Well, it's complicated.
Songtrust provides worldwide publishing administration services to independent songwriters, publishers, labels with publishing arms, managers, lawyers, distributors, and anyone else representing compositions. We act as a publishing administrator for our clients, meaning we can register songs and collect royalties on their behalf without owning any percentage of their copyrights. Using our seamless online service, you register songs with multiple agencies all over the globe – and will only need to do this one time per song! With Songtrust as your administrator, your works will be connected to Performing Rights Organizations, as well as mechanical licensing agents internationally.
Songwriters who sign up for Songtrust can affiliate with a Performing Rights Organization through us -- if they're not already affiliated -- and begin registering their songs. Songtrust then registers those songs with 45+ performance and mechanical collection societies worldwide in order to collect royalties generated from sales, streams, radio play, live performances, television broadcasts, etc.
If a songwriter is already affiliated with a PRO, they can transfer any songs already registered with that PRO to their agreement with Songtrust -- Songtrust will send a Letter of Direction to the appropriate PRO informing them that we will be administering those songs on the writer's behalf. Your agreement with Songtrust is on a song-by-song basis, so you can choose which songs you'd like us to administer on your behalf. We will then register those songs with the other societies with which we work worldwide. If the writer also has a publishing entity with their PRO, Songtrust can collect royalties on behalf of that entity.
PRO applications, letters of direction, and songs are reviewed by our team and sent out within a few days. The various societies process the registrations at different paces, and pay royalties out on varying timelines, so it typically takes 9-12 months before clients see their first royalty statement. After the initial statement, as long as royalties are being generated, they'll be paid out by us quarterly on the following quarter they are released. Songtrust takes a 15% commission on all royalties we collect on your behalf.
Songtrust also does not take any sync rights, so clients are free to procure licensing opportunities as they see fit. If you do want us to handle a sync or mechanical license on your behalf, we can certainly do so for our 15% commission.
Songwriters can also use Songtrust to register setlists from live performances worldwide in order to collect royalties from those performances. Writers are opted-in to our YouTube Monitor, which allows us to claim and monetize user-generated content on YouTube that uses our clients' music.
Visit Our HelpCenter to watch demo videos that will walk you through setting up your Songtrust account.