Live streaming: what do I need to know?
What’s the difference between streaming and live streaming?
By ‘live streaming’, we mean when music is played live by a performer to an audience via an online platform. This could include everything from gigs, concerts and DJ sets to fitness classes and church services.
By ‘streaming’ we mean the broader term for when music is played on demand online by an audience at any point but isn’t necessarily being played live. Streaming services include Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube.
Will I get paid if my music is live streamed?
The following online platforms capable of live streaming are licensed and managed by our partner ICE:
- Instagram (owned by Facebook)
If you’re a writer member, this means we pay out royalties if your music is played online on these platforms, including via live streaming.
The ICE Core deal is the licensing deal ICE has in place with these platforms. This means the platforms pay ICE an up-front fee to play music that’s registered with us, which we can then distribute as royalties to you.
If your music is published by any of the following publishers, then your music won’t be covered by the ICE Core deal:
- Beggars Music
- Blow Up Songs Limited
- Bucks Music Group Ltd
- Cooking Vinyl Publishing
- CTM Publishing
- Faber Music Ltd
- Kassner Associated Publishers
- Legs Music
- Manners McDade Music Publishing Ltd
- Memory Lane Music Ltd
- Minds On Fire Limited
- Music Goes Round
- Mute Song
- Pen Music Works
- Phoenix Music International Limited
- Pulse Publishing Administration
- Reservoir Media Management Inc
- Reservoir/Reverb Music Ltd
- Sony/ATV Group (including EMI)
- Truelove Music Group
- Universal Music Publishing
- Warner Chappell
- Wise Music Group (formerly Music Sales)
- Wixen Music UK
- Wonderlous Music
You’ll need to ask your publisher about their own arrangements for collecting royalties from these platforms, and any other streaming platforms relevant to you.
Other streaming platforms
There are a number of other streaming platforms that allow live streaming but aren’t yet covered by an ICE licence.
We’ve been encouraging individuals and smaller companies wanting to play music via any of these other platforms to buy a Limited Online Music Licence (LOML). You might be eligible for royalties from the money we collect from these licences.
How will you collect the data to calculate my live streaming royalties from the platforms licensed by ICE?
Live streaming is just one example of online music usage and all usages are grouped together when we process royalties for distributions.
Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook) currently don’t supply ICE with any of their own data.
Until they do, and we’re able to improve the accuracy of this kind of calculation, we’ll continue paying out royalties for music played on these platforms using analogies.
An analogy is the data we get from other comparable streaming platforms about the music played, including YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play. This has been our approach since we first paid out Facebook royalties (including Instagram) at the end of last year.
YouTube supplies ICE with data through ‘usage reports’ of the music played on the platform, including via live streaming, which is captured by their own identification technology – Content ID.
Content ID scans the audio content within a video and matches it against YouTube’s internal library of reference files - copies of sound recordings and associated metadata.
If a match with your music is made in this way, it’s reported to ICE, and if the volume of streams is high enough to generate a royalty, it will mean you’ll get paid in a future distribution that includes online usage sources.
NB: if you upload a video to YouTube, we recommend tagging it with metadata to help make the music within it identifiable. Relevant metadata would include the title of the music, the names of the artist, composer and publisher (if relevant), as well as the ISWC (International Standard Musical Work Code) and, if the music has been recorded, the ISRC (International Standard Recording Code).
Royalties for any music streamed by those who’ve bought a Limited Online Music Licence (LOML), on platforms ICE doesn’t license, will be calculated using analogy data.
Do I need to tell you when my music is used in a live stream?
No, you don’t need to submit setlists, or information about live streams that include your music, to us.
When will my live streaming royalties be paid?
For those who meet our minimum payment threshold of £30, live streaming revenue is part of the more general ‘online’ revenue which is paid out via our regular distributions.
Please note there will be a minimum of six months between your music being played and any royalties arriving in your bank account.
If there’s a large increase in live streaming during the COVID-19 pandemic, does that mean I can expect a large increase in royalties?
We can’t guarantee any significant increase. The amount of royalties we’ll pay out for live streaming that takes place over this period will largely depend on the data YouTube supplies to ICE, so it’s too early to tell what the impact will be. Check back to this page for future updates.
If I do a live stream of my own music online and the stream gets taken down by a platform, what should I do?
Platforms monitor and remove live streams themselves based on their own technology and processes, without any input from us. If this happens to you, please contact the relevant platform directly.
Should I buy a licence?
If you’d like to know about buying a licence to live stream yourself, please see the licensing section of our website.