Digital Dialogue: Let’s Talk Neighbouring Rights with Hayley Roscoe (Lime Blue Music)

Digital Dialogue: Let’s Talk Neighbouring Rights with Hayley Roscoe (Lime Blue Music)

Digital Dialogue is an interview/guest-blog series presented by Byta, 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.

Hayley Roscoe

Canada-native Hayley Roscoe is a singer-songwriter turned Neighbouring Rights exec, now based in the UK. An alumna of Mohawk College of Arts and Technology (Ontario, Canada), Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA) and Abbey Road Institute (London, UK), Hayley has a strong foundation in music business. Having spent considerable time as a performer and composer, Hayley has an innate understanding of the challenges of being a musician in the digital age. She is currently working as the Society and Relations Lead for Lime Blue Music, the world’s most advanced Neighbouring Rights agency.

"Neighbouring Rights are a type of royalty earned by performers and rights holders for the use of their recordings on radio, TV, public performance, or private copying. For example, if your track is played on the radio or in a shop or pub, you can get paid Neighbouring Rights for that."

Who are you? Where do you work?

I’m Hayley Roscoe. I’m the Society and Relations Lead here at Lime Blue Music

What are you currently listening to? 

Right now I’m loving…

  • “Screw Feelings” by Au/Ra
  • Process” by Cabu feat. Milan Ring and Ta-ku
  • “Where You Are” by EMBRZ
  • Work” by KARRA
  • “Black Magic” by Jonasu
  • Electrico” by Jarina De Marco

Give us a small insight into your daily routine… 

Most of my day is spent collaborating with Neighbouring Rights collection societies from around the world. It’s my job to make sure clients are registered directly with all of our partner societies and resolve conflicts that come up in that arena so our clients can get paid for their work.

What are Neighbouring Rights? Who actually collects the money? And, how long do collections usually take? 

Neighbouring Rights are a huge topic and there’s much to be discussed; however, for the sake of keeping it concise, we’ll go with the elevator pitch. Neighbouring Rights are a type of royalty earned by performers and rights holders for the use of their recordings on radio, TV, public performance, or private copying. For example, if your track is played on the radio or in a shop or pub, you can get paid Neighbouring Rights for that. 

Neighbouring Rights monies are collected by Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) all over the world. Each country has their own unique CMOs that operate within the copyright legislation of their own country. Some CMOs collect exclusively for performers, others for labels or rights holders, and some collect for both. Much like publishing royalties, it takes time for Neighbouring Rights monies to come through. It can be anywhere from six months to a year before your money really starts to flow. 

Do I need an agent? 

Technically, no. You could do it all yourself, and if you’re still building your fanbase then DIY is the place to start. If you’re still a small artist with relatively little radio play, unfortunately there is likely not much in the way of Neighbouring Rights out there for you just yet. However, it’s still worth getting yourself set up with a CMO who will collect for you worldwide for a percentage of your earnings. An agent becomes a key player on your team when you have radio play. Lime Blue, for example, has a breadth of Neighbouring Rights knowledge that allows us to navigate the complexities of the industry and maximise your revenue. 

Neighbouring Rights Misinformation:

Music is a global industry and operates uniquely in countries around the world. While the global reach is amazing, it does mean that there is no single piece of legislation that every country agrees on. This leaves a lot of room for different legal interpretations and often results in misunderstandings and misinformation being perpetuated, even from industry figureheads. 

One myth we hear is that Americans don’t get paid Neighbouring Rights, and that’s simply not true. Many countries in the world operate on the principle of reciprocity. This essentially means, “you pay me, I pay you”. However, the U.S. does not have legislation in place requiring terrestrial radio or TV broadcasters to pay performers or labels for the use of their recordings. This means that if, for example, a British musician’s track is played on terrestrial radio, they won’t be paid for it. Since the U.S. doesn’t pay out, there are many countries that will withhold monies earned by American performers. It all comes back to reciprocity as set forth in the Rome Convention (1961), which the United States was not a signatory of. This is the origin of the myth about Americans not getting paid. Many countries will look at the country of recording, country of commissioning, and a number of other factors to determine whether an American qualifies for payment.

Still, as every country interprets the Rome Convention in a different way this can be overly complicated! The good news is that there’s a growing number of countries that are interpreting the Rome Convention, and other recent copyright judgements and directives, in a way that optimises collections for U.S. performers. Moreover, the lack of payment for public broadcast in the U.S. only applies to terrestrial broadcasters, and not digital platforms like Sirius XM. Digital rights were not addressed until the WIPO Internet Treaty (1996) on which the United States was an original signatory. As such, there exists legislation in America to pay out for use on digital platforms. This means that in the UK, for example, Americans can’t get paid for public broadcasting but they can get paid for digital.

What the future holds for Neighbouring Rights

We’re at an exciting time in the world of Neighbouring Rights. With the boom in social media and streaming, new legislation is being passed allowing CMOs to collect in brand new places. Some countries have already started to legislate for collecting monies for music used on streaming platforms, and discussions are underway regarding other new digital services like TikTok. Though it’s early days, these maverick countries are leading the way and it’s a great thing for performers and rights holders. We expect to see more countries implementing legislation that will allow rights collections to keep up with the tech! 

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

If you’re looking to dig into Neighbouring Rights, the best place to start is to read information on your country’s CMO(s) websites. Many of them have blogs and articles explaining the basics, so it’s a good way to get your feet wet while knowing you’re getting reliable information. As always, you can always reach out to the expert team at Lime Blue who will be able to help with all things Neighbouring Rights.

Contact us through our website or email: info@limebluemusic.com.