JACK RUSSELL MUSIC – GENERAL FAQs
Q: What is Jack Russell Music?
A: Jack Russell Music is an independent publisher, partnering with writers to administer their publishing catalogues. Our flexible style allows us to offer high quality songwriter services, without you surrendering your artistic rights.
You can listen to some of our catalogue here.
Q: What does Jack Russell Music do as your Publishing Administrator?
A: Jack Russell Music administers all the rights to the songs you have written, collecting and distributing the monies to you when your compositions are used commercially.
Q: What services does Jack Russell Music provide?
Q: What is the advantage of seeking a publishing administrator?
A: We can save you time, money and stress. Administering the copyright and making all the necessary claims with the societies is complex and time consuming. It can also be expensive if you want to set up systems worldwide to collect your royalties. Jack Russell Music can alleviate this workload through our systems and experience.
Q: Why should I choose Jack Russell Music?
A: Jack Russell Music’s strength lies in a personal approach and a positive attitude towards publishing collections. We have over 20 years’ experience managing approximately 1000 clients, handling their publishing requirements including registration, liaising with societies and distributing the revenue on time every quarter.
Q: What is your background?
A: Jack Russell Music was founded by Clare Ram in 2007. Clare’s previous experience came from a long tenure with Greensleeves Publishing, where she started work in 1987. Initially working in accounts, she progressed into the publishing side of the business, eventually running the administration side of their burgeoning catalogue. She brings a wealth of music publishing knowledge and experience to Jack Russell Music and leads a strong, motivated team, eager to provide a first class 21st century publishing service.
Q: Will you pitch my music?
A: Jack Russell Music is primarily an administrator and we do not offer plugging services, however if you partner with us, we will be happy to help advise on promotion where we can and refer you to the right people to assist with this area of your business. We will also share briefs with you for sync that we receive via our sub-publishers and partners. Our sync partners include Café Concerto, Cuesongs and ThinkSync Music.
Q: What is the standard term of your admin agreement?
A: Our agreement term is a standard 3 years because this is usually the minimum contract period for any royalties to start to accrue and filter through from the performing rights organisations. A shorter term would not allow us to both mutually benefit from the receipts of overseas revenues which can take up to 18 months to start appearing post-registration.
Q: How are royalties split with you on a song registration?
A: The standard splits for registration are the publisher collects 100% of Mechanicals and 50% of the Performance revenues – the Publisher Share. You collect 50% of Performance directly via your writer membership and we account the Publisher’s Share to you minus our commission (20%). If you are not a member of a performing rights organisation such as PRS for Music, ASCAP or BMI, we recommend you join as soon as possible – we can assist you with this process as required.
Q: In my JRM agreement, it says you are taking a 40% commission rate on Performance. This seems high – please explain.
A: On all types of income excluding Performance monies, you are paid 80% and we retain 20% for our services. For Performance income, you are paid 50% directly via your performing rights society (‘Writer’s Share). For the remaining 50% Publisher share, we account 60% to you and retain 40%. This works out as follows:
Writer Share Direct (50%) + 60% of Publisher Share (30%) = 80% to you. We retain 40% of the Publisher Share (50%) i.e. 20%.
Q: Why is the term three years in my JRM agreement? I would prefer one-year – is this possible?
A: A one-year admin deal is often far too short for us. It can take 18 months to receive monies from some overseas societies, so we would not be seeing much return for the time invested in registering the catalogue on one-year or even two-year deals. We would like you to re-consider the three-year term.
Q: Where can I get free legal advice regarding my agreement or another issue?
A: If you are a member, PRS offers a Legal Referral Service, where you can obtain one hour of advice from a lawyer on their list. The Ivors Academy and the Musicians’ Union offer similar legal assistance, subject to your membership.
Q: What are ISWCs and ISRCs?
A: An ISWC code is an International Standard Musical Work Code, that is created by CISAC and appears on your song registration when all criteria is met, such as no duplicate claims and the song being 100% registered/accurate. They can be found on your society database as part of the registration when allocated. If your registration is incomplete, the ISWC is not generated until it is. If you are required to supply an ISWC and one hasn’t been created, use the society work number / song code.
An ISRC is an International Sound Recording Code, used by neighbouring rights societies and mastering engineers in the CD master creation process. You can request ISRC code access from your local neighbouring rights society (see JRM Non-Publishing FAQs), with or without membership, though we encourage joining to collect your Performer and Master fees (if applicable) from this right type.
Q: How are registrations and payments made for video games?
A: There is no difference with song registrations for computer games from regular notifications at societies, but it’s important that you read the small print of your deal with the games company. Usually publishing and master rights are bought out completely, which means they should not be registered for a royalty. This is changing however, so if they are allowing you to claim other types of usage, then they can be registered.
Q: How often will you be distributing royalties to me?
A: This will be set out in your agreement. Our standard is normally quarterly in line with the distribution policies of many UK broadcasters. We receive sub- publishing revenue from overseas partners every six months. Our statements are comprehensive and provide you with the full detail of usages.
Q: Why is it important to know about copyright, collection societies and how the music industry functions?
A: The music industry is constantly changing. Labels and publishers now often look for developed artists, so you need to reach a certain level of prominence on your own before they will offer to sign you. You may choose to self-release material or enter developmental relationships with managers, producers, agents or investors instead. The internet has made it possible for artists to be independent. Some choose not to work with a label or a traditional publisher at all. Jack Russell Music offers a good solution for the independent artist – you maintain your publishing rights but we manage the paperwork.
Q: What is a copyright society / PRO?
A: The royalty collection is undertaken by the Performing Rights Organisations (PROs/Societies) of which Jack Russell Music and our partners are members. Publishing relates specifically to the musical work (music and words). PROs include mechanical societies (who collect the publisher’s right for using the song on a physical pressing) such as MCPS and the Harry Fox Agency. They also include Performance bodies like PRS for Music, ASCAP and BMI, who collect airplay revenues from radio, TV, live and all other types of public performance.
There are also PPL and similar neighbouring rights societies around the world who collect artist revenue from radio and television on behalf of the performer and master owner [commonly the record label] (expressly excluding film and advertising where those rights on commissioned music are specifically bought out).
Collection Societies overview (UK)
writer / composer of the song + publisher
sales +streams (50/50 PRS For Music) of recording
PRS FOR MUSIC
writer / composer of the song + publisher
broadcast, sync, live performance
label 50%, artist, performers 50%
broadcast, played in public
Q: What is PRS for Music?
A: PRS for Music (aka PRS) is the UK royalty collection and distribution society, administering the rights of its members (there is an equivalent society in each territory). Its members are songwriters, composers and music publishers. Its customers are music users. PRS for Music issues licenses to its customers which allow them to use its members music. Monies raised from issuing these licenses are paid as royalties to the members whose works have been used.
Q: What is the copyright term for a song/work?
A: In the UK, the publishing copyright term is 70 years after the death of the last living composer associated with the work. There are many territory variants (especially in the US) – see here for a comprehensive overview.
Q: If I am an American writer, which society should I choose?
A: This is a matter of personal preference. There are three to choose from – BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. In recent years SESAC’s joining policy has been restricted to larger earning writers. ASCAP remains the default society where your works will be registered if you are a non-US writer, unless you specify BMI in the registration.
BMI is known for stronger payment on sync performance revenue and slightly faster paying times. However, ASCAP has longer term relationships with other foreign societies and boasts a superior database search facility.
Q: As ASCAP and BMI are combining their databases for easy access as Songview, what do the various song statuses mean?
A: Reconciled – this means that the information at both societies matches.
Pending Society Review – the song data is yet to be received.
Share or participant conflict – this means that the information doesn't match at both ASCAP and BMI and needs to be queried at your relevant society.
Q: Should I always copyright my works?
A: You are not obliged to do this – some composers choose to send a registered letter, sealed letter to themselves or deliver materials to a solicitor. If you do release your material (see Digital Distribution section), whilst it doesn’t protect your copyright, the release date does at least provide a form of marking an approximate date of creation and delivery to the public. It is recommended to register your work at the society (via Jack Russell Music if we are your administrator). This again provides supporting evidence towards a creation date, should details be required in any legal proceedings.
Q: What’s the difference between “administration” and “publishing”?
A: The services on offer from both parties can be similar but there are differences: the copyright of a song that is “published” is owned by the publisher, whereas the ownership of an “administered” song stays with the songwriter, and the paperwork is handled by the administrator.
Many songwriters prefer to continue owning their copyrights and simply outsource the registration, licensing, royalty collection and auditing functions on their songs.
Others choose to partner with a publisher, obtaining advances that may be available to them, based on their prominence as an artist.
With some exceptions, Jack Russell Music focuses on administration services which allows efficient collection of revenue without selling your rights to a third party such as a major publisher. Major publishers cannot dedicate as much time to their artist’s needs, due to the size of their rosters.
Q: I'm a performing rights organisation writer member and my song registrations are split 50/50 with Jack Russell Music Ltd. Why is that?
A: A publisher is only entitled to claim 50% of the Performance rights. The other 50% (commonly known as the ‘Writer Share’) is paid to you directly from your PRO. Any further payment due to you from the ‘Publisher Share’ will be accounted to you by Jack Russell as per your contract.
Q: What are the different types of Publishing Agreement?
A: Writer to Publisher:
Publisher to Publisher:
Q: In a joint recording and publishing deal, what is a co-terminus?
A: A co-terminus is when both your publishing and recording deals end at the same time, if signed with the same party. In some cases, it can allow a publisher to extend their overall collection term in accordance with the length of the recording deal.
GETTING ROYALTIES – FAQs
Q: What is the difference between Performing Right royalties, Mechanical royalties and Synchronisation royalties?
A: Performing Right royalties are paid when a song or musical piece is performed in public, whether live or in a recorded version. Mechanical royalties are generated when a song or piece of music is reproduced, in any recorded format (stream, download, vinyl or CD manufacture etc). Synchronisation royalties come from the licences (“Syncs”) that are granted to use a song or piece of music in a soundtrack of any sort (be it online, in film, in a TV show or an advertisement).
Q: How can I make sure I am getting my publishing royalties?
A: In the case of publishing royalties, a songwriter may have a little difficulty if they are just relying on the copyright societies (e.g., BMI, PRS For Music, ASCAP, SESAC, SOCAN etc.). As a publisher, we are in a better position to collect overseas monies. This is because Jack Russell have 21 sub-publishers in different territories worldwide, who collect from their respective Mechanical and Performance societies.
Without these sub-publishers, your songs would not be registered around the world as accurately, resulting in a loss of publishing monies from sale of the recordings or broadcast. The details of our sub-publishers are listed here.
Q: What services does my music need to be featured on to start seeing revenue growth?
There are a vast array of music platforms and broadcasters in the market place, but the most common we see in our royalty processing are:
Major TV or Radio Stations (UK examples – BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky).
Q: What happens if my song is being played on the radio, TV or the internet?
A: Radio airplay is considered a public performance. Public performances generate Performance royalties for songwriters, which are collected by the Performing Rights Organisations (PROs) – these include PRSM,ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Jack Russell Music will assist you (if required) to join a PRO and make sure your song is registered, so that you are eligible to receive royalties. The societies monitor plays across streaming services (e.g., Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube etc.) and pay out publishing royalties. They also manage this type of tracking when your music is played on radio, TV or film.
Q: When do I receive royalties from airplay on radio, TV or film?
A: Usually, for domestic income it takes at least nine to twelve months from the airplay date to the date of payment. The amount of time varies considerably, depending where your track was played and what performing rights organisation (PRO) you are a member of (e.g., BMI, PRS For Music, SOCAN, ASCAP, JACAP etc).
As a general rule, if your music is not played in the country where your PRO resides, you will eventually receive your direct royalties; however international royalty collection and payment takes longer. PROs pay publishers throughout the year. As we are based in the UK, when your tracks get played, we receive the money relatively quickly (around 6 months).
We distribute your royalties to you 4 times a year. Your UK radio royalties will appear on your statement approximately 6 months after the date the song was played. Royalty rates vary hugely across different radio stations. Please refer to the FAQ below on how much you will earn.
For payment dates, you can check the PRO websites - see these links:
Please be advised that BMI will only pay out retro royalties 9 months back from a claim and only if it meets a $25 threshold.
A: First of all, you need to wait 12 months in order to give the PROs time to process the information from the broadcasters and match their playlists with the registrations of your songs.
Sometimes broadcasts can be reported, but the PRO is unable to match the details to the registrations on their database. In this scenario, the royalties are held in the society’s suspense account until a claim is made. At Jack Russell Music, we pride ourselves in locating these unpaid royalties (which may be due to a spelling error or the wrong credit on a cue sheet) and matching them for you.
When you’ve given it a year after the broadcast was aired and still have not received any publishing royalties, get in touch and we can take a look into the issue for you. If you have specific broadcast details (stations, times and days of play), this can really help in making enquiries regarding payment.
Q: How much will I earn in royalties from radio play?
A: PROs calculate royalties based on the station’s music budget, the size of listenership (the more people that listen, the more you can expect to receive), and the length of the play. PRS for Music is unique in providing per minute values for all stations in the UK. If you are a member, you can find out more by logging in to their website here to obtain this information – please note all rates are provided as gross revenue before any splits and publisher commissions.
Q: Why am I not receiving Mechanicals for my release?
A: If you have a release, please tell us, so we can check that the product has been licensed correctly by the label in the appropriate territory. We will require the artist name, product title, territory of release, release date, format and catalogue number to make a successful claim with the societies. We can back claim up to 6 years in the UK on mechanical releases, 5 years in Spain and 3 years in most other territories. Please let us know any additional releases in this time frame. Whilst we can back claim on older releases, please note initial sales may be excluded if beyond the statutory periods set out above.
Q: What is the common UK mechanical rate for physical products?
Although larger major labels have variants on rates, the standard UK mechanical rate is 8.5% of the dealer price or 6.5% of the retail price. To work out how much mechanical revenue you will receive on a product, the calculation is: 8.5% (or 6.5%) of the dealer (or retail) price multiplied by the number of copies manufactured. For a per song calculation, you divide this amount by the number of tracks on an album, although in many cases MCPS will weight the per song calculation on the durations of each track.
In the US, there is a new service run as an initiative with SoundExchange called MDX (Music Data Exchange). Labels can send requests via MDX to publishers for claim verification, so that labels know who to pay for a mechanical license and how to obtain one. For more information, contact: email@example.com
Q: If I have released or performed music but not had an administrator or publisher, how far back can Jack Russell Music go in claiming my monies?
The maximum statutory rates for collection of royalties in the UK is 6 years for mechanicals (CD, vinyl and any other physical formats) and 3 years for Performance (broadcast). Jack Russell Music can claim publishing revenues within these parameters.
For ‘Writer Share’ Performance income, the writer must be an existing member to claim back monies based on the statutory limits above. If the writer is a new member, back claims on Performance income only go back to the half year in which they joined, so if that was Sept 2020, they could only claim from 1st July 2020 for example.
Most performing rights organisations outside the UK only allow 3 years for all types of back claims. In Spain, it is 5 years for Mechanicals and 3 for Performance. The reason for the limited collection terms relates to what period the respective governments insist businesses maintain their financial records for.
Q: I know my songs have been played on smaller radio/TV stations but there are no royalties coming through - why?
A: While larger radio stations pay for every song on every day, some smaller stations only pay for songs played on sample days. In other words, some radio stations only submit track-listings on a few days in a month because the value of their annual licence with the society does not warrant daily reporting. In this scenario, royalties are only paid out to the writers of the tracks played on that day. Some stations may not be licensed at all, so these will not generate any royalties. In some smaller territories, sampling of stations is a standardised practice.
Q: How do you find out how many times a song is being played and where, when you only have the titles and not the recording itself?
A: Each song is given a unique number when it is registered with the societies and when the broadcasters submit their playlists/cue sheets, the songs are linked at the society and monies are distributed accordingly (see ‘What is a Tunecode or Work Number/ID in the ‘Copyright FAQ’). The broadcasters determine how many times the song is played and add it to their society submissions. We do not need the recording – publishing monies are distributed according to the song title, not the actual recording. If your recording is licensed to a label, you will receive mechanical income based on the number of units manufactured or sold. Publishers collect on behalf of writers. Do not be confused with labels who collect on behalf of the artist - recording and publishing are separate functions.
Q: What can I do to increase my radio royalties?
A: Your songs should be on rotation for more than three months, played on legal radio stations or TV. If you have a release campaign and budget, you can hire a radio plugger to pitch your music to radio stations. Please bear in mind that this can be costly and does not always guarantee results in terms of what you have paid for the service vs gain in royalties.
In the UK, you may be able to get regional plays on the BBC by signing up to BBC Introducing.
Q: How do I collect overseas publishing royalties?
A: A songwriter may have difficulty if they are just relying on the PROs - a publisher is in a better position to collect overseas royalties. As we are UK based, we have a network of sub-publishers, who administer our tracks around the world. These companies pay us twice a year, so the revenue will take time to come through. Additionally, if you have had a previous publisher, it is possible we are working out disputes with them on your behalf – this can slow down our collection of your royalties.
It may seem obvious, but your statement will only indicate songs that have monies accrued up to our accounting period. Other songs will not be listed although we do have them registered.
Q: What happens to the payment of royalties if a songwriter dies?
A: The person designated in the will to receive monies from the estate will be in the position to arrange successor membership for royalties with the deceased writer’s PRO.
Q: What is the United States Controlled Composition Clause?
A: The Controlled Composition Clause is an American device where the labels (or PROs) cap mechanicals - it is standard practice for them to only pay publishers 75% of the royalties instead of 100%. Composers have little to no power not to agree, as that is how the system works in the USA. Only when an artist becomes a big multi-platinum success, is there an opportunity to leverage more than 75% in this territory.
Q: I’m in a band and I often collaborate with other songwriters, how do I ensure that royalty payments are split fairly between all of us?
A: There is no set way of deciding how to split the percentage of contribution when there are multiple writers. It is simply what is agreed between the parties and is ideally stated in a band agreement, avoiding disputes which in some cases can result in legal action. Co-writers should always agree in writing their individual contributions and credits as soon as a song is complete.
Q: Why haven’t I received any PRS for Music statements recently?
A: PRS for Music only generate statements when paying out royalties that achieve £30 or above (distribution threshold).
Q: I know my songs have been streamed, but there are no royalties coming through. Why?
A: This is either because the amounts have not reached a threshold which triggers payment, or, because not enough time has passed for the royalties to be collected and distributed to you. Don’t forget that royalties, such as those for streaming, can be very low and thus it takes longer to pass the society threshold for payment. In these cases, the royalties keep accruing until the threshold is cleared and funds can be distributed. Some streaming platforms may not even be licensed, although all larger providers generally are.
Read a very good article on streaming / publishing here:
Q: What are some of the current streaming rates?
A: According to this analysis in 2017 by Mixmag:
There is little data available for Amazon at the moment, as their streaming service is still in its infancy.
To put it simply - if your track has 10,000 plays on those platforms it generates:
This money then needs to be split between all rights owners. Please note the figures in this analysis are subject to change.
Q: Is Jack Russell a member of IMPEL and what is the benefit to me as a composer?
A: Jack Russell is a member of IMPEL, an international collective of independent music publishers who, together, license their mechanical rights to a wide range of digital service providers. The key benefit is that digital royalties are paid directly to Jack Russell Music through its IMPEL membership, rather than these being subject to the commission deductions of sub publishers.
Q: Does YouTube pay performing rights royalties? If it does, would they be paid to the relevant PRO?
A: Yes it does - the payment is made to the performing rights organisation in the territory that the video is viewed in, with the exception of North America. See below on our set up for the USA and Canada.
Q: The PROs manage the collection of YouTube revenue for publishing WORLD ex USA & Canada. How do you manage American and Canadian collections?
A: We have a partnership with Royalty Network, who we supply all publishing data and ISRCs to on a monthly basis, for the management and collection of North American YouTube publishing monies. If we have ISRC codes for your tracks, then it makes it easier for this revenue to be collected.
Q: How can I whitelist my YouTube channel against your publishing copyright claims on my behalf?
A: If you want us to whitelist your channel, simply provide us with the URL and we will liaise with Royalty Network to ensure the process is completed.
Q: Can I get my songs printed as sheet music?
A: Typically sheet music is produced on a commercial basis i.e., if a sheet music publisher sees value in producing printed editions of material. The sheet music royalty for the composer is typically 12.5% to 17.5% of the retail price of the music book. In lieu of a publishing partnership, there are many online resources where you can make your lyrics and chords available such as Lyrics.com and Genius.
Q: Does PRS for Music in the UK offer any service to manage anti-piracy of my material online?
A: If you're a PRS for Music member, you can sign up to our Member Anti-Piracy System (MAPS). Once you have an account, you can easily report any breaches of your copyright. Email to sign up: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Do you have any recent examples of income differences between streaming services?
A: A recent US top ten hit earned one artist $149,000 in three years in Performance royalties. The radio performance with 347,820 spins accrued $53,000.
Some interesting statistics from that report showed an in-car streaming service like Sirius XM paid $765 for 1509 streams. Other larger services like Pandora paid just $278 for 38,225,700 streams and YouTube paid $218.17 for 34,220,900.
Q: So. specifically, is there a simple calculation you can make in order to estimate publishing earnings from the total number of streams on YouTube?
A: YouTube accountings are very complex. It’s very difficult to estimate YouTube earnings based on views because not all views are created equal. It depends on when the video is monetized, where (in which territory) the video is monetized, where the views occur, what type of video/channel it is (UGC, premium, MCN, label-owned), etc. Even among monetized, US-only, UGC views, the answer varies significantly based on ad revenue, which is controlled entirely by Google. Ad rates and sales volume fluctuate significantly month by month, video by video, etc.
Q: How are royalties paid for music used on Facebook?
A: Facebook (which also covers Instagram) has yet to provide information on what music was used as they are still in the process of setting up their music reporting systems. However, PRS for Music made its first payment for Facebook based on data from the main streaming services: Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and Google Play.
Unlike YouTube, there aren’t currently extra monetisation options on the platforms for the masters via Google ads. This may change in the future. Tik Tok and ICE (who manage rights for PRS for Music) went into arbitration to resolve music licensing in Dec 2019. We have no further details regarding the licensing of this platform at this time.
Q: Can Jack Russell Music track the places my songs have been played? Or is there a report that shows that information?
A: This information doesn’t tend to be shared with us by PRS For Music, as they simply send us the rough date of the play and the money to go along with it. If you want to track just radio play, then WARM Music is a great service to use and isn’t too expensive.
Q: How does an artist earn revenue from mixtapes in Jamaica?
A: Mixtapes are licensed and collected under JACAP’s DJ licencing scheme, then distributed to the writer members and publisher/affiliated members accordingly.
Further details on the scheme can be found here.
Q: Am I entitled to publishing royalties from sampled or remixed recordings of my songs?
A: Yes, you are entitled to a share of the publishing and the master (if the original master is used and you own it). If an artist has recorded a straightforward version of your song, this is known as a cover. The standard process for this is that they will credit the work on label copy of a release and/or a set list and you will be paid the publishing accordingly. If they have created a new song but used elements of your original work in that piece, this is considered to be a publishing sample. A publishing sample is subject to your approval and you have the right to reject the use if you wish. Should you wish to approve the sample, we can help negotiate a share of the publishing on your behalf. If you own the master and that has been sampled, we again can liaise with the label to reach a fair deal for the usage.
Q: Should we notify you of a remix for the purposes of a new registration?
A: A remix wouldn’t be registered as a separate work for publishing unless there is an additional writer who has added some contribution in the process, agreed with the original writers. A remix in publishing terms is simply treated like a cover recording. If you are using a third party’s sound recording in your remix, you will need to clear this with the original owner.
You will also need to clear the use of the original publishing in a scenario where there is a new musical contribution from you and the original work is being adapted in some form. This would be a negotiation on writer splits. On clearance of a master recording for your remix, it is likely that the original master owner would draft a licence and include an income participation share for you as the remixer.
Q: I am selling beats for use in recordings. What royalties am I entitled to?
A: Generally, the use of beats would be treated like a standard sample licence. The exception would be if you are marketing those beats like library recordings, whereby the user pays a set fee for use of the beat and they have no further recourse for paying royalties or arranging a sample licence.
Q: What experience does Jack Russell Music have of representing film music? If my compositions are broadcast in other countries, can Jack Russell Music track music usage in the film through the societies?
A: Collecting on film use is relatively simple providing we have the cue sheet. This would be supplied by the production team of the film. Ideally, you will work with us to supply whatever information you can on the film’s release and its airing on television. Sometimes a helpful distributor can supply a list of territories where a film is sold.
Q: Why are my PRS for Music royalties from Sky TV changing?
A: This is part of the changes to PRS for Music’s broadcast distribution policy. Since October 2018, PRS for Music has been phasing in changes to their broadcast distribution policy to make sure that you’re paid more fairly when your music is used on radio and TV. In December 2019, PRS for Music started the second phase of their Sky TV time of day changes, which means you may see a difference in your royalties if your music is used on Sky TV. If you are a PRS for Music member, you can log in and view their TV time of day bands webpage for more detailed information on the change.
COPYRIGHT – FAQs
Q: What does copyright mean?
A: When an artist creates and records something, they automatically own the copyright. Nobody else can use, distribute, copy, or make money from it without permission.
The first owner of copyright for a song would be:
You are due income for a work via performance, recording or broadcast if you are the writer and copyright holder (either in whole or part) for a composition or song. If you enter into a publishing deal, the publisher becomes the owner of the copyright for the length of term dictated in the agreement between you.
Q: What are the different types of music rights?
A: Mechanical Right: the right to reproduce your song by mechanical means on a sound carrier such as vinyl, CD, DVD, downloads and streaming. These rights are managed by MCPS or an overseas equivalent.
Performance Right: the right to broadcast your song via radio play, TV usage, live performance, downloads and streaming. These rights are managed by PRS For Music or an overseas equivalent.
Neighbouring Right: related to the public performance of master recordings. Typically, the licence for these is handled by PPL or an overseas equivalent.
Master Right: the recording rights (separate from neighbouring rights). Usage of these rights for sync is managed by the master owner. The master owner also controls the right to monetise YouTube usage.
Grand Right: the right to perform musical compositions within the context of a dramatic work i.e. stage performances such as musical theatre and concert dance. This right also covers arrangements of music from a dramatic work. The payment of revenues for this right is managed by the producer of the show directly with the composer.
Small Right: the right to use interpolated music and incidental music within a dramatic presentation that is not specifically written for the production. PRS for Music (or their overseas equivalents) administer these rights on behalf of the writers and publishers.
Q: Which areas of copyright should I be most concerned with in the music industry?
Q: How do JRM register my songs?
A: You should register yourself with one of the PROs and obtain a CAE (Composer-Author-Editeur) number which is unique to you. Jack Russell will register your interest in the works to ensure you are being fairly paid for your music in a timely manner. Societies are not pro-active in terms of seeking missing information to make song payments. Jack Russell Music will be responsive in ensuring the societies have the relevant information in advance of broadcast and release, so there are no revenue gaps.
Q: On a publishing registration, what do the different acronyms stand for?
A: On a publishing registration, "E" stands for Publisher because of the French word for Publisher, which is Editeur. “C” is for composer, “A” is for author and “CA” is for Composer/Author.
Q: What is my CAE/IPI Number?
A: CAE stands for “Composer/Author/Editeur” and is also known as an IPI or membership number. You receive a CAE/IPI number when you have joined a PRO directly as a member. Writers should always join their local PRO to ensure they collect ‘Writer Share’ of Performance revenue directly. This means you will receive your Writer Performance royalties faster than if the royalties had to collected (in lieu of direct membership) via Jack Russell Music. It is also much easier for the overseas PROs to pay out your writer share of royalties for any international usages.
Q: What is a Tunecode or Work Number/ID?
A: Each song is given a unique number when it is registered with the societies. When the radio and TV stations submit their cue sheets, the songs are linked at the society and monies are distributed accordingly. We do not need the recording for tracking. Publishing monies are normally distributed according to the song title not the recording. If your recording is licensed to a label, you will receive mechanical income from us via the PROs.
Q: Should I be logging into my society account and registering any amendments?
A: You are welcome to log in and make observations, but if we are administering your catalogue, we will make revisions to any repertoire and submit all new registrations on your behalf. This allows us to eliminate any errors causing difficulties in royalty flow. Please keep us informed regarding all your new compositions, so we are up to date with your catalogue.
Q: I’m using the lyrics/music of a song by a deceased writer – do I need to gain permission to use it?
A: Yes, unless the lyrics/music was written and published over 70 years after the death of the last living writer. This is the international standard for length of copyright set, yet there are regional variations. See this document for a full list of territories and the length of copyright protection.
Q: When amendments are made to registrations at a society, what is the expected turnaround time until the changes reflect on the repertoire search?
A: You should ideally query this with your society, but as a general rule of thumb, you should expect to see changes between 30 and 60 days. It depends on how many parties have to approve the update, how quickly they respond and what the current processing times of the society are. If it is a straightforward revision where there are no additional parties (i.e., other publishers), the turnaround will be quicker. If there is a conflict on shares, this will need to be resolved by all parties before the registration can be completed. Societies will ask for supporting documentation. If only one party sends the information within the society timeframe, the registration will be amended in their favour. Should all parties provide information and there is still a conflict, the society will freeze the registration and suspend revenues until the parties resolve the dispute mutually.
Q: What about American Copyright Law & The Library of Congress?
A: If you have an American copyright, responsible Original Publishers in this territory will have registered this with the US Library of Congress. The Copyright Act includes two sets of rules for published works. If an artist or author sold a copyright before 1978 (Section 304), they or their heirs can request a reversion of rights 56 years later. If the artist or author sold the copyright during or after 1978 (Section 203), they can terminate the publisher’s rights after 35 years.
LIVE MUSIC – FAQs
Q: I’m playing some live gigs. How can I get paid for the songs I play?
A: You should submit your set lists as soon as possible to your local PRO (this is your responsibility and does not fall under the duties of a publisher). For example, if you are a member in the UK, you can report live sets to PRS for Music – see further information here.
Q: Will I get royalties for gigs I’ve already played?
A: You can. Dependent on the PRO that you are affiliated with, you can go back, in some cases, up to a year. Please check your PRO’s website.
Q: How much will I receive for each gig?
A: It depends on various factors: the size of the gig, the ticket price and whether you’re headlining. Basically, the higher the gate revenue, the larger your royalty return will be (see Royalty FAQs for further live performance royalty information).
Q: Will my local pub or bar be charged if I claim for a gig there?
A: They should already have a live music licence, so your royalty will come out of funds set aside by the societies for that purpose.
Q: Can I collect royalties for cover versions I’ve performed?
A: No, only for songs that you’ve written or co-written, although you should include covers that you perform in your set list returns, so that the original songwriter(s) and publishers will benefit.
Q: Do I get a royalty for every performance?
A: Yes, if the venue is licensed and if you submit your set lists. Please note smaller venues and pubs will yield a lesser return than larger venues.
Q: What about live recordings on YouTube and other channels?
A: You will be entitled to royalties for these, though please see the FAQ on YouTube royalties above for an indication on remuneration.
Q: Who can submit the set lists?
A: It is much quicker if you submit your own set lists directly to your PRO (in the UK, that will be to PRS for Music). Relying on promoters or third parties can be risky. Jack Russell Music do not manage live returns for you.
Q: Why haven’t I received royalties for my live performance yet?
A: Roughly speaking, royalties from smaller venues (pubs, cafes and so forth) can take on average of 9-12 months to return a royalty. Royalties from major venues/events (O2 Academies & Festivals etc) take an average of 12-18 months to be distributed, with royalties from overseas live shows taking a year or more to account. It’s important to note that this waiting time begins from when you submit your live return details to your society and not from the date of the performance.
Q: Are all performances reported in the same way?
A: Depending upon which PRO you are a member of, you will find separate forms or links to report major live events and festivals, gigs and clubs, and overseas concerts.
Q: How are royalties split between the headline act and support acts at gigs?
A: As of 1 January 2019, PRS For Music will allocate 80 percent of a concert’s royalties to music performed by the headline act, and the remaining 20 percent will be allocated to music performed by the support acts. Within these two groups, the allocation for each musical work will then be determined by the relative performance duration of each work. This policy applies to all concerts which are licensed under Tariff LP. This includes the use of copyright music, controlled by PRS For Music, at live popular music events, where a charge is made for admission.
Q: Why are royalties no longer distributed evenly between the headliners and support acts?
A: The new policy is fairer in the way it values the music performed by headline artists. This was supported by:
Q: What about festival Performance royalties collected by PRS for Music?
A: The changes above do not affect the current policy for festival performances i.e. PRS for Music divides the allocation of royalties for each festival between the stages based on capacity, and then allocates each payment to the acts who performed.
Q: Is there any information available on the effect of Covid-19 on royalties?
A: PRS for Music has provided an update on the effect of the pandemic on royalties. For more information, click here.