As a music creator, especially one that is striving to have a full-time music career, there is so much that you have to do and keep up with to ensure that the music you worked so hard on is now working hard for you. And, whether you’re distributing an album, recording a song, or keeping in touch with your collaborators, today’s music industry is so intertwined with digital technology that it’s inescapable.
Songtrust is just one piece of this very large puzzle – and is a digital service that helps music creators stay on top of their song’s publishing registrations as well as collect the royalties your song is earning from around the world. Seems simple enough, right? Let’s dig into the nitty-gritty and frequently asked questions we get.
Is Songtrust a PRO?
Songtrust is not a Performing Rights Organizaton (PRO). It’s a publishing administrator that provides publishing administration services, such as song registration and collects earned publishing royalties on behalf of our songwriters. We were founded to offer top-notch rights management tools and collection services to music creators and businesses throughout their development cycle so they can focus on the creative side of things.
What is Songtrust Used For?
If you own the underlying compositions of your songs (or a portion of), and are racking up plays online, you’re probably due publishing royalties. This is where Songtrust comes in; we collect publishing royalties whenever a song is streamed or reproduced. (Please note: This differs from the royalties generated by a song’s original recording.)
Artists may join Songtrust in exchange for small administrative and one-time sign-up fee. You maintain 100% of your rights while we register you with key pay sources and collection societies throughout the world where your song is getting played. Since our services apply to a wide range of interrelated parties — everyone from record labels to copyright lawyers to publishing companies — more than 350,000 songwriters have asked us to administer more than 3 million copyrights.
Here are some common types of clients we work with in the creative and business sectors.
At Songtrust, every client is considered a songwriter, but that label can mean producers, artists, musicians, etc.
Songwriters use our one-of-a-kind platform to register and collect publishing royalties on their works. They upload their titles and percentage of ownership and receive quarterly payments once their songs are registered. All clients maintain full ownership of their catalog and can choose the songs — old and new — they’d like us to register and collect for.
Since producers are being offered more songwriting credits than ever before in today’s music industry, figuring out splits on fully collaborative songs can be tricky. To avoid any potential mishaps or miscommunication, be sure to clearly negotiate credits as soon as possible in the songwriting process. Whether a producer owns 1% or 50% of a composition, Songtrust can register their percentage and collect what they earned.
Musicians use Songtrust to register their songs and split percentages as well. Make sure you only submit original songs, however, as cover songs cannot receive publishing royalties unless they are public domain pieces.
Live performances are often overlooked when it comes to generating performance royalties; you can only collect if you properly register setlists with your Performing Rights Organization (PRO) or Collective Management Organization (CMO).
Check out our split sheet template to properly register your song splits If you’re a band or have co-writers.
In addition to individual songwriters, many businesses also need music publishing administration for their clients – including labels, managers, lawyers, distributors, and even other publishing companies.
Labels that represent publishing rights can use Songtrust to power their catalog, manage several artists at once, and play a bigger role in finding creative uses for their clients without worrying about the administrative side. This often makes creative pitching and ad placements easier for labels that are looking to license out their songs.
Check out a seven-part demo of our platform on YouTube.
Managers use Songtrust to collect royalties within a flexible deal where they can seek other lucrative opportunities for their writers/artists while remaining independent and maintaining creative control over a catalog. As with labels, Songtrust’s platform helps you manage multiple writers and maintain thorough records of everyone’s royalty statements.
Download our free Music Manager Guide here.
Lawyers refer clients in need of publishing administration to Songtrust for a variety of reasons. For example, some lawyers manage inherited estates of deceased songwriters for families; this usually includes publishing royalties. Some lawyers also own and operate their clients’ Songtrust account as part of their agreement.
Music publishers use Songtrust to power their publishing administration, and save time and money by outsourcing tedious administrative work. That way they can focus on fostering lucrative creative endeavors for their catalog. Some publishing companies want us to handle their catalog in specific territories, too, while they register it in their home country.
Media and production companies work alongside their writers to set up publishing administration with Songtrust. These companies often hire songwriters to create specific pieces of music for ads, films, and television shows. Songtrust can administer and collect for these productions as they air worldwide.
Finally, Songtrust works with music distributors like CDBaby and Symphonic, enabling them to offer publishing administration options to their clients. This step in the creative process has proven essential for many people looking to get a jumpstart in royalty collection by simultaneously releasing, distributing, and registering their music.
It’s a huge value add for companies who offer suites of services to their clients. We have seen a lot of success in offering opt-in worldwide publishing administration to those who are about to release music. Global distribution should be complemented by global publishing administration as much as possible.
When Should I Consider a Publishing Administrator or Publishing?
Let’s be real – not everyone is ready for publishing, and that’s okay, knowing when to add a publisher to your team is half the battle. The best time to consider a publishing administrator is when you have the following:
Are a member of your home or local collection society (PRO/CMO)
Have music distributed on all major streaming platforms
Are starting to see significant stream plays on your songs
Having all of these means that you are ready to take the next step in your music career and your songs are starting to earn royalties that can be collected, and it’s ready to look into your publishing options.
Songtrust strives to create a simple, cost-effective solution for any person or business to handle publishing rights in a complex, increasingly digital world. Do what is right for you and your career – But if you’re unsure of whether your business model would align with ours, you can always reach out to Songtrust’s team of publishing specialists.