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Why Sell Your Masters? & #IAOTW - Ruby Camille  

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

For some of the best independent music from artists you need to know, click, listen and follow https://spoti.fi/3td3Xol. It’s time for some self love and some self care. Listen to the song in the number one spot this week from Ruby Camille called Self Love. Know any Indie artists that need to make the list? Send them to me, if we dig ‘em, they take the number one spot. 

This week, Why you selling out? - Let’s go -  

Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Stevie Nicks are among the artists who have sold off all or part of their back catalogs. And Lil Wayne reportedly sold not only his masters but all of Young Money’s as well; that includes Nicki Minaj and Drake for one hundred million dollars, that’s $100,000,000; 🤯  Bruce sold his for 500 million 🤯🤯  - Why? If you remember last week I told you that ownership is control. And I know I see a lot of people who have no idea how any of this works get on social media and say how dumb it is for selling out. So are they forgoing future royalties and creative control over their songs? Well this will only give you a glimpse, but you can always reach out to me for more information. So why sell your control? Several reasons. I will be the first to say I’m not a fan of selling your masters, but I understand. One key reason that a lot of artists are now selling is the capital gains tax. CGT applies when you are taxed on assets that make money, like royalties and are paid by the top 1% of earners, like Lil Wayne and ‘nem. CGT is going up to 39.6 for those making over 400K, so naturally to offset the tax hike, you sell quickly before the new law comes into place.

Another reason is Covid. Yep Covid 19 is all in the music business. Since the Covid shut downs, music has not sold as it once did. All of the TV shows, and commercial ads, tours and clubs and places that pay royalties have not been in operation. Even now that things are opening back up, shows that once used big songs in their programming have not been using them. Therefore to make up for the money lost, bigger acts are taking the right now money and forgoing money down the road. And say what you will a hundred million is a hundred million and it’s not getting taxed as it would if it was coming in once a quarter when royalty statements come out. Now let’s understand that it’s not necessarily an all or nothing proposition. You can sell a portion and keep the rest, maybe sell it later. But at the end of the day, the master owner holds the control even in the negotiations of selling their catalog.  

This week's #IAOTW - Independent Artists Of The Week is Ruby Camille - singer-songwriter from Nashville. She is available for bookings too. Go to her website or just give me a shout. 

For more information on this or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next Tuesday.

Master Ownership? & #IAOTW - Victor VC Caldwell 

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

First Happy New Year - again 😆. For some of the best independent music from artists you need to know, click and follow https://spoti.fi/3td3Xol. Know Indy artists that need to make the list? Send them to me and they take the number one spot.  

This week Should you own your masters? - Let’s go -  

The Master recording is the official original recording of a song, sound or performance. This means that this is the most authentic superior sonic account of your song. Anything else is a copy and after that, especially in the digital world, a copy of a copy. That song is a whole made up of two parts, the Master and the Publishing, but today we will focus on the Master and ownership. Ultimately the Master Rights are usually owned by whoever finances the recording. Sometimes this is the record label, an executive producer, or you the independent DIY musician. 

Traditionally in the big machine of the record labels, deals are structured so that the label, not the artist, owns the masters and ALL songs created during that deal. 🤢  Yeah makes you sick huh. Yes, the artist does get an advance and a royalty percentage for all PROFITS, not all money. In other words a percentage off the net not the gross. Meaning the artist doesn’t see a dime until AFTER the label has recouped on that advance and all expenditures. So all money ain’t good money right? ......I guess🤷🏾‍♂️  

Many artists like Tayler Swift in their early days of recording don’t realize that signing away the masters means selling the rights to not only their work for that project, but sometimes their future especially for the length of that contract. And what if your best work is your first group of recordings? So when you hear it on commercials, movies, sampled etc - guess who’s getting paid? 

Here’s the simplicity of this, by owning your master recordings, you keep the creative control of your song, your sound, and your vibe. You have the right and the control to release your music however, whenever and wherever you want. The issue then becomes, do you know how or have the contacts to get your music to all the places you want it to go? 🤔 

This week's #IAOTW - Independent Artists Of The Week is Victor VC Caldwell - arranger, producer, synthesizer, bass player and grammy winner.   

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next Tuesday.

The Library & #IAOTW - Ruby Camille  

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

This week Music Libraries - Let’s go -  

Everybody wants to be on TV, or the movies right? So how do you get there….well get your music there? Music supervisors are one way, but few of us know them or how to get to them. Another source is music libraries. Music libraries represent large amounts of catalog music for the purposes of securing synchronization licenses. Basically, they are the middleman that connects your music to those supervisors and key decision makers for music to film, tv, games, ad agencies etc. You place your music in a library, they in turn get that music to their clients (one of the aforementioned). Now how do you find these magical mystical libraries? You can ask Uncle Google of course. I’ve placed a few right here to help get you started.   

So you know, this is not the sexy part of the music game. You can have as many as 100 songs placed in a library or even placed and nobody knows your name. This is not about making hits, it’s about making content that fits into a story or completes one. And just to add, for you beatmakers and hip hoppers, NO SAMPLES, can you dig it? NONE.  

As for the deal agreement - get an entertainment attorney. But know this, there is no statutory rate for a sync or master fee, so negotiate the best you can with each library. One of those deals is a 50/50 split with the library. This means the sync and the master license is combined into a single fee. The other is an up front fee, if this is the case the library will usually keep 100% for the duration of the contract, but the writer will usually keep the writers share of the public performance royalty. The Work for hire (there is a WFH copyright) means they get it all, copyright and all, if you do this, get all you can. This is where it gets sticky and trust me they have a music attorney, do yourself a favor and get you one - ok? Ok! 

This week's  #IAOTW - Independent Artists Of The Week is singer, songwriter Ruby Camille if you are in the Nashville area, be sure to go by Lighthouse on the Lake on Dec 12th 6 - 8 to catch her performance. It will be a night to remember!

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next Tuesday.

How Royal is it? & #IAOTW - Jazz Jam at Jazz Becuzz  

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

This week Royalties - Let’s go -  

Everybody wants and needs those royalties, but who really understands them? Well I could just end this whole thing and say get a lawyer. I bet my buddy Karl M Washington Esq would say yeah do that. But just so you know a lil bit about your money, I’ll share this. Royalties (in the area of music) are payments made to the owner of a copyright for the expressed use of their original content. A royalty is a cut off the top of revenue earned for the use of that content. The royalty owner gets paid first before everyone else, and that payment usually comes quarterly. Copyright laws give exclusive rights to the creators of original content and can not be used without the proper licence. And just so we are clear, saying “I do not own the rights to this music,” on Facebook means nothing; I actually laugh  everytime I see that...but I digress. For recorded music there are two copyrights; the publishing which is for the composition (that’s the lyric and melody), and the sexy one that everybody likes to shout about - the master, which is for the recording itself (basically what you hear). Now we’ve talked about this a few blog posts ago but it’s worth repeating; the publishing portion of your song is split between the songwriter and the publisher. The good thing about the DIY world is that for most of you the songwriter and the publisher is one person - you! The master is between the recording artists and the record label. Guess what - you are probably the record label with a distribution deal with one of the DSP’s like CDbaby, Distrokid or United Masters. That’s a lot of money (hopefully) to split between you and yourself. Now obviously there is a lot more to royalties than this so feel free to contact me and ask me what you’d like to know.  

This week's #IAOTW - Independent Artists Of The Week is the Jazz Jam at Jazz Becuzz with guest The Pete Rioux Trio.  

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via  undathehat.com. See you next Tuesday.

Under Cover & #IAOTW - Sage Gray  

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

This week, Cover songs - Let’s go -  

First off I want to give a big shout out to my friends at Jazz Becuzz who are celebrating their 7 year anniversary. If you are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area go to the Jazz Jam at Jazz Becuzz tonight for the best jam in the city with the best musicians on earth. If you’re a musician get your ax and go play. 

Now as for cover songs, there are a lot of covers going up on all platforms, and I’m sure you wonder, are people getting paid on these? Should I be doing this? Well let’s start with the obvious; a cover song is a new rendition of a previously recorded song with the melody and lyrics intact done by someone other than the original artist. So now you are that “someone other,” and you have a killer version of a cover that you want to release. Well you could just say “I don’t own the rights to this song,” release it and make as much as you can off of it; but that protects nothing and you will probably get sued, so let’s not do that. If you are looking to record and release a cover there are certain licenses that you must obtain. You will need a mechanical license to release your cover song to the world. A mechanical license is the right to make copies of the song's musical structure i.e. the composition, lyrics and vocal arrangement. There are three ways to get this license to cover: a compulsory licensing procedure, the Harry Fox Agency - if they administer that song, or just ask the publisher of the song, which is easier said than done. The cool part about a compulsory license is - the publisher can’t say no, and has to grant the mechanical license as long as you follow the Copyright Act steps and as Grambling State University Football Coach Broderick Fobbs says - #paythefee!  

This week's #IAOTW - Independent Artists Of The Week is indie band Sage Gray from Dallas, Texas.  

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next Tuesday.

Let’s have a split & #IAOTW - Latin Jones  

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

This week, Splits - what are they and how do they work? Let’s go -  

So you wrote the hook and your partner wrote the lyrics and the beat came from another source? Well, how do you all get paid if the song blows up?? I’ve told you on several blog posts that the way to get money in this business you must first be registered with a  PRO like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. Record labels, publishers, and film projects that may sync your music will not Pay Out if you got issues with who wrote what and where the money should go. Trust me, those people will look at you and say YOU MISSED IT!!!  

If you write with another writer and/or producer, you each have a stake in the song’s success and should determine what percentage each of you owns. So how do you do that? Well first you need to determine how much of the song you came up with? Trust me, many a fight have taken place over this. So let’s keep down the confusion, and keep everything orderly and professionally. You do this with a split sheet. A split sheet is an agreement that identifies who wrote what percentage of the song such as the producer(s) and songwriter(s). Each creator has to agree about how the percentages are defined. Some artists will divide it evenly based on who is in the room writing and producing the song. Some will base the percentages on the person’s specific contribution such as the lyrics, hook, melody, and beats. It is beneficial to understand the Artists position on splits so no hands will be thrown or lawsuits filed when the song is completed.  

So in simple terms if a producer and a songwriter/artist create a song then 50% goes to the producer and 50% goes to the songwriter/artist. If there are two writers then the producer still gets his 50% and the two writers get 25% apiece, make since? If you look at some of your bigger songs you will see as many as 13 people are listed as songwriters. Yes everyone of them will get a piece of that pie. And please take split sheets into the studio with you, fill them out right after the session while everything is fresh and everyone agrees on what was done. 

This week's #IAOTW - Independent Artists Of The Week is Latin Jones, a singer/songwriter and worship leader from Birmingham, AL. 

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next Tuesday.

Publishing Admin & #IAOTW - Ruby Camille  

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

This week, Publishing Admin, what is that? Let’s go -  

So we all know that in the DIY music space, music publishers and songwriters are usually synonymous, and the publisher part of them is looking for opportunities for their music to be heard. And just so you know, publishing is the oldest part of the game. It was there long before streaming, recordings, 8 tracks, or 45’s. Moreover, cats like Mozart and ‘nem had publishers who produced their music on paper,and  in books, and paid them for using their work. But in today's world, when your music gets streamed, downloaded, used on TV, radio, internet etc, you get PAID, either a mechanical, or performance royalty. But how do you get the cheese? 🧀  Being that you are a DIY musician, you usually wait on your PRO to get that once a quarter mailbox check, or work with a Publishing Administration company; it’s not free but worth the cost.  

Publishing Admin is basically the art of collecting your money for the music you write. You, as the publisher, would be the owner of the composition copyright. A publishing admin works for you, the publisher, to manage the copyrights and account for the money that’s out there. There can be tons of money that you are missing trying to chase it yourself, or wait on that PRO to get that check in the mailbox. So you are clear the Publishing Admin does not own any part of the music, so there is no mailbox check for them, just what you pay them, usually on a commission basis. Now because I believe in going for the low hanging fruit, for most of you, your indy distributor like CDbaby or TuneCore have publishing arms that you can utilize, again for a fee, but a well worth it fee if they find that money you have on some lil TV show in Brazil that you had no clue was being played. So get your money and make sure you are working on the music and let the folks who look for money look for yours.   

This week's #IAOTW - Independent Artists Of The Week is Ruby Camille who has a hot new single coming out this Friday October 1st. You can still pre-save your copy today and get a free download on her site.

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next Tuesday.

The Fantastic Mr Fox & #IAOTW - Ruby Camille  

 Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

This week, Harry Fox Agency, who and what is that? Let’s go -  

In short the Harry Fox Agency or HFA is a mechanical licencing organization that was established in 1921. They are not the only mechanical licencing organization, but they are the oldest. Now before we go further, let’s review mechanical royalties. Mechanical royalties are royalties that are generated each time a musical composition is reproduced, whether physically or digitally via on-demand streaming or download-to-own services. Basically when a product is mechanically reproduced legally, the songwriter is compensated. 

Now back to HFA, though they have several subsidiaries, primarily, they are responsible for licensing and collecting mechanical royalties on behalf of music publishers in the U.S. These royalties include the recording and reproduction of music streams, CD’s, ringtones, and downloads; in other words both physical and digital products. In addition to mechanical licencing, HFA conducts royalty examinations, pursues piracy claims and covers cover songs. With that said HFA is not a PRO - Performance Rights Organization - you remember them right? They collect public performance royalties from public performances as defined by the US Copyright Act, and ensure that payment is issued appropriately. When it comes to cover songs, joining or contacting HFA is one of the ways to obtain a mechanical license for that cover song as long as they administer the musical composition for it. If you plan on releasing a cover song as part of a physical and/or downloadable record, you will need a mechanical license. Not the case  if you are releasing a cover strictly on streaming platforms. You secure your license through HFA or the copyright holder themselves if you can get a hold of them. Now some digital distributors have publishing admin third party services such as CD baby pro publishing or TuneCore publishing, but they take a nice chunk of your money, so the best bet is to join HFA or one of the other mechanical licencing organizations yourself to try and get as much of your coin as possible. 

This week's #IAOTW - Independent Artists Of The Week is the newest Jewel in R&B, Ruby Camille. She has a new single coming October 1st called "Faded," and you can pre-save your copy on her website and get a free remix of her song "Fun Love" done by last weeks #IAOTW Angelo Michael Martin.   

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next Tuesday.

Download verzuz Streaming, & Independent Artist of the Week. 

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

This week, Download and Streams,  Let’s go -  

Both downloads and streams involve files being sent to a device like a smartphone, tablet, laptop etc. The obvious difference is one keeps the download, and the stream is played utilizing that device, similar to satellite radio with a subscription. You will sell your audio product via your own selling site or a DSP. A DSP or Digital Service Provider is a digital retail store (sometimes called an eTailer) like iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music or Spotify. When your song or album is downloaded, you are able to earn both mechanical and performance royalties on these sales depending on the copyright owner(s) of course.   

Downloaded files were the first format of digital music that fans stole😏…..uhh I mean - could purchase; however, according to the RIAA, total revenues from streaming grew 20% to $8.8 billion in 2019, while digital downloads from DSP’s grew only 8%. So if iTunes is selling your CD to someone who saw your video on YouTube, that means you have the opportunity to tell him on YouTube to come to your own site and buy it there, and keep all the revenue; and last I checked all means ALL. The best place to sell downloads is your own website, it gives you control of the revenue, specials, promotions, ads of all your music and merch product. You can utilize social media, email and text marketing to drive traffic to your online store inside your site. I would suggest Bandzoogle, band or not, especially for the customer service and availability to chat during business hours.  

Now I’ve posted this before, but thought this might be a good place to recapitulate. Here is how many streams it takes to make one dollar from DSP’s. Do yourself a favor and get a website. 

Streaming Service Avg. payout per stream # of streams to earn one dollar # of streams to earn minimum wage
Napster $0.019 53 77,474
Tidal $0.0125 80 117,760
Apple Music $0.00735 136 200,272
Google Play $0.00676 147 217,751
Deezer $0.0064 156 230,000
Spotify $0.00437 229 336,842
Amazon $0.00402 249 366,169
Pandora $0.00133 752 1,106,767
YouTube $0.00069 1,449 2,133,333

*U.S. monthly minimum wage of $1,472 **Premium tier

This week's Independent Artists of the Week Mahogany TheArtist featured at The virtual Jazz Jam at Jazz Becuzz tonight Tuesday at 8:30 CST on Facebook and YouTube live. She has a new funk/Soul EP coming in May and wants you to name it. Go to @mahoganytheartistfanpage on facebook and write your suggestion. Winner gets free downloaded music.  

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next week.  

 

To lease or buy & Independent Artist of the Week. 

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat! 

This week, leasing,  Let’s go -  

Here’s how a lease works, a producer or copyright owner leases their beat or track to be used by other artists for a price, and term set by the owner. The track can only be used for a certain amount of time or sell a certain amount of copies. Once the lease terms are up, you can agree to longer terms. Keep in mind the owner also has the option to make the same deal with as many artists as he chooses. Meaning the track can make tons of money with different artists. 

So you ask why would I “lease” a track? Simple, for artists that don’t have a producer, or that want to do mixtapes or promos it’s a cheaper price, and gives them a hot track to perform on. If the new song “blows up,” the lessee can renegotiate for an exclusive track that already has momentum and a sales history. 

There are usually four types of leasing licenses. All four will depend on where you are on your musical journey. First is the mp3 license. This is for the cats just getting started, first single, first mixtape etc. It is the cheapest of the four and lesser in quality because it’s an mp3. Terms usually exclude live televised performance or radio, but this will get you going on YouTube, your website and your other social platforms. And yes you can sell it and put it on Spotify, usually for a small amount of units, somewhere in the 1,000 unit range and 5,000 streams. Next is the wave file license. Bigger better quality, not compressed so it sounds better, for more money of course. You get to sell more units, stream more and can approach a limited number of radio stations; so it’s mo money for both of you. Next is the Track out license or stems. Now you are spending more money, and it is the most expensive of the non exclusive tracks; but you have more control and usually worth the money if you have some traction and momentum to your career. Here you can remix and remaster to make it more “your'' track. As the lessee you get more sales, more streams, more radio, live performance, video if you want as well. Please remember all of these licenses are negotiated between the owner and the lessee, these are just very general terms and gives you a gage to go by. Lastly of course is the exclusive, the owner still retains writers royalties, but now you have your very own track to get down on. And once the other artists that had non exclusive deals terms run out, they will not be able to renegotiate for longer than their original agreement. Just like leasing a car - get it? 

Ok, so need a track? Lease it, you have options. 

This week's Independent Artists of the Week Wes Stephenson along with, Larry Davis and Medrick Greely, are featured at The Jazz Jam at Jazz Becuzz tonight Tuesday at 8:30 CST on Facebook and YouTube live. Click on the name, click on the pic to hear a sample, then tune in tonight on Facebook and YouTube live.  

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next week. 

Part 5 of a 5 part blog on publishing; & Independent Artist of the Week. 

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat

This week, “Print license,”  Let’s go - 

This one is for my church and band folks. Do you have a print licence for the songs your choir or band is singing and playing? Depending on your audience you might want to. A print license is an agreement between a music user and the owner of a copyrighted composition (song), that grants permission to rearrange, print, or display the music notes or lyrics of the song. This permission is also called print rights. If you rearrange, print, or display the sheet music, notes, or lyrics of a song that someone else wrote, even a little bit, you need a print license. 

If you are performing from a new sheet music arrangement in public you need a permission to arrange license. In addition the permission needs to be displayed on the title page of every sheet on a stand where you are performing. Permissions to Arrange can be obtained from Hal Leonard Inc or Trésona and take up to six weeks. Prices rang from $50 up, depending on the purpose, group size etc. 

Ok that’s the “info,” but let’s be real. Church choirs do not need a licence to perform during worship service. If they are performing on a national televised show and do a different arrangement and have sheet music, then yes. You can also purchase a CCLI (a privately held company) licence where you can get legal content and media and possibly get paid for your original songs that end up on the overhead screen for the congregation to sing. 

Most marching bands are buying sheet music, thereby the purchase has made everything legal. However, once you leave the classroom and create that custom arrangement of “Neck,” you will need to follow copyright laws and get a permission to arrange licence. 

To be honest, unless you are in a large public setting where someone from Hal Leonard may show up you probably won’t get fined. But you don’t want to find out in court. It’s easy, contact the copyright holder before that big performance you’ve been waiting on, or your band plays at the Bayou Classic, or Super Bowl. You don’t want to come back home to a BAL aka a Big Ass Lawsuit! 

Ok so that’s it for publishing for now. I hope that you found this 5 part series of value. Please share with your writer/publisher friends and feel free to reach out to me for any more information. Join a PRO, and get an Entertainment attorney. Next week we will talk about your budget. 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We will keep  Independent Artists of the Week as Indie artists with Christmas Music. Click on the name, scroll down the page to hear, buy and support. 

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next week.

Part 4 of a 5 part blog on publishing; & Independent Artist of the Week. 

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

This week, “licence to sample,”  Let’s go - 

In the DIY world of music sampling there are two ways to look at things, ask for permission or ask for forgiveness. Here’s what I mean. When sampling, you will need two permissions; one, the master use licence that comes from the owner of the sound recording (usually the label). It permits you to use a portion of a song. You need it regardless of how long the sample is. The other comes from the owner of the composition, that’s the songwriter or the publisher. To get the first you can contact HFA the Harry Fox Agency who does administration for over 100,000 publishers and labels. For the composition you need to contact the publisher or songwriter, usually via their PRO aka Performance Rights Organization. Here’s the other part of gaining permission, both parties usually want to know what's happening with their song. Does it take it too far away from the brand of the song, the songwriter or the label. Does it diminish the value of the song? In other words are you taking a precious love song and turning it into a trap song meant for the strip club? Or making a one sided political statement of an uplifting song? They may not want all that, regardless of the check, and since you are a DIY hip hop artist, you probably don’t have the check up front anyway. So how much does it cost? Depends on several factors; the success of the original song, how long is the sample, how successful do you plan to be with it, so you will need to negotiate. There are several things you can negotiate like a mechanical license flat fee, a share in the performance royalties, co-ownership, but really, this is where you call a good entertainment attorney. I know your uncle is a tax attorney that deals with insurance fraud, and invested a thousand dollars in the recording,  but trust me, get an entertainment attorney.     

Now, here’s what I meant earlier by asking forgiveness. Some DIY artists just make the recording without permission. If it does nothing, goes nowhere beside a couple hundred views on YouTube and Facebook, then you probably won’t hear from anyone. But if it blows up, well you will get that phone call and trust me paying upfront is going to be a lot cheaper than paying on the back end, no court costs, different type of lawyer fees etc etc. You make that call, but choose wisely my friends. 

This week is Thanksgiving. Crazy year but still plenty to give Thanks for. We will keep  Independent Artists of the Week as Indy artist with Christmas Music. Click on the name, scroll down the page to hear, buy and support.  

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next week. 

Part 3 of a 5 part blog on publishing; & Independent Artist of the Week. 

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat!  

This week, sync licensing,  Let’s go -  

First, last week, I said “...the mechanical royalty goes to the songwriter...and the songwriters who share in the copyright.”However, I excluded the publisher. A mechanical license requiring payment of a mechanical royalty is owed to the music publisher AND songwriter. Most independent artists are BOTH, but I wanted to clear that up, and thank music instructor Israel “Iz” Charles in Florida for writing in about that. ✊ 

Now for Synchronization or Sync license. This is the license, granted by the composer, that’s used for movies, TV shows, YouTube, games, ads, or anyplace where music and images are synchronized together, hence the name.  

So if you have a deal, the rights belong to the songwriter and publishing house, while the copyright is divided between the master owner like a label, and the composition of the song owned by the publisher/songwriter. However, if you are a self contained songwriter and publisher, you will be keeping a handsome 100% of all revenue generated by both the writer and the publisher. Make sense? 

There are two permissions needed to make a sync license deal go, the sync itself (permission to use) and the master use which will both come to you as the owner of both. You can also issue an exclusive licence where you can not give permission of use to anyone else until that licence is over or non exclusive.  

A term you need to know is music supervisors. These are the guys that place the music in the visual media and the ones that make sure you get paid for that placement. In a sync licencing world you can literally become the best known voice nobody knows. Be advised, supervisors are not looking for the next big hit, they are looking for songs that fit. They are not looking to clear samples, they are not going to wait on you to finish an idea that might be close to what they want. If they ask on a Monday, they want it on Monday. Only send finished cleared product to a music supervisor. You want to get on their radar, even if your song misses. If it is close they will possibly give you another shot. If it’s filled with samples or you send ideas, you will be bounced from their list and not considered again, they have little time and are on strict deadlines. 

I know your next question; how much can I get? Well that range is from dinner and drinks for a no budget indie film, to hundreds of thousands for a major placement. There are several variables like how much of the song is used, will it be the original recording or is it a cover and where is it used. As stated earlier; some of the uses include games - the money usually comes directly from the game company, commercials - money usually comes from ad agencies or TV studios, and movies where the money typically comes from the production company. It’s a grind but well worth the effort. Thanks for reading, next week, it’s all about the licence for samples.  

This week's Independent Artists of the Week is Indy artist with Christmas Music. Click on the name, scroll down the page to hear, buy and support.  

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message via undathehat.com. See you next week.

Part 2 of a 5 part blog on publishing; & Independent Artist of the Week. 

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat

As promised we  are tackling mechanical royalties this week. Let’s go - 

By definition mechanical royalties are the royalties paid to a songwriter when a hard copy or digital copy of their song is manufactured and distributed. The mechanical license is basically a license to sell (not perform, like the performance license). Primarily this applies to record companies or third party entities that press CD’s, or vinyl, download stores like iTunes, streaming platforms like Spotify or Pandora, and YouTube, that’s right YouTube. Based on the interactive stream of your song, this money goes to the songwriter. Now just so you know, the PRO’s (Performing Rights Organizations) do NOT pay mechanical royalties; only performance royalties ya dig? There are several companies that collect these royalties and send them to the songwriters; Harry Fox Agency represents all of the major publishers in the US, therefore takes care of you signed to label folks. However, companies like Easy Song Licensing issue mechanicals for covers and YouTube performances. Additionally, distributors like CDBaby, Distrokid, Tunecore and Songtradr are options for digital mechanical royalties. Again, the mechanical royalty goes to the songwriter and that includes all the songwriters who share in the copyright.  

As always the question is how much do I get paid? Currently in the US, the statutory rate for mechanical royalties on physical product and digital downloads is 9.1 cents for songs that are 5 minutes or less, and 1.75 cents per minute over that. Now for streaming, long sigh, it’s a different story and each platform has a different pay rate. For example as of last year it will take you 229 streams on Spotify to make one dollar; crazy huh, y’all better keep gigging and selling CD’s at the club, church or the family reunion. Here’s a breakdown from the visual capitalist. An easy to understand resource is a book by Eric Willis called Handle Your Business: Music Publisher. 

One last thing, even though you have a DIY distributor remember they do not market your product, so you’ll need someone like me to help with that. 

Ok that’s it for mechanicals, next week, let’s talk about synchronisation licence.  

This week's Independent Business of the Week is Jazz Becuzz Art Center, Click on the name, scroll down the page to hear, buy and support. 

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message on undathehat.com. See you next week. 

Part 1 of a 5 part blog on publishing; & Independent Artist of the Week. 

Hey, it’s TJ Miller, you want some game? Let's Tip Unda The Hat

Last week we talked about copyrights, and I want to stay on the theme of ownership, Let’s go -  

To securely own songs that you have written you will need a copyright. After that you will want to register with one of the Performance Rights Organizations aka PROs. BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. BMI does not charge to affiliate as a songwriter, ASCAP does, and SESAC is just boujee, you have to be invited. They represent songwriters and publishers here in the United States. There are others around the world, but for now we will stay with these. Let’s be clear, music publishing relates to getting paid for the composition of the song, NOT the recording. In our world of DIY, most of you are both the songwriter and the performer, so you are good in that respect. If you are the songwriter, composer, wrote lyrics, the producer, the beatmaker or just shuck your tambourine and own a part of the copyright, then you will earn money from the publishing of that song. For example several songs have more than one or two or even three writers, but they all have ownership in that song. For example Don’t Wake Me Up by Chris Brown has 11 songwriters, and 5 publishers. Everybody gets a piece of the pie.  

Now this week we are primarily focused on Performance Rights, but just so you know there are several different places to make money that we will tackle in the weeks to come; Mechanical royalties, Sync licensing fees, Licenses for samples and Printed sheet music (print rights). 

Performance royalties is the money that radio stations, streaming companies like Spotify and Pandora, restaurants, bars, and live venues pay when they play your music. These entities purchase a blanket license, then report the songs they played back to the PRO. The PRO’s then collect songwriters royalties from the users and pay the songwriters and the publisher. So I know what you are asking; how much? There is no set rate here in the US for performance fees. There are a lot of variables that affect the cost; the type of terrestrial radio station big or small, college (student size), non profit station, internet radio etc, how much the live venue paid for the license, and the list goes on. Look at it like this, the bigger the license fee to the user, the mo money you get. 50% of the performance royalty goes to the songwriter and 50% goes to the publisher. If you are both, then mo money mo money mo money! Hit me with your questions, next week we go to mechanical royalties. 

This week's Independent Artist of the Week is D’ Marie. Click on the name, scroll down the page to hear, buy and support https://www.amazon.com/Be-Continued-D-Marie/dp/B07T3HNJ79 

For more information or to hire Unda The Hat as your brand or label consultant send a message on undathehat.com. See you next week.