Royalty Software for Music Publishers

When one googles “music royalty software”, most results are about royalty tools for labels, not for publishers. This is a general article about software for music publishers that processes royalty statements. If you are looking for simple ans fast software with great user experience, try Django Music Publisher.

Core functionality

Royalty processing for publishers takes incoming royalty statements. Rarely, input data is manually entered.

Incoming statements can have different formats, but the basic unit is usually referred to as “row”. A row always holds data about a recording and/or a musical work and the amount received. It contains various additional data.

For each row, the actual work in the database has to be found. The amount has to be divided among controlled parties, according to various publishing agreements (original, administration, sub-publishing) applicable to the work in question.

Optional steps

The described functionality is really at the core of royalty processing. There can be additional steps which can, but don’t have to be a part of music catalogue software.

Pre-processing conversion

Royalty statements come in a lot of different formats. These various formats must be converted to the one that is actually used for the transformation. This conversion can happen one “row” at a time, or the whole file is first converted and then processed.

Saving the incoming data

The incoming data, before or after pre-processing can be saved as a file within the software. If saved after the preprocessing, it can also be saved in the database.

Saving the outgoing data

Data after processing is often saved to the database. This makes real-time and/or custom reporting possible, as well as other nice-to-have features. Simply outputting the result back to the user is also an option.

Post-processing conversion

Processed data has to be delivered to third parties, sometimes in different formats. For example, in the form of beautifully formatted royalty statement in PDF. Or to an accounting software in XML, JSON or CSV.

Statement and data delivery

Statement and accounting data delivery can be automated.

Just the core in DMP

Django Music Publisher does not perform any of these optional steps. But, its position is unique. It is free, open source, simple to install and configure with no technical skills and only basic knowledge about music publishing. It has great user interface, making it simple to use. It is extremely fast. And it is fully compatible with dozens of societies worldwide.

Adding any of these additional steps would make it far more complicated to install and configure. It would require significantly more resources: CPU, RAM, disk space, bandwidth. Learning curve would be steeper, which would require user training and support.

This is not the path I chose for DMP. But it is the path I chose for its commercial sibling. But, that is a story for some other time…