live performance & concert royalties

collecting performance royalties earned from concerts outside the United States

As strange as it may sound, outside the United States, 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. 

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 35 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.

 Show Date: July 10, 2022
 Distribution date: February 15, 2023

 Show Date: July 10, 2022
 Distribution date: September 8, 2022 (60 days)

 Show Date: July 10, 2022
 Distribution date: July 2023

To learn more about foreign live performance royalties and how we can help you, please contact us today.