Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tracking music royalties

We have received a number of questions about tracking royalties on music.

Music royalties can get very complicated, and you can use DashBook to simplify your work. Typically, each song has a multitude of musicians and composers to pay. One person may get a fixed dollar amount for each song, plus a percentage of the sale. Or another gets ten cents each time her artwork is included. Additionally, each royalty receiver may get a different amount based on what happened to that song.

For instance, perhaps the royalty contract dictates that the musician gets a different royalty depending upon whether the song was sold as an electronic download vs. played on the radio. You can quickly see that there are many venues and media types that can be broken out as a special royalty amount or rate.

In DashBook, you can create many different arrangements having the same product and author/musician. If the music media or royalty event is vastly different, you may enter it as a different product. Alternatively, you could use a feature we call Sales Channels. This allows you to make one order that says all items of this order are using a Sales Channel called "MP3 download", whereas another order might be for a Sales Channel of "Radio Plays over 30 seconds". You can have an unlimited number of sales channels. In your royalty agreement, you can list a different royalty percentage for each sales channel. This reduces the number of products that you need to maintain.

Once you have a myriad of options listed, DashBook does allow you to easily see all of the royalty arrangements for either a product/song or a musician/author/royalty rights holder. And of course, view reports showing either totals due or every transaction that resulted in a royalty.

And one of the features I love -- you can go to the Pay Authors screen to see all amounts that are due for all musicians, and mark them paid with a single click if you do not wish to make individual adjustments.

If you have any questions about how to handle your royalty situation, please email us at