February 2, 2021
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Performing artists are often the ones with the big name and face recognition, like Rihanna. But if someone else wrote the songs they’re singing, they’re not earning publishing royalties from their own performances. So how do these artists get paid for their performances? We discuss performing artists’ various revenue streams, and how they are evolving in a pandemic.
I have with me today, for only the second time in this show’s history, a repeat guest! This guest’s first appearance was hugely popular, and I’m thrilled she’s returned to talk about a related topic. Back in August of 2020 (in Ep. 56), Anna Bond from Songtrust gave us a crash course on the world of Music publishing and royalties – the money song writers make when we listen to music they wrote, whether the music is streamed, sold in CD form, played in a restaurant, used in an ad, or played on TV. But what about the actual performer? They’re often the ones with the big name and face recognition, like Elton John or Rihanna, but if someone else wrote the songs they’re singing, they’re not earning publishing royalties from their own performances. So how do these artists get paid for their performances?
Anna is incredibly adept at translating a fascinating AND complicated industry into layperson’s terms. Anna is the Senior Director of Global Business Development for Songtrust. Songtrust is the world’s largest global royalty collection service – it helps artists know and access what they’re owed. Welcome back to Enhance Life with Music, Anna!
- We discuss the income streams that ARE available to the performers themselves, including:
- record label payments
- concert ticket sales
- merch sales
- radio play
- sales of physical albums, such as CDs & vinyl
- Artists who DO typically write their own songs include Sam Smith, Taylor Swift, Beck, John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Pharrell, Hozier, Meghan Trainor, Ed Sheeran, Adele.
- You may find it helpful to listen to Anna’s first episode, from August 18, 2020: Ep. 56 How do artists and songwriters get paid when I stream their song or hear it played in a store?
- This U.S. Music Streaming Royalties Explained diagram from Manatt shows what the streaming breakdown looks like when it comes to master & publishing payouts.
- Songtrust website: Contact the team or access the many educational resources available (especially the Modern Guide to Music Publishing, available for download)
- We reference this recent news item: (12/8/20 New York Times article) Bob Dylan Sells His Songwriting Catalog in Blockbuster Deal
- Anna mentions The Music Modernization Act
Anna says: “When I was at eMusic, my coworker introduced me to the first album by the band Parquet Courts, and eMusic did the first ever editorial feature about them. We bonded over loving the record, used to text each other back and forth funny bits of lyrics, and went together to see them at CMJ. Long story short, we’re married now. To me it is a very serious life enhancement! Oh, and later I worked with the band when I was GM at Rough Trade; so everything did go full circle!!”
Thanks so much to Anna for delving into the complicated and fascinating world of royalties with us again! As always, there are links in the show notes to all the resources we discussed. Every time I look at a record album or CD or ticket stub (hopefully we’ll see those again before long), I will definitely have a whole new appreciation for what goes into divvying up the revenue from each sale or event. On last week’s episode, guest Austin Pancner and I discussed holistic health, wellness, and musicianship. We also discussed the similarities between musicians and athletes, and strategies to heal and prevent injuries. About 14 years ago, I had severe golfer’s elbow AND tennis elbow; it was a piano-playing injury; it was seriously affecting my ability to play the piano (and scoop ice cream, and shake hands – if you’ve experienced this yourself, you know exactly what I’m talking about!). I did find a tool several years ago that has been incredibly effective for me in healing and preventing repetitive use injuries. I use this tool every day, and have for years now, to prevent problems – and because it feels so good! It is a self massager called the Rolflex Pro; I use it mainly on my arms (from the wrist all the way up to the shoulder) and also on my traps in the neck/shoulder area; but it can be used on pretty much any body part because of how it’s designed. It’s super easy to control the pressure; I highly recommend it. I’ll include a link in the show notes – and also a photo of my Rolflex Pro in my workout area in my basement!Full disclosure, I did sign up as an affiliate a couple months ago, so will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you – if you purchase through my link. The Rolflex is eligible for reimbursement from Flexible Spending Accounts and HSAs; it’s also eligible for medical insurance reimbursement under certain situations. More information is on the Rolflex website. The Rolflex Pro can also be a great Valentine’s gift idea for that person who is really hard to buy for! Or, buy it for yourself and treat yourself to some self-care for Valentine’s Day. If you’d like more gift ideas for Valentine’s Day, check out Ep. 71 for research-based ways to GIFT music (the gift that keeps on giving). Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music. Thank you to our sponsors:
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