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Sources of MU royalties

Under several trade agreements, the MU collects income from users of UK recorded music, such as labels, production companies, TV companies and advertising agencies and distributes the royalties to the eligible musicians (typically non-featured or session performers).

There are multiple sources of MU Royalties, including, but not limited to:

  • BBC Contributor Payments - a portion of payments are delivered to the MU to distribute to contributors, where the BBC do not distribute directly to eligible musicians
  • Dubbing into UK Television Programming where UK recordings are dubbed as background music on UK TV. This is a relatively new revenue source, and is being retrospectively paid to uses from 2016 onwards.
  • Extracts where televised UK performances are re-used in new programming, such as documentaries, compilation and clip shows
  • Film, Advertising and Game Synch where a commercial recording is used in a film, ad or video game, or synchronised with another product
  • Live Productions, Theatre, Exhibitions and Theme Park Music where recorded music is re-used for backing tracks in a live theatre setting, or as part of exhibitions in museums and galleries, or theme park rides and immersive experience

MU royalties’ administration

How to ensure the MU are collecting royalties for you

Musicians do not need to submit repertoire claims to the MU, but we recommend that you ensure your PPL claims are up to date, and that you are clearly and correctly completing session agreement forms when you record. The MU can log and archive your forms for you if you email a clear scan to us.

MU Royalty accounts are administered alongside MU member accounts, but they are not accessible by musicians online. If your payee bank details or contact details change at any point, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can keep our records up-to-date and ensure there is no suspension of your royalty payments. If you are VAT registered, let us know your registration number and start date so that we can apply VAT where appropriate. 

Getting an MU royalties payment

Typically, there is an MU Royalty distribution once a month, but you will only receive a payment if there are royalties ready to distribute to you.  The payment threshold for UK payments is normally set to £10, and £200 for international transfers. 

Subsequent Payments are distributed once, annually, and this distribution normally takes place in August, once the VPL distribution (June 30) has been received and processed by the MU.

The last distribution each year will typically be in the first 14 days of December, and the first distribution for each year will typically be in the last two weeks of January. At least once a year we distribute balances down to £1 (UK payments only).

Please let us know if you suspect your music has been used and that you have not been paid, and we will be happy to investigate this for you. We have ongoing relationships with key music users in the UK, and conduct our own additional research, but it’s possible for occasional uses to be missed.

What royalties you will receive and when

Typically, royalties are paid in retrospect, so it’s likely that you’ll be paid after you see your music has been used as they depend upon music users’ choices (whether to use or re-use existing recordings and productions). Because much of MU Royalties come from one-off re-uses such as synchronization with films and advertising, they tend to be irregular in value and frequency.

Royalty statements are generated along with every MU Royalty payment and will be emailed as soon as possible after the payment has been sent to your bank. Please note that this is not an automated mail-out, so minor delays can occur from time-to-time depending upon the size of the distribution that fortnight.

Currently members cannot access MU Royalties information through their online account, so please email and the MU will assist you in managing your MU royalty account. 

Payee information

For the MU to send royalty payments to you, we require the following information:

  • Contact name. If you are an Executor, a Beneficiary, or if you have a representative dealing with your account.
  • Contact postal address. We require an up-to-date postal address
  • Contact email address. If we need to contact you, email is easiest for us, and we send royaly statements by email only.
  • Payee bank details (UK accounts). We require the payee name, sort code and account number.
  • Payee bank details (non-UK accounts). We require detailed information about your non-UK bank account, including:
  • Payee / Account name
  • Account number
  • IBAN (if applicable to your bank, please ask your bank for this)
  • SWIFT/BIC (if applicable)
  • Routing Codes (if applicable)

We also need to know your bank’s company name, and the street address for the branch where your account is held.

Bank Charges

We are charged a fee when a payment fails and must be returned to us.  We are also charged a fee on all international bank transfers.  In order to keep fees to a minimum, please ensure you are supplying all the required payee information, and that this information is accurate.  Please keep us updated if your payee information changes.

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