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The Journey of a Song with Songtrust

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2 minute read

A common misconception within our industry is that collection societies like ASCAP and BMI meet all of a music creator’s publishing needs. While essential, these organizations only account for a 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, including global publishing royalties and the mechanical royalties that Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) are restricted from collecting. 

Here is how we do it.

It Starts With Registration

After registering for an account, Songtrust clients are given access to an online dashboard that serves as a hub for publishing activity. Every songwriter is required to do at least three steps to activate their accounts and start the song registration process. They include:

  • Registering any songwriters that we collect for. Outside writers are co-writers that we do not administer or collect for in your account. 

  • Registering songs, including any co-writers and splits (a.k.a. songwriter shares, the percentages of a composition each co-writer gets paid royalties for).

  • Adding each song’s ISRC, a code attached to each unique sound recording - and for a song with multiple recordings, adding every relevant ISRC. Without these details, we are limited in how much we can register and collect on a client’s behalf. 

Once works are added, we store each song’s metadata and make it 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 payments to rights owners. Songtrust sends CWRs on a weekly basis to the collection societies that we have direct relationships with around the globe. Works submitted by Songtrust will not appear in the pubic repertoires of PROs or Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) until the CWR is ingested by that society and populated to their individual sites. (Note: some PROs and CMOs have minimum earning or usage thresholds before a work will display in their online public repertoire.)

The Journey of A Song with Songtrust

At The Heart of Music Publishing

Once a CWR is received, societies will typically return an acknowledgment of receipt, along with any errors they may have encountered in the file. Our team reviews these errors and notifies the client directly, especially when a counterclaim is involved.

A counterclaim occurs when our registration conflicts with a preexisting 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. The registration won't be completed until this dispute is resolved, and the song could show conflicting information, duplicate registrations, or outdated information in the public repertoire. Similarly, 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.

(T) Publishing Timeline

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, 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 most of the global 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.

Have additional questions about Songtrust or music publishing? Check out our help center for FAQs or drop us a line at

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