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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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Weekly Music Publishing Update: Friday, February 17, 2017

 

Materialscientist / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Materialscientist
Materialscientist / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Materialscientist

It’s clear that streaming is the present and future of music consumption.  Chance The Rapper’s ‘Coloring Book’ was the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy this past weekend, Prince’s Warner Bros. catalog was streamed almost 5 million times in two days (up 6,323% from the previous two days) after being released onto more streaming platforms, and more and more services are popping up to compete with streaming giants like Spotify and Apple Music.  According to a report published by Parks Associates, there is a dark horse in the streaming market: Amazon Prime Music.  The company’s senior analyst says, “Nearly one-half of streaming music subscribers, the equivalent of 15% of all broadband households, indicate they have a subscription to Amazon Prime Music.”  In the Middle East, streaming service Anghami–which co-founder Eddy Maroun says was created when he figured out that piracy was the only option for music consumers in the region–has 33 million users.

So the question is no longer whether streaming is going to survive the music industry, it’s how the music industry is going to survive streaming.  The monetization of music, and specifically monetization of composition copyrights and compensation for songwriters, is under turmoil in the digital age.  Streaming services are finally starting to embrace the industry where they derive the value for their businesses, with Spotify hiring former manager Troy Carter, and more recently, Amazon hiring Alex Luke, former Executive Vice President of A&R at EMI Music, to serve as Global Head of Programming & Content Strategy.  Partnering with digital service providers is the only way for rightsholders of music to make streaming work for both consumers and creators of music alike.

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Weekly Music Publishing Update: Friday, February 10, 2017

U.S. Customs and Border Protection / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cbpphotos/32513086661/
U.S. Customs and Border Protection / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cbpphotos/32513086661/

Arguably the best part of the Super Bowl each year is the slew of new commercials advertisers put together for the largest single television broadcast event in the US.  Market Track, parent company to advertising tracking firm Competitrack, found that 62 brands advertised in 77 unique commercials throughout the four quarters and halftime.  Combined, the ads made up for nearly 46 minutes of air time.  Estimated ad spend was $460 million, with 21 brands spending at least $10 million each on TV spots.  92% of advertisers integrated their ads with social media either before or during the game.

So where does music come in?  More than 30 commercials featured during Super Bowl LI used music, 26 of which licensed music for the uses (rather than having custom music composed).  Not including TV show promos or movie trailers, the major publishers provided music for 17 ads.  That means there was a huge uptick from previous years in independently published music.  Billboard reported that 12 commercials acquired music licenses in one-off deals directly from self-published artists or boutique firms.  Kevin Patrick, manager for Matt and Kim, whose song “It’s Alright” appeared in a Buick spot, said, “The extensive exposure we get from synch licensing through commercials has an intensively greater reach than we’ve gotten elsewhere. So synch has been a big focus for us.”

Check out Synchtank’s 10 favorite music placements from Super Bowl LI, and tell us which ads were your favorite!

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Weekly Music Publishing Update: Friday, February 2, 2017

Davidstankiewicz / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blockchain_Illustration_3.jpg
Davidstankiewicz / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blockchain_Illustration_3.jpg

Songtrust has partnered with DotBlockchain Music for the second phase of its creation of a “decentralized global database of music rights, combining the publishing and the performance information into a unit of music that the industry can use.”  The problem that Dotblockchain aims to solve involves the separation of copyrights creative material from the creators and owners themselves, which results in those owners not getting paid for the use of their work.  Because rights are often held across different companies and organizations that don’t often communicate with each other, the solution is a central location where a songwriter, publisher, record label, and a performer are all clearly identified.

Songtrust joins SOCAN, the Canadian-based performance rights organization, and SOCAN’s rights administration subsidiary MediaNet, indie music distributor CD Baby, and digital rights service FUGA, resulting in a collective starting point of 65 million songs with which to begin building out a practical model.

Read more about DotBlockchain Music and its partnership with Songtrust here.

 

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