Posts Tagged ‘independent artist’

Earning money from your music – royalties, licensing, ad and streaming revenue

So I posted this bit of info on my Facebook page earlier today – I thought I’d re-post it here in case it’s of interest to anyone! :)

1) PRS, PPL & MCPS are the UK organisations for collecting royalties. The PRS deal in public performance royalties as do PPLPRS is any use of a song (ie composition) performed live, played on radio etc, whereas PPL is for performances of the actual recordings of your song – however if your song is played on the radio you’d get royalties from both as it would cover both a performance of your recording and your composition. MCPS is to do with mechanical sales – so CD sales etc – it costs to join the MCPS and is only really worth doing if you’re selling LOADS of records.

I’d recommend signing up with a company called Sentric (, who can collect PRS royalties on your behalf. It’s free to join and they take a 20% cut. That sounds like a lot but the PRS claiming process is so difficult and convoluted and Sentric make it 100% easier to earn royalties so you’ll likely make more money through using them (I do.)

Sentric can also get your music TV and film placements, which leads me on to no.2

2) licensing! Getting placements through TV, film, documentaries, videogames etc can be a good earner. Sentric are great for getting placements – although they mainly only deal with big companies (eg channel 5, the producers of Skins and Hollyoaks.) It’s a lot easier to get your music licensed for smaller projects, eg. company office use, call centres, cafes and bar playlists and small films and documentaries etc. For these I use a site called Jamendo. Jamendo also give its users ad revenue from the site based on how many page impressions you get. To get all these benefits though you have to be giving your music away for free download, which is the main purpose of the site (it’s a creative commons music community.)

3) streaming and ad revenue. There’s stuff like google adwords, which you can potentially put on your website but it’s a bit spammy. Youtube have two partner programs, the 1st of which is easy to get on to if you upload videos fairly regularly and get a few hundred views for each video. You then get adverts shown on your videos and earn a share of the ad revenue youtube gets. It pays pretty well.

Then there’s streaming sites like Spotify (which pays sod all.) If you are releasing music to iTunes and Amazon etc through CDbaby, CDbaby can collect streaming revenue from nearly anywhere your music is streamed online.

This is just skimming the basics, but hopefully it will prove useful! :)

- Marc.

Writing songs – new year and new focus

So I’m going through one of my writing phases at the moment! Loads of song ideas, even coming back to some old stuff I’d forgotten about! :) My song writing is becoming more and more centered around the acoustic guitar – which seems to be a natural progression from my latest album, which whilst having a lot of more stripped down arrangements on it, still has a lot of band-centered stuff on it. I imagine the next one is going to be a largely solo-acoustic affair :)

In a way it seems kind of silly to be talking about a 3rd album when I haven’t even released the second one yet. But hey, I  can’t help being inspired, and if I’m writing new songs then I’m writing new songs. I think people often forget anyway that although an artist might have a new album coming out, it isn’t necessarily all that new to themselves. I wrote most of the songs on ‘Remember Me‘ a while back now – some several months ago, and some as way back as when I was working on my debut, ‘Perfectly Fine‘.

Anyway, it’s all very well trying to approach a music career in a business like way, trying to make decisions based on marketing yourself correctly etc – and although I try, when it boils down to it I don’t really care all that much for it. Music comes first.

Changing the topic slightly – I’m working on putting together some audio stems from tracks from the new album up online for people to make remixes with. I plan to choose ones I really like and put a remix album together – which will be available eventually from my site for everyone to download for free. I think it’s hopefully going to be a cool way to help promote the work of some budding independent artists/creative types out there!

Oh and lastly, you can now buy tickets for my album launch online. You’ll still be able to do it the old fashioned way and buy on the door, but I wanted to give both options.

Here’s the link to buy tickets:

And the Facebook event:

Turrah for now!

David Choi – By My Side review by Marc Reeves

By My Side is David Choi’s second independently released album. For those of you that don’t know, David is a singer-songwriter who owes his current success largely to the video sharing website Youtube. He is also a well respected songwriter and producer, having worked for Warner/Chapell.

I recently picked up his second album from his website (he distributes his records himself, as well as through other online retailers like iTunes and Amazon), opting for the physical CD version rather than the download (yes David, many people – including myself – still buy and prefer CD’s over downloads, so keep releasing your records on CD!)
It arrived pretty quick (think it took 5 days or so to get to me in UK), and once I had it in my hands I popped it in my CD player, and sat down to listen.
First things first, this is a DIY home studio effort – Choi has all his own recording gear and records and mixes his music in his home – but if you played this to your average music listener, they’d be none the wiser. Even as a recording & mixing engineer myself, I have found this album does a convincing job of replicating the lavish kind of production of albums with budgets considerably largely than what I imagine Choi’s to be.
This is on the whole a great sounding album – there are a few things which let the production down – like fairly obviously sampled drums, for example – but it doesn’t change the fact that there is obvious character and heart to the recordings, and some great performances – which no amount of budget is going to give you. Considering that he has done everything in the department sans mastering the record – this is wonderful stuff.
I think the most important thing here though is the songs themselves – how do they hold up? No use in great performances and good production if the songs are rubbish!
Thankfully, they’re not! There’s very little filler here, and if you are a singer-songwriter fan, who’s into pop-rock, this is a prime example of the genre done well.
Choi creates some wonderful arrangements for his unique blend of pop, r’n'b, soul and acoustic music. There’s even some elements of folk and modern country in here too. He is somewhat of a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, piano, banjo (and I think mandolin maybe?) and violin on this album, amongst others. He writes songs mainly about love and relationship troubles, and his voice ranges from sweet, gentle falsetto, to a strong, vibrant chest voice, which can even be at times pleasingly edgy when he strains it a little. He is a very versatile vocalist, and delivers his lyrics with soul & depth.
Some of the fantastic chord progressions and melodies on this album, along with a voice full of personality, I think really display why he is such a great songwriter and performer. I do find him lyrically to be nothing special – his lyrics (as mentioned) are typical love song affairs, and while certainly far from bad, they never really stand out as being relatable on anything more than a basic level.
He does have his moments though, when he strays away from his usual themes – ‘Heavens Ease’ shows that David is more than your average pop star – this is poetic, slightly cryptic song and showcases his insight and intellect. Meanwhile tracks like ‘Amy Ave’ show him trying something a little different – reliving childhood memories – and even though the song falls a little flat (not helped by some misguided use of autotune as an effect – although I see what he was trying to do, it just doesn’t work though), it shows that he is not afraid to diversify and challenge himself. Album closer ‘What do you know’ is a witty affair and gives a glimpse of David’s tongue in cheek outlook on life.
Overall this is a really promising album, that despite falling flat in a few areas, is on the whole a brilliant piece of work. I think what makes David Choi stand out from the rest is his ability to differentiate himself from similar artists by taking full control over all the elements of his music, and his deep understanding of his craft. This is a man, who, if he carries on this way, I’ve no doubt he could be seen in 50 years time as one of the song-writing greats. This is incredibly inspiring to other independent artists (like myself) and shows that if you are determined enough you can make a name for yourself without all the middle men typically involved in a musicians career.

I give this album 8/10 :)

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