Links & Information
(Record Companies - Bar Codes - Cover Songs - Copyrights - Royalties & Rates)





 The recording industry is dominated by the Big Five (Universal, EMI, BMG, Warner and Sony)
who between them have controlling interests in the majority of the major labels.
However there are also successful record companies not associated with the Big Five
(often known as 'independent' labels) and some of these are listed below.

Universal Music Group

Warner Music Group (AOL Time Warner)
Sony Music
Label guides on the web
Reference works

SESAC, Inc. is a performing rights organization
with headquarters in Nashville and offices in New York,
Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami and London.




Copyright is a legal device that protects the music itself -- not the paper on which it is printed nor the recording on which it is performed.
It is copyright alone that makes music publishing feasible, for without it there is no protection against the unrestricted and uncompensated use of the
property of a composer/lyricist and their publisher.


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Royalties & Rates
HFA ( Harry Fox Agency) is the foremost mechanical licensing,
collection, and distribution agency for music publishers in the U.S.

What does HFA do?
HFA provides the following services to its affiliated publishers:

Issues mechanical licenses
Collects mechanical royalties
Distributes mechanical royalties, and synchronization fees for licenses granted prior to 2002.
Conducts royalty examinations
Investigates and negotiates new business opportunities
Pursues piracy claims


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Bar Codes

What is a Bar Code?
A bar code, also known as a UPC (Universal Product Code), is simply a unique 12-digit number that allows retailers
to easily track sales of your product within their inventory system.

How Does a Bar Code work?
When you go to sell your product at a retailer (i.e. Target, Costco, or, that retailer will have you fill out a product information form.
On that form is where you will put your company and product details as well as your 12-digit UPC bar code number.
The retailer then manually enters that information into their inventory management computer. This way, when they scan your bar code at the register,
it calls up that form in their system and gives you credit for the sale. In other words, the bar code is simply a link between
your product and the product information form you fill out for each store that sells your product.

How do I get the bar code on my CD or DVD?
Once your order the bar code, they'll send it to you in graphical form. You also have a unique number with your bar code.
You can take that graphic and add it to your disc graphic, or the dvd case overwrap graphic.

Will my Bar Code be scannable?
Yes. As long as the proportions of the bar code are preserved and as long as it is printed at 300 dpi or higher, your bar code will be scannable.

What are EAN bar codes? Do I really need one?
The EAN bar code system is used outside of the U.S. and Canada and is 13 digits long. It is based upon the 12-digit
UPC system with the simple addition of a single number that signifies a country code. The great thing about having a 12-digit
UPC bar code is that it will work in any country in the world. Therefore, if you have a UPC bar code you do not need an EAN bar code.

How many Bar Codes do I Need?
A bar code is simply an inventory tracking tool that retailers use in their computer systems. For example,
if you sell two DVDs and a CD, you would want 3 bar codes

Will my Bar Code work for any retail product?
Yes, all retail products in the United States (except for magazines and books) require the same type of 12-digit UPC bar code.
Therefore, whether you need a bar code for your t-shirt, CD, toaster, or whatever it is you are selling,
Subdivisions Media, Inc. can be of valuable service to you.

Will my Bar Code work in a country other than the United States?
Yes, the bar code will work anywhere that either UPC or EAN bar codes are scanned - which is most of the modern world.
This includes Canada, Australia, the UK, Europe, Asia, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, and anywhere else that they use bar codes.

Is there any information stored or encrypted within the bars of a UPC bar code?
No. There is no information stored or encrypted within the bars of a UPC bar code.
The bars are simply a style of font (called the UPC-A font) that correlates to the 12 numbers beneath the bars.

How Does information get linked to my bar code?
When you go to sell your product at a retailer (i.e. Target, Costco, or, that retailer will have you fill out a product information form.
On that form is where you will put your company and product details as well as your 12-digit UPC bar code number.
The retailer then manually enters that information into their inventory management computer. This way, when they scan your bar code
at the register, it calls up that form in their system and gives you credit for the sale. In other words, the bar code is simply a
link between your product and the product information form you fill out for each store that sells your product.

Will a bar code I purchase from 3rd party bar code companies be completely unique to me?
Yes. The bar code you purchase from this web site originates from the U.C.C. and is guaranteed to be unique.
You are the only person in the world who can legally use that bar code number.

Do I ever have to pay any Renewal Fees?
No, most 3rd party bar code providers charge a one time fee.

Will my bar code ever expire?
No, your bar code will never expire. Once the bar code is issue to you, it will never be issued to anyone else again and it is yours for life.

Are there any stores where my bar codes will not work?
The bar codes will not be able to be used at either Wal-Mart or Kroger's. This is due to their application process and
not to the actual functionality of the bar codes. In the application process for these 2 stores only, they require a copy of
your GS1/UCC certificate with your own company's name on it. Unfortunately neither we, nor any other reseller of bar codes,
can provide you with this document. If you intend to sell your product at either Wal-Mart or Kroger's, you must purchase
your bar codes directly from GS1/UCC to get this document. The bar codes will work at any other stores in the world but these 2 stores.

Can I print my bar code in anything other than black on white?
It is very important that you always maintain a high degree of contrast between you bar code and its background.

Why should I purchase UPC bar codes from 3rd party bar code companies instead of going directly to the U.C.C ?
All bar codes must originate from the U.C.C. However, if you purchase them directly from the U.C.C.
you have to buy a minimum of 100 bar codes at a time at a minimum charge of $750. Plus they will additionally
charge you an annual renewal fee of at least $150. If you only need a small quantity of bar codes, you can get
exactly what you need from us at a much lower price. Also, since most of the 3rd party companies joined the U.C.C. before
August, 2002, they don't get charged renewal fees by the U.C.C.
For this reason many of those companies don't charge you renewal fees each year either.

Where do I get my Bar Code? - Much of the information on this page was found on, a great source of information. - another good purchase a bar code company. - low cost, but we have not tested their services.

What is a release number, and do I need to have one?

 Record business professionals and anyone that inventories music (stores, etc.) don't refer to records by name,
but by release number. A release number, also known as matrix number or catalog number,
is an identification number for your CD or tape. The number generally consists of a combination of up
to seven letters and numbers (such as CD1001), which can be picked by you and based on any combination
of letters or numbers - your band name, artist's name, special dates or numbers, etc. Every project needs a release
number since retailers keep their inventories that way. If you do not indicate a release number on your order form,
we will assign one to your project

 Do I need a barcode?

 A barcode, or UPC code, is essential if you're planning to sell your CDs or cassettes in stores,
to make them [retail-ready] products. As a special service to our customers,
This link. will  save $700, and stores will be able to scan and sell your merchandise.
Please dowload or special SOUNDSCAN form. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
To get your own barcode (recommended if you have regularly scheduled releases)
assigned by the Uniform Code Council, call 1 800-543-8137  for an application kit,
or visit their site at

 How can I get a resale certificate?

 If you take delivery of your product in California, and you don't have a resale certificate, you have to
pay sales tax. Resale certificates are issued by the state to legitimate businesses who resell their merchandise
to distributors and retailers, and exempt you from paying taxes for CD and cassette manufacturing. Instead, those
taxes will be passed on to the consumer. For more information and the necessary forms call 510-286 0347.
Note: Unless you run a full time business that sells to distributors and retailers, it is often difficult to get a resale
certificate in California, and the Franchise Tax Board will want annual payments of at least $1,800.00 even if you don't sell anything!

 I've written a number of original songs. How can I protect them?

 Although any song you write is officially your property, it can be very difficult to prove that in a court of law.
Therefore, we strongly advises you to copyright all of your original material. Once officially copyrighted,
no one else will be able to record your songs without your permission. (And if they do, this establishes your
legal grounds for claiming damages due to infringement of your copyright.) Call the Library of Congress
in Washington, D.C.(202-707-9100) to get the necessary forms. You'll have to send them back the completed forms,
the songs on a tape, and a lyric sheet, along with a $20 fee. We recommend that you send these materials via certified
mail to ensure that they arrive safely. You can send as many songs as you like for the one-time fee, as long as all of
the selections in the collection are by the same author. If they are by different authors, at least one of the authors
must have contributed copyrighted material to each selection.
In a few weeks, you'll receive a clearance form,
confirming that your material has been copyrighted.
After you've done this, you may want to become
an affiliate of a music licensing company. Companies like BMI and ASCAP offer licensing services which track
radio play and television usage to ensure that you are paid performance rights.
For more information on these services, call: ASCAP:212-621-6000, or BMI: 212-586-2000, SESAC: 212-586-3450.
In audio duplication, the best surprise is no surprise, and the Hot Tracks master reference is an extra step
we take to ensure that you are completely satisfied with your finished CDs.

 What should I do if I have a cover song on my album?

   If you are using someone else's copyrighted composition(s), you need to get a mechanical license in writing.
A mechanical license is referred to by lawyers as a (compulsory) license, which means that it cannot be denied to you
or anybody that wants to use a cover song, but it can be a long and sometimes complicated process. Hot Tracks,
as part of our commitment to artists everywhere, requires that you affirm that you have the proper licensing on hand,
or have applied for it, before we will manufacture your work. There are three ways to get mechanical licenses:

1) First, find out who owns the copyright on the composition bycontacting BMI (212-586-2000 or ),
ASCAP (212-621-6160 or ), or SESAC (800-826-9966 or ). Or, if you are Internet savvy,
you can Telnet into the Copyright Office's database and look up the official record. Armed with this info,
you can contact  the publisher and negotiate your own rates. For a song that is not that well known
or that is not in the current music scene, this can often be easy to do. After all, more exposure is what most songwriters are looking for.

2) If you don't want to negotiate your own rates or if the song is currently or was popular,
contact the Harry Fox Agency (212-370-5330 or
They are authorized to issue mechanical licenses at the statutory rate .

3) If you cannot afford the standard fees, contact a group like the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
(call 215-545-3385 for the chapter nearest you). They can often help negotiate reduced royalties for schools and nonprofit groups.


Do you have questions reguarding any of these subjects?  If So visit The Harry Fox Link above
Mechanical Licensing | Digital Licensing | International Monitoring | Royalty Compliance | Royalty Collections & Distributions

   The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA)

Statutory Royalty Rates

Current Statutory & Historical Royalty Rates

National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA)

For the period January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2003 the statutory mechanical royalty rate is as follows:

8.00 Cents
for songs 5 minutes or less
 - or -
 1.55 Cents per minute or fraction thereof
for all songs over 5 minutes.*

* For example:
  5:01 to 6:00 = $.093 (6 X $.0155 = $.093)
  6:01 to 7:00 = $.1085 (7 X $.0155 = $.1085)
  7:01 to 8:00 = $.124 (8 X $.0155 = $.124)


It should be mentioned that the per-song statutory mechanical royalty can be reduced under certain circumstances
(for example, if the writer is the recording artist or if the record is sold as a midline, record-club,
TV-only, special-products compilation, or budget album), in which case the royalty figures may be less
than those mentioned above. However, such reduced rates are voluntary and occur only if the publisher agrees
or if the songwriter is a recording artist and has to accept such lower royalties in the record company contract.

Hereís where things get complicated, so bear with us, and read carefully. Many agreements-the majority,
in fact-contain language which provides that if the recording artist or producer has written or co-written a song,
has ownership or control of a song, or has any interest in any composition on the album or single, the mechanical
royalty rate payable by the record company for that composition is reduced. Such compositions are referred to as controlled compositions.
Most contracts attempt to establish a 75% rate (specifically, 6¢, which is three-quarters of the 8¢ full statutory rate)
for all controlled compositions. The figures are computed at the mechanical rate in effect at either (a) the time the recording is produced,
(b) the date of the recording contract with the artist, (c) the date that a particular album commenced recording
(or should have commenced recording per the contract), or (d) the date the recording is originally released
(regardless of whether the same recording is released again at a later date in another album).

In other cases, the record company will establish a maximum aggregate mechanical penny royalty limit for an album
(for example, 10 songs x 6¢ = 60¢ per album). In a sense, a cap on royalties. Under these clauses, the artist or producer guarantees
that he/she will secure reduced mechanical rates on all songs on the album so that the maximum penny rate (e.g., 60¢) payable
by the record company to music publishers and songwriters for all songs is not exceeded. If this maximum aggregate album-royalty rate
is surpassed-for example, if the writer/artist wants to put 12 songs rather than 10 on the album- the difference is normally
deducted from the artistís or producerís record, songwriter, and publishing royalties, or, the per-song royalty rates
for the writer/artist or writer/producer will be reduced proportionately.

Now, letís take a look at how this arithmetic affects a specific situation: Letís say that the writer/ performer has a
10-song x 6¢ maximum royalty rate on his/her album (in other words, 60¢ total) and, instead of writing all 10 songs,
writes only eight and records two songs from outside writers who demand the 8¢ statutory 2002-2003 rate per song.
In this case, the mechanical royalties would look like this:

 album-royalty maximum payable by record company

- 16¢
 two outside songs at 8 ¢ each


       / 8
 the number of artist-written songs

 per-song royalty to artist/writer and publisher

As you can see, the writer/artistís mechanical royalty has been reduced to 5.5¢ per song from 6¢ per song
due to the inclusion of two outside-written songs on the album. By the same token, as the writer/artist records
more outside-written songs, the artistís per-song royalties for his/her own works will be further reduced.
Sometimes, in fact, when a writer/artist has recorded a substantial number of songs by other writers, he/she has
been put in a position of receiving no royalties for his/her own songs, since the aggregate album-royalty maximum
has been paid out to outside songwriters and publishers. Ouch! But it can get even worse.
There have actually been instances in which the writer/artistís mechanical royalties have been in
the minus column for every album sold because of the operation of these controlled-composition clauses.
Additionally, the era of multiple remixes has given rise to a clause which provides that the writer/artist will only
receive a mechanical royalty for one use of his/her song regardless of the number of versions contained on the single or album.


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