A common misconception in our industry is that collection societies such as ASCAP or BMI in the US cover all of a music creator’s publishing needs. While essential, these organizations only account for one slice of a creator’s revenue pie. As a music publishing administrator, Songtrust makes it easy for songwriters around the world to collect these hard-to-reach royalties, which includes elusive mechanical royalties that performing rights organizations (PROs) are restricted from collecting. We’ll share with you just how we do it -- let’s get started.
It Starts With Registration
Upon registering for an account, Songtrust clients are given access to an online dashboard which functions as the hub for the client's publishing activity. Every songwriter is required to do at least three steps in order to activate their accounts. Activating their account begins the song registration process. These steps include:
- Register Songwriters - Songtrust writers are those we register and collect for. Outside writers are the co-writers that we do not administer or collect for in your account.
- Register Songs & Splits - When registering songs in their account, songwriters must include the song’s co-writers and splits. Splits, or songwriter shares, are the different percentages of a composition that each co-writer gets paid royalties for.
- Add Recordings - Songwriters must add each song’s ISRC, an identifier attached to your song's sound recording or master recording. Without these, we are very limited in how much we can register and collect on their behalf.
Once works are added, we store the song’s metadata which is available to view within the client’s dashboard. From there, the registrations are added to a Common Works Registration file, or CWR. CWR files are an industry-standard format used by publishers and collection organizations worldwide. The files are then populated with song-specific data, including titles, split percentages, and IPIs that enable collection societies to make proper payment to rights owners. Songtrust sends CWRs on a weekly basis to the collection societies that we have direct relationships with around the globe. The client won’t see works submitted to Songtrust appear in their performing rights organization (PROs, like ASCAP or BMI in the US) or collective management organization (CMOs, like GEMA in Germany) public repertoire until the CWR is ingested by that society and then populated to their individual sites.
At The Heart of Music Publishing
Once a CWR is received, societies will typically return an acknowledgment of receipt, along with any errors that they may have encountered in the file. Our team reviews any errors and notifies the client directly, especially when a counterclaim is involved. A counterclaim occurs when our registration conflicts with an existing registration for the work - for example, if a Songtrust client registers a song with a 50/50 songwriting split, but their co-writer has already registered it and claimed 100% of the composition. Until this dispute is resolved, the registration won't be completed, and the song could show conflicting information, duplicate registrations, or outdated information in the public repertoire. Just the same, all royalty disbursements for that song will freeze until resolved. All other works will begin to appear over a period of weeks to several months depending on the individual society’s registration protocol.
It’s important to note that publishing is a long game and global registration can take some time to complete. This is due to the number of societies your works should be registered at, each society’s individual process and timeline, and the additional work around songs with multiple co-writers, multiple publishers, etc.
Taking Control Of Your Royalties
When clients join Songtrust, they’re positioning themselves to overcome the financial challenges today’s music industry presents. As soon as works are submitted, we make it possible for every music creator to fill in the gaps in their global royalty collection that a collection society membership doesn’t entirely address. Our footprint covers a majority of the world’s music publishing market, which our clients automatically benefit from when works are submitted through their online dashboard. Additionally, they retain 100% of their rights over a short-term commitment, with only a one-time registration fee and a low 15% commission rate. Don’t leave money on the table -- Register your works today.
Take control of your publishing. Maximize Songtrust for your songs and business.
We created this guide to answer a simple question: How do songwriters support themselves?
The answer is not as simple as we’d like, but our goal is to make it as clear, transparent and understandable as we possibly can.
Songtrust is more than just a rights management platform and publishing administrator - we’re a team of experts in the music community who strive to educate, support, and provide thought leadership to creators, representatives, and businesses across the music industry.
Our hope is that you’ll finish this guide with an better understanding of the business behind songwriting and have actionable resources to help you be successful.