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Sony/ATV, Lyric Financial Partner For ‘Virtual ATM’ to Allow Songwriters Access to Royalty Advances

The new partnership incorporates the financial services and tech company's SCORE system allowing songwriters and publishers to tap into their current and forecasted catalog earnings "in less than a…

Two weeks after announcing Sony/ATV Music Publishing would update its royalty portal to give its songwriters access to real-time data about their earnings, the world’s largest music publisher is once again adding more tools to its royalty structure. Today, the company announced a new partnership with financial services/tech company Lyric Financial to incorporate the latter’s virtual ATM platform into the Sony/ATV portal, which allows songwriters and publishers to request advances on their earnings directly through the SCORE system.

Lyric Financial, founded in 2007 by CEO Eli Ball, developed the virtual ATM to allow creators to monitor and withdraw current and projected royalties almost instantly, and does not take any rights from the songwriter, a press release accompanying the announcement states. Instead, the company charges a one-time service fee.

Back in April, Lyric Financial announced that it had partnered with Tunecore for a similar initiative; Sony/ATV is its first major publisher.


“For the last two years, we have been working to automate what has historically been an extremely cumbersome manual advance process in the music industry,” Ball said in a statement provided to Billboard. “The vATM…provides songwriters with a clear view of their available earnings and allows them to request advances in less than a minute.”

Ball also noted that the system, currently available only to Sony/ATV’s U.S. writers and publishers under this deal, is designed to help songwriters in “budgeting and managing the ups and downs of their cash flow.”

This partnership arrives at a time when several companies and publishers are looking to simplify and demystify the royalty collection and royalty advance processes, as the overall consumer shift from an ownership model to a consumption model through the widespread adoption of streaming services means that records will often arrive with a smaller immediate financial windfall, but a longer tail for the writers and performers. Universal Music Publishing Group introduced real-time and advance initiatives in its own royalty portal in 2015.


Lately, companies such as Sound Royalties — which committed back in February to providing $100 million in advances for songwriters over the next two years — and Royalty Exchange — which allows artists to sell portions of their royalty streams to private investors through an auction format — have entered the space to try to provide songwriters with options when it comes to managing their finances.

“We are always looking for ways to provide the highest level of service to our songwriters,” said Sony/ATV senior vp worldwide administration Dale Esworthy in a statement. “Giving our writers the ability to see their current earnings and access them 24/7 when needed is an important innovation that we are thrilled to provide.”