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MMF report: licensing short changes songwriters

The UK’s Music Managers Forum has released a new song royalties guide, highlighting “global licensing inefficiencies” and calling for greater transparency around royalty chains and rights ownership.

Published today at the Great Escape, the new guide, produced by CMU Insights, lifts the lid on how songwriters’ repertoire is licensed to digital music services and how payment systems can reduce the royalties that creators receive.

The report states that while featured artists can be paid royalties within weeks of their track being streamed – especially if they self-release via a DIY distribution platform – those who write the track sometimes wait years before receiving their share.

The MMF calls for action to reform royalty chains, in which global-facing digital music services are licensed on a territorial basis and revenues flow between several parties, causing “delays and deductions” to royalty payments.

Although the percentage of income allocated to the song copyright in streaming is often double that allocated on a CD sale, the report finds that problems on the royalty chains mean songwriters do not benefit from this.

Research shows that problems increase as listening goes global, especially beyond Europe.

“Streaming should be boosting songwriters’ incomes”

MMF draws six key recommendations from the report, urging greater transparency around royalty chains, the reduction of links in the global licensing chain, a nine-month limit on payments post-streaming, the disclosure of any disputes and the reform of redistribution practice.

MMF also encourages songwriters, managers and accountants to push publishers and collecting society partners to address licensing inefficiencies.

“Streaming should be boosting songwriters’ incomes, instead MMF research reveals much of their money is subject to unnecessary data disputes, deductions and delays,” says MMF chief executive Annabella Coldrick.

“Long and complex royalty chains need to be simplified and shortened so more of the money gets back to the creator of the music. Digital licensing needs to be fit for purpose.”

The report forms part of MMF’s Dissecting The Digital Dollar, a series of publications helping artists and managers better understand the streaming business.

MMF membership grew 25% in 2018. The organisation recently made two new appointments to its team, hiring its first industry relations and events manager.


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Songwriter management firm Nonstop launches

Seasoned artist manager and A&R Jaime Zeluck Hindlin has announced the official launch of her new management company, Nonstop Management, which specialises in career development and management services for songwriters and producers.

LA-based Nonstop, which soft-launched earlier this year, already represents Andrew Wells (Meghan Trainor, Young The Giant, Bebe Rexha), LunchMoney Lewis (Nicki Minaj, One Direction, Jason Derulo), Nick Long (King Princess), Michael Pollack (Lauv, Charli XCX, Kelly Clarkson), Oren Yoel (Miley Cyrus, XXXTentacion), Sam Farrar (Maroon 5), Michael Matosic (Lauv) and Jake Torrey (Kiiara).

“We wanted to build a haven for songwriters and producers”

Zeluck Hindlin previously spent four years in A&R at publishing company Prescription Songs, where she signed and developed the careers of Lauv, JKash and LunchMoney Lewis. She previously served in an A&R/creative role at Sony/ATV Music Publishing and as a music assistant at CAA.

“With Nonstop, we wanted to build a haven for songwriters and producers that fosters creativity, risk-taking and organic growth,” she comments. “Our goal is to work tirelessly for all of our clients and live up to the Nonstop name.”


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