"The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” - Lost in Translation
Songwriters dream of hearing their music in every far-flung corner of the world. Right now your music could be wafting through the streets of Tel-Aviv, Tijuana or Tokyo. Keeping track of what has been played where and by whom across the globe can be complicated, expensive and time consuming, but since international markets are a great source of revenue it makes sense to understand some international music basics.
Savvy musicians know that YouTube is one of the best ways to locate fans and potential fans around the world. If you’ve started your own YouTube Channel, you’re on your way, but are you taking all the right steps to earn royalties from your songs on YouTube?
While many setlists have been (and undoubtedly will continue to be) hastily scribbled on napkins and scraps of paper, that doesn't mean they're not valuable – a handwritten Nirvana setlist, complete with a dirty footprint, sold for a cool $10,000, after all. A setlist doesn't have to be a collectible item or concert souvenir for it to have worth. In fact, songwriters earn performance royalties from when their songs are played in public, and submitting their setlist is key to getting those royalties.
You finally finished writing/producing that perfect song, worked out all the kinks and chosen the perfect words, and now you’re ready to share it with the world. How you move forward from here can define who you are as a creator/writer. The most important next step is to record, master, or mix your song. You can’t start collecting royalties or get public interaction until your songs are complete, so decide the way that works best for you and get finalizing.
Almost every musician knows they can make some money off playing a gig or selling CDs, but not every musician knows the difference between each revenue stream, nor that they can make money in so many other ways. When you’ve finished (written, produced, or composed) a song and start to distribute your music, you're due royalties from the use of your composition -- more specifically performance and mechanical royalties. It’s important to know the different royalties you can collect - whether its from streams on Spotify or serenading your local coffee shop - and how to collect them since publishing royalties make up a significant part of your revenue as a creator or music business.
You’ve definitely heard about it in the news as it’s been making waves in the music community for the past year—the Music Modernization Act, or MMA. On the surface it’s legislation, written and introduced by Representatives Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), that would change the rates and the way mechanical royalties are paid out to copyright owners, and overhaul how the statutory boards and courts regulate collective licensing in the United States. Looking under the surface, this proposed legislation is much more complicated and nuanced, ultimately positively affecting the lives of rights holders, streaming companies, and the music industry for the future.
Many of Songtrust’s most frequently asked questions focus on how we work with Performance Rights Organizations, or PROs. Many times songwriters will ask “I’m already registered with a PRO, do I still need Songtrust?” or “Do I need to register with a performance rights organization (PRO)?” The answer simply is yes, but it’s important to understand why you need one and why you still need publishing administration from a company like Songtrust.
As an artist, sharing the hard work you’ve put into your songs is just as important as the songs themselves. You have so many options when it comes to sharing with your community -- digitally on streaming services, visually through music videos, and publically through gigs. While you often get paid through a pre-negotiated deal with the venue, did you know you also earn performance royalties from the songs that you perform publicly? This happens through your setlist -- the document, whether handwritten or printed, that lists the songs in the order you plan to perform -- which, once submitted, gets sent to your PRO (performance rights organization) to distribute your earned royalties.