Brazil was named the 10th biggest recorded music market in the world in 2019, according to the IFPI, generating annual trade revenues of $313.7 million, up 13.1% year-on-year. Despite live music stopping for more than a year due to COVID-19, the country saw increases in streaming, up more than 37% in 2020, still according to the IFPI. Brazil is a global music power player and a diverse market with a lot of potential for publishers and songwriters.
But Brazil is also very different from other countries in how it manages and pays music royalties. If you live in or plan to release music in Brazil, you should learn about the pay sources in Brazil and how music rights work in the country.
Understanding Music Rights in Brazil
Many musicians get confused about music rights in Brazil, as the country is unique in many ways. Brazilian Copyright Law acknowledges “author rights,” which encompass both moral (i.e., the rights to protect the integrity of their work) and patrimonial rights (i.e., the rights to make money off their work).
Understanding Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) in Brazil
Brazil differs from the rest of the world in that it has seven Collective Management Organizations (CMOs), all registered under one main bureau for collection and distribution (Escritório Central de Arrecadação e Distribuição, or ECAD).
This contrasts with the United States, for example, where there are fewer Performing Rights Organizations (PROs, which are CMOs that specifically collect performance royalties), and each PRO collects royalties due to their respective members, rather than sharing the work like Brazil’s societies do.
In Brazil, performance royalties and neighbouring rights royalties are collected by ECAD, subsequently distributed to the CMOs, and then each CMO pays their respective members. Some Brazilian CMOs, such as ABRAMUS, AMAR, SICAM, SOCINPRO, and UBC, have reciprocal agreements with foreign PROs to collect performance royalties outside Brazil. Most mechanical royalties are collected by UBEM, though non-members of UBEM must license directly for mechanical collections.
Therefore, to get paid for music performed in Brazil, a songwriter or publisher must be registered with a Brazilian CMO, or with an international CMO/PRO that is represented by a Brazilian CMO. This is because ECAD does not make direct payments to songwriters, nor direct payments to international CMOs/PROs.
ABRAMUS, Brazilian Association of Music and Arts
Membership size: 70k+ associated members
Official site: https://www.abramus.org.br/
Socials: @abramus; @abramusartes; @abramus
About: ABRAMUS stands for Brazilian Association of Music and Arts. It is currently the biggest CMO in Brazil. ABRAMUS also collects music rights for theater plays, dance, and visual arts through a related association called (AUTVIS).
AMAR/ SOMBRÁS, Association for Arrangers and Conductors / Brazilian Music Society
Official site: https://www.amar.art.br/
Socials: @amarsombras; @Amar Sombrás
About: AMAR / SOMBRÁS stands for Association of Arrangers and Conductors / Brazilian Musical Society. It was the first Brazilian CMO created and managed by songwriters.
ASSIM, Association of Performers and Musicians
Official site: http://www.assim.org.br/
About: ASSIM stands for Association of Performers and Musicians. It was founded by Elis Regina, one of Brazil’s most popular singers of all time, who had a fundamental role in the history of Brazilian musicians' rights.
SBACEM, Brazilian Society of Authors, Music Composers, and Writers
Official site: https://www.sbacem.org.br/
Socials: @sbacembr/; @sbacembr/
About: SBACEM stands for Brazilian Society of Authors, Music Composers, and Writers. It is home to big names of Brazilian Christian music. SBACEM is committed to administering performing rights as well as providing their member's other benefits such as life insurance special prices.
SICAM, Society of Composers and Musical Authors
Membership size: 22k+ associated members
Official site: https://www.sicam.org.br/
About: SICAM stands for Independent Society of Composers and Musical Authors. In 2017, SICAM collected BRL 10,7 million (U$2 million) and paid BRL 8,9 million (U$1,684 million) to their members.
SOCINPRO, Brazilian Management and Protection of Intellectual Rights Society
Membership size: 13k+ associated members
Official site: https://www.socinpro.org.br/
About: SOCINPRO stands for Brazilian Management and Protection of Intellectual Rights Society. It is home to some of the biggest songwriters, performers, and royalty collectors in Brazil, such as Roberto Carlos, and big names of sertanejo music that often top radio and streaming charts in Brazil.
UBC, Brazilian Composers Union
Membership size: 30k+ associated members
Official site: http://www.ubc.org.br/
Socials: @UBCmusica; @UBCmusica
About: UBC stands for Brazilian Composers Union. It was the first performing rights collective management entity in Brazil. In 2016, almost 60% of music rights collected in Brazil were paid to UBC and its members.
UBEM, Brazilian Union of Music Publishers
Membership size: Represents publishers such as Warner Chappell, EMI Songs, Universal Music Publishing, and more.
Official site: http://www.ubem.mus.br/index.php
About: The União Brasileira de Editoras de Música - UBEM , is a non-profit civil association, governed by its bylaws and applicable legal provisions, composed mostly of music publishing companies. Notably, UBEM handles most mechanical licensing and collections in Brazil.
Understanding Music Royalties Payments in Brazil
Performance royalties collected in Brazil are split according to the following:
- 10% goes to ECAD
- 5% goes to CMOs
- 85% goes to the right holders (songwriters, publishers, singers, performing musicians, executive producers)
Out of this 85%, according to ECAD’s distribution rules, 2/3 goes to publishing (songwriters and publishers), in accordance with the split shares as informed in the masters’ ISRC (International Standard Recording Code).
How Can Songwriters in Brazil Receive Publishing Rights?
As you’ve learned, a songwriter or publisher must be a member of a Brazilian Collective Management Organization to get paid for music performed in Brazil. However, you are still missing out on other royalties earned through international performances, micro-sync uses (i.e. YouTube), and streaming mechanical royalties.
As Brazilian music grows in international markets, as well as demand for Brazilian music creators increase, Brazilian songwriters and publishers must consider a publishing administrator to ensure global royalty collection. Even for publishing rights earned in Brazil, songwriters and publishers can enjoy greater facilities by having a publishing administrator do the work on their behalf.
Don’t Leave Your Royalties to Chance
While signing with a local collection society is a crucial step in securing your rights as a songwriter, you can’t stop there - as they only collect a portion of the royalties you earn when your songs are used.
PROs track and collect the performance royalties earned when your songs are publicly performed, broadcast, or streamed. However, they do not license and collect the mechanical royalties generated when your song is reproduced physically or digitally.
If your local society is a CMO, they will collect both performance and mechanical royalties earned in your country, but their ability and bandwidth for global collection is limited. That means that revenue from royalty streams such as international streaming, radio, and live performance can be lost if you rely on them to handle it.
Follow the steps below to ensure you’re collecting all the music your music generates everywhere it is played worldwide:
Use a digital distributor such as CD Baby or Distrokid. They’ll make your music available on digital streaming and download platforms all over the world, and will collect and pay your recording royalties.
Affiliate with your local Performing Rights Organization (PRO) or Collective Management Organization (CMO). They will collect royalties in your local territory, and your affiliation ensures you are identified as a writer within the publishing industry, which makes it possible for global pay sources to allocate your royalties.
Register your songs with a publishing administrator, such as Songtrust, who in turn registers your songs directly with global performance and mechanical societies all over the world.
Register your songs with an organization that collects neighbouring rights or digital performance royalties generated by your recordings. If you’re in the U.S., SoundExchange is the primary organization that handles these royalties.
If you have additional questions about pay sources in Brazil or music publishing in general, please reach out to our team.