Your Radio Royalties

I would like to share some wisdom that you must, and I do mean must comprehend going forward.

Every year millions in unclaimed royalties go to the grave yard or maybe even worse someone else’s pocket.

I have been doing radio coming up on 20 years and I’m also a songwriter with music in TV shows and a movie. I get paid from those so trust me when I say, I know how all of this works.

The biggest problem I see on a daily basis is song metadata. It’s not being properly embedded into the music files and even when it’s being submitted, the information submitted is not correct.

We are now living in the digital age and song metadata is like the gold of your music. Without the proper setup, all you will get is fools gold and no pay.

So, let’s begin:

Starting with the Artist field – this should only contain who the artist is for the entire project/album/single. If you invite Kirk Franklin to say something on your song, he is not the artist, you are. He is a featured performer and his name should appear after the song title he is featured on. Otherwise he and you are the artist for the entire album. You could actually be sued labeling him as the artist because that was not in your agreement and if his name is in the artist field, well… you must him pay for every sale of the album and every song on the album. You should see from that, how this could get ugly.

The info should look as such: Your Name – Song Title (feat. Guest Artists), you may have several different guest artist on your project but still you are the artist.

The artist/performer field MUST MATCH what you submitted to BMI, ASCAP, SESAC and SoundExchange.

Last tip about the artist name:
If you did not submit your song to your Performance Rights Agency as Pastor John Doe (because you were not a pastor at that time), then do not submit it to radio as Pastor John Doe. If your status changed after your songs were submitted and filed, then as far as what radio gets, it should be exactly how it was filed and not as your new status. You can add your updated status on new up and coming projects. Leave what has been done alone. In other words, if I completed and submitted an album to my PRO (BMI) in 2023 as me being the artist Roderick Carter and then in 2024, I was elevated to Pastor Roderick Carter, I must leave that album as it were and not make changes to the name of the artist. My new album can have the Pastor Roderick Carter as the artist when it’s released. Trust me when I say making changes after the fact could become a major headache for you, it can.

Secondly, the Title field –¬† this should be the song title you submitted to your PRO. Any person featured on the song or if it’s a different version of the song ie (Radio Edit), it should be after the song title. example; John Doe – He Did What He Said He Would Do (Radio Edit)

Thirdly, the Album field – should be exactly what was filed with your PRO as the album title or song title with (Single) if it’s a single.

Why does this matter? Because this is the #1 reason as to why you are missing performance royalties thus the reason there are millions of unclaimed royalties.

The radio stations know nothing about how, where, who, when or what you submitted to your PRO and therefore cannot assure you that you will get paid from them playing your music.

This means, it is your responsibility as the artist/record company to embed and provide the most accurate information about your music when submitting it to be promoted or played on radio. If you tagged your music accurately before sending it out, it means every station will all now have the same information that they are reporting, giving you a 90% better chance to get paid  performance royalties.

Currently I’m seeing various station playing the exact same song by the exact same artist, but the metadata is totally different from station to station. This would NEVER happen if the music was tagged by you before sending it out. Stations would love to be able to download, review and then add your pre-tagged music because it makes it much faster to get it on air.

This is huge for you as a songwriter/artist because still to this day, PRO’s rely on Artist, Title, Album and Composer to determine who gets paid. However, there are a ton of Live365/SamCloud radio stations and they only show Artist – Title and maybe Album in the reports. The ISRC is not used for live streaming radio stations but are used for On Demand streaming on Spotify, iTunes and other retail brands, it is primarily used for sales. In other words the PRO’s don’t require them but this could change in the future.

More from ISRC Facts

All that to say, if you really want your music to have impact and growth for your wallet, make sure you learn how to tag your own music BEFORE you send it our or upload it anywhere.

Need help with that? Contact us and let’s get it done.

Hope this has helped,
Author: Roderick D Carter
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