On April 27 we held our latest artist webinar. Below is the video in case you missed it. The answered questions are posted below the video.
1. Do you have to be an established artist to use SoundExchange?
New and emerging recording artists and record labels should register with SoundExchange – even before they become established – you never know when your music might be played on digital radio. It’s important to register even if you’re a member of another performance rights organization to ensure that you are receiving the statutory performance royalties that SoundExchange collects. Registration is fast and always free. Check out our New Artist Checklist for more tips.
2. Are your checks only for superstars?
Our checks are for megastars, rising stars and everyone in between. Nearly 90 percent of the 60,659 checks SoundExchange sent out last year (2011) were for less than $5,000. Why is that important for you? It means SoundExchange might have royalties for you.
3. Is there a registration fee?
There is no fee to register with SoundExchange. For information about how our costs are covered, click here.
4. How do you become a SoundExchange member?
Becoming a SoundExchange member is easy; it just takes one additional step during the registration process. Upon completing the registration forms (you may complete either the online registration or paper registration forms), you may read the membership agreement and sign and date where indicated if you accept the terms of the agreement. And “voila,” you’re a SoundExchange member. If you have already registered with SoundExchange, but not as a member, you may contact our Customer Care team and request that a membership agreement be sent to you for your review and signature.
5. What benefits do members have?
The primary benefit of membership with SoundExchange is that SoundExchange can collect and distribute foreign royalties to our members. We cannot do so for those who have only registered with us. We will soon be introducing new services for our members and creating a membership benefits program.
6. Does SoundExchange offer newsletters or correspondence in the manner of driving traffic?
Yes. We have a new SoundExchange newsletter called “SoundByte,” which offers dynamic and diverse content, including SoundExchange news, artist interviews, industry experts’ insights, and tips for performers, record labels and service providers. We welcome your input on how we can continue to expand SoundByte as an informative resource that meets your needs.
7. I sent in an application online and mailed in the personal info you needed. I never heard back after that. How can I determine if I’m registered already?
Please contact our Customer Care team by phone (202.524.7839) or e-mail (email@example.com) to confirm your registration status.
8. I’m already a member of ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. Don’t they cover this for me? What is the difference?
ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect different royalties than SoundExchange, and so you should register with us even if you have joined one of them. Specifically, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect performance royalties for the musical work (i.e., the notes and lyrics), and the rights related to the musical work are often referred to as publishing rights. SoundExchange, on the other hand, collects digital performance royalties for the sound recording – sometimes referred to as the “master.” For more information on the important difference between these two copyrights, click here . SoundExchange pays 50% of the royalties collected to Sound Recording Copyright Owners and 45% to the Featured Artist. Non Featured Artists receive 5%, which is administered by the AFM/AFTRA fund. For more information on the AFM/AFTRA fund, please visit www.raroyalties.org .
9. How do the songwriters get paid for Internet play if they are not the artist? Do the normal PROs track this?
Performance royalties due to the authors and owners of the musical work (e.g., the songwriter and publisher) are generally administered by ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.
10. Do you collect from YouTube?
SoundExchange collects from many internet radio services but NOT on-demand or audio-visual services like YouTube. For more information on what the statutory license covers, and to see a list of services using the statutory license, please check our website.
11. There was an article recently that referenced Spotify launching a Pandora-like service. Does that mean that they’ll be now be working with SoundExchange?
We do not have any insight into Spotify’s plans. For a list of services that are relying on the statutory license, click here. It’s an exciting time in the music industry, and every month we are notified of new services that use the statutory license administered by SoundExchange.
12. What royalties does an artist get from the Internet from what sites and from what sites does an artist not get royalties? Is there a list of digital radio entities that pay SoundExchange royalties?
A list of services relying on the statutory license may be found here. The royalties that SoundExchange collects and distributes to artists and labels come from non-interactive digital services, including satellite radio, cable TV music channels, and similar streaming services.
13. You say you split 50/50 between artists and labels. But what if I direct you to pay my label?
As we explain in more detail here the split is 50/45/5. Fifty percent goes directly to the sound recording copyright owner (usually the record label), 45 percent goes directly to the artist, and five percent goes to a fund administered by AFM and SAG-AFTRA to pay background performers and session players. Under SoundExchange policy, SoundExchange does not pay the artist share of the performance royalties to the sound recording copyright owner. If the artist owns the relevant copyright, then he or she may receive both the featured artist share and the sound recording copyright owner share.
14. Does the 5% that goes to background performers and session musicians go back to the SRCO and Featured Artist if their music does not utilize any background performers or session musicians?
Under federal law, 50% of the performance royalties paid to SoundExchange under the statutory license are owed to the copyright owner, 45% are owed to the featured artist, and 5% are owned to non-featured artists (regardless of whether the sound recording utilizes background performers or session musicians). The non-featured artist share is administered by the AFM/AFTRA fund. For more information on the AFM/AFTRA fund, please visit www.raroyalties.org.
15. Do Artists get paid through our record company or directly?
Artists are paid directly by SoundExchange. Under SoundExchange policy, SoundExchange will not pay the artists’ share of performance royalties to a record label.
16. Can you pay a featured artist’s company instead of the artist directly?
If an artist registers with SoundExchange as an individual using their name and social security number, SoundExchange will pay that individual. Similarly, if an artist registers with SoundExchange as a company using a taxpayer ID, SoundExchange will pay that artist’s company. The company must be wholly-owned by the artist in order to receive the featured artist share.
17. Once a SoundExchange member, are you required to re-register your whole catalog each time you release a new album or can you just register the additions to your catalog?
You do not have to re-register your entire catalog every time you have a new release. While it is not required to update your catalog at SoundExchange, it is useful information for us. Please submit make us aware of new releases by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
18. Do I need to fill out a repertoire submission form each time we release a CD? I registered my first CD with you, what do I do after that?
We suggest that you submit new releases on a quarterly basis. Please contact Customer Care or email your repertoire metadata to email@example.com. The template can be downloaded here. You cannot submit metadata through the SoundExchange website.
19. How do we get our royalties?
SoundExchange pays on a quarterly basis. Our distributions typically go out at the end of March, June, September, and December.
20. When I signed up to attend this artist webinar, there was not a single entertainment-related category under the “Industry” drop-down menu for registrants to select. Why?
The “Industry” categories listed for registrants to choose from at the time of registration are pre-populated by the online service SoundExchange uses to conduct its webinars. SoundExchange is unable to customize the service’s industry fields for the registrants. However, selecting “Other” will suffice.
21. I don’t understand the ISRC thing. Can somebody explain that?
ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code and is the unique identifier for each track on an album. When a new sound recording is created, labels typically assign it an ISRC. To learn more, please visit http://www.usisrc.org/.
22. How do we collect for foreign royalties (songs played on digital radio overseas)?
If you want SoundExchange to collect your foreign royalties, you will need to be sure that you are a Member of SoundExchange, and not simply registered to collect U.S. statutory royalties. Call or e-mail Customer Care if you are unsure if you are a Member or not. (202-524-7839;firstname.lastname@example.org).
23. How many territories outside of the US do you currently collect from?
We currently have agreements for to collect from 14 different countries. Here’s a full list.
24. Can you make electronic payments to artists outside the US?
We are currently unable to offer electronic payments to artists outside the US.
25. Should artists list all recordings that are licensed internationally even if they have submitted the data under their U.S. label?
You do not need to submit your repertoire separately for U.S. and International performances. If you want SoundExchange to collect your foreign royalties, however, you will need to be sure that you are a Member of SoundExchange, and not simply registered to collect U.S. statutory royalties. Call or email Customer Service if you are unsure if you are a Member or not.
26. I have a song that is getting heavy rotation on Live365 Internet Radio but I have not yet received any royalties. Can you help me?
Please email Customer Care at email@example.com and we’ll check to make sure that you are registered with SoundExchange, and what your balances are.
27. When I joined SoundExchange in 2011, I had about a dozen things listed in the PLAYS database. I checked back and saw the list grow. I figured that I hadn’t earned enough yet to get a payment. Today when I checked the PLAYS database, there were no listings! Do they expire?
If you think your tracks have been played, our PLAYS search engine will allow you to look up what songs have been reported to us under your recording name. However, we recently stopped listing tracks in PLAYS with under $1 in royalties earned. Please call our customer care team at 202.524.7839 to discuss your account.
28. How can I maximize my royalties?
SoundExchange encourages artists to embed accurate and consistent metadata into their tracks at the time of recording. This will help us insure that all royalties an artist earns are being paid to the artist. To learn more about the importance of metadata, check out “Metadata: What It Is & Why It Matters” on our website.
29. Metadata is often lost in commercial productions (library music used in spots, for example). Can you explain this problem?
- The recent explosive growth in digital radio has been a blessing in all respects except one: SoundExchange has also been deluged with poor metadata, and we have had to take dramatic steps to correct that data. We’ve created and rapidly staffed a new Claims Department and Data Management Department, have already made substantial improvements to our infrastructure and processes, and have begun announced plans to building an authoritative repertoire database. If you have any questions, or want to submit a correction, you can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please be aware that the services that use your music have little incentive to get the metadata correct, and they send the same mistakes over and over, so correcting the data that services send to SoundExchange is an ongoing challenge. So thank you for helping us to correct the erroneous metadata that the users of your content send to us!
30. Is there a place on your web-site you can review your repertoire to see if you’re missing some of my catalogue?
- Yes, that would be our PLAYS database on soundexchange.com. If you feel your titles have been played, please use our PLAYS search engine to look up what songs have been reported to us under your recording name.
- If you are looking for account information, our Customer Service department can access your account and provide you with updates on your account.
- Please call Customer Care at 202.524.7839.
31. I’m already registered as a solo artist and as a band member. I was employed for a recording session in 1970′s. Is it too late to look into royalties if I’m not the writer or lead artist. I was awarded the gold record award for my performance as a session player.
It is absolutely not too late to register with SoundExchange. Remember that digital radio means more variety and breath – so “legacy” artists may have royalties as well.
32. How many years back does SoundExchange collect? And why does it take years before an artist is paid their due royalties?
SoundExchange collects for digital transmissions dating back to 1996. It does not take years for an artist to be paid the royalties he or she has earned; rather, SoundExchange pays artists who have registered with SoundExchange on a quarterly basis provided that the minimum threshold for payout ($10) has been met.
33. Is it possible to transfer information from a band’s SoundExchange registration to a registration for a songwriter?
SoundExchange pays artists and sound recording copyright owners—not songwriters. If and only if a songwriter is the a) performer of a song and/or b) rights owner of a sound recording does a songwriter need to register with SoundExchange. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect performance royalties for the copyrighted musical work (i.e., the notes and lyrics), usually owned by music publishers, songwriters and composers.
34. I have songs showing on SoundExchange but never received any money. How do I get paid for songs showing up to be paid?
We must assume that what you mean by “I have songs showing up on SoundExchange” is that you’ve searched for (and found) your sound recordings in our PLAYS database. However, having a sound recording displayed in PLAYS does not mean that your “song is showing up to be paid.” It simply means that SoundExchange has begun collecting digital performance royalties on your behalf. Artists and sound recording copyright owners must receive enough digital airplay to reach the minimum threshold for payout ($10) before they qualify to receive a royalty payment from SoundExchange. And we’d be remiss not to mention . . . you must register with SoundExchange to get paid!
35. What’s the rate per stream on digital broadcasting? In other words, how much money do artists get per spin and how many spins does an artist need before he earns $0.01 cents?
Royalty calculations are generally not based upon ‘spins.’ Different categories of licensing (i.e., webcasting, satellite, cable television, etc.) are subject to different rate structures. Rates for each license type are available on our website.
36. I’d like the ability to see performances as they are reported in real time. Is there a way to view this information via a “dashboard” of sorts?
Not at this time. SoundExchange receives reporting from over 1,000 broadcasters–each reporting on their own timetable, but generally 45 days after the end of the month in which the sound recordings were performed. This makes a real-time view of reporting very difficult to provide. As an alternative, SoundExchange offers access to the PLAYS database; this is a searchable database that reflects what has been reported to SoundExchange by broadcasters.
37. Are there conflicts to being registered with both SoundExchange and Tunecore?
There is not a conflict involved in being registered with both SoundExchange and Tunecore as we offer different services. SoundExchange is the non-profit performance rights organization that collects statutory royalties from satellite, Internet, cable TV music channels and similar platforms for streaming sound recordings on behalf of featured recording artists and master rights owners. Tunecore is a music and video distribution service.
38. Can you discuss the importance of song titles? Also, with digital time stamping, is sending a copy of my musical releases to the Library of Congress Copyright Office for proper documentation still advised?
Unlike most collection agencies around the world, SoundExchange does not require that artists and labels submit their repertoire directly to us. However, due to common misreporting by service providers, SoundExchange highly recommends that artists and labels report their full catalog to us listing the artist, album title, song title and label. This level of due diligence by artists and labels, ensures that SoundExchange distributes digital performance royalties as accurately as they can. In terms of what you should submit to the Copyright Office, you should consult your own legal counsel and the Copyright Office website for more information.
39. I registered for SoundExchange almost a year ago. I checked the status of my registration about 6 months ago and found that my registration was still in process. How long does it take to finalize registration?
SoundExchange is collecting (and processing) more registrations than ever before. Nonetheless, our Account Managers strive to process a registration within 75 business days of receipt. Once Account Services receives your registration and enters it into our system, they forward your registration documents to our Document Assurance team so that they may ensure your registration has all the necessary accompaniments (i.e. valid identification, tax information, etc.). If it has been over six months since you submitted your registration, please contact Customer Care (202.524.7839) to ensure that we have all the information and materials needed to complete the processing of your registration.
Band Page- Specific Questions (responses provided by BandPage):
For more information visit: www.bandpage.com
1. What are the best practices for content management and handling your overall online presence as an artist?
BandPage, relayed many best practices for content management and handling your overall online presence as an artist throughout their portion of the online presentation. We encourage you to watch the video recording of the Q2Y12 Webinar for Artists—BandPage begins their presentation at the 28:45 mark.
2. What was the process in raising capital for RootMusic?
BandPage explains how RootMusic managed to raise capital for their venture at the 50:35 mark of the video recording of the webinar.
3. I’m not sure if the difference between my Facebook page and a “BandPage”?
Your Facebook page is much like a website – it’s a template for social interaction. Once you create a Facebook Page for your Band, fans can now come to your page, leave messages for you, talk about your music, and interact with the posts that you send out. A BandPage is an application that you can add onto a Facebook Page that allows you to host your music, tour dates and bio in an aesthetically pleasing format suited for musicians. Because Facebook Pages are made for almost any type of object – from businesses to ideas, the format is a bit universal, and BandPage allows you to add music focused features on top of your Facebook Page.
4. What does the future hold for artists reaching their fans online?
Artists now have the ability to reach a wide, global audience without ever leaving their home. We believe that as we continue to move into the future, that companies will expand on using the social graph to really advance the discovery of and interaction with musicians and artists. In the past, fans of music would either need to accept what was brought down from the few media channels that existed, or consume the local music around them. If a band was playing the state over, you would never know about their music unless by chance circumstance. With the power of the internet, we were able to bring their local music to the masses but only if they could find it. Now, all it takes is a friend sharing a song on their wall for their entire network to hear about you.
5. I’m overwhelmed with time-on-the-Internet requirements. Without the benefit of staff members, a record company, or PR firm, what is the most efficient method(s) of obtaining mass exposure for my music and are there folks who can help me?
On the internet, there are a million streams that you can populate with your music. What’s important for artists to do is really set goals of where they want to get their music out to, and determine if the audience they are looking for is on there, and then really target those areas. We feel that it doesn’t do much good if you have your name out there on a thousand sites, but you’re not really keeping up with your audience, keeping your content fresh and letting them know about what you’re building next. When it comes to keeping yourself sane, you should set a block of time each day to go through your social media and internet work, and only check on it during that time. There is a lot of time that gets spent “ramping up” and “ramping back down” from working on the internet, so if you can it all done in one go and then be done with it for the day, it’s much more efficient then checking in every 3 hours on your Page. Along with applications like ours that aim to ease the complexity of this work, we know many bands have found friends who can hop on in a “digital manager role”, so if you know a smart young technically savvy person, you may be able to work out a deal with them to have them help manage all this extra work.
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