If you haven’t already read our previous Performance Rights blog post, Don’t Get it Twisted: Musical Composition vs Sound Recording, please take a moment to do so now to better understand the foundation of performance rights.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive deeper into how you, the rights owner or performer, can maximize your revenue!
As the sound recording rights owner (e.g. record label) or performer (including backup singers and session musicians) of a sound recording, you are entitled to a performance royalty when your music is publicly broadcasted. This could be when your music is webcasted, played on internet or satellite radio, on a cable TV channel, or (if you are outside of the US) played over terrestrial radio. Although this revenue stream is still somewhat hard to navigate, don’t worry – there are measures you can take to ensure you are getting properly compensated for your music.
Performance rights collection societies match the metadata registered in their database against the airplay data received from broadcasters to determine who to pay. It is well known that data from broadcasters or other music services can sometimes be incomplete, making it harder for collection societies to match data back to rights owners. This is why it’s important to always provide accurate and verified metadata to collection societies.
During the registration process, collection societies ask for certain metadata points; some of these are required and some are optional. By providing as many data points as possible, even the optional ones, the society can look beyond just the track and artist name to match airplay data. The Orchard works to help our labels input this information easily. When uploading a new release to Workstation, we include these required data points in order to set you up for success at collection societies.
Registering your catalog at societies isn’t enough. You also need to ensure data accuracy of your catalog. This can’t be overstated enough. It is common that revenue does not make it to the rightful rights owner due to lack of accurate data. Even a misspelling of an artist name can prevent proper payment. Triple-check your data, ensure you’re using correct ISRCs and UPCs and read our previous blog, Metadata: A Race Record Labels Can Win, to learn more on this topic.
RESOLVING CONFLICTS OR DISPUTED CLAIMS
Even if your data is accurate, conflicts can still arise. Don’t worry – conflicts can be resolved in a timely manner if you can easily provide all necessary documentation of your ownership. If all parties involved in a conflict maintain their claim, then societies typically freeze payment until a resolution is reached. Have the upper hand – be able to provide proof of your claim through agreements, exclusive licenses, accurate rights start dates, and any other documentation that clearly states that you are the rightful rights owner. You can read more on disputed claims in our previous blog, Performance Rights Disputes: What Are They and What Causes Them?
Rights owners can change, exclusive licences can end, and catalogs can be acquired. To mitigate future issues and delayed payments, frequently check your catalog to ensure rights owner information is still accurate. It is important to update your catalog if any changes have occurred.
These are just a few of the many steps you can take to ensure that your performance royalties are reaching you. All of this can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be! That is where The Orchard’s Performance Rights team comes in. We work on behalf of our labels to make these processes as smooth as possible. We have years of experience registering sound recordings with collection societies worldwide, mediating conflicts, and protecting claims to future revenue. Connect with your label manager if you have any questions.