Frequently Asked Questions

Missing Link Music is here to help the songwriter navigate through the challenges of the music industry. To that end, we have assembled the top questions we are frequently asked by prospective clients who need our assistance.

What is music publishing?

Music publishing deals with the ownership, promotion, and administration of copyrights for musical compositions. As a songwriter you can participate in the marketplace by shopping and licensing your songs. You can also work independently, or with an outside entity, to register the copyright for your song. You are generally considered a bona fide publisher once you register the copyright of a song, the song has been licensed for commercial use and you begin collecting royalties for that usage. As the publisher, you are entitled to receive payments in the form of royalties, which are typically based on your negotiations and the rates set by law in the territory where your song is used. Missing Link Music assists our clients with the licensing and registration of their songs worldwide to ensure that each of our songwriters has fair, transparent representation of their contribution to a work via any commercial usage.

How do I generate and collect royalties?

Any commercial usage of a song can generate royalties. As an artist, there are several types of royalties you can collect–among them, performance royalties, mechanical royalties, synchronization royalties, advertising royalties, digital royalties, print royalties, and multimedia royalties. Please click on the tabs below to read more about each royalty type and how Missing Link Music can help you collect each stream.

When your songs are played or performed in a public venue, you may earn performance royalties. Public venues include radio airplay, television broadcasts, bars and clubs, cellphones, cable and satellite transmissions, as well as “new media” transmissions via the internet. These royalties are tracked, calculated, and reported by the three primary performing rights organizations (PROs) in the United States: ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Missing Link Music has long- standing relationships with these PROs and we ensure that our songwriters’ works are properly registered with them so that their royalties are paid in an accurate and timely manner.
When your song is used on a CD or is digitally downloaded (Digital Phonorecord Delivery) as a purchased track or ringtone, it can earn a mechanical royalty—usually at the current statutory rate of 9.1 cents ($.091) as determined by the US Copyright Act. Variations of this rate can occur based on negotiations as well as contractual limits included in an artist’s recording or producer agreement. Missing Link Music works with record labels and digital purveyors of music to track and collect these royalties for each of our artists.
When your song is used in timed relation to a moving image, or in other words, synchronized to visual images in media including TV, Film or DVDs–a synchronization royalty can be earned. This royalty is typically a negotiated fee based on the amount and type of usage. Missing Link Music negotiates synchronization licenses for our artists to ensure that they are paid at a fair rate for the synchronized use of their work .
When your song is used in an advertisement, a fee is negotiated with an ad agency or sometimes directly with the advertiser. Advertising revenue can often end up being among the highest of the fees that writers, publishers, and artists make for the use of their music. Missing Link Music has negotiated advertising deals with Toyota, Microsoft, Apple and many more on behalf of our clients.
When your song is played online without being downloaded, it is streamed from a central source server. Songs that are streamed can earn a digital royalty in addition to a performance royalty. Examples of websites that stream music are YouTube, Pandora and Spotify. The royalty rates for music streams are based on a complex matrix of usage types, and are built into the US Copyright Act. Missing Link Music has deals in place with streaming websites to collect the royalties that our songwriters are owed and we continually work to track digital usages as new streaming sources crop up.
Formerly, a print royalty was earned only through the sale of paper-sourced folios and books. With computers, smart phones and tablets however, sheet music can be downloaded, stored and experienced in a whole new way. Regardless of the format, your song can earn a print royalty based on a percentage of the retail cost of the publication of the song. Missing Link Music deals directly with traditional and digital print vendors to ensure that our songwriters are properly paid.
“Multimedia” covers a wide array of song usage types, but can include samples, karaoke, greeting cards, toys, videogames and more. Your royalty for each of these usages is negotiated based on factors such as product price, duration of usage, and the territory in which the products are distributed. Missing Link Music has negotiated a variety of multimedia deals for our songwriting clients and understands the complexities and subtleties involved in collecting multimedia royalties.

What’s the difference between “administration” and “publishing”?

While there are many similarities, the copyright of a song that is “published” is owned by the publisher, whereas an “administered” song copyright stays with the songwriter, and the necessary paperwork is performed by the administrator.

Some songwriters prefer to continue owning their copyrights and simply outsource the registration, licensing, royalty collection and auditing functions on their songs.

Other songwriters may view the value of partnering with a publisher as a great opportunity in increasing the value of their songs, facilitating the publisher’s legal defense of their songs, and participating in advances that may be available based on the potential of their catalog.

Missing Link offers both types of services—administration and publishing.

If I want to be a Missing Link Music client, what is required?

Missing Link Music is of the greatest value to writers, artists, and producers who have had at least one song placed on a commercially released album or released as a single, have gotten radio airplay or had their song featured on TV, in a film, videogame or an advertisement. While commercial activity of your songs is preferred, for certain select songwriters we offer “Demo Deals” that are designed to help up-and-coming talent achieve commercial success by utilizing Missing Link Music’s experienced team, client collaborations, and established industry resources.

I’m already affiliated with ASCAP or BMI? Can Missing Link Music still help me?

While ASCAP, BMI and SESAC can help you collect your performance royalties, it is our experience that many writers miss opportunities to collect ALL of the royalties that they are due. Missing Link Music can help you track down multiple royalty streams and even performance royalties you may not be receiving, for reasons as simple as not having an up-to-date account with your PRO or as complicated as having your song mired in a multi-party copyright dispute. Missing Link Music is positioned to collect many income streams, and can serve as your watchdog for all royalties, including performance, mechanical, synch, print and multi-media royalties.

My song was distributed overseas, but I haven’t gotten paid for it. Can you help me collect my international royalties?

Yes. Missing Link Music is well positioned to assist you with foreign royalty collections. We collect royalties for our clients from almost everywhere in the world where music is used commercially and collection societies exist. Please visit the SERVICES section of this website for more information on our international services and affiliations.

This all sounds great, but I’m looking to distribute my material. Do you guys have a Record Label?

Yes. Missing Link Music offers Label Services in the form of digital distribution of your album, EP or single, all with the goal of assisting you with getting your music out to the digital marketplace. Please visit the LABEL SERVICES section of the website for more information.

Okay. So you sound like a really successful independent publisher, but why should I go with an indie publisher over one of the majors?

Personal attention and service is critical in the music industry. The songwriters, artists, and producers in the Missing Link Music family are grateful to have a progressive, independent publisher rather than a bloated corporation as their creative partner. We know your name, we know your catalog, we know it’s our job to take care of business so you can make music. That’s the kind of partnership every member of the Missing Link Music team believes our clients deserve. At Missing Link Music, we value each and every one of our clients and pride ourselves on giving them the respect and personal attention that is due an artist.

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