Top 5 Tips to Maximise Earnings from Collection Societies
Collection societies provide a range of valuable services to artists. They provide a ‘bridge’ between the artist and music user by granting licences to use your music. As part of this service, collection societies recover licence fees from music users and distribute these fees to the artist. In the UK we are fortunate to be home to PRS for Music – one of the world’s leading collecting societies.
Here are our top tips for maximising your revenue from collection societies:
- Register with your collecting society. You can register with PRS for Music by clicking here. Once registered, you will start to receive royalty payments from your collection society. Different societies pay in different ways but, with PRS for Music, royalties are divided between the writer and publisher in accordance with the publishing agreement. If your publishing agreement does not specify the division of royalties, 50% will be paid to the writer and 50% to the publisher. For mechanical rights, PRS for Music will pay 100% of the royalties to the publisher on publication of the music. If the music is unpublished, 100% of the royalties is paid to the writer.
- Manage your relationship. Whilst many collection societies have good working relationships with other societies in other countries, the system is far from perfect. So, if you are aware that your work is receiving substantial airplay in, say, France, but you are not being paid for this use, then let your collection society know this. It is preferable to be able to state where and when your work is being used so that your collection society can relay this information to their overseas counterpart.
- Consider other collection organisations. In many countries the law recognises a range of rights in a song. In the UK, for example, there is copyright in the lyrics, in the music, and in any performance of the work. If you are registered with PRS for Music then this will ensure that you are paid for your songwriting, composing and publishing. However, you would also need to register with PPL who collect licence fees on behalf of performers and their record companies.
- Make a back dated claim. Many collection societies are more than happy to assist you in making a back dated claim for royalties. For example, PRS for Music will allow you to back date a claim up to three years – provided you were a member during this time.
- Make use of special schemes. Many societies provide special schemes to allow you to recover royalties in special situations. A good example is PRS for Music’s Gigs and Clubs scheme where, if an artist has performed a gig at a pub, club or bar they can submit a typical set list. PRS for Music then pay the songwriters and publishers of the works performed. The scheme benefits touring performers, resident performers and DJs alike.
If you have any questions about any of the matters discussed above, then please feel welcome to call Mark Roberts of Legality Solicitors on 0161 826 9309.