A reader provides another view on royalties:
I work for an SG artist who is VERY committed to paying royalties. However, this business of royalty paying is more of an art than a science. I cannot tell you how complicated the process is. Not only is the publishing information near impossible to find on some songs, but the publishing rights many times have changed several times, or the publishing companies are no longer in existence. Each publishing company has its own set of rules of reporting, how often the royalties should be paid (per quarter vs. each 1000 unit run, etc) and the paperwork differs greatly as well. Sometimes a license can be renewed with a simple email followed by a check being mailed and yet other publishers require a new application for every payment…it’s a very convoluted and complex process. For those artists who are dilligent about paying their royalties, we are required many times to do our own detective work to hunt down the songwriter’s publisher etc. While there is no excuse whatsoever for not paying royalties, understand that the process is very difficult at best. Perhaps songwriters need to really think about the process in which their publisher requires payment before deciding to go with that publisher as that very decision can determine how quickly and easily they will be paid. One suggestion would be for the songwriter to include publishing information on his songs on his own website so that the artist doesn’t have to spend hours or days hunting it down. If you want to get paid then make it easy for people to pay you. I’m not slamming the songwriter but I think many songwriters could be more hands on and proactive which would in turn help them.
Update: and right on cue, David Bruce Murray offers to help confused artists figure whom to pay royalties, for $5 a song.Email this Post