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UD Low Down: Industry Takeover Seminar 2 @ Talent House

Last week, UD hosted the second Industry Takeover Seminar of the season at their new home, Talent House, in east London. The seminar took a closer look at copyright and revenue streams and was hosted by Chris Cooke, founder of CMU. He was joined on the panel by Davina Merchant (A&R Manager), Lara Baker (Business Development Director, SongTrust), Shauni Caballero (Founder, The Go 2 Agency) and Terence Daniel (Relationship Manager at PPL). Tiffany Lai reports back…

Chris Cooke

As I sat down at the Industry Takeover seminar I was immediately drawn into conversation with some friendly guests:

“These talks are really useful because it’s hard to get information otherwise. A lot of the online stuff on copyright is US focussed and there’s not much out there on European and British laws” said David, an Amapiano producer. 

“Exactly. And even if there are, if the video is from two years ago, it’s already too old because it’s pre-reels” – a music manager to my right chimed in. 

As I looked around, I saw that the audience had a wide age range, from those who had been in the music industry for a while to younger rappers and producers who were trying to get a basic understanding of how to make money from their releases. 

As the lights dimmed, our host Chris Cooke introduced himself. Chris is a journalist, lecturer and founder of CMU (Complete Music Update) a company that aims to help people understand the inner workings of the music business. It’s hard to find someone who is both deeply familiar with copyright fine print and a charismatic communicator but UD were in luck! 

As Chris walked us through the basics of music rights, members of the audience sat up and a few could be seen taking notes as Chris answered key questions such as: 

  • What are the differences between song rights and master rights? 
  • What’s a collecting society? 
  • Who are PRS and PPL?
  • How do you collect royalties if your track is played in a pub or a club? 

If you’re equally curious about these questions you can check out Chris’ guide to music copyright here. 

PANEL TALK 

We then moved onto the panel talk on copyright, the differences between collecting societies, radio plays and how each of our guests got to where they are today. 

Terence Daniels who’s a relationship manager/spreadsheet fanatic at music licensing company PPL had one key tip for artists: “Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t collect performer royalties!”

Davina Merchant, who started as a music journalist and is now an A&R manager at Downtown Music Services, talked us through sync deals and why they’re so key to an artist’s success. 

Lara Baker who founded the AIM awards and is now a registration wiz and director at Songtrust, stressed the importance of filling out collecting society forms correctly in order to get paid: “if you don’t fill out the forms, then you can’t get paid. Then all your revenue goes to Drake and Ed Sheeran.” 

WHO’S ON THE PANEL…

Shauni Caballero who left school in year 10 and is now a legend in the royalties game founded her own consultancy in 2017 called the Go 2 Agency after becoming the ‘go-to’ girl when it came to publishing and royalties. She and the rest of panel had this to say about splits (ie. how royalties are divided up between collaborators): “Agree your splits either before or in the studio, even if it kills the vibe, because once that track is published and making money, everyone’s going to have a different idea of how much they’re owed”. 

If you want to keep things simple, Songtrust has a split sheet template on their site

After a quick but technical Q&A everyone headed over for networking and drinks in the Member’s Hub. Here I had a quick chat with some guests about their thoughts and main takeaways.   

Anna, who’s trying to get into web design content within the music industry, was surprised by how interesting the talk was given that she’d previously assumed it was a dry topic. She told me: “[The process] is simpler than I expected, as long as you sign up to the right agencies at the beginning then you’re in a good place.” 

I also caught up with singer/songwriter Nola, who asked whether songwriters commonly got publishing deals (a resounding yes! from the panel). Though she admitted she was still trying “to get her head around PPL, it was great to have a seminar break it down so much”. The other guests I talked to seemed equally pleased with the explanation of what previously seemed like a tough and complex system. 

If you want to expand your knowledge, the next Industry Takeover Seminar The Deal: The Route to Market And How It’s Changed, takes place at Talent House, Thursday 26th May. Tickets are on sale now. 

Words & photos by Tiffany Lai. Listen to Seasonal Expression on the 4th Sunday of every month, 10-11pm on voicesradio.co.uk @tiffany.l2

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