Thursday, November 3, 2011

PayPal discontinues MassPay

Normally when someone who is evaluating DashBook asks why they cannot send out royalty payments directly via PayPal through our software, it is because they simply did not set it up.  It is a very quick and easy procedure consisting of logging in to one's PayPal account and requesting API signature information which provides the credentials that DashBook needs to communicate on behalf of their business account.

PayPal's MassPay does not work with personal accounts, so an upgrade to Business or Premier might be required.  Why does DashBook use PayPal's MassPay system for electronic payments?  MassPay is a great way to handle paying a handful or hundreds of royalty holders at once.  It also fits nicely in the business model, as the sender pays a fee that is comparable to or cheaper than mailing costs, and the recipient receives the full funds without additional fees removed.  Other methods of PayPal payments would have the royalty holder receive less than the royalties due.

PayPal MassPay has been a great system for DashBook users, who are primarily book publishers and music labels right now, although of course our system handles many more businesses interested in tracking royalties and licenses.  It is very simple and easy.  One screen shows all of the royalty amounts owed for the period chosen, and one click can fire off all of the payments and record that information into DashBook for account balance purposes.  Life is good.

So when one of our new book publishers started asking about her inability to use PayPal, the answer seemed obvious.  "Go to this PayPal website page to get your account information; paste it here in DashBook."  Ah, but not so easy this time! Her PayPal system didn't have MassPay activated, and calls to PayPal resulted in her telling us that PayPal has discontinued MassPay for all but huge corporations.

What?  Isn't PayPal for the little guys who don't already have large systems setup?  If your company is already large, wouldn't you have EFTS (Electronic Funds Transfer - like direct deposit) to handle all your needs?

Well, after spending hours on the phone with various PayPal personnel, it looks bad.  Whether their decision is due to "abuses" or "high risk" (their terms), they have indeed disabled MassPay from the majority of their accounts while leaving it intact for a handful of large multinational corporations.

This is huge news.  Why isn't there outrage everywhere today?  Maybe because they did this months ago, and perhaps our clients that use this feature only pay quarterly or semi-annually, etc.
[Edit:  It appears those using it regularly have been grandfathered.]

What did PayPal recommend that we do?  Trash our MassPay API program code, and rewrite it for their alternative Adaptive Payments style, which puts the burden on the recipient for the fees -- and those fees are much higher than the $1 USD cap that MassPay has.

If you've used MassPay, contact PayPal immediately to see if they will re-instate your account. [Edit: First go to your account, select Send Payment, select MassPay, and see if yours is disabled.]

If you have experiences about this, please reply to this post so that we can all learn.  Unfortunately, change is not always for the better.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Streams versus downloads

With DashBook, it is easy to setup one set of products that receive different types of royalties depending on the product's usage by using our Sales Channels feature.

For example, let's say that you pay 75% of U.S. mechanical for a particular song.  For a 5 minute song, a 9.1 cent mechanical would be $0.06825.  But if the transaction report you receive also has streams of this song paying you 2 cents, you'd lose over twice as much as you receive by paying mechanicals on streams!

So, in DashBook, you use Sales Channels such as "Sales" vs "Streams" to distinguish what happened with a song.  Your royalty arrangement can then be set to 75% mechanical for all transactions on a "Sales" order, but 50% on all transactions on a "Streams" order.

So whether you are paying songwriters, publishers, or the artists themselves, DashBook can handle it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

QuickBooks for royalty accounting

QuickBooks is a useful program for general accounting, but is inadequate for handling the royalty calculation needs of businesses like book publishers, record labels, music publishers, etc.  That is why royalty software such as DashBook is so important.  Royalty accounting can be so much easier with a great system.

On the other hand, while DashBook makes handling royalties very easy (import sales reports, email or upload royalty reports!), it does not handle all of the general accounting tasks.

Obviously, putting these two together makes sense.  Already, one can generate sales reports from QuickBooks including product codes (ISBN, ISRC, SKU, etc.), quantity sold, and net received, and import those transactions into DashBook.

But we can always do better.  One of our clients is growing so rapidly and has had such positive experiences with our DashBook team, that they've asked for our help.  After discussions and consideration, we've turned the problem upside down to create a fantastic solution for them.  Now they can continue their great growth, supported by an even better system.  And they are pretty excited!

What can we do for you?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Music Master Royalties

DashBook 4.5 is on our website available for downloading.  One of the extensions of this version is the ability to specify a single master share percentage on a product.  Each royalty arrangement connected to this product will be multiplied times this master share percent.

This means that you can create fewer royalty arrangements for artists or royalty holders who have songs on an album, of which you may not even know how many other tracks are there.  If your song's share is 10% of an album, you can simply create the album product with a Master Share of 10% and point the royalty to a generic royalty for your artist.  That generic might be, say 20%, resulting in .2*.1= 2% royalties for your artist.

You no longer need to multiply the master share by the artist percent, as DashBook v4.5 can now do that for you.  By using a generic arrangement of 20%, that royalty can be used on many different products, each having a different master share.

We continue to enhance DashBook to make your work easier.  Please let us know how we can help you!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Busy accounting season for royalties

Whew!  This is a busy time of year.  It is not uncommon for businesses to procrastinate on their royalty work to the very end - or even long after their deadlines.  As it turns out, they discover that they don't die after all!

However, all of this putting off of work just adds to the stress of operating a business.  When you know that you have to start organizing all of your sales, update your Excel spreadsheets or QuickBooks system with the latest releases, go through each royalty calculation in detail, print and mail reports,....  Just the thought of it all is exhausting.

Of course, you know there has to be a better way.  And there is.  You google for "royalty software" and discover DashBook and other choices.  Should you download and try?  So much work to do.

There is a lot of work to do -- no denying it.  But with some upfront time invested in setting up a royalty system, subsequent royalty and pay periods become so much easier.  We have customers saying that they've gone from a week of pain to an hour or so of work and review.  So yes, it is worth it!

The setup itself does not have to be painful.  Consult with us, and we can do most of the work for you.  We recently helped a music label setup a database within hours of receiving their CD Baby sales report and a little information about the percentages that they pay to the artists.  DashBook created all of the tracks and albums sold during that period, along with connecting the artist and royalty calculations together, in a matter of minutes by using our import system.  All the record label had to do was to add the additional tracks to the albums, and send out reports and payments.

Since they only paid their license holders via PayPal, a quick setup and a few mouse clicks, and they were done!  They even took advantage of DashBook's ability to upload royalty reports to, so they didn't have a single thing to print or mail.

Whew!  After years of agonizing, they finally have a system that just does it all for them, and it only cost them $499 for the license.  We did all of that setup for free, and provided them the database in less than a day.  Perhaps your setup might require more work for a small fee, but perhaps not.

As a friend of mine would say, "What a bargain!"