Accounting Basics – Uploading Royalty Statements

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A royalty statement is a list of the royalties you have received from a store or your distributor that lists how many copies of each of your label’s tracks and releases have been sold, and how much money is due to you from each sale.

As a label, it is your responsibility to calculate how much each individual artist is owed from these royalties. Label Engine’s royalty system is an incredibly useful way to do this, but how do you get started?

Firstly, make sure you are uploading the correct statement – Label Engine accepts royalty statements in csv, xls, xlsx or txt format. If your statement is not in one of these formats then Label Engine will not be able to read it, and you should instead enter the data in manually or reformat the statement into one of the accepted formats.

Your statement should identify each track or release through a UPC or ISRC code and/or a listing of the label, artist, track and mix. The statement should also list the number of copies each track or release has sold and the royalty – the amount owed to you. The statement may also list the vendor that sold the track or release and the territory that the sale took place in.

In order to read the statement, Label Engine needs to know which columns in the spreadsheet you upload contain which items. To make this easier, we’ve created a list of presets for commonly used stores and distributors – you’ll find these in the format drop-down. If your vendor or store is not listed, you will need to match up the columns manually. To do this, open up your statement in Microsoft Excel, Open Office or equivalent, and look at the letters above each column of data. Select ‘create custom format’ from the format drop-down on the Royalties page of Label Engine and you will see a list of the different items with a letter selection drop-down underneath. For each item, look at your spreadsheet and find the corresponding letter that it matches to – match up as many as possible from the list below:

UPC – a 12 digit numberical code specifying the release
ISRC – an 12 digit alpha-numerical code specifying the track
Label – the name of your record label
Artist – The main artist of the track (don’t select the column containing the release artist)
Track – The name of the track (don’t select the name of the release)
Mix – The version of the track e.g. Lazy Rich Remix
Remixer – The name of the artist that remixed the track
Vendor – The store that the track or release was sold in e.g. Beatport
Territory – Either the full name or a 2 or 3 digit code representing the country that the sale took place e.g. CA, CAN or Canada
Copies – The number of copies the track or release sold – this may be negative in some cases for returned sales
Royalty – The amount of money due to you for the sale – some statements can contain multiple columns containing various figures, so if you are unsure which to use talk to your vendor or distributor – this column may sometimes be listed as ‘Net’. Note that this column must be matched in order for the statement to be read in, however as of July 2012 Itunes began issuing Itunes Match statements omitting this column – this special case has been taken care of so please use one of the format templates provided
Currency – Select the currency that the Royalty value is listed in. If unsure, this is usually the currency of the country where the distributor or vendor is based.

Enter a name for the new format template you have created – it will be listed in the format selection drop-down for you to use again.

Above, select the company that issued the statement to you, enter a reference for the statement (this will be displayed to your artists in their statements, so enter something useful such as ‘Beatport Q1 2012’, enter the sales period that the statement represents, and lastly select the file from your computer to upload.

If successful, after a short wait while royalty matching takes place, you will see a list of all tracks sold. If unsuccessful, you will be returned to the page with an error message – check that you matched the columns up correctly and try again. Also check through your spreadsheet and check that the data it contains is consistent, that the same types of values are contained in the same columns all the way through the sheet.

In some cases, due to the nature of xls and xlsx files, they may contain errors meaning they cannot be read in by Label Engine. If you are repeatedly unable to upload your statement, try saving it into csv format, this format can always be read by Label Engine.

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