A great administrator allows you to forget about the business and concentrate on the music.

What is music administration?

Music administration is essentially making sure intellectual property is used with the knowledge and approval of the owner and collecting and monitoring payment for these uses.

Who needs administration?

Publishers:
If you have entered into a publishing agreement, administration is part of the services that the publisher is providing you as the writer and/or the co-publisher.  If you own a publishing company, it is your responsibility to administer the copyrights contained in your company or to enter into an agreement with an outside company to provide these services.

Record Labels/Owners of Sound Recordings:
Record labels and owners of sound recordings also use music administrators to account to owners of the intellectual property used in their sound recordings.  A record label/owner of a sound recording may also use an administrator to license and collect payment on uses of their sound recording by others.

Songwriters:
A songwriter may also use an administrator to review and track the writer’s share of income received from publishers.  This is more common for a seasoned writer who has several catalogs with several different publishers.  It is also common for a writer’s heirs  or for a writer eligible to recapture their copyrights from previous publishers to use an administrator.

Producers:
Because basic producer agreements often involve royalties or points as part of the payment for services rendered in recording a project, a producer may use the services of a music administrator or manager to track the uses and payment of a producers work in receiving royalties from various owners and uses of the sound recording. 

What services can an administrator provide?

Services can vary greatly but include the following:

Maintaining song catalogs

  • Lyric Sheets / Work Tapes / Demos
  • Maintaining Database of Writer/Publisher Splits
  • Copyright Assignment Forms from Writers

Writer/Publisher Accounting

  • Compiling and Issuing Quarterly/Semi-Annual Statements to Pub/Writer
  • Compiling and Issuing Quarterly/Semi-Annual Statements to Partners
  • Maintaining Recoupments / Demo Billing

Copyright Administration

  • Issue and Negotiate Mechanical Licenses
  • Issue and Negotiate Synchronization Licenses
  • Issue and Negotiate Print Licenses
  • Issue and Negotiate Ringtone/Karoake/DPD Licenses
  • File Registrations with appropriate performing rights organization
  • File Copyright Registrations (all types)
  • Collection and Payment of Royalties
  • Royalty Analysis
  • Access to various databases for helping track royalties
  • Soundscan
  • IPI (Interested Party Database)
  • WID (Works Information Database)
  • SIS (Society Information System)

Foreign Copyright Administration

  • Foreign administration agreements
  • Sub-publishing agreements
  • Foreign collection agreements

Are there different types of Music Administrators?

Music administrators can vary greatly in their focus and core business principles.

  • Administrators that are also publishers (i.e. Sony, BMG)
  • Administrators can be focused in certain genres
  • Administrators can be corporations or individuals

An administrator, regardless of size, is effective when they have well established contacts and resources within the back offices of the industry and the means and ability to render the client accurate and timely licensing, accounting and payment.

Are there additional services that Music Administrators provide?

Every administration deal is different based on the type of music administrator and who needs the administration.  A variety of additional services can be provided including:

  • Pitching catalog for traditional and non-traditional uses
  • Issue basic tax documents (1099s, sales tax, etc.)
  • Trademark Research and securitization
  • Offer financial alternatives to a traditional publishing deal
  • Networking
  • Draft and review basic songwriter agreements, copyright assignments, etc.