As we discussed in our last piece introducing the challenges of managing royalties, it’s vital to understand how to collect every royalty that you are due.
After all, for any independent artist the difference between collecting 90% and 100% of your royalties can be the difference between going on tour or not being able to afford the bills. As such, it’s vital that you take the time to really understand how to make sure that you get paid.
If you are frustrated at how your royalties are being managed, then this should make it pretty easy for you to get the full idea.
So, to generate any kind of genuine income, you want to be collecting both Performance and Mechanical royalties, as we touched on last time. Performance royalties cover things such as online streaming, radio plays, live performance and also TV shows/movies using your content.
Mechanical royalties, meanwhile, are when you have content streamed or downloaded anywhere on the globe. To make the most amount that you can from royalties, you have to know how to go about making sure that you are collecting from both of these sources.
Finding a collector
Your main solution to make sure that revenues aren’t just being ignored and you are earning what you should, you need a collector. Most people will decide to eventually hire what is known as a Publishing Rights Administrator to help manage this side. Even if you are an independent as an artist, it does not mean that you cannot bring in help as and when you need it.
The most common PRA that most people will look to use, though, is CD Baby Pro. CD Baby is one of the top companies in the industry, and works to help you collect royalties for all of those plays on digital platforms.
The reason that you need a collector is quite simple. As an independent artist, you’ll find it nearly impossible to claim those royalties for digital streaming or any kind of mechanical royalty.
This is because of the fact that most of the firms involved such as Radio and YouTube will look to just pay your royalties to a society such as the HFA. Therefore, if you are getting lots of plays on software like Spotify you could be leaving valuable earnings at the door.
As such, you need to find either a platform such as the HFA, or an admin tool such as CD Baby Pro. Both can help you do the dirty work and make sure that thanks to smart tracking and planning that your hard earned royalties will be yours to collect.
It’s vital that you do this because mechanical royalties are becoming increasingly more important to get involved in music. With more independent artists finding fame and success through their use of tools such as Spotify, too, it makes sense to be making sure that you are pulling in a nice income stream from these sources.
Getting every royalty
As we mentioned before, working with something like CD Baby Pro allows you to get signed up with the kind of people who are going to protect your rights.
This goes for all Performance royalties, too, which can be equally hard to claim as an independent artist. If you are both songwriter and publisher then you should be looking to join either the BMI, or the ASCAP. These will make sure that you get the royalties that you are due on this equally important side of the equation.
Again, CD Baby Pro can make sure that you get access to either of these groups (you cannot be part of booth) as a songwriter. It also means that collection societies across the globe will be given your songs to be registered, meaning that you can more readily lock down the potential and opportunity for worldwide revenues to be collected.
Using other assistants
Another tool that you need to be looking for is called SoundExchange. This helps you to make sure that every sound and version of the song.
Typically, the song itself will be protected, but not any particular version of the song – you have to go about protecting that yourself. SoundExchange serves as a bounty hunter for any owed performance royalties, working on behalf of the people who got the music made in the first place.
As an independent artist, they can be invaluable in making sure that you aren’t just giving away valuable revenues and royalties.
So, basically, you should be looking to use a few different groups to help you collect every penny. It helps to know all about the above to make sure that you are never entering into deals that are going to leave you sorely out of pocket. One of the main reasons that people can enjoy working with the likes of CD Baby Pro and the other groups suggested is the simplicity of it all.
While it’s not always great having to rely on someone else as an independent, it beats trying to chase up all those leads and do all the chasing yourself. You have to be honest with yourself here. It might cost to be involved in such agencies and to make it work on your behalf, but just look at the kind of money that you are missing out on due to unpaid royalties.
Very quickly, if you are due anything from any kind of success had with performance or mechanical royalties, you’ll be bringing in a fair chunk more than you are investing. The help saves so much time, giving you more opportunity to make music worth royalties in the first place!