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Alternative Titles

Curious about registering featured performers and what you, or they, need to do in order to maximise royalty income? In a recent podcast, the team delved into some of the most popular questions when it comes to alternate titles – both in the name of the track, and in the way the artist names are spelled or credited.

It can be one of the most frustrating things about registrations. Take Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for instance. Do you include commas? Is it a plus sign, the word spelled out or an ampersand? The variations could go on and on. You must spend the time claiming ALL the different variations you might encounter, including typos.

Here’s some of the most common questions we get when it comes to alternate titles…

Do PPL let you register the same ISRC code with different titles?

Yes, and you absolutely should. Sometimes the same ISRC refers to different releases like compilations or re-issues. Sometimes it’s to add to amend an alternate title. However, it’s important to know that some societies won’t let you register different titles with the same ISRC codes. And new ISRC codes usually are generated with each compilation.

When you register a track at PPL, you can add alternative titles, however, if you’re creating them for different versions of the track, for example a live version or remix, you should register separate ISRC codes for each.

In fact, if you have alternate versions of the track with new features, say Cardi B’s catchy rap verses in Finesse by Bruno Mars, then additional artists will receive a more significant pay out if they are listed as a featured performer, as opposed to a non-featured performer.

Just a quick note, in order to make sure there’s no unnecessary arguments post release and everyone knows what they’re entitled to, its vitally important artists discuss their roles in the studio prior to release!

But if you’re still scratching your head wondering what the difference is between non featured and featured performers, then this example might help…

Finesse (Remix)[feat Cardi B] by Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars is the Contracted Featured Performer because it’s his release under his contract with his label.

Cardi B is the Other Featured Performer because she’s only signed an agreement for this one track, not a whole record deal with Bruno’s label and she has a step out performance, her name is in the title and she’s acknowledged by Bruno and his label as such (if she hadn’t been, then she’d only be a Non-Featured Performer).

Here’s two real life examples to help explain it further…

The Weeknd released a remix of his track Save Your Tears with Ariana Grande coming in as a featured performer. For that specific version, the track is registered as ‘The Weeknd & Ariana Grande – Save Your Tears (Remix)’. He is the Contracted Featured Performer and she is the Other Featured Performer. Although it could be argued that if the Band/Artist was listed as The Weeknd & Ariana Grande, they would both be Contracted Featured, where as if it was The Weeknd Feat Ariana Grande, that would be other featured. It always comes back to contractual agreement in the end.

American songstress Taylor Swift released Evermore in 2021, a song that featured vocals from Bon Iver, she is the Contracted Featured Performer. The track is registered as ‘Taylor Swift – Evermore (feat. Bon Iver). Justin Vernon’s status is determined by the agreement between him and Taylor Swift, and their labels. They will have agreed whether his is an Other Featured Performer” for his step out and BVs, or whether he is a non-featured performer because his verse is only a short segment of the remix and his BVs are always non-featured.

It’s all incredibly convoluted, but the important thing is to make sure you know before release what each performer’s role is and what they can expect from the royalty side. And make sure it’s in writing signed by both parties! For more information and further detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the IAFAR team here.

What about titles in translated languages?

Should you register them in every territory with the alternate language title?
At current it’s not very complicated to register certain languages on PPL. Japanese, Russian, Hebrew etc. for example must be typed phonetically. Always get them translated and be prepared for the extra steps. And always register the phonetic translation as well.

If I remix a track, can I claim as a featured performer?

Possibly. Depends on the agreement with the main artist/label. If the DJ that remixes the track is registered in the artist title, they will have a good argument to be considered a featured performer and receive featured artist credit. This is usually because the main artist thinks their name has value.

If not though, then it might be hard to find a country that sees remixer as a payable role. So if your contribution is significant enough, fight for the right to be named in the title and that should change everything! While most European countries and Sound Exchange in the US will pay on DJ’s featured in the track title section, don’t leave it to the whim of a nation, get it in writing.
If there’s anything you haven’t quite grasped, or still struggling to understand, then please be sure to get in touch with the team today and we’ll try our best to answer any questions you might have, and hopefully, help you on your way to maximizing your royalties.

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