Loved by artists from those just starting out to Grammy-award winning acts, Songtrust is a platform which songwriters and music publishers use to capture publishing revenues across multiple music distribution methods. Think you are not getting enough royalties for your music? Want to learn how to get 100% of your music rights? In this article, we will look at how Songtrust works, what royalties they pay to artists, comparisons to alternative services, and whether it is worth giving it a try!
Songtrust was founded by Downtown CEO Justin Kalifowitz and CSO Joe Conyers III in 2010. It is a worldwide digital rights solutions platform created to simplify music rights management. This includes the administration of music publishing assets, performing rights, and digital licensing.
Songtrust removes the complexities of publishing, offering artists access to revenue streams and detailed data otherwise not available. Although songwriters, producers and publishers are their main audience, the platform is also used by music representatives, music businesses, and educators. When you sign up, you also gain access to in-depth data about the digital performances of your music and digital income tracking.
Developments in digital music distribution and streaming services have made it possible for independent artists and musicians to make their music available to listeners around the globe in just a few steps.
So, what royalties does Songtrust collect? In the digital world, it is often hard to reap 100% of the royalties a track generates. This is partly due to artists believing the royalties from their distributor is all the money earned when their song is streamed. However, a song stream also earns a mechanical royalty. Unlike digital performances or public performance, mechanical royalties are more complicated to pay and collect. This is where Songtrust comes in!
The team behind Songtrust consists of technologists and publishing industry experts with 100+years’ industry insight. They are committed to giving everyone access to what is due to them. Songtrust allows artists to register a song with multiple societies in just a few clicks. After you have registered your song, Songtrust automatically manages the administration of music publishing assets, performing rights, and digital licensing. At Songtrust, there are more than 85 experienced employees, working to make global music publishing administration available to anyone, anywhere. This professional global administration network ensures artists collect worldwide publishing royalties.
Whenever a song is played or used in any form, i.e. sampled, used in a TV show or performed live, it earns a royalty. When this happens, collection societies track the usage of music that is registered with them, and payout royalties. The licenses issued by these societies ensure that artists get the money they deserve, and protect against the illegal use of a song.
Collection societies play a huge role when it comes to publishing music. These companies are vital to the tracking and registration of compositions, thus enabling songwriters and publishers to collect royalties. The process of applying for and tracking a license is time-consuming and requires codes, massive datasets, and unique identifiers. Knowing which companies to acquire music licensing from and keeping track of where your music is registered is also tricky. Luckily, Songtrust has a network of these performing rights organisations (PROs) in North America, or collective management organisations (CMOs) in Europe. This includes partnerships with ASCAP, MEDIANET, MCPS, SESAC, HFA and more.
The table below highlights the difference between Songtrust publishing and traditional publishers.
|Accounting||Pays 4x per year||Pays only 2x per year|
|Song Delivery||Songs are typically inspected and sent the same week (as long as other paperwork is done)||Monthly or quarterly shipments|
|Direct Licensing||Cuts out the middleman that add delays from payments by going direct||Rely on 3rd parties that add delays|
|Direct Affiliations||Directly affiliated with over 50 societies around the world||Rely on sub-publishers and reciprocal deals adding up to 2+ years to see royalties|
|Sync Fees||You keep all the front-end, we help you collect only the back-end performance royalties||Take a % of all syncs front-end and back-end|
So, how much is Songtrust?
The signup cost of Songtrust is a one-off registration fee of $100, and the platform also takes a 15% commission on royalties. The platform has also recently introduced Access, a new characteristic designed for publishers, lawyers, and managers which gives the Multi-User Account feature.
Songtrust is relatively unique in what the platform offers, however, it has often been compared to SoundExchange. So, how are the two different?
The difference between these platforms is the type of royalties they collect. Songtrust collects royalties generated by compositions on behalf of songwriters and publishers, whereas SoundExchange collects digital performance royalties generated by master recordings on behalf of master owners and performers. Both these platforms are great – it just depends on the type of artist you are. Publishers and songwriters need Songtrust to collect mechanical royalties, but if you own your master recordings and/or are a performing artist, you should certainly think about registering with SoundExchange as well.
There are a few other options available to artists. There are music publishers and distributors available to help them cash in their music royalties, such as CD Baby Pro, TuneCore, DistroKid, or Standard.
CD Baby Pro bundles royalty collection with digital distribution, and costs $5 per single or $40 per album. This platform also takes a 15% commission. If you only have a few songs and don’t intend on registering your music with a separate distributor, then CD Baby Pro is a great choice.
Also very popular amongst independent artists, TuneCore varies a lot from Songtrust. They specialise in music distribution, not music publishing, and relies heavily on its global network of sub-publishers. TuneCore charges a one-off fee of $75, and then takes a 15% commission. This platform is more geared towards artists wanting their music to appear on a variety of platforms, e.g. Spotify, YouTube Music, or games.
Still deciding whether or not to sign up for Songtrust?
It really depends on the type of artist you are. If you are a songwriter with over a few thousand streams, and want to upload an unlimited number of songs to be registered with a variety of collection societies, then you should sign up to Songtrust right away! It is the only platform designed to collect mechanical royalties across many licensing companies. Plus, the fee and commission charge is definitely worth it.
For other artists, it is up to you. It depends on your budget, and if you think it is worth it for you and your music. We would say to go for it, but do some research and read some reviews if you are still feeling hesitant!
This article highlights the many benefits of Songtrust, from registering your music globally to in-depth data and analytics. If you have already racked up a few thousand streams, the price you pay for Songtrust is relatively minuscule. The $100 signup fee and 15% commission charge may however be hard to overlook if you are new to the world of songwriting or music publishing. Just remember that this platform allows you to keep 100% of your rights.
Songtrust isn’t just a platform created to give songwriters access to all of their royalties. The analytics included in your subscription are also useful for editing songs, planning new music, and better understanding your listeners. If used correctly, this data can help to propel your career! If you are considering signing up for Songtrust, don’t forget it is only one platform, designed for a specific set of reasons. Songtrust shouldn’t be used in isolation if you are an artist with total control of your music. As mentioned in this article, there are many types of royalties, many of which Songtrust don’t collect, i.e. royalties earned when someone performs your song live.
If you are looking for a platform that offers everything you need in one place, why not try Music Gateway? We can help with promoting your music, improving your streaming presence and providing Sync opportunities. Try it out for free today by signing up or clicking the button below.
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Publishing is a complicated affair, which is why getting someone to take care of the worry for you so you can focus on your music is always a good deal for any songwriter. All you need is to get the perfect one. So, is Songtrust that perfect one?