MMF publishes ambitious three-step $ong Royalties Manifesto to overhaul how songwriters and composers are paid when their work is streamed #glassboxnotblackbox 

Writers should receive payment with two months of their compositions being played

New commitments needed to capture and standardise song data, and make it publicly accessible  

End the misallocation of writers revenues: “We need a glass box, not a black box”

Read the $ong Royalties Manifesto here. Discussion today at The Great Escape 


Today at The Great Escape, the Music Managers Forum (MMF) will present an ambitious three-step manifesto that aims to address failing music industry systems and practices that are resulting in songwriters and composers losing out on hundreds of millions of pounds in streaming revenues.

While artists can be paid within two months of their recordings being streamed, because of structural inefficiencies in how royalties are collected and distributed it can take over two years for the music writers to receive their share of royalties - often after considerable deductions are extracted, and with the risk that significant sums of money are mis-reported and unallocated. 

The MMF highlighted the negative impacts of these so-called “royalty chains” when unveiling our $ong Royalties Guide at 2019’s Great Escape as part of our long-running Dissecting The Digital Dollar initiative. 

Three years on and, against the backdrop of a global pandemic, the underlying dysfunctions with music streaming are under renewed scrutiny. A high-profile DCMS Select Committee inquiry concluded that a “complete reset” of streaming was required to benefit music creators, while the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has recently convened a number of pan-industry committees to explore market reform - including two working groups focussed specifically on transparency and data. 

To help inform this work and deliver much-needed change, the MMF, in partnership with CMU, is today publishing what we believe are viable solutions to the problems identified in 2019.  

Our long-term goal is to ensure the payment of song royalties is as quick, efficient and accurate as the payment of recording royalties. Writers should be paid no later than two months after a track is streamed. 

By comprehensively overhauling how data is uploaded and collected, and by making that data easily accessible, we believe song royalties could be paid with 100% accuracy - eliminating the need for a digital “black box” - while transforming how music usage is reported, administered and accounted for.  


Our three steps for action are as follows: 

Step One: Immediate logging of splits and issuing of ISWC (the song code)
Picking up from the excellentCredits Duecampaign, writers and their representatives must ensure song data is accurately logged with a universally-identifiable ISWC code before any recording is released.

Each new ISWC should be immediately available in a publicly accessible database managed by an organisation appointed by the music industry - not dissimilar to the database mandated in the US by the Music Modernization Act and now run by the MLC. 

Step Two: Provision of ISWC (song code) with recording as released
Make it mandatory for labels or distributors to provide ISWCs as part of the recording metadata supplied to streaming services on release. 

In the longer term, streaming services should only accept recordings where an ISWC is included in the metadata. Provision of an incorrect ISWC with a recording should have a negative impact on a distributor’s ranking with the services, as is currently the case with other inadequate metadata. 

Step Three: Provision of work ownership data to the services as standard 
Publishers and collecting societies should provide a real time data feed (by ISWC) identifying every work in which they have an interest - including what percentage the licensor controls of each of the mechanical and performing rights, and in which countries the licensor controls those rights. 

These data feeds should then be aggregated and made available through the publicly accessible database, enabling music services to identify ownership splits - and allowing them to pay licensors as promptly and accurately as they do with recordings.  

This step should turn what is currently an opaque black box of song royalties into a glass box #glassboxnotblackbox 

The $ong Royalties Manifesto can be downloaded here and will be discussed in detail today at The Great Escape conference from 11am. 


Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive, Music Managers Forum: 
“Having revealed the serious structural problems with song royalty chains three years ago, we return to The Great Escape to present our three-step vision for change. Songwriters and composers are being failed by outmoded processes that drastically delay and reduce their streaming royalties. Each year, obscene amounts of money are being lost or mis-allocated. On the back of the important work being undertaken within the IPO, it’s imperative that the entire industry comes together to devise a permanent solution. We need to build better systems and instil greater transparency. We need a glass box, not a black box.” 

Paul Craig, Chair, MMF: 
“This manifesto is not an exercise in finger-pointing. It's a call to action. And, in actual fact, it’s imperative that songwriters and their managers get the process of reform underway by ensuring splits are agreed and ISWC codes are accurately logged in advance of compositions being released. From there, we need the active involvement of music publishers, record labels, collecting societies and digital music services. Only with everyone working together can we fix the industry’s leaky pipes and ensure that the most important people in our business are paid promptly, transparently and efficiently.”

The MMF’s three-step manifesto has already won backing from across the industry. 

Amy Thomson, Chief Catalog Officer, Hipgnosis Songs: 
“This manifesto is essential. Anyone representing a songwriter or using their work to make money can accept nothing less. In an age of data revolution and Blockchain, the journey of the 15% of song revenue received by writers for streaming being hacked apart by a lack of care in its data from day one is no longer acceptable. The song has rights, the songwriter has rights, and it’s time everyone who uses the work of a composer attaches every piece of code required to get them paid. 

“Black boxes are not acceptable. Anything which seems unclear, inexplicable and hidden in an age of data speed and accuracy like we have never seen needs to be smashed. Profits being made by monies not reaching the correct recipient because the system let them down, a system they had no part in designing, has to end.”

Crispin Hunt, Songwriter, PRS Director, Former Chair The Ivor’s Academy:
"I wholeheartedly support the goals of the MMF's manifesto. Thanks to concerted campaigning across the creator community, there is now undeniable momentum to reform the mechanics of music streaming. However, as well as ensuring a fairer share of revenue to writers, performers and producers, it is equally vital that the industry's business structures and distribution systems are made efficient, transparent and fit for purpose." 

Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy: 
"We welcome MMF's work in partnership with the CMU to produce the Song Royalties Guide and their latest three step plan. These are progressive steps to help address the issue of missing and late payment of royalties to songwriters. Missing song data is a key issue for The Ivors Academy and it is positive to see the proposals for solutions coming from managers, alongside the proposals being put by music publishers and others in the industry. Awareness is growing through the Credits Due campaign and the MMF’s manifesto to create positive change so that the right music creators are paid for their work."

Jackie Davidson MBE, Founder, JD Management:
"I fully endorse the MMF's $ong Royalties manifesto, and it's common sense roadmap for change. In the digital era, there should be no excuses for songwriters not being paid quickly, transparently and efficiently, wherever their compositions are streamed."

Jazz Rocket, Founder - 67 Artists:
“This is an important and timely report. Without songwriters there is no music industry! They are being failed and overlooked continuously as if their efforts are a secondary factor in an industry built around their work. It's unacceptable that songwriters can be kept waiting years before receiving their streaming royalties, and I sincerely hope the wider industry can rally behind these recommendations for change.”

04 Jul 2022 | Press release

Hipgnosis: Impact of Copyright Royalty Board III Decision

The Board of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, the first UK listed investment company offering investors a pure-play exposure to songs and associated intellectual property rights, and its Investment Adviser, Hipgnosis Song Management Limited, welcome the decision of the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

Gaming soundtracks – These songs brought in the most cash!

  Minecraft's song 'Sweden' by C418 gets first spot, with over 102 million Spotify streams and estimated earnings of over $408k The Zelda theme, as well as the Super Mario theme surprisingly share the last two ranks In the world of video games,...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

The summer of sporting entertainment has arrived as The Hundred unveils blockbuster music line-up

Headliners Bastille will take to the stage at Lord's for The Hundred final on 3 September  Kicking off from 3 August, each match day will feature BBC Music Introducing artists and DJs performing live at venues across the country  Samm Henshaw, Jordan...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

Three Six Zero Announce Signing of New J-pop Supergroup SG5

Three Six Zero have announced the signing of new J-pop supergroup SG5 as a management client.  Spawning from the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon World, one of Japan’s most renowned IPs, SG5 is an intergalactic pop supergroup that protects the universe from...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

Village Underground celebrates 15 years of independence

Village Underground celebrates its 15th birthday with a month of parties this September. Gwenno, salute, DJ Nobu, Paula Temple, Two Shell, Optimo, WU-LU, Oli XL and Channel One Sound System have all been announced this morning as part of their...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

ASM Global celebrates wins for P&J Live and Olympia London at AEO Awards

  ASM Global, the world's leading producer of entertainment experiences, venue management and event strategy, celebrates two wins this week, following the AEO (Association of Event Organisers) Awards which took place on 24 June at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London. P&J Live in Aberdeen,...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

UK Music Appoints Stephanie Haughton-Campbell as Director of Operations

UK Music has appointed Stephanie Haughton-Campbell as its new Director of Operations. Stephanie handles business operations, the UK Music Board secretariat and project management across UK Music's campaign outputs and events. Before joining UK Music Stephanie served as Chief of Staff at...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

PPL pays out £71.3 million to a record number of 113,271 performers and recording rightsholders in June distribution

  PPL, the UK's music licensing company for recorded music, today makes a payment of £71.3 million to 113,271 performers and recording rightsholders. This is the highest number of performers and recording rightsholders paid in a June distribution and follows PPL...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

Utopia Music enters exclusive partnership with Red Bee Media

  The partnership will lead to increased transparency and greater efficiencies in royalty allocation for the use of music on TV and radio Utopia can significantly reduce the administrative burden placed on broadcasters of tracking and reporting music usage due to regulatory...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

Universal Music Group becomes the permanent home of Frank Zappa Estate

Company Acquires Recordings, Song Catalog, Film Archive and Complete Contents of The Vault of the Legendary American Artist, Genius Composer, Rock Guitar Virtuoso, Free Speech Activist and One-Time Cultural Ambassador to Czechoslovakia Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

Logic signs to BMG

MULTI-PLATINUM SUPERSTAR LOGIC SIGNS TO BMG CITES BMG'S COMMITMENT TO EMPOWERING ARTISTS   Multi-Platinum, chart-topping hip-hop superstar Logic has switched labels to BMG, citing the company's distinctive commitment to giving artists control of their careers. Logic's new multi-album global partnership with BMG will allow...more

30 Jun 2022 | Press release

Track Club Becomes TikTok Sound Partner

  The socially conscious subscription music platform for creators is joining TikTok's curated Sound Partners program via parent company Marmoset, letting brands use Track Club sounds in their TikTok ads. Track Club, the subscription-based source for quality music for creators, is available...more

29 Jun 2022 | Press release

Proper ink world ex. Americas distribution deal with Chrysalis & Tommy Boy

Legendary labels Chrysalis and Tommy Boy Records have signed a world ex. Americas distribution deal with Proper Music Group, part of the Utopia family. Both independent labels are part of the Reservoir group of companies. Commencing on 1st July, Proper will...more

29 Jun 2022 | Press release

Notting Hill Carnival CEO Matthew Phillip announced as new AIF Chair

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has appointed Notting Hill Carnival CEO Matthew Phillip as its new Chair.   Phillip is the CEO of Carnival Village Trust, London's leading Carnival development agency, which is dedicated to supporting and delivering an integrated programme of...more

29 Jun 2022 | Press release

AEG’s David Jones appointed to newly created Chief Information Officer, Global Technology role

Effective immediately, London-based executive will lead the new overarching global technology division for the world’s leading sports and live entertainment organization.    AEG has appointed David Jones to the newly-created role of Chief Information Officer, AEG Global Technology it was today announced by the...more

29 Jun 2022 | Press release

Better Noise Music promotes Paul Cormack to General Manager

 Management Promotion Coincides With the Major Theatrical Release of THE RETALIATORS, a Better Noise Film, This Fall  Cormack Leading Strategy for New Albums from Five Finger Death Punch, NOTHING MORE, The HU, and Eva Under Fire, Plus Recent Releases from Classless Act...more

29 Jun 2022 | Press release

TuneCore Underscores Commitment to Innovation with Appointment of Alisha Outridge to Newly Created Position of Chief Technology & Product Officer

Outridge's background includes leading teams and expanding product offerings internationally at both startups as well as industry leading companies such as Facebook (Meta), iHeartRadio, and KickApps    Leading independent digital music distributor for self-releasing artists and labels TuneCore, a division of global digital music...more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

Neko Trust and Gallowglass launch 'Diversity in Crewing' initiative

Neko Trust - the major charity for the live music sector - has joined forces with leading event crewing company, Gallowglass, to launch Future Crew - a training scheme to tackle the lack of diversity in backstage crew and support...more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

Downtown Music Services Announces Publishing and Label Services Agreement with Geejam Music

Agreement Covers Existing Catalogue & New Signings including Jamaican Dancehall Sensation Skeng    Downtown Music Services, which offers bespoke distribution, publishing administration, creative marketing and finance solutions to entrepreneurial creators and their partners has announced a new agreement with international music company...more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

Perfect Havoc Sign Just Kiddin To Management Roster

Perfect Havoc, the UK independent record label and management agency, has signed the breaking, commercial house music duo Just Kiddin to its management roster.   The announcement comes after Just Kiddin were signed to Perfect Havoc for a global single deal...more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

Beatport Group announces new executive hires in London and Barcelona

The Beatport Group, the global leader in music for DJs, producers, and their fans, announced today several new executive hires.  With over 14 years of marketing experience under her belt, Emilie Birks joins The Beatport Group as Vice President of Marketing....more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

Avex USA expands its venture investment fund to $25M

Avex USA, launched in Los Angeles less than a year ago, has already shaken up the music industry with major publishing signings and buzzy hits for its label SELENE. Today, Avex USA, announced that it has expanded its Future of...more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

Digital Havens: Entertainment merchandising expert and accessibility advocate Stevie Hopkins wants to build an inclusive web3 home for pop culture fans

Stevie Hopkins, CEO and founder of entertainment industry branding and merch service SCP Merchandising, has learned a lot over the decades about what connects people who love the same music, games, or fashion. A master of merchandise, he built a...more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

DistroKid Officially Launches DistroVid, a Music Video Distribution Service That Lets Artists Upload Unlimited Music Video to Apple Music, Amazon, TIDAL and Vevo

    DistroKid, the world's leading distributor of independent music, announced today that it has launched DistroVid, a groundbreaking new music video distribution service that enables any artist to upload an unlimited number of music videos to leading digital service providers for one...more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

Spin Magazine to launch free ad supported streaming TV channel later this year via distributor Best Ever Channels

  From one of the most recognized names in music journalism and media, the SPIN Magazine channel will feature special live concerts, SPIN archives, original shows, classic music films, documentaries, and music videos   SPIN, one of the world's most-recognized sources for music...more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

Reservoir announces publishing deal with multi-platinum hip-hop producer Marley Marl

Reservoir Media, Inc. (NASDAQ: RSVR) (“Reservoir” or the “Company”), an award-winning independent music company, today announced a deal for a stake in the catalog of multi-Platinum hip-hop producer Marlon Williams, professionally known as Marley Marl. The deal includes the iconic, 2x-Platinum...more

28 Jun 2022 | Press release

Backstreet Boys and Westlife collaboration breaks livestream records on WeChat

- Broadcast last Friday (June 24th), a free livestream performance by Backstreet Boys, recorded at Rock Lititz Studio, Pennsylvania, was watched by a record-breaking 45m Chinese viewers via Tencent's WeChat app.  -  Sponsored by Lincoln and produced by 24/7 Productions, it was the highest-attended...more

27 Jun 2022 | Press release

Warner Chappell Music Korea brings back international songwriting camps

  As COVID-19 restrictions ease in South Korea, Warner Chappell Music Korea has brought back in-studio songwriting camps by hosting a two-week songwriting camp in the company’s newly renovated building in Seoul. The camp brought together songwriters from all around the...more

27 Jun 2022 | Press release

CIRKAY Fan Pass announces metaverse partnership with NOWHERE

  This partnership allows music fans to access more experiences with and content from their favourite acts. Following the release of the UK’s first chart eligible NFT, CIRKAY is thrilled to announce a partnership with NOWHERE, the innovative face-to-face video chat metaverse delivering the most...more

26 Jun 2022 | Press release

Viagogo fined €23.5M by Italian Regulator for breaking rules on secondary ticketing rules

Italy's Communications Regulatory Authority AGCOM, has fined viagogo €23.5M for breaking Italy's rules on secondary ticketing and given it seven days to remove the illegal listings from its site. The decision, taken at an AGCOM Council meeting on 23 June 2022,...more

04 Jul 2022

  • US Copyright Royalty Board sets new rate (see News)

  • Calls for PPL and Australia's PPCA to forge neighbouring rights agreement (see News)

01 Jul 2022

  • PPL pays out to highest number of recipients ever (see News)

  • Future-proofing publishing services (see Comment)

  • Raye talks about artistic autonomy (see Features)

30 Jun 2022

  • Reports from MuscAlly's Web3 Sandbox Summit (see Features)

29 Jun 2022

  • The landscape of online fandom is shifting (see Analysis)

28 Jun 2022

  • Beyoncé’s ‘Break My Soul’ and the long tail of ‘Show Me Love’ (see Features)

  • AEG's Jim King on his plans to build up BST Hyde Park (see Features)

27 Jun 2022

  • Churn in the era of dynamic retention (see Analysis)

  • UK celebrates biggest live music weekend ever (see Features, Reviews)

24 Jun 2022

  • Spotify revamps its Live Events Feed (see Digital)

  • Music’s future is here: It’s called streaming (see Comment) 

23 Jun 2022

  • The British music industry must do better on race (see Comment)

  • Spotify Advertising released its annual global trend report (see Analysis)

22 Jun 2022

  • 33 companies to watch if you’re interested in music and the metaverse (see Analysis)

  • Synchtank releases Music Publishing in the Age of the Songwriter report (see Analysis)

21 Jun 2022

  • Four Tet settles historic royalty rate dispute with Domino (see News)