Catalog or Catalogue, as a term, is defined as a collection of musical compositions that have been released for more than 18 months and “Frontline” consists of the music that has been released less than 18 months ago.
Catalog or Catalogue, as a department, is a marketing department focusing solely on these products. This department can be found in Labels, Liscencing Companies & Audio Streaming Services.
A label’s Catalog Department controls every catalog recording that they own copyright for, and/or other catalog recordings on behalf of other copyright owners, under a limited license.
They manage the recording copyrights on behalf of the label’s artists and on behalf of third-party contractors. They manage the data of this department and work alongside neighboring-rights societies across the world.
They work closely with the marketing and sales departments but also with artist managers to create the best digital marketing strategies and campaigns for the label’s catalog.
Strategic, Project, Licensing, Distribution, Label, Synch, Classical, Legal
They make sure the record has been distributed to DSPs around the world; Spotify, Apple Music but also Gaana and Jioaavn (India), KuGou and QQ (China), etc.
*sometimes the part of the international sales is centralized for all labels under one group* For example, Sony's Global Digital Business & US Sales record division deals with international sales for all Sony Labels (RCA, Arista, Columbia, etc.)
“My days change a lot depending on the state of the work and who I'm dealing with at that moment. Mainly, I have to be sure that the flow of catalogue data goes from the artist, passes through the record label, and reaches the companies that collect the fees due to the use of the songs.”
Neighbouring Rights Catalogue Manager @ Warner Music Italy
Who they work with and what they do
A music supervisor reaches out to the label with interest in a song. They provide 3 elements for a possible contract and give a scene description and information on the use of the song.
With those elements in mind, the Sync Department defines the licensing fees for the use of that song. The amount usually depends mostly on the artist, scene description and length, and part of the song used.
The label asks for the artist's approval; both on the budget and the use of the song (which project it will be featured on).
Important to know: For a song to be used, it needs the approval of both the master recording (label) and the publisher. This means all songwriters have to approve the use of the song too! And if an artist is also a songwriter they need to approve it twice, once through the label and once through the publisher.
Once negotiated, the deal has to be sent to the publishers for approval.
This step is necessary legally to ensure that the Most Favored Nation (MFN) clause is respected.
If a music supervisor confirms the use of a song then the license is created.
On their side, they will have to pay a fee for the use of the composition (copyright to the publisher) and a fee for the master (to the label).
“For NY and LA, there is always a member of our team at shows to organize business encounters, escort our partners backstage. It’s kind of a concierge service”
- Tour and Special Events @Interscope
"When there is no covid I travel a lot so I am divided between being with the artist on tours and promotion - with visits to my offices for strategy and planning meetings around the world and in London with my team on a day-to-day basis when we are not traveling. My boss travels much more than I do so we are used to working remotely and maintaining constant communication."
Is a degree required?
Some of the recommended majors for the catalog department are marketing and communications.
Catalog or Catalogue
A collection of more than 18-month-old released compositions that are owned by a music publisher through copyright.
If a songwriter has not licensed their songs, these are then a part of the songwriter’s catalog.
The music that has been released less than 18 months ago.
Written by Fran
Published August 13th 2021
Copyright © 2021 Gen Admission.