That’s right. You read correctly. We’re gunna tell you exactly how much we paid our songwriters in 2016. ARE WE CRAZY?! We don’t think so (… well. maybe a little).
In 2016 we (mostly) concentrated on getting our publishing network setup and working correctly. We like to think of it a bit like plumbing- setting up, attaching and connecting pipes so every cent that drops in the top from song usage filters through the correct way and lands in our lap to pass onto our writers (without any leaks en route!). Some revenue pots expire if they’re not collected within a year (e.g. some live performance revenues) and if there’s a complex sub-publishing arrangement in place for a territory it can take a while for the dollars to drop through and make their eventual way to the writers.
It might take a PRO 1-2 quarters (3-6 months) to pay revenue to a local publisher, who then passes it up the chain to us in 3 months time (another quarter), who then pays it to the writer after another quarter. You see it can sometimes frustratingly take at least a year in general for revenue to start trickling through to writers after a song release- longer if there’s a delay in the chain (like a label dragging their feet on mechanical royalty payments or incorrect registrations).
So, without further adieu. In 2016 we paid out the following each quarter in songwriting royalties direct to our writers:
Jan-Mar // Q1 – £283.73
Apr-Jun // Q2 – £157.66
Jul-Sep // Q3 – £1133.32
Oct-Dec // Q4 – £1554.51
Not bad, eh? Not humungous, but enough to be getting on with. We’d love to see our little company grow quarter upon quarter, year upon year. This relies on quality music, and growing the upstream market for this music. We’re growing a “value add” business- developing the value that we bring to our clients, our artists and writers.
We started in 2014 as a label, and began to look into publishing at the back end of that year as our friends needed more help demystifying this black hole in the industry. Nowadays the the typical tasks a label would undertake are within the grasp of the unsigned and starting out artist:
Distribution? Easy- use an aggregator online and sell your CDs at gigs
Digital marketing? Get on social media and utilise the different channels for their differing strengths- instant and easy access to a global market
Recording? With the cost of DAWs like Logic decreasing and the rise of bedroom producers this is cheaper than ever- or can just be learnt and completed by the artist. 2016 saw more producer-artists than ever before, though quality in these circumstances is perhaps another discussion…!
Manufacture? the number of companies set up to feed the cheap manufacture market is incredible, though always get a test copy to check the quality. You really do get what you pay for here
We signed our first writers in the summer of 2015 (aaahhhh… now we’re getting nostalgic), with our first trickles of revenue dripping through in early 2016 and growing from there. Publishing is a very long game, and you need a matching long term strategy to make it a reliable and consistent source of revenue. Check out our blogs on PRS to see how you can maximise this income stream- it takes dedication and patience to grow the worth of your songwriting. Also check out our “Of Songs and Spreadsheets” blog for some practical help. Be encouraged though- it can certainly be grown- and like us, don’t despise the day of small beginnings!