As strange as it may sound, a public performance license must be purchased in order for artists to perform songs, including songs they have written and own, at live venues, concerts and festivals outside the United States. Typically, the license is purchased by the promoter of the event, and the cost of the license is shown as a deduction from the settlement payment due the artist for his/her performance. The good news is that much of the cost of the license can be collected as a live performance royalty and returned to the artist-writer as well as his/her publishing entity. These live performance royalties can be significant, however the process of maximizing these royalty collections is both time-consuming and detailed as each territory has different rules. Bluewater Music made it a mission to learn the rules, apply the rules, and follow-up with all parties to ensure proper payments to its clients.
As the first step in Bluewater Music’s mission, we contacted over 25 foreign performance societies around the world where Bluewater holds a direct society membership. We requested specific data regarding live performance royalties, and with this data we were able to build a model for each territory. With our model we now know the percentage of gross ticket sales paid into various PROs as a license fee, the portion of the license fee that is paid out as a live public performance royalty, the distribution split between the writers and publishers, the allocation of payments between the supporting act and the headlining act, and the timing of the royalty payments relative to when the live performance occurred. Bluewater Music can quickly review the timing and accuracy of payments received from a society for a live performance and request additional funds should an underpayment from a society occur. We do this for our clients on a continuous basis.
Below are examples of how the foreign live performance royalty is calculated in Canada, Brazil and Italy. In these examples we assumed the following: (a) gross ticket sales for each concert total $500,000 US; (b) all songs performed were written and owned by the acts performing them; and, (c) two acts are performing, a headliner and a supporting act.
|Gross Ticket Sales||$500,000|
|SOCAN Licencing Fee (3%)||$15,000|
|SOCAN Administration Fee (15%)||$2,250|
|Amount Distributed To Songs Performed By Headlining Act (90%)||$11,475: $5,737.50 to publishers / $5,737.50 to writers|
|Amount Distributed To Songs Performed By Supporting Acts (10%)||$1,275: $637.50 to publishers / $637.50 to writers|
|Distribution Date: Show on July 10, 2016||February 15, 2017|
|Gross Ticlet Sales||$500,000|
|ABRAMUS Licencing Fee (10%)||$50,000|
|ABRAMUS Administration Fee (15%)||$7,500|
|Amount Distributed To Songs Performed By Headling Act (80-90%)||$34,000 (80%): $17,000 to publishers / $17,000 to writers|
|Amount Distributed To Songs Performed By Supporting Acts (10-20%)||$8,500 (20%): $4,250 to publishers / $ 4,250 to writers|
|Distribution Date: Show on July 10, 2016||September 8, 2016 (60 days)|
|Gross Ticket Sales||$500,000|
|SIAE Licensing Fee (10%)||$50,000|
|SIAE Administration Fee (22%)||$11,000|
|Amount Distributed To Songs Performed By Headlining Act (85%)||$33,150: $16,575 to publishers / $16,575 to writers|
|Amount Distributed To Songs Performed By Supporting Acts (15%)||$5,850: $2,925 to publishers / $2,925 to writers|
|Distribution Date: Show on July 10, 2016||July 2017|