Why am I not seeing performance royalties for my songs in ads, concert tours, or other categories?
Excellent question! Before we get to the answer, please allow me to share a brief anecdote.
I try to make sure songwriting projects and processes run smoothly. But when things go off the rails, I like to play a little game called (and you have to yell this part out loud like a game show audience), “Whooooose! Fault! Is It?!”
So, when the question came up about why performance royalties are often missing for certain categories of songs, I thought it would be a perfect time to play (louder in the back!), “Whooooose! Fault! Is It?!”
I checked in with a few trusted sources in publishing, admin and at the PROs.
Songwriter friends, it pains me to say this. But the #1 answer is… IT IS OUR FAULT.
Whaaat? How? Can’t we just sit back and relax and expect our performance royalties to come to us? If only.
Getting all the royalty dots to connect is a complex operation. Not only do songs have to be registered properly in the first place, but there are also some extra steps to take to make sure special category songs are surveyed (meaning they are in the system and accounted for).
If your eyes are starting to glaze over, SNAP OUT OF IT! This is important. We have to help our publishers, administrators and PROs by providing the necessary details. Read on to find out how you can do your part!
1. START WITH THE BASICS: WRITER NAMES, PRO INFO AND SPLITS
It is of the utmost importance to register a song with the proper writer names, PRO info, splits, and other details (expert tip: include the performer name, even if it is yourself). Don’t make your publisher stalk you! – be proactive with the information. And if you’re self-published, take a minute to double check your registrations.
2. ADVERTISEMENTS AND LIVE PERFORMANCES
Certain uses of songs require extra information from YOU. Here are PRO guidelines and links for song registrations in special categories. (Fine print: this is info I collected from the PROs: I am not speaking on their behalf.)
ASCAP: For detailed info, go to https://www.ascap.com/help/royalties-and-payment/payment/musicinadvertisements. TO SUBMIT YOUR CLAIM: Go to Member Access, then choose Messages, then New Message, then Advertisement Claims.
BMI: For detailed info, go to: https://www.bmi.com/creators/royalty/us_television_royalties, then scroll down to Music Used Within Advertisements section. TO SUBMIT YOUR CLAIM: email [email protected]. You will need an identifying code from Vivvix ad tracking.
SESAC: Make sure the music used in the advertisement is registered correctly, including Vivvix ad tracking code and other details requested through the portal. TO SUBMIT YOUR CLAIM: Go to member portal, select the track, click the drop-down menu to “Manage Jingles,” and enter the required information.
EXPERT TIPS: Learn about Vivvix, the ad tracking and reporting service. Their ad codes are a key detail in connecting your music with the PROs.
Actual advice from VIVVIX!
“Songwriters can email us at ‘[email protected]‘ to have an account created. Once they have an account, they can search for ads by using filters on the platform such as Date Range, Advertiser, and Media, etc. to help narrow down the ad they are looking for and can then use the ad code associated with that ad.”
LIVE PERFORMANCES (tours, recitals, etc.)
ASCAP: To register songs being performed live (non-classical), go to https://www.ascap.com/member-access#onstage and follow the instructions to submit performances and set lists. For classical concerts, go to https://www.ascap.com/help/registering-your-music/performancenotification.
BMI: To register songs being performed live, go to BMI Live: https://www.bmi.com/special/bmi_live. Follow the instructions to register performance info and set lists online to be considered for payment in live music venues, regardless of size.
SESAC: To register songs being performed live, log into the portal at https://affiliates.sesac.com/login and follow the instructions to register live performance info.
EXPERT TIPS: Make sure your PRO has a complete set list. ALL 3 PROs listed here survey top artist tours, and set lists should be provided by the tour. BUT it helps to double-check with your PRO that the info being supplied is correct.
3. WILDCARD: THEME PARKS
If you have written original music for a theme park, make sure that the songs are registered, and that cue sheets have been submitted to the PROs. You may need to track down the production company for help. Pester, pester, pester!
In short, don’t be the winner of “Whooooose! Fault! Is It?!” Take an active role in getting your songs properly registered. Check out your PRO’s website to learn how royalties are paid out, and if you don’t see something on your statement that should be there, reach out to your PRO. A little investment of your time can go a long way!
Jeannie Lurie is an Emmy, Annie and Critics’ Choice Award nominated songwriter with 15+ years experience creating hundreds of songs for Disney, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, and more.
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