As an independent musician, are you getting all your music royalties from streaming services?
Over the last decade, streaming has become the most popular way to listen to music.
However, whilst streaming is a fast and easy way for listeners to access the tunes they enjoy.
These platforms don’t make it as straightforward for the songwriters to get paid their royalties for their hard work.
It’s a complicated and daunting task if you are not familiar with the process. And it’s fair to say that the major players in the world of music use streaming platforms to their advantage.
The sheer volume of streams across the USA is constantly rising.
It’s a complex process for the streaming service to work through the data. And use this data to understand the number of streams of each composition has accumulated.
Then they need to map the data back to the songwriter and pay the required mechanical royalty.
As if this wasn’t frustrating enough, many streaming services don't have the infrastructure to match the data to a writer. So even if they are paying you, how can you make sure the figures are accurate?
What's that? You ask! And you'd be right to.
It all starts with a basic understanding of how the process works - Streaming requires several licenses.
You can find out what a 'Notice of Intent' is by reading this article on SongTrust.
In addition to knowing what a notice of intent is. One of the first things to understand is, in North America, you can't say no to big players like Spotify.
Spotify has had some trouble for not complying with requirements for mechanical licenses and payments for all compositions streamed on its platform. Eminem is one of the latest artists to sue them, which you can read more about here.
There is an ongoing argument on which is the best platform when it comes to getting paid Royalties From Streaming.
A music artist in the following article says Apple Music pays her 4 times what Spotify does per stream. It shows how wildly royalty payments can vary between services.
But back to the basics for now. As soon as you have a tangible product the music streaming platform, get a ‘compulsory license’. This allows them to stream your lyrics and your melody on their interactive service.
They don’t get this for free though.
They must jump through a couple of hoops first:
This lets the writer know where the royalties will be paid from.
If you have not been issued with an NOI, then the streaming service is infringing your copyright.
If you do not have an NOI, speak to the streaming service and ask why they haven’t issued you one.
You could have royalties that are owed to you.
You should get your payment on the 20th of each month (paid one month in arrears), and the rates are as follows:
• For downloads or physical media (vinyl etc - 9.1 cents per download/copy pressed
• For streaming it’s a little more of a complex formula worked on percentages. You will receive 10.5% of the gross revenue for that month, minus the cost of public performance.
Remember your music has value and you deserve to be paid when streaming services add it to their libraries.
If your songs, melodies, and compositions are being streamed, get what is rightly yours.
In conclusion, the music industry is changing and we need to change with it. There are more streaming service providers than ever before, and these services pay the labels and artists for their work.
Make sure you stay up to date always and you are getting paid what you are owed!
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Sam is a member of the Indiy community engagement team. He has a passion for helping up and coming musicians.