Did you know that when a song you wrote is sold as a download, you’re due a mechanical royalty? In the US, that royalty is paid through your aggregator (CD Baby, TuneCore, etc). Internationally, you need a publishing administrator like Songtrust to collect it.
For a $100 setup fee and 15% commission, Songtrust will help you register with a PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN) if you’re not already. Next, they’ll register your songs with over 40 collection societies worldwide. The setup fee covers 15 songs. 10 more songs are $10. If you’ve already got songs registered with your PRO, they’ll pull them into their system for free.
Publishing is complicated. Okay, it’s a total mess. My goal for this article is to share my experience with Songtrust, and help you decide if it’s for you, without getting into the weeds.
Why I signed up
A few years ago, I saw this post on the Songtrust blog, breaking down the various royalties Spotify pays to songwriters. I figured that since I’d earned a few hundred bucks from Spotify via CD Baby, the mechanical royalties Songtrust would collect for me would cover the cost of signing up.
Continue reading What Artists Should Know About Songtrust
Someone is using your song in their video, and they didn’t ask. What do you do?
You could tell them to remove it, or even report it to YouTube. It wouldn’t make you any friends, but you’d most certainly be within your rights.
Or, you could just ignore it. It’s exposure, right? Even if you’re not properly credited, it’s always nice to know people are hearing your music.
There’s actually a middle ground that many musicians don’t know about. You can upload your songs to a service like Audiam or AdRev. They use YouTube’s Content ID system to check for matches, slap ads on infringing videos, and pay you a share of the ad revenue.
Way back in August of 2013, I set out to compare the two services for the purpose of writing this article.
I uploaded 8 of my most popular songs to Audiam for fingerprinting. It found 40 videos with approximately 100,000 cumulative views, as of today.
Continue reading Audiam, AdRev, and YouTube Content ID
Your album is mixed and mastered, finally! You’ve got cover art and maybe even replication lined up. Now what?
This is the question I was hired to answer. Specifically, I was asked to create a to-do list for a band’s debut album. They were generous enough to allow me to share it with you.
Keep in mind that all this stuff comes before the actual promotion. We’re simply laying the groundwork here.
Register your .com domain
If yourbandname.com isn’t available, choose another band name. No joke! Owning your domain is HUGE.
Trademark your band name
I hired Gerben Law Firm, and the entire process was a breeze. Josh conducts a comprehensive search, which will turn up any competing marks.
Continue reading The Definitive Album Release Checklist
This is the story of a mediocre song. An objectively mediocre song. My song. Curse you, data!
If you’re looking for unbiased feedback on your latest track, you’ve got five options. Well, five-ish.
There’s SoundOut, which I wrote about way back in 2010.
Then there’s ReverbNation Crowd Review and TuneCore Track Smarts, both of which are powered by SoundOut.
Are all three SoundOut services the same? We’ll find out.
I reviewed AudioKite earlier this year, gushingly. A new and improved version launched just this month.
Finally, Music Xray offers a diagnostics feature, which presents your track to 5 music professionals and 20 potential fans.
Which is right for you?
Time for a good old-fashioned market research shootout!
Continue reading Crowd Review Track Smarts: SoundOut vs AudioKite vs Music Xray
Perhaps you don’t sell too many albums on iTunes, or have that many SoundCloud plays or YouTube views. But maybe, just maybe, your music is really popular in some far off corner of the digital universe you never even knew about, and all that “exposure” you’ve racked up over the years is paying off behind the scenes.
Next Big Sound provides detailed online music analytics to measure the growth of bands on streaming services and social networks. It doesn’t cover everything, but it casts a wide enough net to shatter an artist’s dreams with cold, hard data. I know it did mine! <sniff>
Cidney at NBS agreed to give me an artist credit for one month so that I could write this article, way back in April. Hopefully she’ll forget to downgrade my account.
Continue reading What Artists Should Know About Next Big Sound
Drag-and-drop online mastering is here, and it’s free to try. LANDR provides unlimited 192 kbps mp3 masters of your tracks in seconds.
If you like what you hear, you can pay for uncompressed 16-bit .wav masters. Pricing is very reasonable at $9 for four or $19 for unlimited masters per month. Paid users also get to select the “intensity” of the mastering: low, medium (the default), or high.
Their algorithms were refined over eight years of university research, and they even have a resident astrophysicist. An astrophysicist!
Guess this mastering engineer is out of a job, right?
Continue reading Can LANDR Replace Your Mastering Engineer?
Has this ever happened to you? You think you’ve written your best song yet, but an offhand remark from a friend plunges you into self-doubt. Wouldn’t it help to have feedback from music fans of your genre who have no incentive to sugar-coat their opinions?
Sure, you say! I’ll just use SoundOut, or ReverbNation Crowd Review (also powered by SoundOut). Unfortunately, my experience with SoundOut, and those of most of the commenters, left a lot to be desired. I’ve also received a mostly useless – but free – focus group from Music Xray, and even repurposed Jango aka Radio Airplay to create my own focus group.
AudioKite has built a better mousetrap. Here’s why:
Amazon Mechanical Turk. Listeners are enlisted from Amazon Mechanical Turk rather than SliceThePie, the listener end of SoundOut. I don’t know the nuts and bolts of the operation, but the end result is that listeners comment coherently and seem to actually listen to the whole song. There’s no sign that anyone is trying to game the system by listening to only the first minute and copy/pasting generic reviews.
I asked Alex of AudioKite to explain how they ensure listeners are actually listening. Here’s what he had to say:
Continue reading What Artists Should Know About AudioKite