Digital Dialogue

Digital Dialogue is an interview/guest-blog series presented by Byta, and written by friends of Byta. Exploring niche, behind-the-scenes topics within the digital realm of the music ecosystem, Digital Dialogue presents readers with insights into challenges, successes and passion topics in the day-to-day life of those working deep in digital.

Getting Your Artist’s Rights House in Order, with Jamie Dee Hart (Hart & Songs)

Getting Your Artist’s Rights House in Order, with Jamie Dee Hart (Hart & Songs)

Who are you? Where do you work?

I’m Jamie Dee Hart, Founder of Hart & Songs. Hart & Songs is an artist development company based in Los Angeles, CA. We specialize in artist and rights management.

What are you currently listening to? 

Too much to count! My favorite thing to do is check out my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist and add my favorites to my very own Jamie’s Jams playlist. The algorithm really understands me and knows exactly what I love. 

Give us a small insight into your daily routine? 

With wearing many hats, my daily routine is quite dynamic including managing various client tasks. I’m a firm believer in the power of daily to-do lists; they keep me on track. A significant part of my day involves keeping my management clients in the loop. We touch base multiple times a week to discuss upcoming releases, ongoing marketing campaigns, and brainstorm our strategy. I’ve always been a bit “Type A” when it comes to organization.

For my catalog management clients, I often find myself knee-deep in Excel spreadsheets, meticulously gathering metadata for each song in their catalog. Onboarding new rights management clients is a process I’ve honed in to a tee. Making sure we have all the info needed for the master catalog template is a crucial part of my process, and it can be quite overwhelming for clients that thrive on the creative side of things but struggle with the business side of the music industry.

Many of my catch-up meetings mainly involve combing through a client’s SoundExchange account, pinpointing any registration issues, or identifying what’s missing. Catalog management is data-heavy work, and my organizational skills are put to the test daily. Each catalog is unique; some are massive with 3-6 writers per song, while others are more straightforward with only 1 or 2 collaborators on each composition. It’s a mix of big and small tasks that keep me on my toes.

Over to you, Jamie…

Getting Your Artist’s Rights House in Order

As the music industry rapidly evolves, one of the persistent conversations I’ve been engaged in revolves around the complexity of royalty collection. Amid this constant growth, digital rights management often seems to lag behind, struggling to keep pace with the development of online platforms hosting musical content. The challenge becomes stark when considering how independent artists and songwriters struggle to navigate the complicated process of collecting their rightfully earned royalties.

To secure what’s rightfully theirs, these creators require not just knowledge but also a significant investment of time, support, and resources that are often beyond their reach. While platforms like TikTok and Instagram have undoubtedly democratized visibility for creators, this newfound exposure also amplifies the necessity for safeguarding and claiming their copyrights online.

Accurate metadata collection and organization present a critical pain point within the realm of publishing and rights collection. It’s a world where inaccurate data tied to songs is rampant. Virtually every client I’ve worked with has encountered instances where they see their share of a song incorrectly registered or faced the challenge of bad actors falsely claiming their sound recording through content ID on social platforms. The list of issues seems endless. Alongside the barrier to entry that impedes creators’ knowledge in collecting royalties, there exists a convoluted mess of misinformation that demands diligent cleanup efforts.

Looking ahead, I foresee an impending shift in the music publishing and rights management landscape. There lies a great opportunity for specialized companies to step in and alleviate this burden of collection. Presently, traditional music publishers and administration companies grapple with the sheer volume of content, unable to efficiently scale their operations to accommodate this exponential growth. Often, the return on investment for the multitude of writers and creative services available doesn’t align with the needs of the songwriters in today’s expanding landscape.

This presents an opening for dedicated rights management companies to focus solely on the collection aspect until an artist or songwriter is prepared to sign with a publisher. Such entities could serve as an invaluable resource, bridging the gap between creators and the eventual transition to established publishing firms. By specializing in the intricate task of royalty collection, these companies could provide a crucial stepping stone for developing talents, ensuring they receive their due recognition and compensation in the digital sphere.

I love being able to aid remarkable artists and writers in claiming the royalties rightfully owed to them. Whether they’ve been in a transition phase between management, self-managed, or simply required an expert in rights management to support their team, it has been immensely rewarding to contribute to the greater good of creators. There’s a distinct facet within this industry that demands more passionate individuals dedicated to copyright protection, individuals who can adeptly piece together the missing elements. Being a musician myself from a young age, helping artists/songwriters protect and collect their copyrights brings me immense joy. It’s not just a job; it’s my commitment to ensuring artists get the recognition and compensation they deserve. My hope is that we all collectively empower artists and create a fair and thriving creative community through copyright protection.  

My goal is Digital rights management and royalty collection is definitely not the most “sexy” part of the music industry but it’s crucial to giving creators the means to continue to create their art and collect what is rightfully theirs. 

Where should readers go to find out more? Any further reading or digital gurus to recommend?

Companies and organizations to follow:

The NMPA is a great industry leader in fighting for music publishing rights and conducts studies yearly as well as pursues legal action against companies/platforms that do not pay proper licensing fees for musical content.  https://www.nmpa.org/ 

SONA is a great organization that fights for songwriters and played a role in the creation of the Music Modernization Act. They have great resources for their members and make an impact on the landscape of music rights. https://wearesona.com/

Thanks for being part of Byta‘s Digital Dialogue series, Jamie!