Tag Archive: Royalties

  1. Music Rights Explained

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    Music rights can be a very tricky area to understand, with a crazy number of acronyms and collecting societies to remember. In this blog, we will explain a bit about what the PRS (Performing Rights Society) and MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) do for songwriters with publishing royalties, and what PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) do for performers and recording licenses.

    Music Rights Explained


    PRS and MCPS

    The PRS are a UK collecting society for songwriters and composers. When using a song for publishing there are 2 different components to the song that collecting societies have to consider.

    These are the songwriters royalties and the recording artists royalties.

    PRS represent the writers, composers and publishers of a piece of music whenever it is played in public. Songwriters can sign up with the PRS who then add your content to their database, and collect any performance royalties on your behalf. This includes whenever a track you wrote is publicly performed, such as in radio, TV, film and video games. This is done by adding a special code called an ISWC to the song that allows PRS to keep track of where the music is played. If you are a writer credited on a track then you will be entitled to publishing royalties through PRS.

    PRS for Music has blanket licenses in place with UK terrestrial TV networks for the use of music on their channels. Any track that is registered with PRS for Music can be used by the TV networks without the need to seek individual clearance. There are no blanket licenses in place in the US, or elsewhere.

    MCPS are another collection society that work to collect royalties on behalf of writers, composers and publishers of a piece of music whenever it is reproduced. Whereas the royalties from PRS are called performance royalties, MCPS collect what is known as a mechanical royalty. These kinds of royalty are made from downloads, streaming and physical sales of music. In order to collect mechanical royalties, you must have a membership with MCPS, who can then send information about your mechanical royalties to PRS. PRS for Music can pay both the mechanical and performance royalties to writers, composers and publishers if you are signed up to both organisations, which means you can collect all your royalties from one place.


    PPL are a performance rights organisation that deal with collecting royalties for the performing artists on a track. Rather than PRS who represent songwriters and composers, PPL represent the recording artists and the record label, collecting royalties for the use of their recorded music publicly. If a retail shop wishes to play music in their store, they must buy a license from both the PRS and PPL as they are using the songwriters work as well as the performers work. Any situation in which the recorded music is used would mean paying for a PPL license.

    Income Streams

    It is important to know your right and where you can earn additional royalties from.

    Performing Rights - when music is played in public. Collected by PRS.

    Mechanical Rights - when music is reproduced. You must be a member of MCPS, but the royalty can be paid through PRS.

    Synchronisation - when music is placed with visual images. Can be a deal with a publisher or specific sync companies.

    Print Rights - when sheet music is sold or lyrics are printed. These can be both in physical and digital formats.

  2. All you Need to Know About Releasing a Cover Song

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    If you are planning on releasing a release of cover songs there are a few things you need to consider before submitting to us.

    All you Need to Know About Releasing a Cover Song

    Do I need a license to release globally?

    To distribute your release to the United States you will need to obtain a Harry Fox license. If you do not have this license you cannot release in the US. For the rest of the world you do not need a license. If you would like to omit the United States from you release but would like to release everywhere else please enter in the ISO code: “US” in the ‘Licensed territories to exclude’ field.

    Your release will then be distributed everywhere except the United states. All other territories are dealt with by the stores at the point of sale (stores pay the collection societies from cut of sales).

    You should make every effort to ensure that your cover of the chosen song is not too similar to the original as these will not be accepted by certain stores; try to make the song your own.

    licensed territories





    Who do I need to credit?

    When releasing covers you must credit the original songwriters and the publishers. You can do this by entering them in the ‘Composers’ and ‘Publisher’ fields on your release.

    You should always try to get permission from the original publisher.

    You must not mention the original artist in the track or release title. Phrases such as “originally performed by” or “in the style of” should also not be used.

    What happens about my royalties?

    Royalties for cover songs are processed in the same way as usual. The amount you have earned will appear on the Client Zone in the normal way, however the PRS cut will have already been taken at the point of sale.


  3. YouTube Art Tracks Explained

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    YouTube Art Tracks can be confusing, but they are essentially a YouTube version of a piece of music that they have automatically generated. Art Tracks are created so that YouTube has a complete music catalogue of all tracks they are sent. They are beneficial to artists because they help artists get their music in front of millions of YouTube users around the world – both free and premium users can stream tracks in this way.

     YouTube Art Tracks Explained

    One Art Track is created for every piece of music that is submitted and identified based on their ISRC code. Music can only be sent to YouTube to be made into an Art Track from a YouTube partner such as Horus Music.

    If multiple versions of a track with the same ISRC have been uploaded (for example, if the recording appears on multiple albums or as part of a compilation), YouTube creates the Art Track using the version with the earliest release date in each territory.

    Art Tracks will appear in the same places as other music videos, including album playlists and in search results.

    There is also a handy standalone app called YouTube Music (which is briefly explained in this video) that allows users to toggle between audio and video, this is useful if you want to save data or battery on your phone by opting for the audio streaming option which is also where Art Tracks will come in. If a recording already has a fully produced music video, the Art Track for that particular song will be unlisted and undiscoverable in search etc and the official music video will be used instead.

    YouTube Art Tracks ExampleYou’ve probably come across Art Tracks already without even realising it – an example of what they look like can be seen on the left, along with an explanation of the information that is displayed alongside them. They have a basic background with your artwork on one side and your metadata (artist name, track title and album name) on the other side. They allow artists to have their music seen and heard by more fans as well as providing them with an additional income stream. Royalties are earned whenever someone streams your Art Track on YouTube.

    When your music is streamed, you will receive a proportionate share of Art Tracks subscription revenue each month, which is based on terms that we have agreed with YouTube. It is likely that these payments from YouTube will change each month and is dependent on the amount of subscription revenue that YouTube receives on the whole and how many streams your received.

    It is worth noting that YouTube Art Tracks are only currently available in the US but are expected to launch elsewhere soon.



    What about YouTube Red?

    YouTube Red is a monthly subscription service that removes advertisements from all videos and the areas around them.

    YouTube Red is what YouTube Music Key would have become, but instead covers all videos on the YouTube platforms as opposed to just music and music videos. The YouTube Music app we mentioned earlier is also part of the YouTube Red subscription but doesn’t restrict any music content on the usual YouTube platform if you aren’t a subscriber.

    Through YouTube Red and the YouTube Music app subscribers have the ability to watch videos offline and can also continue to listen to the videos when they close the app or are using another app. Videos that you wish to watch offline are downloaded to your device and available to watch for up to 30 days without an internet connection, but you will not be able to like or comment on an offline video. Art Tracks are also included in YouTube Red subscriptions.

    Subscribers can access members-only original content as well as receive a free Google Play subscription; the opposite is also true, Google Play subscribers will receive a YouTube Red subscription for free too.

    YouTube Red is only currently available in the US but is expected to launch in other countries soon.