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.
"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
Please give us a small insight into your daily routine
I spend most of my day collaborating with Neighbouring Rights collection societies worldwide. My job is to make sure clients are registered directly with all of our partner societies and resolve conflicts 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, to keep it concise, we’ll go with the elevator pitch. Neighbouring Rights are a type of royalty earned by performers and rights holders. It covers 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.
Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) collect Neighbouring Rights monies worldwide. Each country has their own unique CMOs that operate within the copyright legislation of its 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. Setting yourself up with a CMO is still worthwhile. They 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, allowing 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 impressive, 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 perpetuating misunderstandings and misinformation, even from industry figureheads.
One myth 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. Essentially this means, “You pay me. I pay you”. However, the US does not have legislation in place requiring terrestrial radio or TV broadcasters to pay performers or labels for the use of their recordings. So, playing a British musician’s track on terrestrial radio means they won’t be paid for it.
Since the US doesn’t payout, many countries will withhold monies earned by American performers. It all comes back to reciprocity as set forth in the Rome Convention (1961), of which the United States was not a signatory. This is the origin of the myth about Americans not receiving payment. 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 differently, this can be overly complicated! The good news is that a growing number of countries are interpreting the Rome Convention, and other recent copyright judgements and directives, in a way that optimises collections for US performers. Moreover, the US’s lack of payment for public broadcast 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. For example, in the UK, 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 to allow CMOs to collect in brand new places. Some countries have already started to legislate for collecting monies for music used on streaming platforms. Also, 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 the information on your country’s CMO(s) websites. Many of them explain the basics on their blogs and in articles, so you know you are 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.