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Royalties question (how much should I pay)
Old 19th August 2012
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by Jamman View Post
So - since you are BMI, do you know if BMI allows you to put a writer name (your own name) in as a publisher, or does it have to be a PRO affiliated publisher?

ASCAP (last I knew) required the publisher to be a PRO affiliated publishing company, which is not hard to set up at all, but something that needs to be done.
I've never done that but always see this when I am filling out writers registration:

If you are the sole creator of this work and it is unpublished, enter 200%
Old 19th August 2012
Lives for gear
AwwDeOhh's Avatar

RE: writer/publisher splits and ASCAP/BMI

For the OP, although it may sound confusing, Jammin and Work2do are saying the same thing regarding 100% or 50%.
Just two ways to say the same thing.

Traditionally the songwriter and publisher share are described as 100% each
which kinda looks like this:
100% writers share
100% publishers share
100% of the money.

In reality the 100% share is 50% of the money. It's just described that way for publishing purposes; the publisher traditionally doesn't touch songwriters share, so they describe it this way.

It's important if you plan on signing to a publisher or recruit (or are recruited by) a co-publisher that these terms are spelled out clearly. IE, if they are asking for 50% publishers' share, you need to ask (and have in writing) if that's 50% of the 100% publishers' share (which would be 25% of the money) , or really 100% of the publishers share (which would work out to half the monies)
As you can see, that little clarification can make a big difference in payout. I suggest getting a few good books on the subject (publishing, licensing, songwriting, general music biz, ect.)
Old 20th August 2012
Gear Nut

Thanks for all the info everyone, it's a lot more than I was looking for, but all good to know. The main thing I was looking for was that 9.1 cent songwriter royalty, so now I have a place to start. We're going to be meeting up to do the recording for her album next month, and at that time we'll get all of the BMI/ASCAP stuff filled out.
Old 20th August 2012
Gear Nut

Oh, and if anyone is interested, here's a link to the song. It's an acoustic number based around the guitar, with string quartet and some piano in the more emotional parts. It's about superheros dealing with the fact that they are getting too old to fight anymore.

Hands Of Time | Mark Blasco
Old 20th August 2012
Originally Posted by work2do View Post
No. You should recoup first before paying royalties. The songwriter/publishing money will come direct from BMI/ASCAP and go direct to the writers/publishers.
That is incorrect and illegal.

This is why the OP needs to get a lawyer.

Mechanical royalties (9.1 cents PER SONG PER ALBUM SOLD) needs to be paid from record one. Period. It is illegal to do otherwise.

The money that gets paid AFTER recoupment is from an artist's negotiated percentage of record sales. That is completely SEPARATE from mechanical royalities.

Mechanical royalties are for the underlying songs, NOT the performance of those songs.

The percentage an Artist gets from the label from the sale of each album (that is usually paid after the album recoups its costs) are for the artist's performances and branding on that album.

And in this case, since he is self releasing his own album, he doesn't have to worry about recoupment. but he DOES have to worry about paying the songwriters.

Also, any performers on this project technically co-own the project for their intellectual property participation of the recording unless you specifically get them to sign a musician agreement waiving their rights to ownership of the master recordings.

They won't get any of the mechanical royalties, but they could come back and ask for a percentage of record sales from you acting as the label.

Lastly, ASCAP/BMI does not pay money from record sales. They only pay money from public performances of the music that was recorded. So if the song gets on the radio or on TV, then ASCAP and BMI (and SESAC) start paying. If it doesn't get on radio or TV, then ASCAP/BMI does not pay anything. It didn't seem like that was abundantly clear in the other posts so I just wanted to make sure the OP knew that.
Old 20th August 2012
narcoman's Avatar

Indeed so!
Old 20th August 2012
Lives for gear
RKrizman's Avatar

Originally Posted by Jamman View Post

I don't know off the top of my head about the current specific rules for each of the PROs of whether you can just list yourself as publisher or if you need to set up a publishing company. I think BMI lets you just list your own names, but I *think* ASCAP wants an ASCAP affiliated publishing company in those blanks. That is not hard to set up at all, though, if they require that, so don't let that intimidate you. (You can list either ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC publishing companies (and they don't have to all be the same) on the ASCAP form no problem.
It's easy to set up a publishing entity. Just know that if you are a registered ASCAP writer, say, then it has to be an ASCAP publishing company representing you. So you set up your company consistent with your affiliation, and let your partner do her own (she may be BMI, for instance, and will need a BMI publishing company).

As a publisher I have both a BMI and an ASCAP company in place so I can represent either type of writer. (although please note, as a writer you may only pledge a single affiliation).

Old 20th August 2012
Gear Nut

Some great info, thanks everyone. My cowriter will be signing a release form for the performance on the recording, so that isn't an issue. I plan to pay her her half of the songwriting royalties for each sale, and will be giving her recording time to compensate her for her time and performance. I'm registered through BMI (I don't know about her), and will make sure that everything on that front is split 50/50. There's no money to get a lawyer involved at this point, since I can't imagine selling more than a few hundred copies of the record (which would add up to somewhere around $15 in royalties). I just want to make sure we're doing things the correct way, and that she is getting paid what is owed her, and this way if the record does have some success she'll get a little money.
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