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What is Songtrust?

There are a lot of music-tech companies out there. It can be a struggle to sort through them all. We at Songtrust want to help you make the right decision about your business. Below, we have outlined each type of partnership that Songtrust fulfills. If you fit one of these categories, please reach out here.

Context:

If your business or a client you represent writes music or owns music publishing rights, then your business is due music publishing royalties. It used to be complicated to collect these royalties. Songtrust has made it simple by offering flexible and accessible global publishing administration.

Service:

Songtrust is a 1-stop platform for collecting global music publishing royalties. If you use Songtrust, you won’t need to go anywhere else to collect your music publishing royalties. We register your catalog(s) with 42+ societies and have the capability to collect as directly as possible (avoiding sub-publishing fees) from over 200 countries/territories. This covers 95% of the music publishing market.

Clients/Partners:

Individual Songwriters

Individual Songwriters use songtrust to register and collect on their songs. They upload their titles and percentages and receive quarterly payments from Songtrust once their songs are registered. Songtrust collects on behalf of over 100,000 individual songwriters. This number is growing at a fast pace. All clients maintain full ownership of their catalog.

Producers

Producers often negotiate publishing splits when their music is released. Whether they own 1%, or 50%, Songtrust can register producers’ split percentages and collect what they are due. Need help getting your publishing split? Check out our split sheet template.  

Artists

Artists who write music are also songwriters! That means that artists own the publishing and should be collecting music publishing royalties. Songtrust works with a wide variety of artists to make their music publishing easy and accessible.

Bands

Bands use Songtrust to register their songs with the correct split percentages. They also use Songtrust’s live setlist submission tool when they are on tour. It is often overlooked that live performances can accrue live performance royalties, but only if you register your setlists. Agreeing on songsplits? Check out our split sheet template.  

Labels

Labels who also represent publishing rights (360 deals or otherwise) use Songtrust to power their publishing collection. Labels can play a bigger role in finding creative uses for their music without worrying about the administrative aspects of publishing.

Managers

Managers use Songtrust to collect royalties in a flexible deal while they search for future (and bigger) opportunities for their writers/artists. Shopping around for traditional deals can take upwards of 2-5 years.


Lawyers

Lawyers work with Songtrust to refer clients in need of publishing administration. They see a variety of contexts in which their clients need a service like Songtrust. Some lawyers own and operate their clients’ Songtrust account as part of their agreement with their clients.

Publishing Companies

Music Publishers use Songtrust to power their catalog administration. They save time and money by outsourcing all of the boring administrative work, and focus on the fun stuff like creative services and catalog development. Here is a blog post outlining why Songtrust is an easy and cost-effective solution to publishing administration.

Media Companies

Media and Production companies work with their writers to set publishing administration with Songtrust. Songtrust can administer and collect for productions that air all over the world.

Rights Owners

Whether you wrote music, purchased a catalog, inherited an estate with publishing rights, or operate a new-age music-tech business that has the opportunity to own publishing rights, Songtrust can administer and collect on your business’ behalf.

Distributors

Songtrust integrates with music distributors, enabling them to offer ‘opt-in’ publishing administration to their clients. Offering publishing administration at this step in the creators’ process has proven to be essential for many people who are releasing music. It is a huge ‘value-add’ for companies who offer suites of services to their clients. We have seen success in offering opt-in worldwide publishing administration to those who are about to release music–global distribution should almost always be complemented by global publishing administration.

Conclusion:

Songtrust is a simple and cost-effective solution to any person or business handling publishing rights. Every deal should be mutually beneficial to all interested parties. If you are unsure that your business approach fits with the Songtrust model, let’s talk. If you are ready to get started, sign up here and send us a message in the chatbox on your account!

 

We hope to hear from you soon.

 

-The Songtrust Team

 

Frequently Asked Follow-Up Questions:

 

Does Songtrust do YouTube collection?

Yes. Here is a link to our YouTube 1-sheet.

Does Songtrust collect mechanical and performance royalties?

Yes. Songtrust covers all types of publishing royalty collection.

Can Songtrust collect retroactive royalties?

We have seen success in collecting retroactive royalties. (no promises, though)

Do I have to do anything with ASCAP/BMI anymore?

Songtrust registers your catalog with ASCAP/BMI and 40+ other societies. You will only need to use the Songtrust platform to handle all of your needs.

Does Songtrust overlap with SoundExchange?

No, that is related to the master/recording side. Go register with SoundExchange.

Does Songtrust do anything besides collection, like promotion, creative services, distribution, etc?

No, Songtrust specializes in music publishing royalty collection. However, we do offer processing of inbound sync requests.

Do I have to upload my whole catalog?
No, Songtrust operates on a song-by-song basis.

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Weekly Music Publishing Update: Friday, March 24, 2017

By Julia Pernicone, Songtrust Account Associate

thecomeupshow / http://www.flickr.com/people/22257051@N07
thecomeupshow / http://www.flickr.com/people/22257051@N07

By now you’ve probably heard–or at least heard about–the momentous latest release from hip-hop artist, Drake, More Life.  Drake describes the work not as an album or mixtape, but “a body of work bridging the gap between major releases,” a playlist of sorts.  The work features 22 tracks of varying genres, featuring many guest artists and some not featuring Drake at all.  In this way he fills the role of artist and producer as well as curator.

Zach Fuller of Midia Research explored the possible reasoning behind Drake and his team’s decision to release the project in this way.  He references the “3-minute pop-song,” which was created to fit the mold of emerging radio formats.  Drake is making use of the emerging digital formats–streaming, and more specifically, playlisting–to express his artistic vision as well as reach more listeners, creating a new musical product.  He also mentions that we’re currently in an “era of the always-on fan who can access an artist at any time” and a need to consistently provide content.  Marketed under the “Drake” name, the project keeps him in the public consciousness, while also bringing attention to lesser known artists.

One of these artists is Australian neo-soul band, Hiatus Kaiyote, whose song “Building a Ladder,” released in 2015 on their sophomore LP Choose Your Weapon, is sampled on More Life‘s opening track, “Free Smoke.”  Drake is reportedly a long-time fan of the group.  Hiatus Kaiyote’s Naomi “Nai Palm” Saalfield told Billboard, “The fact that somebody like Drake, as prestigious as an artist, experiencing so much of life, all the time, found sanctuary in [our song], there’s beauty in that.”  In a video posted to Drake’s Instagram account with the caption “December,” he’s seen singing along to “Building a Ladder.”  The video has gotten over 2 million views in just 3 days, with many commenters shouting out the song from where the sample originated.

Hiatus Kaiyote, as well as the other artists featured on More Life, will no doubt be seeing a surge in streams on their own music, but also reap the rewards of publishing shares on Drake’s release.  The release is heading to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart next week, and has broken first-day records on both Spotify and Apple Music.  In the first 24 hours of release, More Life was streamed over 150 million times on those two services alone.  The project, not premiered exclusively on any service, is specifically catered to streaming audiences, curating a playlist of differing genres and influences tied together by a common thread, and sets a precedent for future releases from artists across genre boundaries.

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Weekly Music Publishing Update: Friday, March 16, 2017

By Isaac Assor, Songtrust Publishing Operations Coordinator

Spotify / http://www.spotify.com/no/about-us/press/images/
Spotify / http://www.spotify.com/no/about-us/press/images/

Over the past week, sources around the internet have been buzzing about Spotify’s acquisition of UK-based audio detection technology startup Sonalytic. There are many theories circulating about Spotify’s plans to use this new technology to compete with services ranging from Shazam to SoundCloud. However, while not the most exciting possibility from the consumer-facing perspective, Spotify’s announcement that it will incorporate Sonalytic in its efforts to “improve [its] publishing data system” is a significant step forward for songwriters. Arguably one of Sonalytic’s most significant breakthroughs is its ability to identify the musical stems of not just a recording, but its underlying composition. While Shazam relies on recording fingerprints, TechCrunch reports that the technology can accurately identify live performances. Taken a step further, Spotify may be able to use Sonalytic to link a recording to its composers and publishers using the key musical features of the composition.

Falling exactly a year after the $30 million settlement between Spotify and the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) over unpaid royalties due to tracks with unidentified songwriters, the acquisition demonstrates Spotify’s commitment to accurately matching recordings with their composers. At the very least, the move is certainly an interesting development that could improve Spotify’s standing in the NMPA’s ongoing proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Board, which will determine the mechanical royalty rate paid out by digital streaming services for the next five years.

Taken together, Sonalytic’s audio detection innovations and efforts to use blockchain technology to create a global, decentralized metadata library represent converging approaches to solving one of the most frustrating challenges in managing copyright in the streaming music age: incorrect and incomplete metadata.

While these developments are necessary steps forward in the effort to properly document the music world’s ever-growing song catalog, songwriters and publishers must take active steps to make the most of these innovations. After all, databases are only as useful as their entries. Songwriters must keep accurate records of titles, writer shares, dates and terms of publishing deals, and recording information (ISRCs, performing artists, album titles, release years, and record labels). By the same token, publishers must keep track of effective and termination dates, pre- and post-term collection periods, controlled percentages, and controlled territories.

With myriad revenue streams already on the books and new ones constantly emerging, the industry is full of new opportunities for independent musicians. However, the globalization of music usage has also made artist and writer compensation more complicated than ever before. This is where publishers come in. At Songtrust, we are working every day to stay ahead of the changing industry and track down these fragmented royalties. We encourage writers to play an active role in their publishing deals; global song usage can only be effectively tracked when interested parties provide clean, accurate, and up-to-date metadata.

 

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Weekly Music Publishing Update: Friday, March 10, 2017

Tell the Copyright Royalty Board you want fair rates for songwriters. (3)

By Kyle Thiede, Songtrust Manager of Publishing Operations

A question we often receive from clients is “I have x amount of streams, how much in royalties am I owed?”  Unfortunately, the answer is quite complex.  Digital service providers (Spotify, Apple, Google Play, etc.) have given consumers and artists incredible platforms for our musical preferences. There is something to be said and applauded for having access to millions of songs from platinum selling artists to the jam band down the street. If you haven’t already come to this conclusion, streaming services are here to stay and that is a great thing for the industry.

However, they, along with the entire music industry, have work to do.

The first and most pivotal begins in Washington.  On March 8th, the National Publishers Association and many of the music tech services brought their respective arguments to the Copyright Royalty Board.

“The tech giants are expected to argue to reduce the amount they pay, while the National Music Publisher’s Association and the Nashville Songwriters Association International will lobby for an increase”

Currently, a stream on average equates to roughly $0.005 while only about 20% of that goes to the publisher/songwriter. Per many situations in music, the artist is often favored over the songwriter.  Since 1909, mechanical royalty rates have been set by Congress which also allows compulsory licenses to be issued.  Simply, this means that anyone can record your songs, as long as they agree to pay the rate.  Currently for a physical or digital download that would come out to $0.091 per song in the United States.  Your first reaction must be the discrepancy in those rates. The DSP’s argues that they are paying tremendous fees to license the master (artist) sides of music, which is true. Labels/distributors hold considerable power in allowing these services to have your favorite artists music available. With that said, the NMPA and publishers agree that we can no longer sit idle and allow songwriters to be subject to shrinking royalty statements. Songwriters don’t often get the fame or recognition but are an invaluable part of the industry and it is time they are treated as such. Especially when the conversation of money is revolving around multi-billion dollar organizations, who are utilizing these songs in far more ways than for consumer enjoyment.  There is a clear opportunity for publishers and songwriters alike to make their mark in Washington and the argument is sound!

“As any songwriter looking at his or her royalty statement knows, current interactive streaming rates—set over ten years ago when digital streaming was just beginning—pay very little to song creators. These low royalty rates have immensely benefited large digital companies who have built thriving music services used to deliver your songs and to draw consumers into their larger “ecosystems.” While royalties paid to songwriters have remained small, giant tech companies have used your songs to sell not just music subscriptions, but also other products and services such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, iPhones, Beats headphones and Amazon Prime subscriptions.”

As a songwriter, it is import to monitor what is happening in Washington regarding this situation. Be vocal and be present.  This affects all songwriters and if their voices are not heard, who knows when this opportunity to even the playing field will come around again.  It is time songwriters are equally compensated and respected for the art they provide to us all!

Sign a letter to the digital service providers encouraging them to work with songwriters, not against them.

 

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The Costs of Music Publishing

Let’s talk about running a music publishing company. Whether you are just starting, or operating a publisher as we speak, it is important to know when and why to spend money. Here are some estimates of what it takes to start and operate your own publisher:

 

Now what if someone told you that you can accomplish all of the same goals you had in mind for your company and you would spend significantly less time and money doing so? In fact, you wouldn’t have to do any of the administrative work, and you could focus more on the creative direction or on the aspects of your company that make it unique and successful. Does this sound too good to be true? It’s not. Songtrust powers 13,000 publishing companys’ administration. We’ve done the work for you, and are providing global publishing administration at a price that will save you money.

 

Let’s take a step further and map out a 5-year trajectory for your music publishing company. You will see that Songtrust’s admin services eliminate set-up and recurring costs, saving you an average of $48,590/year. We are using estimated royalty earnings and the conservative cost estimates here:


Songtrust specializes in thorough and extensive publishing administration. We stay up to date with the changing landscape of publishing, and always look out for our clients and partners. Let us worry about the costs and complications for you, and save yourself some time and money. If you’d like to learn more,
visit our website here.

Note: If you’d like to check our work, click here.

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