How-To, Guides

The Importance of Setlists

Liane Bonin Starr
Liane Bonin Starr on Apr 10, 2018

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.

Many performing artists are unaware that their setlist, whether it's handwritten or printed, can actually earn them royalties in addition to their gig – whether that performance is from a gig during a whirlwind world tour to a humble open mic night at a coffee shop. If you own the rights to the song and submit your setlist to your publisher, they can submit it to your performance rights organization (aka PROs) for extra earned royalties! Getting that setlist into the right hands, whether while on the road or a gig at the local bar, can be a daunting task for any artist – though not doing it means leaving money on the table.

Songtrust is the first publishing administration platforms to allow clients to register setlists for international shows, giving rights owners an opportunity to collect live performance royalties simply and easily. While US PROs don’t allow publishers to submit on a songwriter’s behalf, we will guide you through the process for shows played in the US as well.  

Fortunately, registering a setlist isn't hard, and Songtrust also allows users to review past earnings on an interactive Reports page. The setlist needs only be inputted into the Songtrust dashboard – a task that can be done on any computer, anywhere in the world. It means stuffing wrinkled setlists in an overstuffed suitcase is no longer necessary – but they still make great souvenirs.

Example of a setlist filled out.An example of a filled-in Setlist submission on the Songtrust platform. To make sure you're collecting on all your live performances, sign up for Songtrust and submit your setlists!

Register Your Songs

Photo by Tim Wright

Related Articles

Avoiding Songwriter Burnout

"The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” - Lost in Translation

Apr 23, 2018

The Basics of International Publishing

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.

Apr 19, 2018

YouTube 101: A Beginner’s Guide

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?

Apr 12, 2018