Frequently Asked Questions

  • Your Performing Rights Organization (PRO) collects performance royalties in its home territory. While they are able to collect international royalties, they do so through reciprocal deals with foreign PROs which often result in delayed registrations, if the songs are able to get registered at all. This can also cause delayed and incomplete royalty statements from foreign territories.

    We register your works directly with PROs around the world in order to collect your royalties directly from the territories in which they were generated. This helps you get paid quicker, and receive more detailed royalty statements.

    In addition, your PRO does not collect mechanical royalties generated from sales/streams. We are affiliated with mechanical collection societies and directly with some digital services in order to collect your mechanical royalties internationally.

    Check out a current list of our global collection list here

  • You might be better off with both.

    There are two kinds of ownership when it comes to music: the recording/master side, and the composition/publishing side. They’re traditionally split up and handled separately by labels (recording) and publishers (composition). But now that the music industry is dominated by digital music, independent creators are able to oversee both sides themselves. 

    Labels and distributors like Distrokid and CD Baby make sure your music is available on popular DSPs like Spotify and Apple Music. Unless you’ve reached a publishing agreement with them, distributors typically pay royalties based on your ownership of a recording, not the composition itself.  

    Songtrust is not a distributor. It’s a publishing administrator — a one-stop shop for monetizing your publishing rights and meeting your royalty collection needs when it comes to compositions.

  • It depends on past deals and individual societies.

    Most of the collection societies and other pay sources that we collect from are able to collect royalties as far back as two or three years. Some more, some less. We make no guarantees about retroactive payouts, however, as they depend on individual societies and any deals you may have struck with publishers in the past. 

    The most surefire way to earn retroactive royalties is to add all of your titles on Songtrust with the correct co-writers and splits, along with any related ISRC/recording information.

    If we successfully collect your retroactive royalties, this payment will most likely come two or three quarters after your first royalty statement from Songtrust. For example, if your first royalty statement from Songtrust was in the first quarter, then you can expect to see retroactive money start coming in during the second and third quarter of the same year.

  • When it comes to compositions, yes.

    Songtrust offers YouTube monetization on behalf of your compositions as part of our worldwide publishing administration services. 

    Upon registration, you are automatically opted into YouTube monetization. Please note that Songtrust can only help monetize your compositions. If you own your sound recordings (masters), you'll need a distributor/label/third party to help monetize them on your behalf.

    Once you add songs into your account with at least one ISRC, we automatically deliver them to YouTube's Content ID system. When YouTube locates a video that matches the metadata we provided, it automatically claims the video for us.  

    If you come across any videos with 10,000 views or more that are using your music and we have not already claimed, please submit them in the Manual Claims section under YouTube in your Songtrust account. These claims are then reviewed and confirmed by the Songtrust team once they have met YouTube’s monetization eligibility requirements.

  • Why does Songtrust charge an up-front fee if we’re earning revenue on your collected publishing royalties?

    To become a Songtrust client, and access our best-in-class global publishing rights administration service, you’ll pay a one-time $100 per songwriter registration fee, and Songtrust will keep 15% of the royalties we collect. Why do we charge the up-front fee if we’re also earning revenue on your collected publishing royalties?

    It’s a good question. The reason Songtrust needs to charge an up-front registration fee is because we allow everyone to join. There’s no barrier to entry with Songtrust, like there is with most publishers or administrators - and you can sign up with 2 songs or 2000 songs for that same, flat, one-time $100 fee. Because of this flexibility, we need to make sure that even if a new client never earns any royalties, we cover our costs to get their catalog set up.

    Even though Songtrust’s systems are efficient, the initial onboarding for a songwriter and catalog is the most labor-intensive part of the process. It’s in those first few months when new clients have the most questions and may require the most support from our Client Services team. It’s in the first few months when things like counterclaims and conflicts are raised, which require our Copyright teams to work with the client and our pay sources to resolve them.

    How Does Songtrust Work

    This workflow diagram shows the steps necessary to get a song registered once a client enters a song into their Songtrust dashboard. And once the song is registered, we have yet more work to do, in royalty collection, matching, and processing; auditing our pay sources and making income tracking claims to ensure our clients collect everything they’ve earned; and growing our global network of pay source relationships.

    As you can imagine, a larger catalog has more potential for complexity. So we cover our bases with our registration fee, to ensure that Songtrust can keep going even if some of our clients aren’t yet earning enough that our administration fee covers their setup costs.

    With Songtrust, we only grow if you grow. If you make money as a songwriter, we benefit as your administrator. So our primary goal is to get your songs registered and earning with our 60+ global pay sources as soon as possible.

  • Learn pricing info here.

    You can sign up for Songtrust here. We charge $100 upfront per writer to cover our complex onboarding process, including setup and administrative costs. We also take a 15% commission on any royalties Songtrust collects on your behalf. Please note: We only collect your publisher's share. Your writer’s share comes directly from your Performing Rights Organization (PRO).