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The ability to self promote your music is one of the most important skills you can posses, unless you have major label funding. Getting started can be a little overwhelming, however Radio Airplay Now is here to help. The information below will help you understand codes you'll need to know. These codes trace the artist sales, digital and physical outlets. Without them you could miss out on Royalties that you deserve.
universal product code
The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a barcode symbology that is widely used in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and in other countries for tracking trade items in stores. Its most common form, the UPC-A, consists of 12 numerical digits, which are uniquely assigned to each trade item. Along with the related EAN barcode, the UPC is the barcode mainly used for scanning of trade items at the point of sale, per GS1 specifications. UPC data structures are a component of GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers). All of these data structures follow the global GS1 specification which bases on international standards. Some retailers (clothing, furniture) do not use the GS1 System (other bar code symbologies, other article number systems). Other retailers use the EAN/UPC bar code symbology but without using a GTIN (for products brands sold at such retailers only).
international standard recording code
The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is an international standard code for uniquely identifying sound recordings and music video recordings. The code was developed by the recording industry in conjunction with the ISO technical committee, which codified the standard as ISO 3901 in 1986, and updated it in 2001.
An ISRC code identifies a particular recording, not the work (composition and lyrical content) itself. Therefore, different recordings, edits, and remixes of the same work should each have their own ISRC code. Works are identified by ISWC codes. Recordings remastered without significant audio-quality changes should retain their existing ISRC codes, but the threshold is left to the discretion of the record company.
CD-Text is an extension of the Red Book Compact Disc specifications standard for audio CDs. It allows for storage of additional information (e.g. album name, song name, and artist name) on a standards-compliant audio CD.The specification for CD-Text was included in the Multi-Media Commands Set 3 R01 (MMC-3) standard, released in September 1996 and backed by Sony. It was also added to new revisions of the Red Book. The actual text is stored in a format compatible with Interactive Text Transmission System (ITTS), defined in the IEC 61866 standard. ITTS is also used by Digital Audio Broadcasting and the MiniDisc.Support for CD-Text is common, but not universal. Utilities exist to automatically rip CD-Text data, and insert it into CDDB or freedback.
compact disc database
CDDB, short for Compact Disc Database, is a database for software applications to look up audio CD (compact disc) information over the Internet. This is performed by a client which calculates a (nearly) unique disc ID and then queries the database. As a result, the client is able to display the artist name, CD title, track list and some additional information. CDDB is a licensed trademark of Gracenote, Inc.
The database is used primarily by media players and CD ripper software. If a CD is not recognized by a media player or CD ripper it can be added to the database if the user fills in the names and artists etc. in a media player such as iTunes or MusicMatch Jukebox.
The need for CDDB is a direct consequence of the original design of the CD, which was conceived as an evolution of the gramophone record, and did not consider the audio tracks as data files to be identified and indexed. The audio CD format does not include the disc name or track names, so a supplemental database is needed to supply this information when discs are used with modern media systems. A later development called CD-Text is another solution to the same problem.
Mediabase is a music industry service that monitors radio station airplay in 180 US and Canadian markets. Mediabase publishes music charts and data based on the most played songs on terrestrial and satellite radio, and provides in-depth analytical tools for radio and record industry professionals. Mediabase charts and airplay data are used on many popular radio countdown shows and televised music awards programs. Music charts are published in both domestic and international trade publications and newspapers worldwide. Mediabase is a division of Clear Channel Communications, Inc.
Mediabase Charts | Country Charts | Top40 Charts
Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, better known as BDS, is a service that tracks monitored radio, television and internet airplay of songs based on the number of spins and detections. The service, which is a subsidiary of Nielsen Corporation provides the basis for Nielsen Media publication Billboard in the United States, while in Canada, BDS helps determine the Canadian BDS Airplay Chart and the Canadian Hot 100 chart, which is published by Jam! and in the website for Canadian Music Network, in determining their radio airplay music charts and determines the chart movement in Billboard's Hot 100 chart when combined with single sales from Nielsen SoundScan. From August 2006 to its final June 2009 publication, BDS also provided chart data for R&R after Nielsen acquired the trade.
Billboard is an American music magazine, headquartered in New York City, New York and owned byPrometheus Global Media. It was first published on November 1, 1894, and is distinguished as being among the oldest trade magazines in the world. The magazine originally focused on bill posting and outdoor amusements before specializing in the music industry in the 1960s.
Billboard maintains several internationally recognized record charts, which track the most popular songs and albums across several categories on a weekly basis. Its primary charts, the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard 200, respectively rank the top songs and albums regardless of genre, and are based on digital downloads, radio airplay, and internet streaming. Its data is largely based on the Nielsen SoundScan tracking system, which it has used since 1991.
Billboard | Billboard 100 | Billboard 200
A music publisher is responsible for ensuring the songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. Through an agreement called a publishing contract, a songwriter or composer "assigns" the copyright of their composition to a publishing company. In return, the companylicenses compositions, helps monitor where compositions are used, collects royalties and distributes them to the composers. They also secure commissions for music and promote existing compositions to recording artists, film and television.
The copyrights owned and administered by publishing companies are one of the most important forms of intellectual property in the music industry. (The other is the copyright on a master recording which is typically owned by a record company.) Publishing companies play a central role in managing this vital asset.
Types of Music Publishing Agreements
It is important for music authors, producers and publishers to understand the legal rights associated with publishing contracts. The common music publishing contracts are:
Single Song Agreement: A single song deal is an agreement between the writer and the music publisher in which the writer grants certain rights to a publisher for one or more songs. In single song deals, the writer is paid a one-time recoupable advance.
Exclusive Song Writer Agreement ("ESWA"):
Under the ESWA or "staff writer" contract, the song writer generally grants all of the publisher’s share of the income to the music publisher. The writer’s services are exclusive to the music publishers for a specified period of time. Thus, any compositions written within that period belong to the music publisher. These deals are usually offered to writers with some degree of success. Because the writer has a track record of writing hits, the publisher feels confident that it will recoup its investment. In return for signing away exclusive rights to some or all the writer’s songs, the writer gets paid by the publisher a negotiated advance against future royalties. The advance amount naturally depends on the writer’s bargaining power and on the competition in marketplace, if any. Under a staff writer deal, the writer is paid on a weekly or quarterly basis. An ESWA can be either tied to a record contract, or independent of a record contract.
Co-publishing Agreement ("Co-pub"):
The co-publishing ("co-pub") deal is perhaps the most common publishing agreement. Under this deal, the songwriter and the music publisher are "co-owners" of the copyrights in the musical compositions. The writer becomes the "co-publisher" (i.e. co-owner) with the music publisher based on an agreed split of the royalties. The song writer assigns an agreed percentage to the publisher, usually (but not always), a 50/50 split. Thus, the writer conveys _ of the publisher's share to the publisher, but retains all of writer’s share. In a typical "75/25 co-pub deal," the writer gets 100% of the song writer’s share, and 50% of the publisher’s share, or 75% of the entire copyrights, with the remaining 25% going to the publisher. Thus, when royalties are due and payable, the writer/co-publisher will receive 75% of the income, while the publisher will retain 25%.
Administration Agreement ("Admin"):
An administrative agreement takes place between a songwriter/publisher and an independent administrator, or between a writer/publisher and another music publisher. In an "admin deal," the songwriter self-publishes and merely licenses songs to the music publisher for a term of years and for an agreed royalty split. Under this agreement, the music publisher simply administers and exploits the copyrights for another publisher/copyright owner. Only the most popular song writers can even consider asking for an admin deal. Under this coveted arrangement, ownership of the copyright is usually not transferred to the administrator. Instead, the music publisher gets 10-20% of the gross royalties received from administering and exploiting the songs for a certain period of time and for a certain territory.
A collection agreement is like an admin deal where the writer retains the copyrights, except that the publisher does not perform exploitation functions; like an accountant or business manager, it merely collects and disburses available royalty income.
These are basically music publishing deals in foreign territories between a US publisher and a publisher in a foreign territory. They are like admin or collection deals (with no ownership of the copyrights being transferred to the subpublisher), but limited to one or more countries outside the US. Under this publishing deal, the publisher allows the subpublisher to act on its behalf in certain foreign territories. Often, they are limited to a group of countries, such as European Union (EU), GAS (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Latin America, etc.
Under this agreement, one music publisher acquires in whole or in part the catalog of another music publisher, somewhat like a merger of companies. In this case, a "due diligence" investigation is done to determine the value of the catalogue.
The term "mechanical" and mechanical license has its origins in the "piano rolls" on which music was recorded in the early part of the 20th Century. Although its concept is now primarily oriented to royalty income from sale of compact discs (CDs), its scope is wider and covers any copyrighted audio composition that is rendered mechanically; that is, without human performers:
DVDs, VHS, UMDs
musical toys etc.
Performance" in the music industry can include any of the following:
- a performance of a song or composition – live, recorded or broadcast
- a live performance by any musician
- a performance by any musician through a recording on physical media
- performance through the playing of recorded music
- music performed through the web (digital transmissions)
It is useful to treat these royalties under two classifications:
- (a) those associated with conventional forms of music distribution which have prevailed for most part of the 20th Century, and
- (b) those from emerging 'digital rights' associated with newer forms of communication, entertainment and media technologies (from 'ring tones' to 'downloads' to 'live internet streaming'.
In the United Kingdom, the Church of England is specifically exempted from performance royalties for music performed in services because it is a state-established church. Traditionally, American music publishers have not sought performance royalties for music sung and played in church services–the license to perform being implied by distributors of church sheet music. ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC exempt church worship services from performance royalties, but make no exemption for church-hosted concerts.
performing rights organizations
A performance rights organisation (PRO), also known as a performing rights society, provides intermediary functions, particularly collection of royalties, between copyright holders and parties who wish to use copyrighted works publicly in locations such as shopping and dining venues. Legal consumer purchase of works, such as buying CDs from a music store, confer private performance rights. PROs usually only collect royalties when use of a work is incidental to an organisation's purpose. Royalties for works essential to an organisation's purpose, such as theaters and radio, are usually negotiated directly with the rights holder.
In some countries PROs are called copyright collectives or copyright collecting agencies. A copyright collective is more general than a PRO as it is not limited to performances and includes reproduction rights organisations (RROs). RROs represent works distributed via mediums such as CD, audiocassette, or computer file rather than use of works in public settings.
ASCAP | BMI | SESAC | SOCAN | SOUNDEXCHANGE
Music synchronization license
A music synchronization license, or "sync" for short, is a license granted by the holder of the copyright of a particular composition allowing the licensee to "sync" music with some kind of visual media output (film, television shows, advertisements, video games, accompanying website music, movie trailers, etc.).
The rights to a composition or the "song", which is different from the studio sound recording, are most often administered by the publishing company that represents the writer/producer. The value in the copyright of a recording is divided into two pieces:
- the "master" sound recording, which is the actual studio recording of the song and most often owned by the record label, and,the composition, which is the underlying lyrics and melody written by the songwriter and administered by the music publisher.
Sync Negotiations / Fees
When an audio/visual project producer wants to use a recording in their work, they must contact both the owner of the sound recording (record label), and the owner of the composition (songwriter via publishing company). In many cases, producers with tight budgets will elect to use a cover version of a particular song in order to save money on the master side (and avoid dealing with prickly major labels). Once the producer has made an inquiry with the copyright administrator (and additionally the record label if they choose to use a famous recording), the rights holder/administrator issues a quote, usually for a one-time fee. This can initiate negotiations, whose points of interest usually include things like how the work is being used, the length of the segment, the prominence of the cue (is it background music, or used as the title track during the credits), and the overall popularity and importance of the song/recording. Sync licensing fees can range anywhere from free, to a few hundred dollars, to tens of thousands of dollars for popular recordings of songs (in the last case the producer must pay for both the use of the master and the composition).