What is Music Royalty Management Software?
For what? → To whom?
And that is all music royalty management software does. Really.
A music publisher receives some money for airplay of a certain recording based on a musical work. And it should then distribute this money to writers and sometimes other publishers. And themselves, of course, call it a fee or whatever.
Or, in more abstract terms, at the beginning you know how much was received for something, in the end you know how much should be distributed to whom.
Everything else is clutter.
We recommend that you watch the video now, then come back to this article.
What (and how much)
When we talk about music publishing, this really means What work?, and for music labels What Recording?
The best way to define a musical work, or a recording, is to use unambiguous identifiers. Unambiguous means that it is clear which one work it refers to. And this has to work for both the sender and the receiver.
Everything except unambiguous identifiers is a bad way to define a work. Defining it by work title and writers' last names is very bad. Defining the title of the recording and the artist is slightly worse. In both cases, manual matching is required. By humans. Slow and expensive.
The whole next article will be about making things work with unambiguous identifiers, and avoiding manual work.
The second information we need form the incoming statement is the amount. (We'll discuss currency at a later point, explaining why this is irrelevant for music royalty management software, only for accounting software.)
To whom (and how much)
Getting from what to to whom requires good data in the database. (Library cards will also do, but ... manual work again.) Obviously, if the work in your database has
- the received identifier,
- data about writers (and maybe publishers), and
- your relationships with some of them (clients),
then this process will be really simple, fast and automated (involving no manual work).
And this includes the answer to how much? Certainly, this will involve many calculations. While they may seem complex to you, they are really just four basic operations: adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. And computers can do these incredibly quickly.
To have royalty management fully automated and fast, all we need are:
- an identifier and amount in each row of the incoming royalty statements, and
- data in the database that has these identifiers linked to works, data about writers (and maybe publishers) and your relationships with some of them (clients).