Published March 15, 2022
Do you think your music should sound better?
In this episode:
About Nikki's career in the music industry
Music and copyright
How APRA collects royalties for musicians
Step it up: use sync licensing in addition to APRA
Signing up is easy
Submitting setlists to APRA
Co-writing: Deciding on the writer split
Other income streams for musicians
Thanks to freesounds.org for the samples and sound FX used in this episode
It would mean the world to me if you'd consider giving this podcast a 5-star review. Thank you!
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Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au
Podcast artwork by Tom 'Chubbs' Boundy
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Disclaimer: The Production Talk Podcast is independent of (and not related to) my teaching responsibilities at SAE.
Transcript (auto-generated by a robot - please forgive the occasional error):
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome to the Production Talk podcast with me, Yarn, of mixartists.com.au. In this podcast series, we celebrate the modern way of producing music. We want to talk about all things related to songwriting, recording at home and music production. So, if you produce your music at home, this is the place to be.
Please subscribe and recommend this podcast to all your friends.
This is the production talk podcast episode 34.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome back to the production talk podcast. It's amazing to have you onboard again, before we start this episode, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the. But the following conversation was recorded on the Iraq war, people of the Bundjalung nation and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. A couple of weeks ago, we had a broad discussion about different aspects of making money from your music. And today I want to dive really deep into one of those aspects. The first aspect in episode 23 was making money from music royalties. And that's a great first step, as it's not hard to do it all. It just takes a few steps at the beginning to set everything up.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And once you set up, it takes very little effort on your part to keep your records updated. Claiming royalties is so easy. There's really. no reason not to. My guest today, Nikki Taqwa from Sydney is an APR representative and she knows a lot about the subject. So today we would like to dive really deep into the subject of making money from music royalties. All right, let's cut this intro short and go straight to the good stuff. Here is my interview with a price Nikki Tuckwell with us today is Nikki Tuckwell from April AMCAS Nikki. Thank you. so much for making the time today. Would you like to please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Not really. Thank you. Y'all for having me, uh, guest speak on the podcast today. I'm actually really happy to be here. Um, so yes, I am a representative at APA am, cos I'm an education and outreach specialist in the writer services division at apprehend costs. So essentially I've been with the company for a very long time.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Uh, started in the licensing department, which is fondly, what we termed the dark side. So essentially, if you were a business owner,
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Well, the dark
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): well, Because, um, if you are a business owner and you get a call from apple M costs, you probably don't want that call. It's generally, generally speaking a coal. That's asking you to pay money because if you're using music in your business, then under copyright law, you have to have permission.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And that permission is a license from us. And of course, there's a fee for that. Um, the beauty of being where I am now in RADA services, the light side is that when you get a call as a writer from, and cos it's usually because we want to pay you money.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Um,
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): it's much, much nicer to be on my side. Now
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Excellent. Excellent. And are you a musician yourself by any chance? Uh, why do you decide to, to, to follow Korean music?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): I absolutely dreamed of being a superstar, not just a musician I wanted to do. Arena tours, worldwide global success. Uh, I did actually study at JMC, uh, for a little while. I, yeah, I did a bunch of, you know, singer songwriter, gigging around doing all that kind of thing, but, um, sad truth of it is that pop music has an expiration date.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): I still believe this is
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah,
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Um, specifically for that genre and I kind of reached that expiration date and something hadn't, hadn't worked out. I
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): What did I miss? Did I miss the meeting? Um, so I looked at other avenues. I just knew my whole life that I wanted to work in the music industry. And of course having been involved since I was a teenager, I'd have.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): About apprehend cost, essentially from the person who now does my role. Um, I had been later at JMC, again, being exposed to what opera is and does. And eventually a friend of mine from university ended up with a role there. I applied and I've been there ever since.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, well, and how many years have you been there for approximately?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): uh, about 13
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, wow. That's a long time. Well,
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): it's a long time, but it is a company that, um, it's, it's funny. It kind of goes either way, you either join, stay one or two years and move on, or we tend to have this, um, other group of people who I don't want to use the term life as, but people really love working there. It's an excellent organization to be a staff member of, um,
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: good. That's good to know. Hmm,
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): a great culture. So yes, a lot of people stay on very happily. I was just writing to a colleague who's been there 22 years.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: oh, well, okay. That's impressive. So and just for listeners who don't know what opera is, would you mind to just explain the role that April plays and the Australian music industry in a few words and introduce us to April, please.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): of all, yeah, yeah. Break down the acronym. So we are, of course, the Australasian performing right association, um, and end costs ease the Australasian mechanical copyright owner society. So we're actually two separate societies with separate memberships, even separate ABNs. Um, we are administering copyright on behalf of our members, so we're essentially.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Management organization. And we're acting as a conduit, like a middleman for those who create and own their copyrights. So your songwriters and those who want to use copyrights. So business owners, event promoters, um, filmmakers, whoever it might be that is putting on a performance of music. We are there to ensure that whenever, um, members music is being performed and used that there is permission granted, and in exchange for that permission of royalty being paid back to the song.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, fantastic. So it's effectively a method for musicians to get a return to make money using their music?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It is, and it's, it's a return that they are do legally because as a songwriter, you automatically own the copyright in any composition you create. So you're your do this by law.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yes. Okay. Yeah. That's an, a common misunderstanding that I've come across many times before that people say, okay, but wouldn't, I sign away my copyright, but by my understanding, copyright, can't be taken from a person. Is that right?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Yes, essentially. You are correct. So I think. This is what the word is assignment. So when a writer joins opera, they are legally assigning their public performance, right? To us that that does in effect kind of transfer the ownership in a way, because we need to be able to go out license, any businesses, using music, and then collect that royalty.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): But we absolutely want to give our members the ability to use their music, monetize their music in any way that they like. So while yes, they are legally assigning the copyright to us, we have in place measures so that you can license that back from us. You can take. Your whole catalog for a particular usage, maybe a live performance.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): If you're going out on a big tool, or if you have a specific use in mind, maybe you want to license back a song for a podcast or music on hold, because one specific company has asked you for the use of the song and they're going to pay your really great fee for it. You license that back from us and you can do with it exactly as you wish.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic. That would then therefore also apply to a sync licensing companies.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So synchronization is a little bit different ease with, with one exception. It's actually not part of the assignment that you give to apprehend costs. So the sink right still remains with the songwriter. They can go out and license synchronization directly to the end-user.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And that's therefore, in addition to April or does that rule each other out?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): No, they don't really each other out. So the way it would
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, great.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): is synchronization being, uh, when your words and music, uh, put to any kind of video or visual,
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yes.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): you can put that synchronization license in place yourself because you own that. Right. Then for example, you say you've licensed it to, uh, a film that's made here in Australia.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And then that film goes on to be broadcast on ABC or SBS opera would be able to collect the broadcast royalties for when that film was shown on TV. So you've done the synchronization, licensing yourself and collected the sync fee. But at bruh, who's looking after your broadcast, right? We are collecting the royalty from that.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So they worked together.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see. So you would basically recommend that musicians now sell the music on sync platforms as well. And then appro could basically work in tandem and collect additional royalties from there. So they've worked together rather than against each other. Is that right?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Yes. Yeah. Generally speaking, uh, obviously anytime you sign up to anything online, have a look at those terms and conditions and make sure you don't have anything in conflict. Um, and always, you know, come to us if you're unsure as to whether there's a conflict, but generally speaking synchronization is its own separate thing.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It's still remains with the songwriter.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Say, and, um, we also have quite a few international listeners. Are there organizations like this in every country?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Absolutely. Yes. Yeah. Um, and one of the beautiful things about joining with an organization like Afra and cost is that we have what are called reciprocal agreements with other performing rights organizations, PRS all around the globe. So for example, in the UK, you have PRS in Japan, you have jazz rec Germany, you would know you have gamma.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): We all work together passing back and forth royalties. So I'll break it down for you here in Australia, we opera and costs are licensing our own territory. We're collecting all of the license fees. Now. Obviously we pay our own members, but we obvious we then on top of that, take the royalties due to songwriters in any of the organizations overseas.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And we push those royalties to their. Collecting body to be paid to the membership there. This then works in reverse. So gamma is collecting in Germany. PRS is collecting in the UK and all of that money is then distributed out either to their own membership or again, pass back to opera to pay our members.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see. So as a member, we basically have a worldwide, uh, benefit from it, not just in Australia, but worldwide.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): that's exactly
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic. Look, I think, um, I'd like to put a little list of the most important companies from the biggest countries into the show notes of this episode.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Okay.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: APA also responsible for New Zealand or is that a different organization?
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Is there the partnership?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It's a partnership, I guess you could say. So. Yes, we have, um, our, our New Zealand office, our New Zealand cousins, who we love. Uh, they do have a setup there in Oakland while we do work together. It is actually quite a dynamic. Um, it seen, or even in INSEAD, I don't know why I'm saying that as if it's surprising some of our biggest, most famous songwriters, uh, New Zealand members.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): That's no surprise to
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: this amazing music coming from the islands. Yeah. Great.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Um, so we all won, but they also have their own office. I guess that's the easiest way of putting it
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, good. Excellent. And what about, uh, the United States?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): well, in the U S they have five collecting agencies that are the equivalent of appro, just for fun. We have reciprocal agreements with the big ones. Um, BMI, as Kevin says, Zack, it's a little bit different over there. Um, essentially, if you are, look there's, there's no reason to join. Uh, U S society. In fact, if you join opera and costs, you've signed an exclusive worldwide agreement.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So we don't allow for Joel memberships, we're already collecting for you in the U S through those, um, you know, ASCAP and BMI over there. Now you can designate
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: sorry for
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): for international listeners. Yeah. Yeah.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: listeners from the U S
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): it's not even based on citizenship. Um, you can join. Yeah. You can join APA and cost no matter where in the world you live.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It's more to do with the benefits that would come with being with a specific society. So if your music, yeah. Um, if your music is being predominantly performed in the USA, then maybe there would be more benefit to you being a minute, a minute. Over us collecting society because obviously they know that territory they're licensing that territory and therefore probably going to get better results and faster royalties paid to you.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): But we actually have so many members that live in the USA. We have apple representatives that also live in the USA. So we have a Nashville office and we have an LA and New York office, um, because yeah, we have membership-based there and we can of course collect their royalties exactly the same way as for an Australian based member, we pay directly to their us bank accounts.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Um, we pay in us dollars, um, and they just re retain their upper membership.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: well, I think I'm just hearing a plane flying by on your end.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Yes. Would you like me to mute.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: No, that's fine. That's just keep talking. That's fine. It's not too loud. So, all right. You know, and let's just put ourselves into the situation of, let's say a young up-and-coming music act. Let's say a band that formed and you know, they're starting to practice and just starting to write songs at what stage of their career should they sign up with.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Basically, as soon as they start releasing music. So, um, there's really only three criteria to become an app. Remember, one is that you need to have written or co-written original music. The second one is that original music has to be available to the public in some way.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So that can be, uh, online. You can have uploaded it to Spotify and apple and all of the websites, or it could also be that you have started busking or you started getting local gigs.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Uh, any of these kinds of performances where an audience can hear your music or could hear it online, anything like that, even, um, community radio play, once it's been released to the public, you'd be eligible. And of course, as long as you're not a member of another collecting society,
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see. And is there an age restriction? So if, uh, let's say teenagers start, can they sign up themselves or do they need permission?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So they can sign up, but they do need permission. So as soon as you begin filling in the form, one of the first pieces of information you enter is your date of birth. And if you're under 18, we just have a parental or guardian consent form. So it's really simple. It's just a one page form where whoever your legal guardian is gives their okay for it to go ahead.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Um, I actually just had a member who wanted to sign up their six month old because they had written a song which sampled their six month old oohing and Aring and
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: No way.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): to give that yes, they wanted to give their child songwriter credit. So, um, we, we have a
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's hilarious. Oh, funny story, actually, you know, on that note, it's completely off topic, but my boy actually made it.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: on an album before he was. When, when we were actually pregnant here with our boy, we actually got a recording, you know, with an ultrasound that I captured with my, uh, with my phone. And I actually inserted that into a client's piece of music as an effect.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Crazy story.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): the same thing.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Really? Okay.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Yes. His unborn, his unborn son's heartbeat is the beat in one of his songs.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, that is so cool. That is so cool. I might just see if I can find that prince song and then put a link into the show notes as well. That's really cool. Nice one.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): in the summer.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, okay. I looked that up. Fantastic. Look. A lot of musicians are creatives. You know, they just love to play their instruments. We had just talking about a bit of paperwork here.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Aren't we signing up. There's a bit of a procedure. How scary is that paperwork element here?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It's it's really not bad at all. And it's all online. So you just go to opera and costs.com.edu. It's almost the first thing. You'll see. Little yellow button join it's free and oh yes. That's that's correct. It is free.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So the membership is free.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): fees.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): No, no ongoing Jews, no need to renew you sign up.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It's free. It remains in place for life. Um, and the form is really pretty straightforward. So it's going to ask for things like your name, address, uh, ABN, if you have a sole trader ABN, but you don't have. So you can skip that. Uh, we do need to know of course how your music is available just to tech, but like checkbox.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It does ask for your bank details because we need to pay you royalties. And then there is the, the legal assignment. So that's probably the most lengthy part of the process simply because you actually have to look through the assignment. We make you go through it,
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): but really that that's pretty much, it it's quite straightforward.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It's just a electronic signature. At the end. It comes to us for processing usually about seven to 10 days to fully process and check them. And we get you. What's called an IPI number.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yup.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And the IPI number is what is going to identify you as an individual songwriter on the international copyright database.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So all of the collecting societies globally, we'll be able to identify you by that number.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic. So there's really no reason Not to sign up in all honesty. There really isn't
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): really no. Um, you know, particularly if your music has been released and I know things have been pretty grim over the last two years, I trust me, we all know that, but if you have started to pick up any live gigs once again, or if you've been, um, live streaming on Facebook, YouTube, um, on Twitch, you can actually claim these, you get paid when you perform your own songs in a live or a live stream setting.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So if you fall into that scenario and you're not a member you're literally missing out on money that we wanted to give you.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Say, all right, let's just go back to that example of that young little band who just started out and they just played their first, let's say small gig at a pub. How does Aaron know that? Which songs were performed? How does that work?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So live performance is one of the very few ways that we actually ask our members to report to us. It's self-reported when you become a member, you will have access to our member portal and the member portal allows you to log into your own account. You will then be able to make what we call a submission and enter a live performance report.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And the report is really simple. We're asking for the date that you played, the venue that you played at and the address, and then you just add your set list and you can save the set list as a whole complete thing. Or you can enter each song individually. You just tick the boxes.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Ah, I see. So if the weekend after we played a different pump with the same set list, we wouldn't have to enter the songs again. We could just say that set lists
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): That's right. You can set that up because it's your own account and your own membership. You can create a saved set list if you play that all the time, or if you're going on a tour and you know, you're pretty much going to play the same 10 songs, save those 10 songs, and then maybe your Encore changes every night.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): You can add the additional on-call songs. However, however you like to do it
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic. That is so easy. Excellent. Nice one. Good. Um,
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): going to say maybe the only other thing for this young band to know about, um, definitely worth mentioning is if they start to co-write songs. So if they're all in the room and they're riding together, I know it doesn't seem like a kind of fun or friendly thing to do. Yeah. It really is worth just having a bit of a discussion while you're in there.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And the vibe is really good. And everyone's like, maybe you've just struck that last quarter are looking around the room. You're like, yes, this is it. This is the heat. Right. Then when you've cracked open beers or pop champagne, depending on your genre, um, that's the time to talk about how you're going to share the royalties, what your writer splits are going to be.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I need to hear a bit more about this. So first and foremost, would we sign up as a one band together or each member individually.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Sure. Yeah. So you actually have to sign up individually. Copyright is owned by the individual. So when you've co-written with one other person or three other people, each of you owns a share. In that entire copyright work. So for example, yarn, if you and I wrote a song, uh, maybe we decided to go 50, 50, it's a pretty common thing to do, but maybe you had actually come up with the entire melody and two verses.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And maybe I only did the chorus and not much else in which case we might negotiate. We might do 70, 30 or 80 20.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): I know no one likes to hear it, but there's actually no industry standard. There's no right or wrong way of doing it. What? I cannot stress enough though. Get it in writing, no matter what you agree on.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Yeah. Even if it's just, it can be just a text message, an email that everyone replies to and just says, yes, I agree. These are the shares. I can't tell you the number of times that a simple email between bandmates has saved ongoing disputes, possibly even legal trouble. Um, and, and I've seen it. Yeah. And I've seen it happen with Australian writers who would have had to fight American publishes, but they had the emails that everybody had replied to.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And that was it. It solved the problem straight away.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That is, such good advice. That's really good. So is that what we call the split as the term that the split?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): yes. We would call it right. A splits or rideshares.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Right. A shares. Yes. Okay. So let's say if I then log onto my account and let's say, you know, I'm just a drummer, so chances are, I might just get 10% or 20 over nose, you know, then I just look and find the song and type in my percentage.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And that's it.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Actually only one person will register the song. So
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): is again, why it's so important to have that agreement in writing, because say the lead vocalist goes on and, um, maybe the drama thought it was equal shares and everyone was getting, you know, 25% each for members in the band, but the lead singer has gone on and given him 10% and given everybody else a little bit more, that is exactly why you need to have those shares in writing.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yes. I see.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): we can, yeah, we can edit a work registration. So once it's. Raised with us once it's been entered, we can of course make changes, but we have to have written agreement from everybody involved.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So yeah, if you thought it was a really nice idea to just give somebody 2% of the song, even though they didn't write anything, they will own that 2% forever, unless they agree, you know, to not to have it reduced to
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And that also means that they control the work. They are able to stop it from being used in film or TV, um, you know, theater.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): yeah, it's very important to, um, to take it seriously. I know that sounds awful. You want to, you're in a band, you want to have fun.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. That's, that's, that's the good point. So if we want to avoid all the negatives that can come from, you know, doing something legally and paperwork, it really comes down to just talking through at the beginning, following up with an email and everybody just sends back a thumbs up.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's basically
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Exactly.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: it. Yeah. Like a procedure or a culture that a band should develop in order to avoid all the trouble in the future.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): That would be perfect. It would be ideal.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's fantastic advice. Thank you so much. That's really good. Um, say, uh, are there differences between, you know, writing lyrics, writing song or maybe arranging, is this taken under consideration when it comes to royalties?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): There are. So, um, generally speaking. You have opera only looks after a musical composition. So if you've only written there X, if you come to us and you say I've written all these lyrics, I want to become an opera member. You actually would not be eligible until there is a musical element to it. They're explore themselves are considered poetry and they would fall under literary work as opposed to a musical work.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So as soon as you have that composition, you've got a melody, then it becomes something that opera and costs would it mean to stop? When you register a song, you can absolutely define who was the composer and who was the author. So author for lyrics. Um, most people register as both composer author. The option is there arranging.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): We would look at as a very specific and slightly different, uh, foam of work. So. An arrangement from an appro M cost registration perspective is you've taken somebody else's original composition and reworked it, adding in your own original elements to an existing piece.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): If yeah. And then in addition to that, it can either be a non copyright piece.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So say it's like an old Kowski or Beethoven or something that you can go ahead and register. But if you have made an arrangement of a piece that in copyright, you have to have permission for that. So you have to have written permission from the copyright owner of the original, which is usually the publisher before you're able to register that with appro
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see. And so let's say if, um, the bands, if band members had different strengths and weaknesses, so let's say there was a guitar player, wards, a singer who does all the lyrics and most of the melodies, but then the bass player and the drummer say, okay, look, we need to shorten that intro. And now let's make space here for an extra middle aid and to have an extra double chorus at the end, which is then the arrangement work.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So that's now all part of the same. It doesn't include anybody else's work. Would that be considered as something separate or does that all fall into the same split?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): I think that's all going to fall under the same split because essentially you haven't, you're still working on the one original composition. It's a brand new work.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yes.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It would only really be if the songwriter had like the, the main vocalist had already released the piece,
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Um,
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): it would be highly unusual situation.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): I think you are dealing there with a very original one.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic. Okay, excellent. So, and let's say we go back to our pop band in, let's say we have seven originals and just to beef It up a bit, to make it in a stretch into two sets, we just add a couple of cover versions from other bands. What do we need to consider here?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): It depends how you are doing this. So if we're talking about a live performance easy, great, all you need to do is when you're sending in your life performance report, or you're filling that in online, just add those covers to your
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Hmm. Okay.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): type in the name of the song. Our system will find it and we will pay the songwriters of the cover that you performed.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So that's how it's done. That's how they get their Royal.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Too easy.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): If we're talking about, sorry, easy. Um, if we're talking about a cover that you are releasing digitally on an audio only platform, and I'm very specifically saying audio only, so there's no synchronization involved. He in Australia, the digital service providers have actually obtained the correct mechanical license for you.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So as long as you're only releasing to Australian platforms, you can release covers digitally here. But if you have your works released overseas, and a lot of aggregators do release to us websites, you probably need to contact the mechanical licensing. Um, In the foreign countries, like the Harry Fox agency or mechanical licensing collective in the USA is a big one.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Um, you will need to obtain a mechanical license to do digital releases of a cover song.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see. Okay.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And then the third type this third, um, if you are going to make physical copies, so maybe you've done the digital release and people love it.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I think we've got an audio drop out here. I just lost your sound at visual.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Oh,
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): hello. I think we're back.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Good. So yeah, we just had a bit of a technical hiccup here. A recording got interrupted, but where were we? You were talking about a belief. You were just starting with a third point that you still wanted to get across. Let's go back.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: to that, please.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Indeed. Yes. So that is a to do with covers. If you have decided that because of the success of your digital cover, or just because you are the sort of person who likes nostalgia, you might want to make physical copies of your cover version. Um, so we're talking of course, CD vinyl, maybe even cassette for this, you need, what's called an audio manufacturer license, and those are really easy to get.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): You actually just go to the apprehend costs website, uh, the fastest way to find it is use the search feature type in audio manufacturer. It will take you straight there. The form is online. You fill it in. A little section at the end. So you'll actually be able to calculate exactly what the license fee will cost you.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And that's it sending the form, you pay the fee and that's going to allow you to make covers on a physical format.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic. So, but there is No, need for originals, obviously, to do any of that. It's only for
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): no, no, no. no. Only for covers. Yeah. Um, when it comes to releasing your own original work in a physical format, there's no amp cost royalty to be collected. And that's exactly why we don't license you to make copies of your own music, but
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: that makes sense. That makes sense. I, wasn't an interesting situation. A couple of weeks ago with, um, an artist I mixed their album and, uh, they decided to, you know, try a few things fairly late in the, in the mixing process. And at some stage they threw in some samples from movies, just short snippets, and they asked me if I think that would be legally.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. And, you know, I just had to say, sorry, I don't think it is. Unless you have permission, have you get any advice on using snippets from let's say movies or other songs?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Well, yeah. And you, you were 100%, correct. Your advice was spot on. If you are going to use anybody's copyright work, you absolutely need permission. And I know that there are a lot of, um, urban legends and rumors about. The amount you can use. I can use 10 seconds or I can use 30% of a song. I'm sorry. But the sad news is none of this is true.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): If you are using somebody else's copyright work, you have to have permission. Um, whether that's from a film, in which case you have to go to a film studio for permission, or if it's a sample from somebody else's recording. And when it comes to a sample recording, you may actually be looking at two different forms.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): In fact, you definitely are because you've got to clear the song itself that you are sampling. So whoever wrote the words and the music, as well as the sound recording. Now, we haven't talked about it a great deal yet, but there is separate copyright attached to the sound record. So they're not necessarily owned by the same people.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I understand.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): deals very specifically with songwriters. So we quite often get questions from producers. Oh, but I produced this song and I'm not on the app for registration. And it's usually because they didn't compose the song. So they definitely worked on the recording. You know, they gave it their, their flourishes, their production techniques that there's absolutely their work undeniably, but it's all gone into the recording of the words and the music.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And that's why they would be getting a cut of the master royalties and not the songwriting royalties. So they wouldn't be getting an Acura and crossroads.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Is that what is known as mechanical rights?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): No
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: No. Okay.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): yes and no. So opera and costs and costs. As I said at the beginning, that's your mechanical copyright owners society. But again, it's the mechanical copyright pertaining to the composition. So when the actual song has been reproduced in a download or on a CD, if the sound recording is reproduced, it has its own mechanical copyright.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): You see what I'm saying? So you've got copyright that applies to the song, the composition itself, and you've got copyright that applies to the sound recording.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see. Yep. Okay. Yeah. So a situation, for example, where this would be relevant as a, if a band rerecord, it's an old song yet again, and releases the song, you know, 10 years later on an album, again with, I dunno then, then what on Spinraza? Is that a situation where we know what we're dealing with? One song from a copyright point of view, but two different sound recordings.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Yes, absolutely. Um, so in the, in the example you're giving there is the band recording. So say, um, we're talking about, I dunno, a Badal song and a band today covering a Beatles song. So the band needs to get permission to make a recording of the words and the music that the Beatles wrote, but they're making their own sound recording.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So there's no further permission needed for that. The differences, if the band today samples the Beatles record.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Exactly.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Then they've got a clear two different things. Yeah. I hope, I hope that answered the question.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yes, yes. Yeah. I think it actually is probably a bit more straightforward than we made it appear in our conversation. It actually seemed really logical to me, but, you know, I think we, yeah, yeah. It all makes sense. That's that's really Good.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Um, so let me just find my, my train of thought.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Um, so can you explain mechanical rights and, you know, recording rights in a little bit more detailed? So let's say a band goes to a studio and pays them for a recording is so who owns the rights at the end of it?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): This really comes down to a decision that everybody in the room agrees upon. So just like you're going to get some kind of writing, uh, sorry, some kind of written agreement as to. The songwriter splits. When you go into a recording studio, you might also want to take him with you a little bit of a contract to say that today, when we're here, we are paying this amount.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And at the end of the day, we will own the master and there will be no ongoing royalties due to the engineer. The producer is session musicians, any vocalists, essentially, without anything in writing, anyone who worked on that recording could in fact be entitled to a percentage of a share in it. Um, they could be entitled to royalties.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): They could claim a little bit of ownership from it. So it is best just to be upfront with everyone. Uh, do think that these days, the way that recordings are usually released is online and generally speaking. A flat fee, sad, but true is going to end up resulting in a bigger payment than the royalties from the recording may generate anyway,
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, that's right.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): it's a risk you can take.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): So,
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah,
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): yeah,
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. So if, um, band hires a studio of know, and they, I dunno, pay it. If I find a dollars or whatever, it's a wise idea to, you know, add some or into the written agreements in my conversation, for example, that they, the studio would not be entitled to rights to the music recording.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Once the money is paid.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Yes, I think that's definitely worth putting in writing. Um, I dunno, you might find that the studio already has some kind of contracts that you agree to when you go into use their facilities. Um, definitely, definitely read the terms and conditions on that I eat in case they already have it written in there, but it's certainly something that's worth putting in writing.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Just so everyone's on the same page
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Another possibility would be possibly negotiating a lower fee by giving, you know, let's say the recording engineer a percentage, but that would then only apply to the recording rights and not to the copyright of the song. Is that correct?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): 100%. Correct.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, good. And that's something that needs to be spelled out because, uh, I'm sure a lot of.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Recording engineers who decide to lower the fee to get 10% may misunderstand that. Okay. So it really comes down to being super clear upfront. Yeah. Okay. That makes perfect sense. Yeah. Okay. So, um, ages ago I was working with a band that, um, recorded a song first And released it and put it up on apron. And, um, that was not the very best work they've done, but later they, recorded again and a ton of really well.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So it was a completely different recording and they tried to put it up on April again, but the name was already used. So would that have been the same song effectively? How would you handle this kind of situation?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Yes, you're exactly right to us. It's the same song. It doesn't matter whether you have added two verses and a bridge, it doesn't matter whether you changed. Um, you know, the mix added extra instruments. None of that is relevant to who is getting paid songwriter royalties.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: that makes sense. Yeah.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): When you do a new recording of a song, you usually get what's called an I S RC code, international standard recording code.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): And every time you make a new recording of that song, you get a new ISR seat. So you might have your original album version. You might have a radio edit. You might have a 20, 22 remix. Yep. Um, your Spotify version, your YouTube version, every single one of these is going to have a different ISR C and all of those codes.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): I going to be added to your one original registration with AHPRA. So every time the song is played, no matter which recording. Yep. They're all being matched back to the same registration.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Ah, okay. And I think that's where, yeah, where we understood it or misunderstood it earlier. When I was dealing with my friend there, that we have the same song that we assumed there would be only one hour as a C code, but they can actually be more IRC codes matched to the same composition. Got it.
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Absolutely. The only time you would ever raise a new registration is if the writer shares change. So if, for example, you got a DJ in to do a dance remix and the DJ then stopped it from being a four way split to a five-way split that we need a new registration for, because we're changing the people that are getting paid.
Jan 'Yarn' Muths: okay. Yes. Fantastic. That, that makes perfect sense. So let's say, let's go back to our sample band earlier. We played a couple of pub gigs. Let's say we released the first couple of songs. How soon will we get paid? When is payday?
Nikki Tuckwell (APRA): Well, it varies depending on where your revenue is coming