What is Music Reports?

Founded in 1995, Music Reports, Inc. is the world's leading rights administration platform, providing copyright research, music license administration, royalty reporting services, and strategic consulting to digital music services, record labels, television stations, terrestrial and satellite broadcasters, social networks, user-generated content platforms, and consumer products companies, among others. Music Reports' Songdex platform is by far the world ́s most comprehensive independent registry of music copyright information. Music Reports also pioneered online claiming for music publishers, helping them establish and verify ownership shares of songs embodied in millions of sound recordings. For more information, please visit our website.

How does Music Reports relate to the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC)?

Music Reports is a comprehensive music licensing platform that allows publishers to opt into dozens of direct licenses from digital music services, fitness companies, karaoke services, and other music licensees. Depending on their terms, these licenses may enable publishers to be paid not only for the “mechanical” rights to their musical works, but additional rights, as well (for example, the right to “synchronize” their music with video content). On a worldwide basis, Music Reports also helps its clients administer “voluntary” licenses they negotiate directly with music publishers and labels, avoiding the need for intermediaries and bureaucracies that delay royalty payments, as well as licenses with publishers and collective management organizations around the world. And Music Reports helps many of the world's leading digital streaming platforms report their music usage to the MLC, assisting them in ensuring that royalties are paid accurately and on time. Supporting all of these functions is Songdex, the world's largest, longest-established, and most sophisticated music ownership database—plus a dedicated team of experienced copyright researchers who supplement Songdex's systemic music “matching” capabilities. While the MLC has a limited ability to administer certain direct licenses, its primary role is to administer the blanket “compulsory” mechanical license provided to certain eligible streaming and download services in the United States under Section 115 of the Copyright Act—a “one-size-fits-all” license that offers royalties at rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board, a government body. The MLC also manages a publicly available music rights ownership database and a music claiming system similar to the one Music Reports has offered publishers since 2016.

I'm already registered with the MLC and the Harry Fox Agency (HFA). Should I also create an account with Music Reports?

Absolutely. Music Reports works with most of the world's major digital streaming services as well as many other types of music licensees, from television stations to fitness platforms. We administer licenses and rights types that other providers may not reach.

Won't this cost me money?

No. An account with Music Reports is free to set up and maintain. And unlike some other administrators, Music Reports does not charge publishers fees or carve a commission out of the royalties it pays.

How are you different from a Performing Rights Organization ("PRO")" or other licensing or accounting platforms?

Two separate types of royalties are paid when a song is streamed: royalties for the copying and distribution of the song (known as the “mechanical” right) and for the public performance of the work. In most cases, Music Reports distributes mechanical royalties while PROs distribute public performance royalties. However, we also assist many of our clients in administering their performance royalties, enabling them to accurately pay such royalties to the PROs when required (so the PROs, in turn, can send performance royalties to their members). That's why it's important for PRO members to register with Music Reports, as well.

I have already licensed my music to your clients through my label/digital distributor. Why should I also register my catalog with Music Reports?

Our clients generally license two sets of rights to use music on their services: the right to use the master recordings, and the right to use the underlying musical compositions. Labels and digital distributors typically only license the right to use master recordings, and not the underlying compositions embodied within those recordings, which are usually controlled by a music publisher (or the songwriter(s) themselves, if self-published). When you send us your catalog and keep it updated, we'll be able to assist our clients in sending you mechanical royalties, as well.

If I create an account with Music Reports, does it mean I'm a "member?"

No. Music Reports isn't a membership organization. That's one reason why we don't charge fees or commissions.

Where can I learn more about Music Reports' clients?

You can visit our clients' websites to learn more about their respective digital music services. Here are just a few:

How do Music Reports' clients license public performance rights?

Where applicable, our clients typically license public performance rights through U.S. and Canadian performing rights organizations.

How do Music Reports' clients license sound recording rights?

How do Music Reports' clients license sound recording rights?

How do Music Reports' clients license sound recording rights?

Our clients have obtained licenses for the sound recordings used in their services directly from the copyright owners of those sound recordings, or from those owners' designees. If you are the owner of the sound recordings, our clients may have licensed them through your third-party digital distributor (CD Baby, TuneCore, etc.).

Where can I learn more about music licensing in the United States, including the royalty rates that apply to the Section 115 statutory license?
Can you help me get my music on streaming platforms?

No, although creating a publisher account and sending us your music catalog will help you receive royalties from our clients when their users stream your music. In some cases, streaming services will allow you to upload your music directly to the service's platform itself. In other cases, the service will require you to work through a digital distributor—such as UnitedMasters, CD Baby, or Distrokid—or a record label.

Does Music Reports stream music?

No. Music Reports is not a streaming service and does not use music in any way.

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I'm a music publisher or am self-published. How can I send Music Reports my catalog data?

Please assemble a spreadsheet that includes the information listed directly below in this FAQ. Or write us at and request a copy of our Catalog Submission Spreadsheet, which you can fill out and return to us.

Once you supply your catalog information, our team will review it and, if it presents no conflicts with share ownership information we already have on record, we will work to ingest it quickly. Commonly (and consistent with general industry practice), catalog updates will take effect during the quarter following the quarter in which you send us the information. Naturally, it's also important to keep your catalog updated.

Additionally, through your Music Reports account, you may access the Songdex Claiming System, which contains a searchable database of sound recordings for which owner(s) of the underlying songs have not yet been identified. If any of these songs are yours, you can use our simple interface to submit your music publishing claim. Once again, our research team will review the claim as described above.

Please do not send us actual sound recordings. Music Reports is not a streaming service; we do not use music content or provide it to anyone.

What items of information should I include when I send you my catalog?

Ideally, your submission will include the following information for each song for which you administer mechanical publishing rights:

  • Song Title: Please provide the full official name of each song as you would like it to be registered with us.
  • Composer(s): Please provide the full formal name for each composer or songwriter affiliated with each song.
  • ISWC Number: This is the International Standard Recording Code of the song.
  • Unique Publisher ID: If you have an internal code system unique to your company, please provide the alpha numeric identifier for each song.
  • Composer PRO Affiliation: If any composer is affiliated with a Performing Rights Organization (e.g., ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, GMR, or SOCAN), please provide the name of that PRO here.
  • Publisher(s): Please provide the full legal name of the publishing company with which each composer is affiliated. If you do not know, or the composer does not have a publisher, please write “self-published” instead.
  • Administrator: If applicable, please provide the administrator of each publishing company as it applies to each song. This may include companies like Downtown Music, Songtrust, or Tunecore Publishing.
  • Publisher PRO Affiliation: If any publisher of the song is affiliated with a PRO, please provide the name of that PRO here. Ownership Share: Please provide the percentage share of the composition controlled by each publisher (up to 100%).
  • Publisher Mailing Address: Please provide the full mailing address of the contact who should receive mailed correspondence from Music Reports. If the composer does not have a publisher, please provide the composer's own mailing address.
  • Publisher Contact: Please provide the best email address and/or phone number to use to contact the publisher or self-published composer, in case we have any questions. This may be the most important single piece of information you can send us.
  • Territory Controlled: Please provide the territory in which the corresponding entity administers this song (in most cases, the territory will be “World”).
  • Sound Recording Columns: If you are aware of multiple cover recordings of a given composition, please complete a separate row for each such recording, indicating as many of the following values as you can:
    • Artist: Please provide the name(s) of the recording artist(s) (including any “feat.” Artists).
    • Album: Please provide the name of each album on which the sound recording may appear.
    • Label: Please provide the name of each label that released the sound recording.
    • ISRC Number: Please provide the International Standard Recording Code of the sound recording.

Once you have compiled the above information into a spreadsheet (or completed our Catalog Submission Spreadsheet template), please email it to us at You may also use that email address to submit any additional questions, or you may call us at +1 (818) 558-1400.

I've sent Music Reports my catalog data. Do I have to do anything else in order to ensure I get paid for use of my music?

If you have not already done so, please send a W-9 tax form (if you are located in the United States) or a W-8BEN tax form (if located outside the United States) to If you do not provide such a form, properly completed, Music Reports may be required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to withhold payments otherwise due you. Once you submit your W-9 or W-8BEN form, you won't have to resubmit it unless the information you previously provided has changed. If you have a U.S. bank account, we also suggest you sign up for ACH (direct deposit). Payments via ACH are faster and more secure. Please write our Royalty Services team at the address above (or call 818-558-1400 and ask for Royalty Services) and we'll be happy to assist you.

How will you report to me, and how am I going to be paid?

With respect to usage under direct licenses, royalty statements will be made available to you through this Songdex Portal on a monthly and annual basis. Each statement will include a complete accounting of the applicable royalty calculation. You will need your username and password to access your statements electronically. Under most direct licenses, you will receive royalties on a quarterly basis, within 45 days after the close of the applicable quarter, for any quarterly accounting period in which the aggregate amount then owed to you by a given Licensee is at least $50.00 (or whatever other payment threshold your account administrator designates for your account in this portal).

The schedule for royalty payments is:

  • On or about February 15: payments for the 4th Quarter of the previous year
  • On or about May 15: payments for the 1st Quarter of the current year
  • On or about August 15: payments for the 2nd Quarter of the current year
  • On or about November 15: payments for the 3rd Quarter of the current year

Electronic ACH payment is available to payees located in the United States. Please complete this ACH Authorization form and email it to Royalty Services or visit the 'Account Details - ACH Authorization' page of your web account to sign up.

Royalty reporting and payments under the Section 115 statutory license work differently. In most cases, you will receive royalty statements and payments from the Mechanical Licensing Collective, not Music Reports. Exception: Music Reports clients that are “record companies” within the meaning of Section 115, or that make and distribute physical phonorecords (such as vinyl records or compact disks) will issue monthly and annual mechanical royalty statements, which will be made available to you on this Songdex Portal if your music has had usage. In most cases, Music Reports will also issue the related royalty payments—once again subject to the payment threshold that applies to your account—although some services may issue these payments themselves.

I lost the check you sent me. Can you reissue the payment?

Please contact Royalty Services ( to request payment reissuance. All reissued paper checks or electronic payments will incur an administrative fee of $30 per payment. The fee will be deducted from the amount of the reissued payment. We highly recommend that you sign up to receive future payments via ACH direct deposit. Payments via ACH are faster, more secure and will reduce the likelihood that you will lose checks and incur reissuance fees. Please write our Royalty Services team at the address above (or call 818-558-1400 and ask for Royalty Services) and we'll be happy to assist you.

I've registered my catalog with Music Reports and kept it up-to-date. Why haven't I received any royalties?

At least one of the following is likely the reason:

None of the music services that are Music Reports' clients have used your music during the relevant royalty period. Your music has had usage on one or more services, but has not yet earned at least $50.00 in royalties (or whatever other royalty threshold your account administrator has set for your account) from any of the services. If you would like to adjust your accounting threshold to something lower than $50, please contact us at

You have not supplied us with a valid Form W-9 (for U.S. taxpayers) or W-8BEN (for taxpayers outside the U.S.), as applicable. In that case, we may be required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to withhold payments otherwise due you. Our Royalty Services team will be happy to assist you in submitting the appropriate form. Once this is done, you never need to resubmit your tax form unless the information previously supplied has changed.

You have not supplied us with valid address and/or banking details.

Why did you send me a check for a small amount of money? I thought that I wouldn't receive payment until the amount owed to me by one of your clients had reached my designated threshold.

From time to time, certain of our clients may instruct us to liquidate all publisher earnings on account, regardless of the amount due. This kind of liquidation event is typically triggered by the closure of a client's service or upon the rendering of the final reporting for a client's fiscal year. We appreciate your understanding when this occurs, and assure you that your receipt of such a payment does not mean your standard accounting threshold has been modified.

You sent me a "Notice of Intention to Obtain a Compulsory License." What is this about?

Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 115) provides digital music services and other music users with the ability to license the “mechanical” publishing rights in musical compositions -i.e., the ability to reproduce and distribute a copy of one or more songs. Since January 1, 2021, most services have obtained this license through the Mechanical Licensing Collective. But services that meet the statutory definition of a “record company” may obtain an “individual download license” under Section 115 by sending a Notice of Intention to Obtain a Compulsory License for Making and Distributing Phonorecords (or "NOI") to the copyright owner(s) of the musical compositions or their authorized agent(s). The compulsory license may also be obtained in this way by a person who seeks to make and distribute “physical phonorecords” (such as vinyl records and compact disks). The NOI notifies you that the named Licensee has licensed your musical work(s). The licensee may or may not end up using these works, of course; however, if such usage occurs the licensee must issue you a monthly and annual statement of account, and must pay royalties for such usage whenever the amount owed exceeds the payment threshold you've set for your account.

If I receive an NOI, do I need to do anything?

No—you do not need to acknowledge the NOI or send us anything else for the statutory license to apply. But we recommend you check the information in the NOI and its attached “Schedule A” for any factual errors. Doing so will help ensure that you receive royalty statements and royalties to which you may be entitled. If you find any errors, please write us at

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You sent me an email about a direct license offer. What is this about?

Music Reports' Songdex Marketplace is an exciting direct-licensing tool available to publishers with Music Reports accounts. From time to time, our clients will offer direct license opportunities in this convenient way. Through your publisher account, you can learn about the key terms of the license, download a copy for your review, and opt into the license if you so choose. There is no obligation—it's up to you whether to accept the offer or not. You can access all of the license offers currently available through the “License Offers” tab of your Music Reports web account (or use the link in the email you received to log into your account and view the offers). If you wish to avail yourself of a given license opportunity, you'll be able to opt-in by clicking the "Agree" button on that particular license page.

I have questions about a particular direct license offer. Can I find out more?

Yes! Please send your question to Our licensing team will be happy to help.

If I opt into a Songdex Marketplace direct license offer, how will Music Reports report to and pay me?

Specific royalty accounting details are provided in each license. Generally, royalty statements will be made available to you through our website on a quarterly basis, and each will include a complete accounting of the applicable royalty calculation. You can access your web account using your username and password. You will typically receive royalties on a quarterly basis, within 45 days after the close of the applicable quarter, for any quarterly accounting period in which the aggregate amount then owed to you by a given Licensee is at least $50.00 (or whatever other threshold your account administrator has set for your account).

What if I don't opt-into a direct license offer I receive?

If applicable, our client may elect to license your works pursuant to the compulsory Section 115 mechanical license described elsewhere in this FAQ. If the service is not eligible for a statutory mechanical license, then your works will simply not be licensed for use on the applicable service, and you may miss out on a revenue opportunity.

If I opt into a direct license, can I later terminate it?

The “term” of the license—i.e., how long it's in effect—and the mechanism for any termination will be specified by the license itself. It's important to review these terms carefully before you opt in.

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How can I update my user information, or add or subtract users from my account?

How can I update my user information, or add or subtract users from my account?

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