Sometimes the business of being a songwriter can seem overwhelming — a revolving door of tasks ranging from registering with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) and Collection Management Organization (CMO) to keeping track of royalties and negotiating contracts.
The good news is there's one number that makes the important job of ensuring royalties end up in your pocket easier for all involved. It’s called an Interested Party Information (IPI) number, and chances are, you already have one.
What Is an IPI Number?
An IPI is a unique nine-digit number that PROs assign to individual songwriters and publishers to identify them as rights holders. It is used by more than 120 countries and three million rightsholders worldwide, making it absolutely vital for managing royalty payments anywhere your music is played.
Longtime musicians and songwriters may recognize IPI numbers by their original name: the French phrase Compositeur, Auteur, and Editeur, or CAE, which translates to Composer, Author, and Publisher. While it was changed to IPI in October of 2001, it is sometimes referred to as a CAE/IPI number to avoid any confusion, so be sure to keep an eye out for any slight variations.
It is important to keep your IPI handy, especially if you’re a songwriter who works alongside other writers. It's also a good idea to get the IPI of anyone you collaborate with ASAP so you aren’t delayed in submitting this critical information to your collection society at a later date. After all, it ensures that everyone gets paid when your song is used and starts earning royalties.
What Does My IPI Do For Me?
Because many songwriters don’t know what an IPI is, they often shrug it off when filling out forms or assume it’s the same as their PRO/CMO membership number (the one you might use for ASCAP, BMI, or SOCAN). It’s not, and if you already have an IPI when you sign up with a collection society, you will need to submit it so that your publishing can be properly managed. If you don’t know your IPI but are a member of a collection society, you can easily search for it within the repertoires of ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and any other collection societies.
If your IPI seems like a long string of numbers, don’t fret. And if it has two zeros in front of it on your collection society’s website, you can simply omit them when entering the IPI into music distributor sites like CD Baby.
What If I Write Songs Under a Pseudonym?
If you write using a pseudonym, you may end up with two IPI numbers: an IPI name number and an IPI base number. The name number is the code for a name or pseudonym related to an entity. (For example, Prince has the IPI codes for Prince, Nelson Prince Rogers, and Nelson Prince R.) It is made up of 11 numbers. The base number is the code for a person or legal entity. It includes a letter.
Remember: the IPI number is simply one tool that makes it easier for you to get paid. Don’t let it get lost along the way. Make sure you're collecting all of your mechanical and performance royalties globally, and register for Songtrust as your publishing administrator today.