Royalties, Publishing, and Masters: What a New Recording Artist in 2019 Needs to Know



hey what's up everybody it's MC Stein I want to say thank you for watching this video I hope it's informative today I want to talk about publishing and masters for recording artists for and for songwriters we've seen I've seen a lot of this in social media recently you know talks about artists like Chris Brown or 21 savage talking about how they own their masters and I've seen a lot in the comments about people not really understanding what that what that means I think we've all seen a lot of documentaries specifically about like TLC the female R&B group that basically said while they're accepting their Grammys that they were completely broke based off their deals okay so that's that's directly tied to the fact that they don't own their masters or their publishing so a master a master is the sound recording that you hear okay an mp3 vinyl you know an LP CDs YouTube videos those those songs that are recorded okay the song that you submit to a distributor to put on iTunes Spotify for example that is the master we'll get into we'll get into more about what that means on the other hand you have what's called publishing and the publishing it relates to the underlying musical composition of the master now this includes notes melodies chords rhythm lyrics within a piece of music okay so if for example you write your own song record it and release it to the public so I for example I produce my own instrumentals I write my own lyrics and I distribute I distribute my own music through the internet okay so I own all of that okay I own the master because I recorded it and I own the recording but also I own the content the publishing okay so if you publish a book you own those words you own the letters that make up that story or that that article okay so if you write your own song if you record it and release it to the public then you will be both the owner of the master and the publishing related material which of course are two streams no pun intended of royalties you get you get royalties from from owning the master and you get publishing or you get royalties from owning the publishing when twenty-one savage or Chris Brown recently in 2019 said hey I own my masters every time that songs played they get the royalties okay not their label TLC got got messed up because they were given a small percentage of the royalties and the label owned their masters and the publishing so even though most of the general population these days listens listens to you know free music every time you play a Spotify track or a YouTube video you're generating a royalty for that that person's music for the master and for the publishing rights okay so a distributor collects royalties directly through the stores or the streaming platforms on behalf of the labels you might have heard about BMI or ASCAP or Canadian SESAC so Kant or so can is Canadian SESAC BMI ASCAP or US okay these are called performing rights or PR OS as I'll refer to them and short they're looking out from me the songwriter and they're knocking on the door of the performer and they're saying hey you performed this music you you sung these lyrics and they belong to this guy who I'm representing every every person that writes music every person that composes if you're a beat maker if if you're as a songwriter you need to be associated with a PR Oh a performance rights organization especially if you're not performing it yourself if someone else is performing your content it's absolutely necessary that you sign up for a PR oh okay ASCAP and BMI are are equally huge and there's a long list of major artists that are a part of both of those groups so it's really kind of a coin toss I'm personally signed up registered with as cap so a performance royalty has earned anytime your song is publicly performed and I publicly performed this kind of a loose it's kind of a loose topic or definition and it basically means any time your song okay we're talking about songwriters we're talking about people who make the music who write the music and the lyrics any time your song is played in public okay so this includes TV shows commercials on the radio whether it's the radio in your car or Pandora or Sirius XM even in Starbucks or an elevator or a restaurant basically it basically means that anytime that your song is played in public okay so this includes TV shows commercials etc okay on the radio whether it's radio in your car or Pandora or Sirius XM even Starbucks the reason that this definition publicly performed is gray is because if a song if I write a song and it's publicly performed let's say by Taylor Swift or Drake right he at his concert or she at her concert performs my song technically I am going to receive royalties because they publicly perform it now there's also other forms of public performance and that is something like Pandora or Sirius XM now what makes this kind of complicated is that Sirius XM Radio Pandora are what are called non interactive digital sources which means that someone is not actually clicking on what song to play those are just songs that are played through their system okay you don't really have a choice the DJ or whoever's playing that as as the host of that show gets to choose okay that's totally different than say Spotify or or if I go to iTunes I click on what song I want to play okay so so if something comes on Sirius XM or Pandora it's considered a public performance so jukeboxes for example would be a part of this in all of this falls under performance royalties okay if you're a songwriter your song maker lyric writer ghostwriter and it's performed either publicly like an artist covers it or if it's played publicly on the radio a jukebox maybe maybe both okay what what brought most of you to this video is probably related to or an interest in making money off streams so let's get to mechanical royalties a mechanical royalty are earned per unit when a song is sold on a mechanically reproduced physical medium okay MEK MEK mechanically produced means vinyl physical CDs historically okay nowadays this includes digital downloads and internet streaming as well okay the majority of the songwriter money that comes from Spotify Apple music iTunes all other streaming download services are called mechanical royalties okay this is important mechanical royalties are not performance royalties ASCAP BMI do not collect mechanical royalties okay you may have heard that like it's I think it's 9.1 cents is earned per download or sale on iTunes but when you sit when you sell a song on iTunes nine point one cents is owed to the songwriter publisher of that song okay that's a mechanical royalty okay so when you want to release a cover song for example you have to get a mechanical license and pay the publisher songwriter those mechanical royalties from us down for us downloads because it's not your song okay so if you're playing someone else's song you have to get that cleared with them or you have to pay they get the mechanical royalties because that is their song and this is kind of similar to someone sampling someone else's music you have to get it cleared right or they can sue you because you're using their content it's it's similar it's similar to that okay so Spotify Apple music Google Amazon etc they pay these mechanical royalties directly to publishers kavia collection agencies not PR OS okay so if you want to directly publish your music then when you make these sales on these platforms these digital platforms pay you through your publisher a publisher for example would be distro kid or TuneCore or CD baby or Lander or any any any publisher that you go through that you have to get onto a platform through you can't just go through yourself as an artist okay distro kid and Spotify are moving towards that to where you can upload your songs by invite directly to Spotify alright so but what I just said is is that these digital platforms Spotify Apple iTunes Google Music they pay mechanical royalties to publishers and then the publishers pay that to to the song the song performers the songwriters the song creators the music creators not PR OS ok streaming services do not pay mechanical royalties to ASCAP BMI SESAC so can or any other any other PR o– now in order to collect in order to receive these royalties you have to have a publisher okay such a CD Baby Pro publishing there's organizations like song trust cobalt tune core publishing audience centric so these publishers register your information with the global mechanical write societies and digital sources so you get paid your mechanical royalties again this is for songwriters and publishers I hope this video was helpful I'm honestly am just investigating this for myself and I've just seen a lot of questions in social media comments of various pages and I just thought that it'd be helpful and I thought it'd be a little bit more thorough I know there's a lot of information here but if you understand these the basics of what I'm talking about and of course you can go back and watch this again but if you understand what I'm talking about in this video you're in a great position to set your self up for handling this right and not being taken advantage of alright so please leave a comment please subscribe to my page you can follow me on social media twitter facebook Instagram I'll leave I'll leave my links in the in the in the information section below but that's all I got check out the next check out the next video that compares cdbaby TuneCore and district kid and we'll see you soon thanks

11 thoughts on “Royalties, Publishing, and Masters: What a New Recording Artist in 2019 Needs to Know

  1. what if there's no lyrics to an instrumental? How do you collect master royalties for a songwriter (original song/instrumentals)?

  2. Hey bro, this video is fucking awesome, I just had one question how you go about releasing a song, would you upload through (for intsance) distrokid and then when it is uploaded register it through a “PRO” or the other way around? And is there anything else you would do?

  3. I have a question regarding services like distrokid and spinup.
    Do you profit from having your own record label or should artist just use services like distrokid?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *