Despite many technological advances, getting major labels and publishers to pay out quickly has remained a challenge. It seems that Sony Music and Sony/ATV, however, are making an effort to expedite things for artists and songwriters, offering real-time processing, and a new "cash out" service.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
You would think in this age of digital music consumption that it would be easy to calculate royalties, and as a result, pay them out quickly. That hasn’t been the case though, as major labels and publishers still pay as if it’s 1999. Kobalt has been the publisher that has led the way with almost real-time royalty calculation and quick payouts, mostly because its accounting system has been put in place more recently than any of the majors. That said, it seems that Sony Music and Sony/ATV publishing (which are now one big happy company) is striving to pay their artists and songwriters faster than ever.
Sony/ATV announced a new royalty system upgrade that offers real-time inter-company processing for all foreign earnings from every territory in which the company operates. That means that foreign earnings will be reported and collected in the same payment period, which is a departure from how it has worked until now. Usually a songwriter has to wait at least for another payment period to pass before seeing any foreign royalties. Sometimes that can actually drag out to a couple of years. Sony claims that the new system should speed things up considerably.
Sony/ATV will also offer a new “Cash Out” service that will enable its songwriters to have their current royalty balance paid immediately, instead of having to wait until the next payout period. Even better, this service is offered without a fee. Sony Music Group initiated a similar “Cash Out” service for its artists earlier in the year.
This is obviously good news for anyone signed to Sony, but you have to wonder if this upgrade is due to pressure from Kobalt, which based its very existence on fast accounting. It’s getting harder and harder for old-line music companies to play by the rules of the past as better alternatives become available. Sony saw the writing on the wall and responded to it.