Published today at The Great Escape, the UK’s biggest showcase festival for new music, a new guide from the Music Managers Forum and produced by CMU Insights, lifts the lid on the complex way in which songwriters’ repertoire is licensed to digital music services, and how inefficient payment systems are drastically reducing the royalties that creators receive.
While featured artists can be paid royalties within weeks of a track they performed on being streamed - especially if they self-release via a DIY distribution platform - those who actually wrote the track must frequently wait years before receiving their share.
This is the result of a complex system of ‘royalty chains’, whereby global-facing digital music services are often licensed on a territorial basis and revenues flow between a succession of overseas collecting societies, publishers and other intermediaries. It means songwriters and composers frequently face a series of delays and deductions to their royalty payments, as well as a significant risk of their rights being misreported and unattributed.
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