Music Royalty Software

Watch our series about music royalty management.

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 actual software, have a look at the parent page.

Core functionality

Royalty processing for publishers usually starts with imports of 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, or recording, and the amount received. It contains various additional data.

For each row, the actual work in the database has to be found. If registration process was done correctly, this can be fully automated.

The amount has to be divided among controlled parties, according to various publishing agreements (original, administration, sub-publishing) applicable to the work in question, and fees have to be calculated.

Then this augmented data has to be exported and delivered to clients, accountants, etc.

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.

It might be surprising to most people in the industry that these steps are optional. However, DMP works like this for many publishers, and most of clients using our commercial That Green Thing do not use any of them.

More on that later.

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.

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.

Such files can also be saved in the system.

Statement and data delivery

Statement and accounting data delivery can be automated.

Just the core in DMP

DMP 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.

More options in That Green Thing

That Green Thing features some of these additional steps, but most of the clients do not use them. Why?

Because That Green Thing is not accounting software. Instead, it prepares the data so it can be used by any generic accounting software.

Keep things simple by keeping things simple!


Music Royalty Management Software is a new series of videos and articles about the same topic.