British music industry releases ‘Get Paid Guide’ for music makers

Photo Credit: PRS for Music

The UK music industry and government have released the much-anticipated Get Paid Guide for music makers to help demystify music metadata.

The Get a paid guide provides songwriters, composers, and artists with a quick and easy step-by-step guide to what music data is, why it’s important, and what to do with it. The guide aims to give songwriters and composers the opportunity to take control of their music data and learn how to manage it properly and successfully.

A widespread lack of awareness of the correct entry of metadata within the author community means that incomplete data can lead to significant delays in paying authors for the use of their works. In the worst case, the authors are not paid at all.

The result of a partnership between PRS for Music, Ivors Academy, the Music Publishers Association (MPA) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the Get Paid Guide provides an educational solution to simplify metadata and help creators navigate to effectively manage their music data and music licenses.

“You don’t get paid without accurate song dates,” says Fiona Bevan, acclaimed songwriter and artist and executive director of Ivors Academy. “It’s so important that the creators get this right from the start.”

“This guide simplifies what seems complex by helping songwriters, composers, managers and publishers understand what they need to know and what they need to do to ensure they don’t miss out on royalties. I hope it makes more money for the songwriters by taking some of the mystery out of the dates.”

In 2021, the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) examined the economic impact of streaming music on creators and the sustainability of the music industry as a whole. Subsequently, the government set up working groups to ensure positive collaboration and progress in the industry.

The Music Metadata Working Group released the Metadata Agreement in May 2023, identifying education as an area that needed urgent work. The partners involved worked together to create a guide to raise awareness and educate the music-making community about the importance of their metadata.

“The Get Paid Guide is an essential guide for songwriters. Getting the data recorded correctly at the time of work registration is critical and often makes the difference in whether or not someone gets paid,” adds Michelle Escoffery, award-winning songwriter and President of the PRS Members Council.

“This guide brings us closer to realizing an overall healthier metadata ecosystem. I encourage all music creators to use this guide to familiarize themselves with the relevant codes and empower themselves to get paid accurately and quickly.”

Musicians and songwriters can view short tutorials on the International Standard Musical Work (ISWC) and International Standard Recording (ISRC) codes, access a helpful music data management checklist, and take a quiz to test their knowledge. The guide also includes help with frequently asked questions, including using pseudonyms and how to cover another artist’s song.