This week we catch up with Lara Baker, Director of Business Development, UK & Ireland at Songtrust.
Songtrust is the world’s largest technology solution for global music publishing royalty collection and administration. It was founded to simplify music rights management and remove the complexity of the publishing landscape. Songtrust administers more than 2,000,000 songs and represents more than 300,000 songwriters, with a core mission to help songwriters, music creators, and rights holders.
Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at Songtrust and how you work with music managers.
I handle business development in the UK & Ireland for Songtrust – for those who don’t know Songtrust is the world’s leading technology solution for global music publishing royalty collection and administration. The idea is to simplify music rights management and remove the complexity of the publishing landscape, so that any writer at any stage in their career can collect what they’re due. Songtrust’s core mission is to help musicians, publishers, labels, and managers easily track and collect global publishing royalties for their music catalogues.
Songtrust administers more than 2,000,000 songs and represents more than 300,000 songwriters. So whether managers are working with developing artists/writers who are currently just with their PRO, or with established artists/writers coming out of publishing deals, or with producers who have writing credits, or whether the management company themselves wants a publishing company set up – we can help! We are so pleased to be working with many MMF members already.
What new music releases are you enjoying currently?
I’m loving the new Bring Me The Horizon album which features my friends Nova Twins – they’re going from strength to strength and it’s great to see things exploding for them. They’re true girl power! Also the massive tune ‘Red Card’ from Frisco, who is a Songtrust client. And my song of the summer (although that’s long gone now isn’t it) was ‘BRB’ by Mahalia, which was co-written by Songtrust writer Nayla Nyassa (aka Sillkey).
How have things been for Songtrust since the COVID-19 pandemic hit? Any significant challenges? How are you are adapting your services?
It has been the strangest year, and I’m so grateful that Songtrust and the leadership team at Downtown has been really supportive of staff through all of this (my US colleagues have had the added stress of the election, as if COVID wasn’t enough). We have actually been busier than ever, and we are acutely aware that with many income streams that artists usually rely on (live, for example) being on hold for the foreseeable, educating artists/writers and their teams about collecting everything that they are due in the publishing space is vital. So much money is being left on the table, and now more than ever we need to make sure that this money reaches the writers. Having songs correctly and globally registered has never been more vital. We have always worked hard to educate creators, but this year we have increased the number of free webinars and educational resources we are providing, to help writers understand their rights and how to collect what they’re due.
The role of the manager has evolved massively in recent years, as highlighted in the MMF’s 2019 report, with managers taking on an increasing amount of responsibilities. Has this influenced the way you work with managers at Songtrust?
Managers have to have a thorough understanding of every income stream available to their artist, and I know publishing administration can often feel like a minefield! Some managers I deal with have an indepth understanding of the publishing world and how publishing administrators like Songtrust add value, others are new to it and understandably ask for a certain amount of education and explanation. I’m really happy to provide resources like our Modern Guide to Music Publishing or jump on Zoom and present an overview of music publishing and how to manage your rights in this area. When it comes to global publishing administration, there are no stupid questions!
Are there any managers you particularly enjoy working with – or consider to be doing brilliant work in their field?
As I worked for AIM for many years and then consulted for the MMF before Songtrust, I am fortunate to know many in the management world really well, and it’s a community I love working with! I’m pleased that so many MMF members are using Songtrust to handle publishing admin for their writers, and I couldn’t possibly single any out!!
In terms of brilliant work I am in awe of Charlie Pierce who manages UK Americana artist Yola. The breakthrough success she has had in the US (including 4 Grammy nominations!!) has been so inspiring to watch. Charlie and Yola have an incredible partnership and Charlie laid everything on the line to follow her belief in Yola. I love to see women lifting each other up.
Do you think there are any positive opportunities or changes in the music industry you believe we will see happen “once we’re though the other side of all this” (Covid)?
Well I miss live shows so much and for me livestreaming gigs really doesn’t compare with the real thing! BUT I do think that now we’re getting the hang of the technology and the payment models, livestreaming will be a useful additional income stream and option when gigs return. For example when gigs sell out, or for people in other countries who can’t attend shows in real life, it presents an opportunity.
I’ve also found that this year has given many managers who often don’t have the headspace for publishing admin the time needed to get rights management and registrations in order for their writers, and that will certainly serve them well in the longterm.
Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are considering working with you at Songtrust or finding out more about what you do?
We are a very friendly team and as I said, there are no stupid questions when it comes to publishing, so please just get in touch!
Thank you, Lara and Songtrust for supporting the MMF and our membership through our Associate’s programme.
You can email Lara at – firstname.lastname@example.org