The 4 Services You Need for Self-Releasing Your Album

10 Dec


So you have your album mastered and ready to share. We put together a list of the four best services for DIY musicians to self-release an album and get it to fans while getting the most bang for your buck.

1) Distribution: CD Baby 

Your music needs to be available for sales and streaming.

What you’ll get: CD Baby is the world’s biggest online distributor of indie music. They will help you get your music on iTunes, Amazon, Facebook, Google Play, Spotify, Rdio, and more. You can also sell CDs and vinyls!

Pricing: 14.95 per single; $59 per album. CD Baby keeps 9% of net income for digital distribution and $4 per CD or Vinyl unit sold.

2) Publishing: Songtrust

You need to make sure you are getting all of the royalties earned from sales and streams happening worldwide.

What you’ll get: Songtrust allows independent songwriters to register songs and collect royalties worldwide through an easy-to-use digital interface. Songtrust will also help you join a PRO if you are not yet a member.

Pricing: $100 per songwriter (one-time start fee). Songtrust keeps 15% of any royalties included in your Songtrust payment.

3) Marketing: PledgeMusic

Now that you’re covered for royalties, let’s make sure your album reaches as many ears as possible

What you’ll get: PledgeMusic is a direct-to-fan music platform that facilitates musicians reaching out to their fanbase to sell, market, and distribute music projects.

Pricing: Free to join, PledgeMusic keeps 15%

4) Touring: Songkick Tourbox

Time to hit the road. (Maybe you can use some of the money earned from your CD Baby sales, Songtrust royalties, or Pledge campaign to fund your tour!)

What you’ll get: Songkick Tourbox lets bands manage and promote their live dates across the web, through integrations with services like YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud and Bandcamp.

Pricing: Free.

Conclusion: There are plenty of services out there to help you with all aspects of your release. Do your research before getting set up and make sure you are getting the service that is right for you.


Congratulations to our GRAMMY Nominated Songwriters!

8 Dec

Songtrust congratulates its songwriters who received 2015 GRAMMY nominations for their work!



“Say Something” – Nominated for Best Pop/Duo Group Performance
“Say Something” was written by Songtrust’s Mike Campbell and A Great Big World (Ian Axel & Chad Vaccarino). Check out the music video below:


12 Stories (Brandy Clark) - Nominated for Best Country Album
Songtrust writer Deanna Walker co-wrote the song “Illegitimate Children” on Brandy Clark’s 12 Stories album. Brandy Clark is also nominated for Best New Artist. Stream 12 Stories below:

View the full list of 2015 GRAMMY nominees.

Music Publishing News Roundup: December 5th, 2014

5 Dec


The CMA Songwriters series celebrated its 10th anniversary December 3rd at Joe’s Pub in NYC. The recurring event features key Nashville songwriters responsible for big hits performing and telling the stories behind their songs in an acoustic low key setting. Leading this event were writer’s Bob DiPiero, Craig Wiseman, Brett James, and Radney Foster playing their recent hit songs such as Blake Shelton’s “Boys Round Here”, Dierks Bentley’s “I Hold On”, and an emotional “Live Like You Were Dying” co written by Wiseman. During this week’s event, the writers pointed out that they were united against streaming and in support of songwriters and publishers being fairly compensated.

Spotify is offering a discounted premium service for just 99 Cents per month for the next 3 months. With the subscription based premium model, users are able to stream ad free high quality music as well as download and listen offline. The typical cost for this service is $9.99 per month. Spotify has also announced top streaming statistics for 2014. The most-streamed track in the world was“Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

Gangnam Style has broken YouTube’s view counter. The 2012 viral hit from artist Psy exceeded 2.15 Billion views on Monday December 2nd and thus surpassed the 32-bit integer YouTube’s system was based on. This forced the company to upgrade to a 64-bit with a ceiling of 9.22 Billion views. If Gangnam Style continues in its current rate, it will hit this number within 7 years.

10 Things You Had Totally Wrong About Music Publishing

4 Dec


1) Music Publishing is the business of music journalism and Music PR

The word “publishing” can throw some people off, but music publishing is actually the business of owning and exploiting songs in the form of musical copyrights. The business started because the main source of revenue for composers originally came from “publishing” sheet music.

2) Mailing your song to yourself is the only way to gain ownership of your copyright

The moment your song is finished and “fixed in a tangible form which can be reproduced,” you own a copyright. This can be anything from music on a piece of paper to a simple recording. Filing your song as a PA Copyright with the US Copyright Office is helpful in proving your case but regardless, you still own the copyright.

3) Publishing royalties only come from sales and are only significant if you sell thousands of units

Not only are publishing royalties generated from sales, but there are hundreds of sources where they can come from including Spotify, Youtube, lyric sites, live shows, vinyl, video games, gyms, restaurants, apps, airports, merchandise etc…

4) Registering your songs with ASCAP or BMI covers all of your publishing royalties

Signing up with one of these organizations is a great start to collecting your money, but it’s only the beginning. For most professional songwriters, the money they collect from ASCAP or BMI accounts for only 30% of their overall publishing royalties. If your songs are only registered at these places, you won’t be able to collect international performance income or international mechanical royalties, as well as certain interactive streaming royalties in the US.  Find out more about these royalties here.

5) Mechanical Royalties are only generated from physical “Mechanical” sales

The term “mechanical” royalty was coined when songwriters began to receive compensation for having their songs reproduced in a mechanical form, such as vinyl or tape. Today’s mechanical royalty is generated from physical and digital sales, but anytime you press play to listen to a song online, a mechanical royalty is generated. Do you have songs on YouTube or Spotify? These are just a few examples of how these royalties are generated and you will have to affiliate with The Harry Fox Agency in the US to collect that $.

6) I can easily affiliate myself with any Performing Rights Organizations around the world and collect my publishing royalties myself

This is technically possible, however, before you start this process, you may want to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Can I read, write, or speak the native language of the society I am trying to contact and affiliate with?

  • Will I ever hit the minimum payout threshold in that country? (Often when you affiliate independently you have to generate a certain amount of money in that country in order to collect it)

  • Do I own a real corporate entity in the form of an LLC or DBA in the territory of the society with which i am trying to affiliate?

  • Do I know the tax or political sanction issues in this country? Am I following the legal principles to do business there? Could doing business in this country be considered illegal?

  • Am I an established songwriter with a commercial release in the territory

If any of these are true you are in luck! if not this process may be more difficult than you think.

On top of all this, there is an up-front fee for affiliating with each society that can make the process not only time consuming, but expensive! These fees can often exceed $100 and let’s not forget about international postage…

Learn more about starting your own publishing company here!

7) I don’t need a publishing administrator, I have a publishing company!

Even if you do have your own publishing entity at  your local PRO, you still need a professional administrator if you want to collect the money you are owed globally. A PRO publishing entity is a great way to add your name to a song and collect the publisher’s share of performance royalties in your local territory, but not sufficient for global and comprehensive royalty collection.

8) If I use a distribution service like CD Baby for my distribution, they will pay me my mechanical royalty from digital sales

This is true for sales in the US…BUT, almost every other country pays a direct fee of roughly 10% of the wholesale price of each unit to the local mechanical society. If there is no publishing administrator to collect these royalties for you, you won’t see this money.

9) Songwriters have to give up ownership of their copyrights when signing a publishing deal

When you sign up with Songtrust (and certain other songwriter-friendly publishing deals), you are not losing any ownership of your copyrights.

10) Songwriter’s don’t make any money from radio

In the US, terrestrial radio stations are required to pay performance royalties for the songwriter, but not the recording artist. Satellite radio and internet radio are also great sources for songwriters to collect performance royalties.

Author: Alex Badanes


Music Publishing News Roundup: November 21st, 2014

24 Nov

Billboard album sales will now incorporate streaming and digital sales data. The Nielsen entertainment company has developed an algorithm that tracks not only album sales but streams and single track downloads. This change in the Billboard 200 charts is very crucial for artists that may not be selling albums in their entirety but still getting millions of streams and selling single tracks. It will be equating 10 digital track sales from an album to one equivalent album sale, and 1,500 song streams from an album to one equivalent album sale. The updated chart will premiere Thanksgiving week.
Irving Azoff has threatened YouTube after the company failed to remove songs requested by performing rights organization, Global Music Rights. GMR has signed up about 42 writers who have collectively published around 20,000 songs. Despite claims that YouTube had not completed all of the licensing necessary, the site has decided not to remove songs composed by popular musicians such as The Eagles, Pharrell Williams, and John Lennon, and as a result is being warned of the risks of “defiance.”

ASCAP presented its 2014 Centennial Awards to Joan Baez, Garth Brooks, Billy Joel, Stephen Sondheim, and Stevie Wonder on November 17th at their historic 100th anniversary party in New York City.  Hosted by ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, the event featured the Centennial Award recipients as well as special guests who performed in tribute to the honorees.  It marked the first-ever fundraiser benefiting the ASCAP Foundation and its music education, talent development, and humanitarian activities.