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9 Things to Check After Getting a Streaming Royalty Statement
Streaming continues to establish itself as the future of music consumption, but every now and then the format finds itself in the headlines for the wrong reasons. When streaming platforms are taken to task in the media, it's usually by acts who aren't satisfied with the bottom line on their royalty statement after racking up what they feel are significant play counts across various platforms.
Our very own Ray Bush and Nick Lawrence have worked with the MMF to draw up a list of factors which may affect your streaming royalties, and key questions to ask when looking at your statement before crying foul to the press.
1. Are these your publishing or master royalties?
When analysing your streaming income, establish whether the money has come from the licensing of master rights or publishing (if you wrote the song). Remember that publishers receive up to 20% of streaming revenue that comes back to the industry, while labels receive the other 80%.
2. Which royalty statement is it? CMO or publisher?
If you are a published writer your performance income will flow through PRS and your mechanical income will come via your publisher. The share of performance/mechanical income per stream depends on whether it is fully interactive (Spotify) or partially interactive (listen again internet radio.) Furthermore, the rules about such a split vary from territory to territory, depending on the local CMO.
3. What share of the song did you write?
As the author of a song, you will receive a share of royalties depending on whether you wrote it alone or with others.
4. Which platform is the income coming from?
There is a difference in the way various streaming services are licensed. A lot of the time on statements, digital royalties are lumped together, which can make them difficult to analyse. In any contracts you sign, ensure that digital royalties are accounted for per platform.
5. Which territory is being accounted for?
Figures on royalty statements can be misleading as they might only apply to one territory - although it may not always be clear. Make sure you know whether the figure applies to global income or specific territories such as the US or UK.
"It's important to be aware of how much of a fee your distributor or aggregator is taking in each territory." - Ray Bush
6. Which time period is being accounted for?
Although income flow is improving all the time, it can take up to two years for royalties to reach the artist.
7. Be careful with comparison to radio and/or sales
Steaming and radio are two entirely different platforms with different models, audiences and royalty structures. Don't compare the royalty you get on a single stream to that of a spin on the radio.
8. Are all your tracks accounted for?
Read your statement carefully and pay attention to details.
"When you get a statement of any description, people normally just trust it, and that can be dangerous." - Ray Bush
9. Remember, YouTube is a different beat entirely...
If someone uses one of your tracks to back their video, it's up to you to monetise it.