Songtrust's Lara Baker on the royalty platform's growth strategy

Songtrust's Lara Baker on the royalty platform's growth strategy

Songtrust’s UK & Ireland director of business development Lara Baker has spoken about the company’s continuing growth trajectory.

The royalty collection and administration platform has exclusively revealed to Music Week that it has several new partnerships within the UK and Ireland’s independent music sectors. The latest worldwide music publishing administration deals include Dummy’s artist services company DMY Artists; artist management firms Fast Friends and Tribe (Bear’s Den, Ciaran Lavery, Amber Run); artist services company Tenwest; and Red Fish Music, the publishing affiliate of London record label Snapper Music

For Ireland, Songtrust has also brought on new clients including Jawdropper Management and electronic producer, composer and artist Kormac. 

Songtrust administers more than two million songs and represents more than 300,000 songwriters and other rights-holders, who can access publishing administration and the direct global collections network. Its parent company is Downtown Holdings

In addition to the client growth in the UK and Ireland, Songtrust has added Taiwan-based Forward Music Group and other new songwriter clients in 2020, including Andrew WK, Maggie Lindemann and Shari Short, a songwriter who has worked with Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande.

Last year, Songtrust more than doubled the number of clients it had in 2019. In the second half of 2020, it announced a new partnership with Secretly Publishing, with additional new business clients including Ghanaian music rights platform Highvibes.

Here, Lara Baker opens up about the big ambitions for Songtrust…

How has Songtrust been growing in the UK? 

“Globally, Songtrust has experienced record years of growth each year for many years now, and I’m pleased to say that in 2020 we grew our client base by 225% in the UK. Songtrust is the world's most accessible solution for global music publishing royalty collection and administration, so my goal is to make our best-in-class capabilities available to the UK and Ireland’s creators and rights-holders, so that they can maximise the collection of their publishing royalties from all over the world. We’re seeing growth in both individual emerging songwriters deciding to use Songtrust (we now work with over 300,000 songwriters globally), as well as established labels, publishers, management companies and distributors, as demonstrated by the varied new clients highlighted in this announcement. 

“One area where we are seeing a particular need for our global publishing admin services is in the genres of grime and drill, where operating independently is really important and often artists and songwriters don’t want to sign over their rights in a publishing deal. We have a lot of great clients in these genres who are doing phenomenally well on streaming platforms and YouTube – and there will be some exciting partnerships in this area to announce in future.” 

What can you say about the new deals and why these companies have come on board? What does Songtrust offer?

“Songtrust’s global network for collections is unparalleled; we have relationships with more than 60 pay sources internationally and we’re collecting royalties from over 215 countries and territories – nearly 90% of the world. This has grown considerably even in the last year as we collected from 150 countries at the end of 2019, and there are new partners and new territories that we are adding all the time. This, coupled with our low administration fee and comprehensive royalties dashboard, which shows exactly what your songs are earning and from where, makes Songtrust the go-to choice for anyone who is serious about maximising their global publishing royalty collections. Some of these companies are long-standing businesses with significant catalogues who have moved to Songtrust from a previous administrator; others are innovative new players in the market who see the value of our data transparency and flexible deals as they grow.”  

This is a company with the independent creator at its heart

Lara Baker

How has the pandemic impacted the business of royalty collection?

“The pandemic has, of course, had a terrible impact on the music industry in terms of entirely pausing the live sector and the ability for artists to connect with fans and generate revenue via live performances. With that major income stream on hold for such a long period, many songwriters, managers, and artists have turned their focus to other ways of generating revenue, and have had the time available to really get their publishing admin and their rights in order. This will serve them well in the long run. We know that our job in ensuring that songwriters receive everything they’re due from all over the world has never been more critical and we take that responsibility, and the trust that our clients place in us to deliver, very seriously.”

You are trusted in the independent sector, has that helped the company grow in UK, particularly with new and emerging acts? 

“Certainly, I think the relationships and trust I have built during 15 years supporting independent artists and labels at AIM and with BBC Music Introducing Live has played a big part in establishing Songtrust in the UK. For me, what’s great about Songtrust is that it really democratises publishing administration, making it accessible to songwriters and rights-holders at any level and in any genre. A new writer putting out their first songs can access the same service through Songtrust as the likes of Secretly Publishing, Downtown Music Publishing and our other high profile clients. Coming from AIM and the independent sector, to me that’s really what makes Songtrust special.

“At this point in my career, I have a good working understanding of label business, management, the artist entrepreneur, distribution, streaming and, of course, publishing, so it’s great to find myself working with all of these types of businesses. Our client base is truly diverse, in company type and in genre, and I really enjoy engaging with so many unique businesses and artists."  

What are the plans for 2021?

“As I work on continuing to grow Songtrust’s UK and Ireland client base, I see opportunities and synergies with other companies in the Downtown Music Holdings family… FUGA, CD Baby, Downtown’s Neighbouring Rights Division and so on. Downtown’s group of companies serves independent creators in so many complementary ways, so Songtrust clients will be able to benefit from tapping into the services of other Downtown companies, and vice versa. This is a company with the independent creator at its heart, and our global growth as a business just puts us in an ever stronger position to really empower the independent writers, artists and rights-holders that we work with.”

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