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For most music labels, content owners, recordings artists and songwriters, initial success almost always comes from activity within their respective territory or country. Downloads, digital radio, television, Internet performances, album sales (both physical sales and downloads), sync licenses for songs in films, television, video games, and advertising commercials are the typical applications. All of these methods and channels can generate royalties—sometimes large, as in the case of a hit song, good-selling compilation album or television theme, and other times minimal, as in the case of a webcast performance or small one-time usages.
A Shot Heard Around the World!
But what happens when your audio recording or song is licensed by a licensee in a foreign territory—say, in Taiwan, Ireland, South Africa, USA or any other country, for that matter? How will royalties be collected, and by whom? What do you have to do to get paid? Those are the questions you need answers to when dealing with any activity in the foreign marketplace. The good news is that Sugo Music Group specializes in Global Sub-Licensing. See below.
Your Complete Distribution Portfolio
Global Sub-Licensing is often ignored, yet there are many foreign music licensing opportunities and it helps round out your Complete Distribution Portfolio. We are proud to announce that new distribution partners have joined our expanding distribution database in various emerging territories including China, India, Philippines and Taiwan. Although we control the majority of our international distribution efforts from our U.S. base operations and affiliates, our sub-licensing partners and new emerging music licensing companies and agents also will help promote, distribute and sell your music through strategic, ancillary channels.
Not Cut from the Same Cloth
Each territory has its own procedures, policies and laws governing the licensing, performance and sale of music in its territory—and this affects how to license your music abroad. In addition, every country has its own collection societies for the negotiation, collection and distribution of performance and mechanical monies—for both copyright owners and writer and publishing registrants. These foreign collection societies and organizations have payment rules very different from those in your territory or in the U.S.—in addition to sometimes taking significant deductions from royalties of master owners, writers and publishers prior to statements and payments. Some of these societies are very transparent, whereas others are not.
Our Foreign Collection Society Partners
Sugo Music Group collects on Global Sub-Licensing efforts in two ways: a) Master Use Licensing and b) Performance Royalties. Sugo Music Group negotiates Master Use licenses for the usage of the master sound recording. In addition, we will also register and collect royalties for the public broadcast performances of both your master and your original songs! Though most songwriters receive modest or little royalties for their songs performed outside the U.S., successful writers can make millions of dollars over the life of a song for foreign country performances and sales. To give an example of the type of monies being collected, in 2009 over $600 million was forwarded to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for foreign performances of U.S. works. Most of the money is writer money as many publishers collect their money directly from each foreign collection society. As to individual activity, a major worldwide hit song can generate well over $1,000,000 in foreign radio and television performance monies, with a blockbuster feature film generating in excess of $500,000 composer royalties for foreign theatrical (movie theatre) performances alone during the initial year of activity. Putting these high-end figures aside, it is important to know that tens of thousands of U.S. copyright owners, writers and publishers receive between $1 and $100,000 in foreign royalties each year for performances of their works on radio and television stations, live performances and website transmissions, among many other types of uses.
Never forget: real success is worldwide, and you need to know how the business works outside of your territory. Welcome to Sugo Music Group. We’ll help you get it done! Get plugged in!
Q What is sub-licensing?
A: See above. Global Sub-Licensing is one of the more important services we offer and helps round out your Complete Distribution Portfolio. Although a significant portion of our international distribution efforts is based from our U.S. headquarters, we also work with our foreign sub-licensing partners to help promote, distribute and sell your music through strategic, ancillary channels in their respective territories.
QWhy should I sub-license my music?
A:Sub-licensing should be an integral part of every distribution portfolio. Most, if not all, music distributors do not provide Global Sub-Licensing services and solutions. They don’t because they are 100% automated. Automated services have some benefits, yet they also have limitations. Global Sub-Licensing can be time consuming and require extra resources, yet once your music is licensed into a foreign territory with one of our affiliate partners, then your assets can be professionally marketed in ancillary channels that we cannot oversee from our U.S.-based headquarters.
QWhat do you charge for this service?
A:There are no additional charges, fees, charge-backs, etc. This is a win-win situation for both of us. We’ve been working with international licensing affiliates for 30 years now. From day one, we were setting up vinyl and cassette manufacturing and unique production deals in international territories. Years later, we set up CD manufacturing and various synchronization deals. Currently we manage digital asset ingestion with our foreign partners, yet some partners still like to manufacture CDs as well.
QHow can I guarantee my music is protected?
A:Sugo Music Group works with some of the most respected licensees in the industry. Although many of our partners have been around for decades, we still interview, qualify and sign on new potential partners when applicable.
QCan I copyright music online for foreign territories?
A:Most countries have copyright laws similar to those in the USA or in your own territory. If your work is protected in your territory, it will also be protected in most other territories under the local laws. International copyright treaties require certain minimum protections and enforcement of copyright law for artists. International collection agencies operate under the principal of “national treatment,” meaning foreign societies administer the rights in their territories in the same way as they treat their own members’ works. Use of your music overseas is however subject to the laws and policies of each society in question. If you wish to copyright your music online, it’s fairly simple. For example only, the US Copyright Office encourages users to file electronically. Registration should be done on Form-CO. This form is used for both the “composition” and the “sound recording”. The cost of filing is $35.00 for electronic filing or $45.00 for paper filing. Paper filing takes the Copyright Office significantly longer to complete. With this in mind, Sugo Music Group is a full-service global distributor and rights management company and we will register and distribute your musical works around the world and in up to 120 countries. We work closely with all Performance Rights Organizations to ensure that your music is not only copyrighted through our distribution system, yet also we will accurately register and manage your masters and songs with global Performance Rights Organizations and collection agencies. Contact us and get started!
QWhen will I get paid?
A:We send statements and royalty payments on a quarterly basis.