 2106

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

EatFast
Fenham Dread(lock)
EAT FAST

Alternative, Rock

demunjones
#Beast
Demun Jones

Country

ziggyalb
Four Feet In the Forest
Ziggy Alberts

Singer/Songwriter, Folk

coloring book
Coloring Book
Chance The Rapper

Hip Hop/Rap

azealia banks
The Big Big Beat
Azealia Banks

Hip Hop/Rap, Dance

bwhite
Finally Home
Bryan White

Country

bga
Dong Saya Dae (feat. Ryan Higa & David Choi)
BgA

K-Pop, Hip Hop/Rap

bunt
Coming Home (feat. Sons of the East)
Bunt.
Dance, Folk

stephen
Sincerely
Stephen

Alternative, Electronic

adley stump
Don’t Wanna Love Him
Adley Stump

Country, Pop

pollyn
Distress Signals
Pollyn

Alternative, Electronic

heather mae
I Am Enough
Heather Mae

Pop

April Songwriter News

By Dwight Brown

As spring settles in, songs, activists and artists are creating news.

  • The iconic civil rights song “We Shall Overcome” may be headed to Public Domain territory.
  • Government regulations are stymying songwriters, but there may be a way out.
  • Led Zeppelin may have a “Whole Lotta Love” for borrowing tunes.

There’s a lot going on.

The attorneys who liberated “Happy Birthday” go after “We Shall Overcome.”


Making the case that copyrighted songs like “Happy Birthday” belong in the public domain is becoming the norm for the law firm of Wolf copyright iconHaldenstein. As reported in Hollywood Reporter, their newest lawsuit centers on the classic civil rights song “We Shall Overcome.” “The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the We Shall Overcome Foundation, say they are producing a documentary movie and that “We Shall Overcome” will be performed in it. They requested a quote for a sync license from the defendants.” The outcome: 1. “We Shall Overcome” is a difficult song to clear. 2. The song cannot be cleared without review by the rights’ holder. 3. Their request was denied.

A putative class action was filed in New York federal court against the Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music, Inc., seeking a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and the return of money for the licensing of the song. An investigation and a piece in The Atlantic reveals that the song’s melody may date back to a 1792 hymn, “O Sanctissima.” The lyrics probably evolved from a 1901 hymn by Philadelphia’s Reverend Charles Albert Tindley, were adapted in 1945 by striking union workers, then by singer Pete Seeger and in 1960 by folksinger Guy Carawan, among others.

Looks like “We Shall Overcome,” the song The Library of Congress calls “the most powerful song of the 20th Century,” has a lot of parents and a brand new lawsuit.

Which government regulations choke the lifeblood out of the songwriting industry?


A guest post in Forbes.com gave David Israelite, the President and CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association, an opportunity to raise awareness about government regulations that stymy songwriters. “Songwriters are the most heavily regulated part of the music industry. A stunning 75% of their income is controlled by the federal government. In 1909, the sale of copies of compositions was put under a compulsory license—meaning anyone could use them, for a government-mandated rate. At that time, the rate was two cents. Now it is only nine cents.”

Around WWII the main non-profit organizations that license songs govt iconand distribute royalties to songwriters (ASCAP and BMI) were dealt a massive blow by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Forced regulations, “consent decrees,” prevented songwriters and music publishers from selling their work in a truly free market.

Israelite, “DOJ has opened a formal review of the regulations governing ASCAP, BMI and the thousands of publishers and songwriters they represent.”

Possible outcome?

  1. Relaxing the 70-year old shackle of the PRO consent decrees,
  2. Allowing ASCAP and BMI to license music creators’ songs in a free market.
  3. Ending policies in the digital age that were created before transistor radios.

Led Zeppelin climbs a stairway to other people’s music. Is anything new?


guitar iconLed Zeppelin’s song “Stairway to Heaven” is being scrutinized by Billboard as it follows a ruling by U.S District Judge R. Gary Klausner that lawyers for the trustee of late songwriter/guitarist Randy Wolfe (of the 1960s rock group Spirit) had shown enough evidence to support a case that the 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven” copies music from the 1966/’67 Spirit song “Taurus.”

Circumstantial evidence: Led Zeppelin and Spirit performed at some concerts and festivals around the same time, but not on the same stage. Klausner wrote that there’s a circumstantial case that Zeppelin may have heard “Taurus” performed.

Incriminating evidence: Digital Music News printed a Roger Plant quote from the bio/book Led Zeppelin IV that notes an instance where Zeppelin copied music: “I think when Willie Dixon turned on the radio in Chicago twenty years after he wrote his blues [You Need Love], he thought, ‘That’s my song [Whole Lotta Love].’ … When we ripped it off, I said to Jimmy, ‘Hey, that’s not our song.’ And he said, ‘Shut up and keep walking.’”

Stairway and Taurus may have a Granddaddy: A nearly identical tune by baroque composer Giovanni Battista Granata, written in 1630, has similar sounds. That melodic line may push both songs into public domain territory.

Someday, will all songs be derivative in one way or another?

This is a great time to have TuneCore Music Publishing Administration in your corner.

SOUND BYTES

Team up with TuneCore Music Publishing Administration.

6 Reasons Why Vinyl Is Popular Again

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Jessica Kane. Jessica is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Turntables.]

Whether it is audiophiles, an older listener trying to recapture their youth, or younger listeners searching for an authentic experience, vinyl records have become more popular over the last decade.

Vinyl’s revival has made a significant mark in sales figures. Even as physical CD sales decline, people are buying more vinyl than they have in decades. Nearly 6 million units sold in just in 2013. It’s not a single-year phenomenon either. Since the start of the upturn, sales have jumped more than 1,000 percent, climbing from shy of 1 million units in 2007 to nearly 12 million units in 2015, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Here are six reasons vinyl is on the rise.

1. An active, not passive, experience

Unlike digital music or even CDs, with vinyl you can’t simply push play and walk away while it provides hours of background noise. With vinyl, the needle needs to be moved over and the album needs to be flipped, so why not sit down and wait? Instead of moving on to something else, fans find they take the time to look through the album art, read the lyrics, look for surprises in the band’s supporting musicians or liner notes.

Musician Ari Herstand said, “This music is beautifully and intentionally detached from my phone…When we stare at our screens for the majority of our days, it’s nice to look at art that doesn’t glow and isn’t the size of my hand.”

Spending time with the full album and the printed materials is also learning more about the artists and their capabilities than listening to a collection of their hits shuffled in a mix.

2. Something tangible

As impressive as your MP3 playlist may be, you will not be able to leave it to your children or read one day that a part of it just sold for thousands of dollars in an auction at Christie’s. Vinyl can be shared, traded, gifted, autographed and tacked to the bedroom wall. CDs had this too, but with the disadvantages of cracked jewel cases or awkward storage sleeves – and it looked sadly indistinguishable from the computer storage at work or school.

In 2012, actor Bruce Willis raised the question of whether he would be able to leave his extensive digital music collection to his daughters upon his death or whether all ownership would revert to Apple. Answer: both, but it’s not simple. A box (or hundreds of boxes) of vinyl makes it simple.

3. The thrill of the hunt

For many who love vinyl, it’s also about the thrill of the hunt. Whether the hunt takes them to flea markets, tag sales, the local record store, eBay or Walmart, it’s about looking for something different, checking it out and telling everyone about it. Whether seeking treasure old or new, this is panning for gold everyone can afford to undertake.

Becky Mollenkamp of CookingWithVinyl says she carries Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time to garage and estate sales and has picked up many items from the list in good shape for about $1 each.

4. The community

Record shops aren’t just for shopping. They are also a place to connect with other audiophiles and music fans, to discuss things with them, and to get to know them. Digital downloads don’t offer this, and neither do online discussions about music. Some fans feel that online forums are essentially anonymous and lack the community feel of the record store. We like to talk to others that we know and share interests with.

Along with the shops, vinyl fans tend to hangout with each other, often listening to albums together and discussing them, anxious to share new and rare finds.

5. No loss of mobility

More and more artists and labels are including a code for the digital downloads with the purchase of vinyl as a way to entice buyers. This means no second purchase is needed to maintain the ability to listen on-the-go. Some analysts think this is what is fueling the continued vinyl sales growth. For example, Amazon now includes free MP3 versions when you buy a vinyl version for more than 11,000 records.

6. Sound quality

When most people argue that vinyl is better, they often go straight to sound quality. Terms like “warm,” “full” and “lossless” sound are used, with listeners either nodding or rolling their eyes. What they are actually referring to is a combination of things: some musical, others emotional.

Sound is a range of frequencies. When there is a complete presentation of frequencies that diminishes as the frequency increases, the sound seems to be more complete. Vinyl tends to present the widest range of frequencies due to its analog-to-analog production process. Digital music, because of its compression to keep file sizes manageable, doesn’t present as much of a continual range (a good visual metaphor for this using the Mona Lisa shows how something is altered as it is compressed).

As for the emotional, some people equate a slight hiss or occasional crackle as part of their memory of vinyl. While it may not be quality sound, many die-hard fans believe it is part of the authentic vinyl experience.