Over the last decade, streaming has become the most popular way to listen to music.
However, whilst streaming is a fast and easy way to access the tunes you enjoy, interactive music services…
These platforms don’t make it quite as straightforward for the songwriters to get paid their music 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 to understand the number of streams for each composition and melody.
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 interactive streaming services haven’t made the investment in the infrastructure required to match the streaming data to the 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 that, in North America, you simply don’t get a choice to say no to the big boys such as Spotify.
Spotify has had some trouble for not complying with the 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.
The argument still does stand as to which really is the best platform when it comes to getting paid your music royalties.
A music artist in the following article linked says Apple Music pays her 4 times what Spotify does per stream, and it shows how wildly royalty payments can vary between services.
To find out for yourself check out Ditto Music’s article ‘how much do music streaming services pay musicians in 2020.
But back to the basics for now…as soon as you, the artist, have a tangible product, they, the music streaming platform, get a ‘compulsory license’ which 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 them why they haven’t issued one to you.
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 a 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 in contact with the service providers and claim what is rightly yours.