Royalties Vs. Joint Venture

Every artist knows what royalties are by now. But there are so many different ways to get paid for your music. The term that gets lost in the list is Joint Venture. Not many people use this anymore.  But when you’re having a lot of success and a big income, this might be it.

What is a joint venture?

This is just the same as an label deal, except the artist doesn’t get paid any royalties for his contribution. Now, before you panic and try to click away, this doesn’t mean the artist doesn’t get anything. So, hold your horses and read a little further.

This deals is meant for a band or artist with a lot of income in their music. This way, all the costs and expenses (like marketing and distribution) get taken from the income and the income will be split 50/50. This is how it works in most cases, but it depends on whether or not the label is in a good mood when signing the deal.

Royalties Vs. Joint Venture

So, is more more advantageous than the other? There is no definitive way of knowing. Our advice is that if you have a lot of success, you can get a joint venture (meaning you’d be the next Taylor Swift). This way, you can earn more of your money back. But you can lose a lot with it too if you’re not ready for this deal in your professional career.

With an ‘ok’ success and a decent income, we advise you choose royalty payments. In a joint venture you get charged more costs than under a royalty agreement. This can both be good an bad.

Royalties get paid ‘per unit’, this gets lost to joint venture and its easy to see that you can get more out of an joint venture. Of course, after all the expenses are deducted from the profit.

Why You Should Sell Your Music on Vinyl

The music industry is currently going through unprecedented changes, with an emphasis on digital media instead of the old physical ones. Whereas CD keeps losing market share year-after-year, vinyl has been experiencing an amazing resurgence for nearly a decade.

The thing is, increase in sales doesn’t necessarily mean vinyl is still a suitable platform in a society that relies heavily on digital services. Hence the question: why are some artists still releasing music on vinyl in 2016?

Wax Is The New Trend

Online distribution services guarantee any artist, even independent ones, distribution of their music to every online musical platform (from iTunes to Spotify, including Tidal and Google Play). Vinyl releases have no assurance that their music will actually reach an audience. With high production costs and much lower exposure, vinyl doesn’t seem to be a sound investment at first sight.

Yet everyone knows that money is not the only issue ruling music production. Vinyl production offers strong material and graphic assets – in this instance: large artwork, strong sleeve, and a warmer sound. By engaging the senses, vinyl goes beyond the musical framework.

Unlike vinyl, CDs have become incapable of attracting customers in stores today. Why would they bother buying an album when they can enjoy unlimited access to music on their computer for the same price? In contrast, vinyl managed to keep them interested in buying music thanks to its classy and appealing nature.

Vinyl is far from being a trivial format. Not only can it be a selling point for artists, but it can also help them distinguish themselves from their peers. By offering their fans the opportunity to buy their music on vinyl, they develop their identity beyond the boundaries of music. Graphic design, packaging, or thematic concepts are some elements that help define their universe – and make vinyl still very popular.

Collectible items, synonymous with vintage and their reputation for sound quality are all reasons that explain the strong comeback of vinyl.

Vinyl sales skyrocketed overseas, with a staggering 1,250% growth between 2005 and 2015 in the US alone! The vinyl market has never been so healthy since its heyday back in the 70s. Vinyl increasingly reinforces its status as music enthusiasts’ favourite physical medium.

What Vinyl Solutions Are There For Artists?

A stronger consumer demand that pushes market players to increase their annual output. However, it’s quite hard for artists to stay competitive without financial support from labels. Although self-production can be an alternative, there still are both major and obvious constraints:

  • There is currently no reliable way to predict sales for vinyl records, which can lead to under/overproduction.
  • Artists generally cannot afford to pay for the high production expenses of vinyl pressing.
  • Similarly, they generally receive very little support from industry’s professionals.
  • Market fragmentation makes it hard to find the best partners, making the production process much more difficult.

Direct involvement from fans within that process is an interesting solution since there’s almost no intermediary. Funds raised by crowdfunding campaigns are fully invested in making a project successful. This makes the financial relationship between an artist and their fans closer as the fans get to directly support the artists they like.

The growing number of successful crowdfunded projects highlights the efficiency and popularity of crowdfunding. This is an appealing model for artists and labels alike, the latter only having to promote and distribute a finished product without funding its production.

The great majority of “regular” platforms only raise funds for a project’s production without actually promoting or distributing the final product afterwards. By connecting artists, labels and fans within a pre-order platform, Diggers Factory aspires to match supply and demand and offers a real alternative to the traditional vinyl distribution circuit.

An Online Pre-Order Social Platform

The artist, label, or rights holder submits vinyl on the platform and sets a sales objective and price. Then the community comes into play. Diggers Factory and its members (“Diggers”) are the ones who bring projects to fruition.

People can support a production project by pre-ordering one or more records from the artist. As soon as the sales objective is reached, Diggers are notified, production is launched and the artist earns their margin. Should the sales objective not be reached on time, Diggers are fully refunded, free of charge.

Pre-orders alone provide the funds for a project’s production and distribution under the condition that it reaches its sales objective. Diggers are then guaranteed to get their orders by home delivery, wherever they are in the world.

By reducing intermediaries between artists and fans, Diggers Factory aspires to make vinyl more accessible whilst favouring independent music. It’s now up to Diggers to unite to produce and fund tomorrow’s promising artists.

Making Money From Music: Intellectual Property

Every artist’s dream is to be able to quit the day job and focus on their music full time. But in order to do that, they need to begin making money from music. This can seem like an impossible feat, considering the industry is crying out that the value of music is dying. This is thanks to piracy and micro royalty payments from digital platforms.

But there are still some ways you can begin making money from music and every little helps. We are aiming to cover how to strategise in your career and understand what opportunities are available to you. This first part is about intellectual property.

Understanding Intellectual Property

The main thing to understand about intellectual property (or IP) is copyright. When a song is written and/or recorded, there is automatically a copyright attached to that piece of work. You can make money from this copyright.

There are three different types of copyright within a song. The individual(s) involved in creating each of these are entitled to a share of ownership of that copyright.

  • The lyrics.
  • The composition (i.e the melody).
  • The master recording.

To make things simple we will group the copyright for the lyrics and the copyright for the melody / instrumentation together. This is normally called the song rights or publishing rights and the recording copyright is called the master rights.

Making Money from Intellectual Property

If you own the song rights:

Earn money from your compositions by having your song placed in sync opportunities, such as films, television shows and advertisements. The Music Sync Tank are doing an excellent series for us, delving into what exactly sync is and how to get these kinds of deals.

Another way would be to get another performing artist to record your song. Every time this new recording is performed live, played in public, broadcast on radio, used in a film, television show etc. you earn a performance royalty from these usages.

The best way to keep track of this is to be signed up to the Performing Rights Society (PRS). You register any song you have written with them and they give you and your songs unique codes. They can then track the usage of your song and pay you what you are owed. Their website tells you what they do, but essentially if you’re writing songs there’s no excuse not to use them!

If you own the master rights:

If you’ve recorded a song you can be earning money from this. You will earn money each time the composition within your master recording is synced to visual media. Whoever wants to use the song will need permission from the owner of the song rights and the master rights. Both will be entitled to a fee for this usage. This fee depends on the negotiated contract.

How Else Can We Start Making Money From Music?

You earn a royalty from MCPS each time this master recording is reproduced on CD, download etc. This is called a mechanical royalty. This is also handled by PRS but is solely about the usage of the recording of the song. Basically, if you have recorded a song written by someone else, you will earn an MCPS royalty whenever the recording is played in public. The songwriter will also earn a PRS royalty. You can learn more about MCPS here.

Also, if you distribute into physical stores or on streaming / download sites then every time that is bought / streamed you will get a cut of the money earned from this. You will receive the money from whoever distributes for you e.g. our sponsors Horus Music. You can distribute with them for free and they in turn will pay you your cut. No need for you to chase up the money yourself. There are other distribution options that are available depending on what you’re looking for.

If you have written your own songs and retained your master recording rights then you’re lucky. This means you can earn money for both copyrights! If a song is played on the radio you will earn the performance royalty. If you distribute your music you will get a royalty from PRS / MCPS and your direct payment from your distributor.

As with anything like this it is easier said than done. If you get your music out there but don’t tell anyone about it then there is less chance that it will be bought or listened to. Sync companies won’t know about it to use in their media either. You have to make some noise about what you’re doing to reap the benefits.

The Benefits of Radio Play

Radio play, for me, has been a career for life – ever since landing my first show, aged just 14. Since then, I’ve gone on to present a weekly new music show on the BBC, I help select playlist tracks for Radio 1 & 1Xtra, recommend ‘ones to watch out for’ for Radio 2, Radio 3, 6 Music, The Asian Network and Television. I choose every track you hear broadcast on my local station. I select artists for Glastonbury, Reading + Leeds, SXSW, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, T In The Park, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Worcester Music Festival, Nozstock, The Hay Festival, Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park, The Great Escape, Bestival, LakeFest and The Cheltenham Jazz Festival. So it’s fair to say – if it makes a noise, I’m interested…

…and that’s it really. It doesn’t matter what style of music you’re producing, there’s never an opportunity too far away. Radio play, like the whole of the music industry, is changing. More audiences are online, with a greater range of channels and competition in the marketplace.

Sending Music to Radio

So, while it may not be in your best interest to send your liquid drum ’n’ bass track to a classic rock station, it is worth doing a little homework as to who to send your music to. Google is certainly your friend, there. Some stations, like the aforementioned ‘classic’ rock station, probably won’t be playing anything beyond 1985!

We’re at an age so connected that technology is moving faster than consumers can keep up with it. Only recently have we seen sites like Apple Music, Spotify & Deezer approaching BBC presenters to act as ‘tastemakers’. People were arriving on sites being presented with a lifetime’s worth of music to search for. But don’t know what to type into that box!

Radio play is still the fastest way of getting your music out to the widest audience possible. It never ceases to amaze me just how many people tune in. Although the audience may not always be vocal, they’re always there. For that reason, I would say every song you produce must either be – or have a version that is – radio play friendly. We’re talking no swearing or overly political lyrics. I once had a track sent with the words “my sex life is harder to find than Madeleine McCann.” This was right at the height of public upset…

How to Get Radio Play

Also – bands, I get it, like to rock out. But save that for the album or the live show. The shorter your track is, the better. Remember that song you couldn’t get enough of, as a kid, which you stuck on loop play? That’s because the recording wasn’t long enough and left you wanting more. If you go on too long, then why would an audience ever want to hear more?

One of the biggest mistakes bands make is not having an official release date. Or sending in a track two days before launch. Radio play is a great way of drumming up early support for that big moment in your track’s history. Plus, if you get sent as much music as I do, your release for the day after tomorrow may not get heard for another couple of weeks – in which case, the moment has passed. Particularly if everyone else has supported it; nobody likes to be the last horse in the race.

If you don’t have a release date but you have a killer track, then why should I play it now? Hopefully, I will have a long and illustrious life in broadcasting and I’ll always be in need for an A-list hit. So what’s to stop me from playing this when I’m 64 – when I feel that week’s music is a little weak?

Having an impact date not only locks in all media (social or otherwise), but creates excitement among fans. Also – it’s worth looking at significant events in your calendar as to when you’re going to release those tracks. I was speaking to Remi Harris, only last week, who I’ve just booked to headline a stage at the Montreal Jazz Festival. He said: “By the way, did you want a copy of my new album?”. He’d released it only that week and looking on his website, had failed to get the message across. It was a ‘by the way’ at the end of a conversation. So I said: “Listen, nobody knows about this album yet – so why not hold off two weeks and ‘officially release it in Montreal'”.

All he has to do is mention it on stage – the festival will be happy he saved his big moment for them. Plus he can, forevermore, say he dropped his album at the biggest gig of his life. Otherwise that moment will come and go – and what do you have to show for it – a YouTube video? How great, when approaching new venues, to say: “Here’s my album officially launched at…” – two stories in one product. So my golden advice is to make big moments even bigger.

Sending to the Right Person

And that’s the thing: I mentioned, earlier on, that I present a weekly new music show for the BBC. But that’s 166 hours a week I’m not on-air. So although it may appear there’s tonnes of music I’m not playing, the industry still trusts radio as a guide. It leads audiences into new musical discoveries that will make THEM money. Therefore my phone is constantly ringing off-the-hook – not asking, but demanding I recommend new artists for fresh, exciting opportunities. And even when it’s not, I’m constantly bumping into record scouts, festival organisers and promoters who constantly listen in – in the hope that I’ve done their A&R work for them.

It’s a great position to be in. I’d say no opportunity is too small and no music project is insignificant – you just need a good product to showcase. So if you have a killer demo (1st priority), an epic video (2nd priority) and a nailed on social media presence (3rd priority) then the world is your oyster. As a supporter of new music, I don’t care if you have 300 fans online or 3,000 fans. After all, you could have bought them. But if you send me a list of 30 dates to prove you can play live, I’d rather see pictures from those shows – because, again, you could have made up a list of past tour dates (it happens). So even if you’re not an active blogger, who cares, because – at the end of the day, it’s the music that does the talking…

 Guest post by:andrew marston

Andrew Marston | Radio Presenter • Music Producer • Club DJ

Andrew Marston is a British based radio presenter, music producer and club DJ, known for his extensive work with musicians under the BBC Introducing scheme. His DJing work has included house, trance, drum n bass, indie, rock, 70’s funk, 80’s disco, Motown, Old Skool, UK garage, hip hop and RnB – although he’s known for his love of dance and electronica music. He’s now presented his BBC Introducing show for more than a decade.

Horus Music Review: The Boutique Music Distributor

We were contacted recently by Harrison Welshimer owner of Music Munch – a website dedicated to helping Independent Artists, he had heard of some of the good stuff our sister company Horus Music were doing and wanted to write a review. He did and it was so nice we thought we’d post it below: Thanks Harrison!  

The internet is both a boon and a curse as we navigate this crazy music business. For example, there are dozens of music distributor service companies to choose from, which is a great thing. But we also have so many options that it leaves us indecisive, which is a bad thing. So what’s the solution?

You’ve heard that the music business is all about relationships. What if you could develop a personal relationship with the company that puts your music in stores around the world? If that sounds good to you, Horus Music might be the right fit.

*Disclaimer: I’ve only worked with TuneCore, but liked what I read about Horus Music. It’s those ‘likes’ that I want to share.*

Just a Little Background…

Horus Music is HQ’d in Leicester, less than a 2 hour train ride north of London, where they’ve been in biz for almost 10 years. Customer service comes first. Take this story as told by Ms. Nina Condron, a Horus Music employee, as an example:

“We look at all of our clients at the same level and don’t just answer to our top label as we have no share-holders etc… A few months ago for example, we gave an independent artist with no label or management backing £4,000 (roughly $6,200) worth of advertising on Spotify for FREE!”

Marketing: The Part About Finding the Right Fans

Another boutique aspect is that any musician can get help with their marketing. Simply describe to Horus Music what marketing help you’d like. The folks there will look at your case and assess whether they can make it happen.

A lot of the time, Horus Music will be able to secure marketing muscle for you. Take 17 year old Melissa Severn, a singer/songwriter from Shropshire, England. She just had an exclusive interview with the MixRadio blog. Read it here!

But if Horus Music can’t help, they won’t send you a “sorry, no can do” response. Instead, they’ll guide you to a place where you can find the answers you need.

How big is Your Potential Reach?

Here’s something that blew me away: Horus Music can deliver your tracks to over 600 digital stores in over 120 countries. This includes all the majors such as iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, etc.

To give you an idea of how many stores this is, CD Baby has partnerships with over 95 stores while TuneCore puts their number at 150+. So Horus has 4x the reach of TuneCore!

Something That’s Hard to Find With Other Distributors…

Want to see your face on TV in Chile or Argentina?! Horus Music is ahead of the game  in music video distribution and “growing markets.” Platforms for video distribution include Mu-Zu TV, Vu-Clip and VEVO. Horus Music also has a focused effort on distributing your music in Japan, Latin America and India.

Don’t Take It From Me Alone

“Speedy and reliable in their delivery. Recommend them to any musician ! ” – Bobby Smith

“The Best…..I call them Milestone Makers” –  D-Bone Archives

“Fantastic people who really helped me! Thank you guys!” – Arek Pilarz

So What Does All of This Cost?

How does free sound? Yep, this is another highlight I have to bring up. Selling music is hard, today more than ever. Because of that, Horus Music has a free option in which they collect 20% of your earnings to cover their service. CD Baby has a similar model, but you still have to pay an upfront fee and they’ll collect a 9% royalty.

If you have a pretty good idea that you’ll sell more than 40 albums, you’d want to use a paid package. No matter which ‘paid package’ you choose, you keep 100% of your royalties. This is the TuneCore model as well. However, even though TuneCore’s prices are lower, Horus Music doesn’t have a renewal fee like TC.

Options vary in price as to whether you have a Single, EP or Album:

Distribution type Price
Single £14.99 GBP ($23.00 USD)*
EP (3-6 tracks) £24.99 GBP ($39.00 USD)
Album (7-20 tracks) £39.99 GBP ($62.00 USD)
Urgent delivery £49.99 GBP ($78.00 USD)

*All USD prices are rounded to the nearest dollar. Price conversion as of 7/5/15.

And you Walk Away With a Lot…

We’ve all dealt with it whenever trying to sell anything online… minimum pay-outs. Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you’re sitting at $97 in sales, but have to reach $100 before you get paid?!

Solution: Horus Music doesn’t have a minimum. You sell $3.00 worth of music, you’re paid $3.00 (but you’re going to make more than that, right?!). For a frame of reference, TuneCore acts more as a bank. You don’t receive money automatically. Rather, you withdraw the amount you need. There are minimums or fees with TuneCore (except when transferring via PayPal).

And just a little icing on the cake: no extra charges for pre-releases, ISRC’s, barcodes, Digital Booklets, YouTube Content ID (on our free package) which are all charges you’re starting to see from bigger distributors.

Final Take

If you’re living in England, I think you’ve got to try Horus Music. That’s because of that one-on-one connection. You and your mates could take a weekend trip and actually meet the people helping you. That’s an awesome thing!

But something you need to remember is that no matter which music distributor you choose to partner with, it’s up to you to sell it. A great product will sit on the shelf without a good salesman. And if you’re an aspiring singer/songwriter, I can help.

Tad Bit About Me

Hi, I’m Harrison Welshimer, a kid from Wyoming who fell in love with music instead of the oil patch. After spending two and a half years in Denver, Colorado, I found the group that I enjoyed working with most: beginner singer/songwriters.

What if you could learn how to write your first song and make money from it using an easy, step by step approach?

Starting September 1st, 2015, you can learn how at Good luck and see ya there!

Specialist Digital Music Stores for Rap Music

You may already know that some labels and digital stores are specialised in one or two kinds of music. Take the Finnish label Digital Tunes, specialised in electronic music, or Metal Blade Records in the USA, who sell only metal music. We’ve covered the emergence of the UK rap scene, but now the question is: Do specialist digital music stores for rap music exist? Who understand rap artist’s needs better than basic digital stores?

Rap Music Specialties

Different websites specialise in rap music in the UK, like Underground HH. Here you can find news, videos, articles, and interviews, etc. Some of these websites have an online store where you can buy music from big online stores such as Amazon or 7 Digital.

If you are a rapper, and you want to promote your own music, don’t hesitate to post on these websites. Try uploading videos and giving some information about you, your background, your projects, etc.

For the moment, it seems there is still a lack of digital music stores specialising in rap music in the UK: this is a market which seems to be saturated and there is lot of competition. Especially from big online music stores, like Amazon or iTunes who have a gigantic rap music offering. There are also streaming services, like Spotify and Deezer who have large catalogues. However, in the USA (the birthplace of rap music), you can find some digital stores specialised in rap music. There’s Rap a Lot or SoSouth for example.

Are There Alternatives?

We can see something interesting nowadays: some UK rappers sell their music themselves (see also our previous blog about the identity of British rap). This can be on their own websites: often, when watching a music video on YouTube there’s a link to their website in the description.

This is a good solution to promote their websites, social networks and to have a control of their music. However, rappers can also go directly to music distributors such as Horus Music. They can deal with various genres to get music into hundreds of stores across the world.

The Expansion of Streaming Services

With the advent of streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, We7 and Xbox Music the way we consume music is changing and developing at an incredible pace. Whilst many people believe that this is damaging musician’s careers by diminishing the importance of traditional record stores, it is important that artists get on board with these future technologies. Through having platforms available at the touch of a button, it is making music easier to search and find through being able to share your favourite playlists or see recommendations as to what to listen to next. Therefore, if artists have their music available on these platforms it is more likely that their music will be stumbled upon by people all across the world without them having to even leave their house.

In recent months we have seen streaming services like Deezer make their service available on Smart TV’s. This has included deals with electronics giants Toshiba, Samsung and LG. They will begin to roll out their platform to compatible TV’s this year. In a time where music is becoming increasingly immersive, it’s important that artists take note of all the tools available.

Streaming Service Availability

Streaming platforms are available through various mediums: websites, hi-fi systems and in-car systems; along with apps for mobile devices including Android, iPhone/iPad, Blackberry and Windows phone. With this addition of Smart TV’s, there is no excuse for subscribers not to have access to their favourite music. It doesn’t matter whether they’re sat on their sofa  or on their morning commute. All consumers have to do is reach for their remote, smartphone or the power button for their car radio.

In the past gaining new fans would rely on being in record stores, on the off chance that someone found your CD. There would be the dilemma of them committing to buy something that they can’t listen to until they get home. After all this, there is the chance that they would find that it’s not the exact genre that they like. With streaming services, they pay their monthly subscription and they can try as many tracks as they want! People are more open to trying new things and exploring new genres with these platforms. This really is a great opportunity for artists to reach out to new audiences.

To find out how you get your music onto streaming platforms visit Horus Music for distribution packages.

International Music Deals

Maybe you’re looking for international music deals with publishers, labels, or a brand sponsorship.  Maybe you’re looking to expand where you perform and build new audiences. This is about getting deals in different territories, where they can be obtained and what to do once you have the meeting.

What is Midem?

In the middle of January, the world’s music community gather together in the South of France for Midem. Midem (Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale) began in 1967 and is the largest trade fair for the music industry. It’s a real diverse mix of people and companies from all areas of the music industry.

Types of participants who attend include:

  • Artist managers.
  • Labels (of all sizes from small independents to the majors such as Universal) Distributors.
  • Producers.
  • Publishers.
  • Tour managers.
  • Accountants and lawyers.
  • Festival bookers, venue bookers (Live Nation).
  • Promotions / PR people.
  • Journalists.
  • Brands (such as Coca-Cola, Swarovski, Durex, Heineken, HTC, Ford, Nike).
  • Brand Agencies (Grey Group).
  • Games Makers (Activision).
  • Stores (Apple iTunes, Google Music, Amazon, Deezer, etc.).
  • Technology companies (Sound Cloud, Topspin).

The appeal of international music deals are very exciting. It’s not unheard of for an artist to have little success at home but make a wonderful musical living overseas. The music industry is not just about managers, labels and publishers, there are so many more important partners. So if you want international music deals, there really isn’t a better place to be.

The music industry was a different place before  2000 and deals were so much easier to obtain.  Today in 2013, any company looking to make a deal with an artist has to be much more careful.

How Do you Get a Deal?

Being on the pitch is a great start to being a part of the game, but it’s not enough to win. So what do you need to get a label deal or publishing deal?

We’ve been attending Midem for years so we’re familiar with what companies look for before offering a deal. So what important information do you need to tell them?

  1. A small amount of information about your background and how you got to where you are now. It’s important you keep this to the point and not tell long stories about your childhood.
  2. What releases have you done? Do you have sales sheets for these releases?
  3. What gigging and tours do you do? Where do you do it? Do you have any previous, current and future tour schedules to hand?
  4. What press, radio and TV do you achieve or have achieved?
  5. Do you have a music video and a live video they can see?
  6. How pro-active are you with your fans and in gaining new fans? Do you have thousands of fans on social media and do you speak to them daily?
  7. Why do you want a deal in a particular country? Do you have a lot of fans from there and can you back it up with reports from Facebook etc?
  8. What sort of deal are you looking for?
  9. What are you offering (e.g. all recorded music plus future or just one album etc.).

The above applies to all meetings, not just label or publishers meetings, but meetings with gaming companies or brands. Before anybody invests in you they want to know what your fan reach is and how hard you work.

Some Final Advice

A meeting may only last 15 to 30 minutes, so you need to keep your information to the point. It’s best to keep it professional and business-like. You need to be friendly too as business is about building good relationships. However, you don’t have much time for chit-chat so find a balance between being friendly and approachable vs. being professional and giving precise information.

Finally make sure you have done your homework on the companies you’re seeking international music deals with. Does the company deal with the music you have for example?  Do they have history in your field?

Changes to Online Royalty Distribution

The way musicians will receive their royalties is changing. We break down some of these changes here and explain how online royalty distribution works.

What are the Changes?

The PRS for Music brand is the amalgamation of two companies, MCPS (Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society) and PRS (Performing Rights Society). The two societies were operating separately until 1997, when the MCPS-PRS Alliance was formed. This was then rebranded as PRS for Music in 2009.

PRS for Music recently announced changes in its method for online royalty distribution. Intentions were for the distribution process to become more efficient: a vital initiative as the digital services expand further.

Their so-called ‘residual blanket licenses’ work by targeting 100 percent of online service usage in the UK. These licences combine both the mechanical and performing rights required. In some incidences, royalty money cannot be attributed at the time of invoice. Currently, 25 percent of unidentified money is retained, in order to process claims at a later date. The remaining 75 percent is distributed across all registered works at the time of the invoice.

However, this approach is changing starting from the October distribution period. Now, 100 percent of the copyright revenue will be held back. This essentially means that once copyright works have been set up fully, PRS for Music will be able to distribute the royalty shares to the appropriate personnel. In the future, there are plans for a fully automated system to increase productivity and time efficiency. However for the time being a manual system is being planned and developed.

Why is Online Royalty Distribution Changing?

PRS for Music claim that the decision was the result of extensive discussion and consultation. They recognise that a more effective system is needed as the level of online income rises.

This will lead to decreased initial royalties across major UK download services. Amazon, iTunes and Beatport will see a percentile fall of between 12.5 and 15 per download. However, in the long run, artists and publishers will be paid the correct sums.

Due to the complicated nature of streaming platforms such as Spotify, changes in the accounting system were not announced. Perhaps we can expect an update in the not-so-distant future.

So what does this mean from an artist’s perspective? Well, in essence, it makes the whole system fairer. While it will take a longer time to receive the royalty payments, relevant members ought to feel reassured that they are being paid the true amount, as opposed to a ‘guesstimate’.

With digital platforms and services expanding so rapidly, it’s highly important that the system becomes dynamic and efficient as soon as possible. The transition from manual to automatic systems also means there should be less issues in the future, whilst helping to drive down costs in the logistics area of the industry.

Will it Work?

In a time where artists are finding it tougher to ‘make it’, it is reassuring that the industry is taking steps to help. Record deals may be scarce, and you may find it hard to get your music noticed, but at least you don’t have to worry about anything behind the scenes.

From an artist’s point of view, everything stays the same. Record deals are still available for fresh and exciting music. Remember, to forward your music careers, you need to work extensively on promoting yourselves, and making sure your music is available to all interested parties. If you’re looking to share your music, there are possibilities for worldwide music distribution with no upfront costs at Horus Music.  If you are registered with PRS For Music, Horus Music is even able to collect your royalties on your behalf, eliminating your time costs!

Apple iTunes Digital Booklet

Did you know that when you have your album delivered to Apple iTunes, you can at the same time have a digital booklet added? I did say album, as this doesn’t yet apply to EP’s or singles. The beauty of the digital booklet is that when a customer purchases your entire album, they get the digital booklet. The iTunes digital booklet has been available now for a couple of years, yet it is something many artists either don’t know about or just don’t use.

The iTunes digital booklet should be thought of as a marketing opportunity. If your customer doesn’t purchase the whole album then they don’t get the booklet. So it’s a great way of encouraging your fans to purchase the whole thing rather than just cherry picking tracks.

The booklet can contain anything you like such as lyrics, exclusive pictures, text, drawings, absolutely anything. It is just like you would see with traditional booklets you get with your CD.  You don’t need to pay lots of money getting it produced either.  If you can use Microsoft Word or anything similar, you can produce an iTunes digital booklet.

How Should an iTunes Digital Booklet Look?

There are some requirements, so here is a guide as to what you need to do to take advantage of the Apple iTunes digital booklet for your release:

  • Your booklet must be a minimum of 4 pages in length.
  • Must be delivered in a PDF format.
  • 72 dpi or 150dpi for images as a minimum.
  • RGB format.
  • 11 inches wide and 8.264 in height as minimum dimensions. (For those in the UK, we suggest choosing A4 will be sufficient.)
  • All text and images must be viewed horizontally.
  • Embed all fonts and images.
  • No barcodes, crop or print marks.
  • No links to purchase outside of iTunes. (Perhaps don’t include any links at all).
  • Documents can mention “iTunes”, but only if they link or refer to iTunes for purchase. Apple will not allow documents to mention or link to another competitor music source.
  • No bleed required, or as they say, full bleed for your pages. What does this mean?  For a print copy you would leave a blank boarder, but for digital books, no border needed.
  • All pages should be tested first with Apple Preview, if using an Apple computer, and Acrobat Reader for PC systems.
  • When saving as a PDF, ensure the documents open full screen – ”Fit Visible” in Acrobat.
  • Number all pages.
  • A maximum file size of 10 MG.

For examples of iTunes digital booklets, you should visit Google Images and search Digital Booklet where you get a lot of different examples of how artists have presented their booklets and the types content they have included.