Publishing 101 - FAQs

By Ronja Döring on Tue, 04/06/2021 - 16:55

What’s the difference between a writer and an author?

By publishing definition, a ‘Writer’ can be either a lyricist, a beat maker, an arranger, or musical producer; or even a combination of these. All of these roles are considered ‘Writer’ roles and are important to define when agreeing to your writer splits with other co-writers and essential for metadata and work registration purposes. 

Does my producer qualify as a writer? 

Yes. No. Maybe. 
If you’ve contracted your producer strictly on a Work-For-Hire basis only, then your producer may not be eligible for any future royalties. However, if it has been agreed (by way of a Split Sheet) that your producer contributed to the top-line, the melody, the creative production of the musical work and/or contributed to any lyrics, then he/she would be entitled to claim composition. Remember, these claims may only be substantiated if all co-writers agree to the splits. NOTE: in some countries, Work-For-Hire agreements are not readily accepted as transfer of copyright ownership is prohibited to protect the original author/composer. In such instances, unless otherwise agreed, the copyright shall remain with its creator in perpetuity.

How do I decide on how to do my composition splits? 

There is no standard formula on how co-writers should divvy up their shares. General rule of thumb in many territories is to allocate half of the work to lyrics and the remaining half to production. In other cases, writers split everything equally amongst anyone who contributed regardless of whether you contributed to lyrics or music. And in super-specific cases, co-writers may calculate time spent on the project plus the time that that writer’s contribution was prevalent on the final work and prorate to the nth percentage. 
My producer doesn’t have a home society or a publisher, how does he/she get paid? Can I collect his / her share? 
Unless writers have registered with a PRO for Performance Royalties or a Publisher for Mechanical Royalties, they will not be eligible for remuneration and if the revenue is left unclaimed for 2 to 3 years (depending on the rules of the society), the money will be redistributed amongst the societies’ members. One cannot claim copyright royalties for someone else. 

I used a beatpack that I bought online. Do I need to credit the original creator?

Beatpacks and downloadable ‘stems’ are becoming more and more attractive for collaborators and beatmakers alike. Before releasing any material that contains compositions or recorded works, you need to read the fine print on copyright shares due on both the publishing end and the master ownership to avoid any nasty disputes down the line. 

Do I retain my copyright if I sign and admin deal with Paradise Publishing?
Yes, when you enter into an exclusive administration deal with Paradise Publishing, no copyright ownership is claimed. Our administration fees are merely service charges. 

Which societies does Paradise Publishing collect from? 

Paradise Publishing is intent on cutting out any nasty hidden commissions and has set up direct deals with Capasso and Samro for Africa, Ascap, The MLC and Harry Fox Agency for America and Gema for the rest of the world. Additionally, they have direct deals with the DSPs in regions where there may be little to no copyright legislation to ensure that your songwriting revenue is collected. 

Do I get a portion of my royalties paid directly? Or does Paradise Publishing collect all my royalties? 

Yes and No. The copyright laws differ from country to country. For example:

I wrote a song 2 years ago, is it too late to get my royalties? 

Most societies permit up to 3 years of retroactive collection before the unclaimed revenues are redistributed amongst the remaining members. 

I’m already a member of a Collecting Society. Why do I need a publisher? 

Performance Royalties are collected by P.R.Os (Performance Rights Organisations) like Samro, Ascap or PRS any time a song that you wrote is broadcast on TV or radio, or streamed on a digital service. These royalties are paid directly to the writer, unless you’re in a publishing or administration agreement. 

Mechanical royalties are collected by M.R.Os (Mechanical Royalty Organisations) or C.M.Os (Collection Management Organisations) any time a song that you wrote is triggered by a commercial sale eg if it’s downloaded on iTunes or when a vinyl record purchase has been made. These royalties also extend to Premium Streaming. 

It’s important to note that, in most territories, unless you’re a publisher or publishing administrator, you will not be able to collect Mechanical Royalties. This is why it’s so important to ensure that you have an administration agreement with a publisher, or alternatively register as a publisher - or you could be losing out on more than 50% of the revenue due to you. 

Can you help get my song added to DSP playlists? 

Paradise Publishing has a vested interest to commercially exploit the works of their writer for potential peripheral income – outside of standard royalty collection. However, they are not to be confused with Publicists or Public Relations Managers. Publishers focus on marketing to music supervisors, advertising agencies, media houses and other songwriters and performers (for collaborations). They liaise directly with the writers’ A&R managers and marketing personnel to create demand and awareness.

I have registered at a society with my stage name, and not my real name. 
In the event that you have registered under your alias, you might want to consider reaching out to a Membership Support member to ensure that your true birthname and your alias are linked to one profile. 

What is an LOD? 

A Letter of Direction (LOD) is a document by which a writer directs a CMO or MRO to pay a portion or full sum of royalties to their publisher. This is a necessary letter of authorisation required in order for administrators to collect your rightful earnings on your behalf. 

How often will I get paid? 

Generally speaking, societies distribute bi-annually. Paradise Publishing mirrors this and pays its writers 30 days from receipt of payments from societies. It is important to remember that if, for example, your song is played / streamed in March 2021, that the revenue for that play / stream may only be paid out by societies in the June 2022 distribution. 

What is the difference between a mechanical royalty and a performance royalty?

Both terms refer to rights related to songwriting, but their place in the publishing ecosystem, and the societies that collect the royalties associated with these rights can often differ.

To simplify the complexity a little: Performance Royalties are collected by P.R.Os (Performance Rights Organisations) like Samro, Ascap or PRS any time a song that you wrote is broadcast on TV or radio, or streamed on a digital service.

MROs (Mechanical Royalty Organisations) or CMOs (Collective Management Organisations) are responsible for issuing licenses for the use of any works, and (in most territories) collect these royalties on behalf of publishers. Paradise Publishing works directly with MROs and CMOs around the world to accurately register works and collect Mechanical Royalties. Additionally, Paradise Publishing has direct deals with DSPs (Digital Service Providers) like iTunes, Beatport and Tencent to collect mechanical royalties directly at source.. These royalties also extend to Premium Streaming.

It’s important to note that, in most territories, unless you’re a publisher or publishing administrator, you will not be able to collect Mechanical Royalties. This is why it’s so important to ensure that you have someone looking after your copyright – or you could be losing out on more than 50% of the revenue due to you.

What are Neighbouring Rights?

Elsewhere in the world Neighbouring Rights Income may also be called Needletime, Related Rights or Public Performance Revenue.

Remember, Neighbouring Rights Income does not refer to income collection from Neighbouring Countries. The term, rather, is derived as the “neighbour” to the recording or composition rights. This right protects the actual performers who contributed to the musical sound recording: i.e the singers, the backing vocalists, the session players etc. It does not relate to publishing nor record sales income.

In most countries, it is standard practice for 50% of all Needletime collected to be paid to the repertoire owner, and the remaining 50% to be paid to the performers.

It is the responsibility of the performers (or their authorised managers) to notify their Neighbouring Rights Society of these works in order to collect their share. (Contact your Rights Manager at Paradise for more information on how we can help)

Can publishers help with collecting neighbouring rights?

No. Publishers protect the copyright for the songwriter, not the performer. In most cases, this is the same individual, but the procedures, legal guidelines & societies that are affiliated are vastly different to publishing. Neighbouring Rights societies include SAMPRA in Southern Africa, PPL in the UK, GVL in Germany and SoundExchange in the US.

Having that said, Paradise Entertainment has an experienced team of Non-Record Income experts who can assist you with collecting your unclaimed Neighbouring Rights.

What is an IPI number? 

An IPI (Interested Party Information) number is the most important number that Paradise Publishing needs in order to register and collect your Performance and Mechanical Royalties. An IPI number is a unique rights holders identifier used worldwide that is recognised in all societies’ systems globally . All collecting societies assign a unique IPI number to help identify you and your work wherever your music is broadcast, streamed, downloaded or purchased. You will receive this number once you have registered with a Performance Rights Society. CISAC has issued more than 3 million IPIs since the inception of the system and works with more than 120 societies worldwide. 

Without this number, it would be incredibly challenging to allocate works to its rightful creator by way of registration and would ultimately affect the opportunity to earn from royalty payouts. But you can’t get an IPI unless you’re a member of a society. 

Remember!! Your IPI number is not the same as your Performance Rights Organisation Membership number. So make sure to give the right information to whomever may be registering your music to ensure that your works are accurately linked to your IPI number. 

The Modern Musician has a great short, sharp video on the importance of IPIs here. 

I have two IPI numbers. What now? 

If you have erroneously applied twice for membership with your home society, you might want to consider reaching out to a Membership Support member to merge the two IPIs into one profile. It is important to note that you can belong to two societies, but should always only have one IPI.

Why do you need my ISRC?

Producers of recordings assign ISRCs to their recordings to allow each recording to be clearly, unambiguously distinguished from other recordings across complex value chains

Digital distributors use ISRC within their databases and stores, linked to information such as reviews, and for sales reporting

Music Licensing Companies use ISRC to identify tracks and to implement track-based distribution and reporting

Broadcasters and webcasters use ISRC in their reports of the usage of recordings

ISRC may also have a role in certain anti-piracy scenarios

With the transition to digital commerce, the ISRC has become increasingly important, as it can reliably identify recordings when data is exchanged between different proprietary systems.

More on ISRC.IFPI.org

What if I don’t have an ISRC yet?

In some cases, you may wish to register a work that is yet to be released, or when you’ve yet to allocate an ISRC. Paradise Publishing can still register the work, but be sure to notify your publishing representative when you do have an ISRC, so that they can update the work.

How can MRT help get me paid publishing and NR income?

Music Recognition Technology is of utmost importance to the Paradise Family. As leaders in this field, they see the value not only for auditing purposes, but also so that our writers and performers are accurately paid any time their music is used commercially. MRT devices are becoming increasingly prevalent in live music venues, bars and taverns, even hair salons and tattoo parlours where blanket licenses are mandatory. MRT also helps us identify “dirty” uses, uncleared remixes and accurate radio and television broadcast. More about the mammoth Trides Project that Paradise is championing here.

Check out our blog on how MRT can help with royalty claims here.