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Distribution via aggregators?

Discussion in 'Music Business' started by paulears, Nov 6, 2019.

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  1. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    I decided to have a little dabble with seeing how simple/easy/expensive/lucrative it would be putting some of my music out there in streaming/download land. Most of the stuff we produce is for specific projects, often as music for videos - so I've never really thought about actually making it available. I signed up with one of the organisations and have been pretty surprised how effective they are. Some things seem a bit of a mystery though. They offer Shazam as an extra, so I tried a few with this ticked and some without - but now it seems they are all findable via the app on my phone. Google play worked fine too, but I didn't realise they'd all appear on a created page on youtube. Oddly - youtube has mixed me up with somebody else, so there is now a Paul Johnson page https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10220297726984413&set=pcb.10220297732424549&type=3&__tn__=HH-RH-R&eid=ARAoeO2NKn68EkDtyQbTeYMx-lr2NLwv9x4kYdKm8D-NYwRDsQTCMzaUG715pqZAA_0qGkrcIGub7bRE&__xts__[0]=68.ARCJrJWH99N3nJPMpYEYIZc4wG2_gaXGUOWS6-eokluIZwpedhqLrBM7nqt2TINUP_dJn7xDbvcVtaJ7No_z9JCbp9_5j-1PxV7_coUjKVjrZUUdCsUaRkMDnarTOza4ZdHtok7KsXFdP8cE5SVnVzyDD1eohmR6XUFfrfPMj5Ug3itqFDcXwgGZxSqp37t49OyRFedMtB5CBdNb1Nv1n3aofnPlbpCnbrjDj7-nH5j-DQihWYmTAtmeNAsDEY8KMr9PyQ-lR1HEZkwahkkIPIGvqpPaFeGMQ4p6Co48baRGfA7YUIDLkPiIVqjavQ that is a mixture of me and somebody else. I can't find any way of notifying them this is a bit wrong? Each day, Spotify stream counts go up, and so do iTunes.

    I don't really understand how the claims they make for payments work - iTunes and the others will sell the music, but also let registered people stream them, so no idea how the money side works out. The plan I chose allows unlimited uploads for a modest yearly fee, with a few extras if you want, but I found another distributor who takes a cut for a lower fee, so I have tried some karaoke style tracks with them - the first aggregator will do instrumentals and will happily get permissions for covers. The original writer gets a cut of course, but that's fine. The second one seems happy with karaoke style tracks but not certain yet if it's cleared or if that's an extra too.

    I'm quite excited how this seems to be going - especially as the music was never intended for distribution to the public.

    Does anyone else do this and can offer some insights as to likely results. For me, making lots of money is not the point, but seeing a map slowly populate is rather satisfying - why on earth would people in Mexico and Turkey find this kind of music worth even pressing play?

    Also - have I messed up and missed something important? The music is on PPL anyway, as I'm a member. I'm going to stick them on PRS as soon as I get the code list updated too.
     
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  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I find it vicious when you have to pay to sell a product on which they will make a profit..
    Unless you are talking about CD baby : 1 fee and you keep 100% of profit..
    If it is CD baby, be very carefull I heard horror stories about CD baby not allowing the owner of the music to make revenu on youtube with the same music..
    I think Glenn from spectre sound studio had this problem, he produced and uploaded on CD Baby, but later on he posted it on youtube and was contacted for copyright infringement saying the money earned on the video could be sent to CD baby, even if he owned the music... o_O
     
  3. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    Distrokid are kind of aiming at the kids, by their rather unbusinesslike website comments when you press buttons, but they do warn you that because of youtube's content ID system, if you already have any videos of your own with this music on them, then you might get a copyright claim notice - and then tell you this is fine because Youtube's system is spotting it as it's designed, and you just ignore it? I saw a few iffy comments on CD Baby, so avoided them. Distrokids seem to be pretty good. The warnings on them are that they want you to move your plan up in price, but it's still reasonable I think as they give you 100% of the collected money. Youtube costs you $1 a month, but you pay for the year. It's renewable annually so if you don't pay, they take down what they put up, although you can pay them extra to leave it if you die, or leave - so plenty of options. $20 I paid initially seems good value for it getting out there so quickly. I have paid them extra though for some of the other services, so I'll see how it works.

    I've got myself a bit confused now with the UK PRS and PPL the rights agencies we use for performing and playing music on the various outlets. I've never done cover versions of anything before, apart from stuff I don't want to/can't be bothered to register, but I figured I'd do this properly and I feel a bit like I may have not got the rights thing here quite right. On PPL, for example, I have chosen 'arranger' as my role because clearly I didn't write it, but on the PPL registration, they're more concerned with the recording, so although there was a provision for entering the original composer's name, it seemed to be less important. My own stuff never led me to these pages? I guess if I got it wrong, they'll let me know.

    A few things surprised me. Elton John's middle name appears to be Hercules! However, Reg Dwight, his real name is also in the listing. I hope just a few people somewhere buy some of this so I can see if the system works, or if I messed up. Until they do, probably won't throw up any errors. I do have evidence I have at least tried to do it properly. I'm very much of the attitude that I should do this 100% correct, but it's not easy. With digital downloads (which IS a category in the PRS/PPL registration system) I just don't know how accurate and speedy the payment systems are, or quite how they work. If somebody pays Spotify for downloading my music, it seems that I get a distribution from Distrokids, who get it from Spotify. However, does this count as an international sale that eventually also gets sent to PRS/PPL who would normally pay me - but then I'd be getting paid twice???? This is all very confusing in terms of how the system works. Kind of fun though.

    I'd not thought of it that way - but even if I get a small amount, that's more than I'd have for not doing it? Does seem wrong the mechanics of doing it generate more than the actual person who provides it? With our theatre shows, we generally get 70%, the venue 30% here. I'm not sure that I'd like 30% of the box office giving them 70%?
     
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  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    That's for sure..
    I hope you'll follow up on your progress, this interest me greatly !
     
  5. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    Sure - it's very strange so few people seem to talk about what they get? You hear Robbie Williams and others saying they get a pittance, but I'm not sure what they would consider a pittance, or again, do modest selling individuals get exposure and pennies? No idea. All the sites you join suggest their artists are very happy and earning? I really n' tell from my research the real answers.

    I'll add to this when (or if) events happen.
     
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  6. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    Embrace that outlook. The hurdles are significant. And in today’s digital world, anything worthy of one person buying is worthwhile for the next guy to steal.

    I’m involved in a project that used Tunecore as a one-stop service to get a full length album onto virtually every download/streaming platform worth mentioning, and even then we chose not to go onto some of the more far-flung sites none of us had ever heard of. We had decided against producing physical CDs, or vinyl, otherwise CD Baby may have been the more logical choice. Fans of the somewhat niche genre are still very keen on buying physical copies, so we can’t rule out releasing them in the future. But in the meantime, one click on Tunecore and we were off to the races.

    Generally speaking we’ve been pretty happy with Tunecore’s service, analytics, reporting, etc. We’ve had a significant number of streams and a fair number of downloads, but certainly not enough to alter anyone’s standard of living.

    Depending on your audience, you may find that none of the major platforms offer high enough audio quality to satisfy them. The initial surge of interest we got in the first day or two after our release date led us to sign up on the Bandcamp platform separately, after it was suggested by someone who wanted to buy an umcompressed version. On Bandcamp you can offer mp3 and/or uncompressed versions. You will also make a bit more money per download on Bandcamp than any of the other platforms. The also give you the tools to embed their player on your own website.


    Good luck, Paul!
     
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  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    Well - first update. Seems that the idea of backing tracks/karaoke music has additional hurdles. It's stalled at the moment waiting for the licences to clear, and I had all the cover registrations fail on the UK PRS system. To be honest, probably my fault, and while all my own compositions sailed through, the covers all got blocked, but this is because I think I tried to create multiple listings and this didn't include the original composer box - so I got listed as arranger, but it didn't pick up what I typed in what I thought was the right box - it wasn't. It now doesn't let me edit it either, so I've asked them to cancel them and I'll do each one separately. It was interesting to find out Elton John's middle name is Hercules, with Reg Dwight as an additional name.

    The PRS registration isn't critical really, but we'll have to guess the timescale for getting tracks live on any of the platforms. Clearly, they can't submit anything until they have evidence the tracks have cleared with the original artist's production company/publisher. For my own stuff, they were live on iTunes and Spotify within hours. With the covers, days probably will end up as a week, I think.
     
  9. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Band camp is my favorite way to buy music online. The ability to download and play right within bandcamp on any device is great. The option to name your price, and include a physical copy on your order is a great feature bands and users can use. My only complaint about bandcamp is lack of the ability to make a playlist or play my entire collection in a loop, or in random order. You can only play each album or single individually. Lol maybe its their way to simulate switching cassettes in and out of the machine? I enjoyed your bands album and it was easy to purchase back when it came out.

    Its shocking how difficult it is to buy full quality, uncompressed music online. What should be easier actually is more difficult. This holds true for commercial releases both new and old. Ive actually started buying cds and dvds again after swearing off discs in 2013.

    We have the capability to hear the actual master, no src, no dither, no analog colorization, the actual thing the band and engineers produced, for the first time in history. Yet we often get less than even 1981's standard of 16bit 44.1khz wav. Album sleeve art is a thing of the past i guess too. My phone has no trouble streaming .wav files, so i think its about the distributors being skimpy with storage and bandwidth.

    The data compression and format conversion on sample libraries is equally disheartening. They will say recorded at 96k, mastered at sterling sound, then delivered in a "lossless" format. To me computers are more than capable if streaming full wavs, and its annoying to be src and format converting samples and extra couple of times.
     
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  10. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    Distrokids allows uploading in your best format - I picked 48K, 24 bit as that's what I record in, but Record Union only accepted 44.1K, 16 bit - as in CDspec, which I found a bit odd. The art seems to work as long as you follow the pixel recommendation.
     
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  11. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    Progress - I got the UK PRS registration sorted, and it threw up a couple of interesting queries - One of the tracks is Eric Carmen's all By Myself, which during the registration process also correctly identified Serge Rachmaninoff as co-writer, and much of the song is borrowed from one of his works, so my version has both these original writers listed, even though Rachmaninoff is actually out of copyright now, as he died in 1943! In the correctly filled in documents, I become the arranger, and the original writers get the composition credit. The UK system also correctly identified some as ASCAP members, or the Canadian society in Celine Dion's case. Oddly, some are members of BMI, not ASCAP - but the UK database seems to know who each artist belongs to, collection society wise.

    Some of the writers of the songs I've covered have very large quantities of works listed, many with shared credits. I had a dig around and picked a few well known songs to see how the rights are assigned. I found a Spice Girls song, and it's quite interesting to see how the 100% of the rights are assigned.


    EDIT = 2 hours later, they cover versions I submitted were approved and are now on my list. Maybe this will help, or not? I have no idea if the UK registration will at some point marry up with the aggregators dispersal to iTunes, Spotify and the others?
     

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  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    +1
     
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  13. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    Update on the cover song - by a British pop singer from the 60s, that I experimented with as a one-off through Distrokids as an instrumental version, not a backing track or karaoke. I got the licence through and it's been submitted to all the usual outlets.
    If you want to see what the licence looks like and read the wording - it's here. (I removed my address, as I don't want you lot on the doorstep wanting coffee or worse!)
     

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  14. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    I feel like this pseudo automated licencing for cover tracks is great for artist and record companies alike. It allows everyone to get money even if it is from thousands of different sources, a little at a time.

    I wonder how it works if someone wants to use paul's cover for live backing tracks or in a movie. Do they negotiate with Paul? What if the original artist doesn't want the cover used for that, or doesn't like the price?

    Are these licenses exclusively for streaming, and only the streaming services distrokid (in this case) associates with?

    This is a very informative thread.
     
  15. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    I've read everything I can from the aggregators and from the UK PRS and PPL. Our system here is a little more friendly from the 'using' of music, with our limited manufacture licences which allow people to use music for videos - both commercial use and special interest use - either as physical products or now streaming. It's pretty good.

    The actual process to take one of the tracks from any of the download or streaming services is more complicated though. If we use one of my bits of music as the example - and Kyle wanted to use it at a gig in the UK (I can't be certain this exact system would work in the US) what happens is this. I'm a member of PPL and PRS. In this case the relevant agency is PRS - The Performing Rights Society. As I am a member, he doesn't need to seek permission from me - he can download that track for whatever it costs, and then when he uses it, PRS would pay me a small fee. This assumes that PRS get a return from the venue, but also that the venue itemise what tracks are played, and here, most no longer do. So I guess the stats probably mean Ed Shearan songs are very likely and Paul Johnson has never been heard of. PRS do have the facility for me to tell them it has been used, so if I know, I can claim.

    My membership means PRS represent me, and I have no power really, and because so much is not stats based, my last few returns have generated nothing at all for me. It is, however the only system I have. Let's say that Kyle has got a very lucrative gig - maybe supporting somebody really famous doing a stadium tour of sellout gigs, each one with many thousands of people there. In his set is my song. Every show, every night. To maximise the money I can tell PRS I wish to 7F this work. Clause 7(f) give me the ability to remove certain works from their control. It's done to very popular songs - think mama Mia, or let it go that kind of thing. If I have done this, then PRS do not get involved and Kyle would have to ask the 'record company' which in my case is my small business, ears media - which is of course me! He would have to ask me and I'd give him a price. I've done this when I wrote a small scale juke box musical. PRS handled most of the music, but a few were excluded. The craziest being the 70s pop song "Sugar Baby Love" that starts with a wailey sung phrase, very high. To perform this 15 second chunk, every day for a week cost me £70 in 1998!

    So moving back to the tracks I've tested the water with. As far as I can tell, the best source of income would be from radio play, which won't happen on these, but the metadata would trigger the big broadcasters to declare my song to PRS. The composer of the cover appears to automatically get just under 10 cents for the stream or download, but reading this carefully could also be 10c on the dollar, so could be 10% of the unknown amount Spotfy or iTunes pay for the stream/download. I really cannot tell yet. It could take three months to generate the first statistics, and I also understand payments are deferred if they don't exceed a threshold which isn't published that I can find.

    I don't seem to have any real control - if somebody used my music for say a political purpose I'd not as far as I can see, be able to stop them. I did one year get an overseas payment for one piece of my music - I tracked it back to California and a dodgy movie, however, I was secretly rather pleased! I think I got about 60 pounds or thereabouts.

    I suspect somebody really famous would have a better licensing deal, but I wonder if making it available on Spotify, really does just hand it over? I don't know.

    Registering the tracks with PRS, for the performance rights and PPL for the use of the recording is probably not actually required if the streaming/downloading service pay the money, but if the tracks are used for public performance or subsequently broadcast, hopefully the ISRC number and Tunecode reference could generate additional payments.

    Clearly a cover involves a split of some kind. I'm just not sure what I get as a residual. I've done the recording, the arrangement and the tweaking of somebody else's work. How much that generates, I don't know - but the spice girl example shows them getting just 5% of the rights money. 5% of a few million sounds good, but my percentage of very little will be tiny.

    There's one other issue popped up. iTunes and Spotify have me as an individual, but some of the other services have lumped me in with Paul Johnson the dance/rap artist. Our two set of music come up as the same person. I cannot find any way of changing this. Spotify and iTunes have a separate artist sign in, which is not available to non-artists, but I wonder if my pappy background stuff will be viewed by the rap artist as helpful? Nothing I can do to separate them that I can see, so what happens if his fans download mine thinking they're his latest. They'd get a shock, but I'd get the sales?
     
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  16. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Excellent.
     
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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