Online distribution service TuneCore launched its service for Canadian acts last month and is now offering Canadian songwriters and music publishers an administrative service to collect any unpaid royalties from online sales and streaming.
The press release claims that the service "unlocks millions of dollars in royalties owed to Canadian songwriters and music publishers that until now have gone unpaid."
TuneCore Songwriter Service costs a one-time payment of $49.99 for global registration plus 10 percent of the money TuneCore collects. The remainder is distributed to the songwriter.
Artists must be using TuneCore for distribution, but the service will soon be open to any rights holder. The songwriter service currently represents over 1,200 songwriters and publishers worldwide, the press release states.
"Too many songwriters in Canada and all over the world can't get the royalties they have earned," TuneCore CEO Jeff Price said in a statement. "We have set out to change that by matching millions of uncollected dollars with their rightful owners, directly and transparently."
The global music publishing admin deal - for which rights holders sign up online - registers their copyrights worldwide, collects money that is rightfully theirs; protects and polices their copyrights and songs; and issues licenses on their behalf, including for music used in TV, movies, commercials and other media.
"Each time a song is downloaded, streamed or publicly performed, songwriters earn money. However, copyright collectives such as the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) and the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) do not collect all of the royalties generated," the release states.
"TuneCore works globally with agencies like SOCAN and CMRRA, and also goes direct to digital music services worldwide, to retrieve this money. This puts more dollars into songwriters' pockets faster and with more transparency than any other service."
In just one month, it has identified more than $350,000 in royalties owed to TuneCore songwriters, including thousands of dollars from CMRRA, the release states.
While the service might be beneficial to unsigned, unaffiliated songwriters, Billboard reached out to a number of major music publishers with Canadian offices in Toronto to find out if they would use the service.
One said off the record that it would not; another referred comment to CMRRA, which did not want to comment without having the opportunity to speak with TuneCore.
Peermusic Canada Inc. managing director Neville Quinlan, however, told Billboard, "I don't have any real knowledge of the company, but by reading the press release, it just sounds like a straightforward publishing administrator that has a low admin fee. It would not be a service that a publisher would use. We do it already. It looks like they have a couple of bigger writers, but they seem to be putting themselves forward as a company that is collecting the long tail of uncollected royalties."
Billboard asked Price if these large music publishers could benefit from using the service or why they would. "Yes they could," he said in an email. "EMI, Peer etc currently outsource the administration of Public Performance to performing rights organizations. TuneCore is in direct deals with a number of digital music services in regards to collecting and administering payments for public performances and mechanicals.
"By going direct with the digital music services," he continued, "TuneCore eliminates multiple middlemen used by all other services to get their money, thereby growing songwriter earnings by up to 25 percent, while getting them back more money more quickly with unprecedented transparency. For the non-digital, it operates via the existing old school global collection infrastructure."
The president of the TuneCore service is Jamie Purpora, former senior vice-president of publishing administration for Bug Music. Bug Music co-founder/president Fred Bourgoise is a TuneCore board member/advisor.