There are three places where you should register your songs. The first is a PRO (performance rights organization), which is BMI, ASCAP or SESAC. Choose one. They all have their own benefits.
Also make sure to register your songs with SoundExchange, which pays out on non-interactive streams, which is the opposite of ‘on-demand’ streaming like Spotify or Apple Music. Next, register your music with some sort of publishing administration collection company or society. Songtrust is a good one. If you don’t have a publishing deal, then you should use companies like Songtrust. However, If you are signed to a publishing company, they will collect on your behalf.
With a distributor like Repost by SoundCloud, we cover SoundCloud monetization, YouTube monetization and all the major DSPs (digital service providers). Artists get paid out directly from us and it’s all very transparent in one place.
Make sure you have these basics covered before you think about anything else because there’s so much unclaimed money out there that artists don’t know about because nobody told them to register their works.
When you register your songs, the credits need to be clearly defined. Understanding songwriter royalties, publishing royalties, master rights royalties and producer points are really important. Usually, if you’re sampling something and you didn’t buy it or license it, you can’t use it. Typically, the rights holder is either going to be the artist, the producer or a label or publishing company. It’s really important that if you’re sampling something, you have the rights. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to tell artists in a somber and regretful tone that their song that’s currently blowing up didn’t have all the proper rights cleared and is owned by somebody else, so all the money they’re making is actually not theirs.
Edgel Groves began his career as a musician, playing with the band Sun Domingo in the 2000s and went on to form a booking agency and management company at the end of the decade. Groves is senior manager of A&R for SoundCloud.