11-character alphanumeric code assigned by a collective management organization or an independent management entity to identify a unique musical composition. The ISWC code is used in the collection of copyright. There can be as many ISWC codes as there are arrangements, adaptations, and translations of a song.
Any musical work written in collaboration by several songwriters, who are then co-authors.
A company that manufactures, distributes, and promotes the recordings of affiliated artists. Labels sell the artist's brand and the products they create.
Legal agreement granting permission to a person to use a musical work under certain conditions or for specific purposes for a limited time. Does not change the ownership or the copyright.
The fee linked to a license agreement. It can be either a one-time upfront payment, an ongoing royalty, or a percentage of the generated revenue.
Long Play (LP)
Also known as an "album". A compilation of audio recordings released on a CD, a vinyl, an audiotape, or any other media.
Multinational company that represents a large percentage of annual record or music video sales and which includes its own distribution solution. there are three majors: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.
They are Warner Chappell (Warner Music Group), Universal Music Publishing Group (Universal Music Group) and Sony Publishing (Sony).
Professional representative and advisor for an artist. In exchange for a percentage of the artist's earnings, the manager helps build the artist's career, makes their music available to producers and labels, negotiates their contracts and organizes their tours.
Part of the song creation process that balances the sound elements of a stereo mix and optimizes playback on all systems and media formats.
License authorizing the reproduction of your music, physically or digitally.
Rights generated when a track subject to copyright is reproduced and distributed on different supports such as CDs, vinyls, downloads and streaming platforms.
Mechanical Rights Organization
Organization responsible for collecting revenue on behalf of songwriters and publishers when a song is reproduced physically or digitally. MROs collect and redistribute mechanical rights to the affiliated songwriters after taking a commission. This type of company hardly exists anymore in Europe, as Collective Management Organizations now collect both performing and mechanical rights. However, this model still exists in the US and Canada.
Revenues generated by the synchronisation of a piece of music to moving images on platforms such as TikTok or YouTube, even if these images are content created by a user. Depending on the platform, it can generate performing and mechanical rights as well as revenues for the video creator and the recording owner.
Part of the song creation process that optimizes and combines multitrack recordings into a final mono, stereo or surround product.
Opportunity to make your tracks available to everyone, in a physical or in a digital format. With the evolution of music consumption and technologies, distribution is now easily accessible to everyone through digital distributor such as DistroKid, TuneCore or CD Baby.
Person who supervises the entire process of recording a track or a musical project, artistically and financially.
Acquisition, protection and promotion of copyrighted musical works as well as the collection and distribution of royalties to songwriters
Member of a studio or advertising company who is in charge of choosing the music that will be used in an audiovisual production.
Also known as "master rights", these are legally granted to the performer and producer of a master recording. They are made up of moral rights, which allow the performer or producer to secure the integrity of the work (credits, cover versions) and patrimonial rights, which enable the recovery of income earned when music is used. These rights come into existence as soon as the work is recorded or broadcast.
Services that don't allow the listener to choose the song they want to listen to. In the US, non-interactive streaming services pay only performing rights. Pandora Radio, Sirius XM and iHeart Radio are examples of non-interactive services.
Musical works under copyright for which an owner cannot be identified or located. This situation makes the musical works almost impossible to license.
Any person who represents, sings, declaims, plays or performs a music work.
Rights generated when a copyrighted track is broadcast beyond a private environment, in such instances as streaming, television, radio, public places, and website.
Performing Rights Organization
Organization in charge of collecting revenue on behalf of songwriters and publishers when a song is broadcast in public or performed. PROs collect and distribute the performing rights to affiliated songwriters, having removed their own commission from the total distributed.
Contract in which the songwriter receives an advance in exchange for granting the publisher sole rights to publish his or her work for a period of time or a certain number of projects (this applies only to Europe).
Revenues generated from the sale of printed music, such as scores or lyric sheets. These revenues are paid to the publisher.
Reproduction of tracks legally acquired for personal and non-commercial use (eg: adding music purchased on a platform to one's hard drive). Private copy generates revenues.
Public Domain Work
Musical work that doesn't have copyright protection and that can therefore be used by anyone for any propose without any license or agreement. Some musical works fall into the public domain when their copyright expires, and others are government-commissioned musical works. Beethoven's "Ode an die Freude" is in the public domain. However, for a new recording of the musical work, the consent of the performers and the producers is still required.
Public Performance License
License that authorizes the copying and lending of a recorded music work within the family circle without incurring any copyright fees or neighboring rights.
Company with the goal of increasing the income of music creators and protecting songwriters' rights. They also play a supportive role in the creative process and manage the administrative side of projects.
A royalty share belonging to a publisher, an administrator or a songwriter who doesn't have a publisher.
A third-party publisher who controls all licensing and publishing money on behalf of a songwriter or publisher for specific period of time.
Legal contract between a composer, a songwriter, an author, and a publisher. There are several types of publishing contracts in every country.
Generated revenues that are unallocated, and that are waiting to be paid to copyright owners. This situation can occur when the songwriter is not affiliated with a Collective Management Organization, a Performing Rights Organization or an Independent Management Entity when the tracks are released.
Songwriters receive these revenues when they get affiliated if the period does not exceed a specific time that varies according to the collecting organization.
Clause that may appear in a publishing contract that gives you back the ownership of specific tracks, if specific conditions are met.
Rights Administration Entity (RAE)
For-profit organization that in addition to delivering mechanical licenses, also collects and distributes mechanical rights to the songwriters and publishers in the US.
Music Reports (MRI) is an example of a RAE.
Revenues generated by the exploitation of a track for the songwriter, the performer, and the producer. Incomes can be generated by physical or digital album sales, digital downloads, streams, radio or TV broadcasts.
Use of an existing sound recording to integrate into a new composition.
To have the right to legally use a sample you need to make a legal agreement with the rights holder of the sound you are using.
Someone who participated in writing the lyrics and creating a musical work.
Also known as "audio engineer". Person in charge of the technical part of the recording or a live show. the sound engineer may also be responsible for the editing, mixing, and mastering of the tracks.
Adding a sound, in a durable way, onto a digital or physical audio support, such that it may then be listened to, modified or streamed.
Music composed for a film,, a television show or a video game. The composer of the soundtrack can be remunerated either by being paid in advance and waiving his or her copyright, or by a combination of fees and permanent royalties linked to his or her rights.
Percentage of ownership given to every co-author for a musical work collaboration.
Document that describes the rights split of a musical collaboration. It must be written and signed by the co-authors before the exploitation of the musical work.
Publishing contract between two publishers to allow the exploitation of one or more tracks in a specific territory.
License authorizing the diffusion of your music on audiovisual products such as TV shows, commercials, video games, movies, and mobile applications.
Sync licensed are required from the recording owner and the composition owner when a song is used.
In addition to an upfront payment, songwriters/publishers receive public performing rights once the content containing their music broadcast.
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC)
The MLC's mission is to provide blanket licenses to all streaming services in the United States as well as collecting and redistributing all resulting royalties.
Also known as "topline songwriter". Person who creates vocal melodies, harmonies and lyrics to accompany the instrumental part of a track. Topliners mostly perform in genres such as rap and pop music.
Generated revenues that cannot be distributed to the right songwriters because it is impossible. to trace them. After a period of up to three years, in most Collective Management Organizations, these revenues are shared among the bestselling artists, according to their market share.
Content created by the users of a platform that contains copyrighted music. It may be unlicensed or subject to a general license between the platform and the copyright owner.
Agreement for a songwriter to create an original musical work, as an employee and for a one-off payment (this applies to the US only).
Part of the performing rights that are paid directly to the songwriter.
Exclusive recording contract allowing a record company to receive a percentage of all your revenues, ie: sales of your music, publishing rights, concert revenues, merchandising revenues, sponsorship contracts and more.