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Digital Music Rights: A Deeper Dive Into Digital Music Royalties

Music streaming across digital platforms has increased due to the pandemic. People now get entertained through digital media.  This has increased the need for creators to guide their royalties selfishly. Therefore, it is vital to register songs to ensure that metadata is accurate. Both royalties and licensing are crucial factors in the music industry.

In recent years, independent artists have been fond of uploading their content on digital platforms without proper MetaData. This has led to the inadequate collection of royalties by CMOs and creators being robbed of credits for their work.

Parties involved in music creation need to ensure that they take special attention when uploading their music by : 

  1. Enter only accurate MetaData with required credits to authors and composers with their legal names
  2. Enter the correct full name/Stage name 
  3. Enter necessary codes, e.g., ISRC Code, ISWC Code, year of release 

This makes it easier for CMOs to track and claim assets to collect royalties, which will be passed on to the copyright owners.

What exactly are CMOS? 

‘CMO’ stands for Collective Management Organization. A CMO organization collects the revenue you are owed for using your songs and is the best way to manage your royalties. As an establishment, a CMO is controlled and regulated by its members. Therefore, it must conduct its business fairly. It also has to be legally authorized in the country it’s operating to collect royalties on behalf of its members. The Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) and Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) are the only two generally recognized collecting societies in Nigeria. 

Who gets paid music royalties?

As the world tilted toward Digital Music Streaming, parties involved in getting paid music royalties increased.

Three different types of rights are to consider when determining who gets paid music royalties. We’ve listed some parties involved below: 

  1. Music writers: They are responsible for writing a song’s music and lyrics. They will be paid mechanical royalties if someone uses their music publicly. They also have the right to receive performance royalties if the music is played on the radio or television. 
  2. The publisher: They are responsible for ensuring that copyright holders receive their payment for using their songs. They will obtain mechanical copyright to your music in exchange for you receiving royalties. If you are considering a music publisher in the future, they will do this.
  3. Record labels: are responsible for marketing and distributing musicians’ recordings. They will have the master rights to songs but not the publishing rights; however, artists can still receive a portion of their earnings through their work and other revenue streams like merchandise sales.
  4. Performance artists: These are people who perform the songwriter’s original work. They will only have publishing rights if they are also the songwriter. Any other public performances of the songwriter’s original work will generate some royalty income for only the original owner.  
  5. Mechanical licensing agencies: They manage mechanical licensing rights for music publishers through their exclusive license to reproduce or distribute music on any medium. They charge a set fee for reproducing or distributing music. The agency makes money from the fees and gives a share back to publishers.  
  6. Sync licensing agencies: They have exclusive licenses from record labels or publishers to issue licenses regarding syncing music with audiovisual media such as movies or television shows. They tend to take a share of the upfront fees required to license songs. 

The landscape of copyright licensing and royalty collection is vast and complex. It’s a common misconception among songwriters that once they’re members of a collection society, they’re fully covered for collecting all their publishing royalties, performance, and mechanical.  This is not true! 

For example, some publishers only pay for mechanicals; others only pay for performance rights; still, others don’t pay anything at all!  So, suppose you are unsure whether your publisher will cover all aspects of your publishing income. In that case, speaking with them directly or checking with your local collecting society before signing up as a member is essential.

Collecting digital royalties can be hard work; you don’t need to think much about it when we are here to help you sort it out. You need to sign up on royalti.io to settle contracts, splits, sort royalties, and manage parties involved in your music. 


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