Music Publishing 101: Q&A with Sentric Music CEO Chris Meehan

We recently chatted with Chris Meehan, CEO of Sentric Music, about all things music publishing. Read on to get the 411 on our association with Sentric, CONNECT Songs, and more.

How does Sentric work with ReverbNation?

Sentric Music is an award-winning publishing administration company. ReverbNation’s CONNECT Songs program and Sentric have a strategic business relationship, which enables Sentric to administer copyrights on behalf of CONNECT Songs. This means that as a CONNECT artist, your song is published by CONNECT Songs and administered by Sentric Music worldwide.

How does CONNECT Songs work?

CONNECT Songs provides you with access to direct collection networks to ensure your songs are registered worldwide with performance rights organizations (PROs) for the collection of royalty income. CONNECT Songs also works to place your music in movies, TV shows, commercials, and video games on a daily basis. The service is run on a quick and easy to use web-based platform simplifying the music publishing process. The agreement is extremely artist friendly with an 80/20 royalty (in favour of the artist, of course) and 45 day rolling termination clause.

What type of royalties do CONNECT Songs collect? (not just from sync)

The main royalty types are:

Performance Income

Performance royalties are generated when your music has done just that; been performed. This can be either live or a recorded version of your music. The money is collected by PROs such as SESAC, BMI (in the US) and PRS (in the UK) who CONNECT Songs liaise with in order to collect and administer your publishing income. The three main sources of performance income are from live performances (the gigs/shows you play), radio airplay and TV broadcasts.

Mechanical Income

Mechanical royalties are generated from various sources when your music is basically ‘put on’ something; be it a CD, TV programme, DVD etc. If a record label wants to release your music on CD, they have to pay a license fee to a mechanical collection society in order to have them pressed – so in essence they’re paying for the song to be duplicated. Digital mechanical royalties are also generated when your songs are downloaded or streamed from licensed services online.

Synchronisation

Synchronisation is the act of placing an artist’s music over a visual; be it an advert, a TV programme, a film, a video game etc. As well as generating back end performance and/or mechanical royalties, commercial synchronisation placements often generate an upfront fee which the CONNECT Songs team will contact you about to discuss when applicable.

What happens once I add a song to my CONNECT Songs account?

The CONNECT Songs team will check the information you have submitted and then register your songs with collections societies globally. If there are any issues then a member of the team will get in touch.  Once your registrations are in place at societies royalties will be payable. The CONNECT Songs team will search for any outstanding royalties and make any initial claims for gigs or shows you’ve added to your profile. When royalties are generated for your song, collection societies will pay your writer share to you (assuming you are a collection society member) and the publisher share to CONNECT Songs. We’ll then retain our share (20% of the gross royalty) and pay the remaining publisher share on to you.

If you are not a member of a collection society then, in some cases, your writer share of income will be held by PROs and so we always recommend that you join a PRO as a writer member (more on that below).

Why should artists choose CONNECT Songs? How is the program different from other publishers/my own publishing entity?

CONNECT Songs enables you to maximise the income from your songs through direct relationships with collection societies in most major territories worldwide. This collection structure ensures that more of the royalties generated from the use of your songs are returned to you than if you administered your songs through your own entity or other traditional publishers who would normally use local sub-publishers or where international income is passed between PROs before it is returned to you (i.e. more people in the chain are getting a cut of your royalties compared with CONNECT Songs’ direct collection model).

Furthermore, the CONNECT Songs platform utilises efficient technology to identify and claim outstanding or unpaid royalties proactively and easily – reducing the time and effort required to self-administer your publishing rights. The platform also presents opportunities to generate further income such as TV, movie and advertising sync placements or licensing opportunities with music services such as jukeboxes.

What are the most important things CONNECT artists can do once signed up to the service?

Add Songs

The most important thing to do is to add songs to your account – we can’t do anything at all without them. Songs should be added as soon as they are written and, ideally, ahead of any usage. It’s also extremely important to provide accurate writer information including any collection society membership details and real names (not nicknames or band names). Accurate and timely information will help ensure that songs registrations can be made immediately and no royalty income is missed or delayed.

Add Gig Details

The next things to consider is live gigs or shows. If you have performed your songs live in the past 12 months then you should add all of these dates to the Gig Details section. The CONNECT Songs team will then review them and claim royalty income for you where possible.

In most cases, you are owed a royalty every time you perform your songs live but these aren’t always paid automatically. The gig claims system offered by CONNECT Songs ensures you don’t miss out.

Add MP3 Recordings

Once song and gig information has been added, the final initial action for artists is to get MP3 recordings uploaded for synchronization opportunities. As well as the full recording, instrumental versions should also be uploaded if you have them as a lot of clients look to use instrumentals only.

Once your recordings are uploaded, the CONNECT Songs sync team will review them for placement in our sync catalogues and you’ll also be able to submit them for individual sync briefs posted to your profile.

A lot of US-based artists have their own publishing entities – can they still use CONNECT Songs?

Yes, absolutely – in order to take full advantage of the service offering, CONNECT Songs would replace your own publishing company as the worldwide original publisher of your catalogue. This structure enables CONNECT Songs to utilise our direct relationships with both collection societies and service providers to maximise the efficiency of global collections on your songs. You still retain 100% of your rights as the copyright holder, CONNECT Songs are simply administering your royalty collection and taking a percentage of what we collect on your behalf.

Do you need to be a member of a PRO to use CONNECT Songs?

No. It is not essential to be a member of a PRO as CONNECT Songs can still assist you in collecting the publisher share of your royalty income. However, we do always recommend you join your local PRO since, in some cases, societies will not pay out the writer’s share of royalties unless your are a PRO member. CONNECT Songs works closely with US PRO SESAC and can arrange for you to be considered to join SESAC as a songwriter member if you are not currently a PRO member. A member of the CONNECT team will be in touch to facilitate an invite once you’ve signed up and have added songs to your account. If you are a member of a PRO you can still use CONNECT Songs to take advantage of our administrative systems so we do all the leg work, ensuring you receive everything available around the world.

Do you have questions about music publishing? Leave them in a comment below!

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KevinMusic Publishing 101: Q&A with Sentric Music CEO Chris Meehan

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