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Aug 9, 2019  White Sky News

Kavisha Kuruk Makes Partner at White Sky

With great pride we announce Kavisha Kuruk as our newest Company Partner at White Sky.

After working as an accountant in general practice and later the magazine publishing industry, Kavisha began her journey at White Sky in 2014. With a passion for Australian music and a natural flair for numbers, Kavisha quickly rose through the ranks to claim the senior position of Business Manager.

Kavisha has since completed her CPA qualification, was instrumental in  launching the company Tax division last year, and will now join John Atkins, Damien Luscombe, Mike Landers and Matt Bird as Partners of the White Sky Group.

“Being the first female Partner is something I’m really proud of. I want to make sure I represent women well at the top level. I’m lucky enough to work with clients such as Meg Mac, Sampa the Great, Jack River, Nai Palm and Vera Blue – all amazing and hard working. They inspire me to be the same.”

Taking time out of her (very busy) schedule, Kavisha shared her thoughts on working at White Sky, what it means to be a Partner, who inspires her in the industry and what she’d dance to on a desert island:

What do you love about working at White Sky?
“First and foremost, the people!
You don’t get much better staff than here, all hired because they have a passion for numbers and music. I also love how fast paced it is – there’s never a dull moment.”

Who has been an influence in the industry for you?
“Our very own Director of Royalties (and recent recipient of the 2019  Outstanding Achievement AIR Award), Gerry McKenna. She is a boss lady and has made waves in the industry.”

How do you feel about becoming a Partner in the company? What does it mean for you?
“It’s a life goal achieved! It’s been something I’ve wanted ever since I decided I wanted to become an accountant… to feel part of something beyond being an employee.” 

What 3 words would you use to describe working at White Sky?
“Innovation / Welcoming / Teamwork” 

What are 3 desert island albums for you?
“Dark Red by Shlohmo – I listen to this album almost daily, it’s dark and moody; Bloom by Rufus Du Sol – ‘Innerbloom’ is a song that always puts me in a better mood; Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix – something to dance to.”

“I never thought I would be able to combine my accounting degree with my love of music. And going to gigs of course is a bonus.”

 

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #12

Congratulations Gerry!

 

Winner! Photo - Morgan Sette http://www.morgansette.com/
Winner! Photo – Morgan Sette http://www.morgansette.com/

Gerry McKenna wins the 2019 Outstanding Achievement AIR Award, presented by Merlin.

There are not enough congratulations in the world to give our one and only Queen of Royalties,  Gerry McKenna! Last week she accepted the  Outstanding Achievement Award at the  2019 AIR Awards for her significant and lasting contribution to the Australian music industry over the last 40 years. Over that time she has worked with some of the leading independent music companies and artists in Australia and around the world. Starting as an accounts assistant at  Charisma in the late seventies, through to joining  Mute Records and associated labels  Rhythm KingBlast First and Product Inc in the eighties. Then the relocation to Australia in the nineties and taking the royalty deparment reigns at  Mushroom, (before it was sold to Murdoch and she bailed. Forget that idea!) After years of seeing things from the ground level at these labels, she saw an opportunity to lend her expertise directly to other indie labels, artists and managers. She did this by starting her own company,  Royalty Accounting Services, in early 2000, specializing in all thing royalties, the so-called lifeblood of the music industry. And after 12 years out on her own she merged  Royalty Accounting Services with  White Sky Music who already offered a myriad of other back office services to an extensive list of clients … royalties now being one of those services. So now, with Gerry’s expertise being on board for the last 7 years, we have the pleasure of accounting royalties on behalf of some of Australia’s best indie labels and finding missing royalties for some of the best bands in the world.
An amazing career, an inspiring achievement and fitting acknowledgement for an incredible woman.
Here’s to you Gerry!
19 March 2019 themusic.com

Applications Open For New White Sky & One Of One Scholarship

Helping “ensure that more women have the necessary governance training and capabilities to advance their board careers and leadership skills”.

Australian music business management and accounting services business White Sky and not-for-profit charity One Of One have joined forces to launch a brand new governance scholarship for women in the music industry.

The recipient of the scholarship will be funded to attend a board governance training program tailored specifically for women.

“This will help ensure that more women have the necessary governance training and capabilities to advance their board careers and leadership skills,” a statement from the organisations read.

It “will also produce a flow-on effect, as more women on boards will mean more opportunities for diversity, healthier debate, role models and mentors for emerging people to connect with and learn from, and more diverse leadership within the Australian music industry”.

Applications for the scholarship are open now. Follow the link here for more information and to apply.

 

 

4 March 2019 VMDO

VMDO announces White Sky Music Incubator Program

L-R: Nathan Bird, Sabrina Robertson, Katie Besgrove, Coco Eke
Source: VMDO; Photographer: Sianne van Abkoude

A new seed incubator in Melbourne offers access to the proven benefits of working within a specialised music co-working environment to early stage music businesses.

Identifying a need for music businesses ready to take that next step to find a way in with less risk and more support, the Victorian Music Development Office and White Sky Music have teamed up to present the White Sky Incubator. The initiative will offer a subsidised desk in the White Sky Hub for 6 months for up to 10 music professionals per year. 

The White Sky Hub in Collingwood boasts an enviable list of music business tenants including the management teams of Look Out Kid (Courtney Barnett, Sarah Blasko, Jen Cloher), Catherine Haridy Management (Bob Evans, Eskimo Joe, Jebediah), Hear Hear (Gretta Ray, Angie McMahon, Ainslie Wills), Heartstop Music (Marlon Williams, Julia Jacklin, The Weather Station), Hear Them Holler (Husky, Jazz Party), Wind & Birds (Ben Whiting, KO KO MO), Fresh Air Artists (Luluc, Ryan Downey), Penney & Logan (Alice Skye). As well as promoters Penny Drop, distributors Ditto Music and Bandcamp, and PR’s Positive Feedback and Penny & Logan. There’s also an alumni list that further proves the benefits of working in such a vibrant and connected space as they’re all very well established music companies: Laneway Festival, BLSTR, Native Tongue Music Publishing, Little Giant to name a few.

White Sky Founder/Director, Tom Harris describes the impetus for the hub, “When I started White Sky I was working out of my bedroom. I eventually moved into a shared office space with other budding music businesses which changed everything. Having other likeminded people around is an invaluable resource for building a business, but it’s also a lot more fun. We launched the White Sky Hub in 2011 to try to emulate that environment and create opportunities to the next generation to share resources, collaborate, learn from one another, and ultimately build stronger music businesses faster.”

The shared space has been reserved exclusively for music businesses to ensure connections between businesses is relevant and mutually beneficial. The space itself has recently been expanded and re-designed to include a listening room, two breakout areas and a stage for live music performances and presentation-style events, including the VMDO’s monthly Networking Breakfasts. These events also bring in guest speakers and other music businesses, artists and entrepreneurs to network and foster new ideas.

“The sense of community created by the music-specific shared work space at co-working locations like White Sky Hub, can be invaluable for micro/small businesses. As well as important social connections, the benefits to business are many, from shared networks, opportunities and collaborations to economies of scale and the incubation of ideas, both formally in meeting rooms and incidentally around the office. The VMDO is proud to be a part of this new initiate to help early stage music businesses take that important step in development”, Bonnie Dalton, General Manager, Victorian Music Development Office.

Applications now open to all Victorian-based music professionals (artist managers and other music businesses) in the early stages of their growth.

To apply, simply send your name, business name, brief list of highlights/achievements related to your business, contact details and a short description of why you like to be considered for a subsidised desk in the White Sky Hub to info@vmdo.com.au

 

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #11

News and views from the money side of music. (And Happy New Year!)

User-centric streaming payouts: Not a new idea, but still no sign of adoption.

Streaming payouts, huh? The recurring topic on everyone’s lips … always. The headline issue is generally “We only make $0.00xx per stream!” Yes, that’s a small number but there’s no use comparing $-per-transaction any more. There are plenty of articles on all sides of the debate on the value of music and the pittance received by artists for each individual stream so I won’t go into that here.
What I want to revisit is the more basic idea of how the revenue is split. Not necessarily how much a stream is worth, (though it feeds into that), but the basic premise of how subscription money is handled. Basically: the way it is now vs. the user-centric model.
To give you an idea of how long these ideas have been kicking around, here are two articles from 2015 speaking on the subject. One from renowned industry data analytics firm MIDIA Research, and one from head Vulfmon, Jack Stratton, of Vulfpeck/Sleepify fame.
Still relevant today, but there’s no serious talk on even addressing the issue, let alone changing the status quo. At this stage I wonder if that change will ever happen … Major labels are making money again and Spotify has shareholders to answer to now. We’ll see.
In the news:

 

White Sky, the full-service accounting firm for the music and entertainment industries, has launched a tax division.

White Sky Tax is created in a partnership with Banks Group, a music tax specialist that has worked with the likes of Jet, The Temper Trap, Eskimo Joe, Sneaky Sound System, Kasey Chambers and Tim Minchin.

 

At launch this week, its services include annual tax compliance; business structure advice and set-up; GST advice and set-up; payroll obligations advice; international tax compliance oversight and royalty audits. Banks Group director Serge Bolzonello leads the new division as White Sky Tax director.

Speaking with TIO, White Sky Group founder and managing director Tom Harris says the tax division is three years in the making. And its arrival comes at a time when homegrown acts are increasingly breaking borders and going global. “Australian bands are reaching international audiences and heading overseas far more regularly which creates a greater need for experts in our field – which is great for us because we love working with artists and going along for the ride,” explains Harris, who co-managed The Temper Trap from 2006 to 2011.

L to R: Tom Harris (Founder and Managing Director of the White Sky Group), Gerry McKenna (Director at White Sky Royalty Accounting), Matt Bird (Partner at White Sky Royalty Accounting), Damien Luscombe (Partner at White Sky Music), John Atkins (Partner at White Sky Music), Serge Bolzonello (Director at White Sky Tax).

 

The addition of a tax services arm completes the wheel for White Sky, which opened for business in 2002 with a suite of bookkeeping and business management offerings and expanded into royalty and tour accounting ten years later when Gerry McKenna joined as co-director of White Sky Royalty Accounting.

Tax in general is “pretty complicated,” notes Harris on the new division, “but I guess what makes the music industry so tricky is that it’s so unique. International tax laws are different in every country and this affects both touring as well as royalty income for artists. And as the music industry is becoming more and more international, this is now affecting artists, promoters and labels far earlier in their careers than it was even just a few years ago.”

Since opening for business almost 16 years ago, the group has handled all things business and accounting for more than 500 artists, managers, festivals, promoters and labels. Today, the company works with a string of popular artists, from Tame Impala to Gotye, Vance Joy, Guy Sebastian, John Butler, RUFUS, and Angus & Julia Stone and more. Laneway Festival, Spinning Top and Remote Control Records are among its clients.

“In any business, working with people who understand what you do is vital,” adds Harris. “As an artist, manager, festival or record label, the idea is to be creative and focus on your core business. You don’t want to be explaining to your accountant the complexities of how publishing royalties are collected, or how tour promoter deals vary between countries. You want an accountant who can give you advice on these things and knows what to look out for before it’s too late.”

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #10

News and views from the money side of music.

Spotify equity payouts

So, has everyone got their equity payout now? 3 out of the 4 major label representatives (I include Merlin here,) have cashed in their chips but each of them are treating the income differently. Here’s a summary of how things should be going down:
Sony: Announced that they would pay through revenue outside of recoupment at the contractual rate. i.e., even if you’re account is unrecouped, you should be getting paid.
Warner: Accounting revenue on royalty statement at the agreed streaming rate, subject to recoupment.
Universal: Have not sold their shares yet. Interesting …
Merlin: Paid out all their label members who will be treating the income as they see fit. There is no one rule for Merlin’s hundreds of members. Merlin members include digital distribution services like AWAL and InGrooves.
In the news:

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #9

News and views from the money side of music.

EU Copyright Directive

The EU Copyright Directive marched closer to becoming law with the approval by European Parliament on the 12th of this month. The most controversial points in the Directive were Article 11 (the “link tax”) and Article 13 (the “upload filter”).
I’ve linked a trio of articles from MBW below, articulating different sides of the argument. (Spoiler: it’s mostly the “rights for creators” vs “the death of the internet” camps, at it again.)
Whilst Articles 11 and 13 got most of the column inches, the Directive also includes Articles 14 to 16, which were a lot less publicised. Probably because they represented author and performer rights (the artist), rather than copyright owner rights (the labels). Surprising? Maybe not ….
Article 14 deals with the obligation for licensees to provide transparent accounting to performers and authors. It is quite standard in the music industry that a label provides accounting but who knows what other changes to transparency this article may bring.
Article 15 is reminiscent of the so called “best-seller clause”, whereby an artist has the ability to request further remuneration should a work become highly valuable. I see this affecting the work for hire space mostly. Produce a track for $1000 that goes on to get that $500k Coke sync? This may be your time.
Article 16 provides the means for an artist to pursue the above two Articles.
Music Modernisation Act
Meanwhile, the US Senate has passed the much hyped Music Modernisation Act.
We went over some of the details in our newsletter a couple of months ago (here) but one thing we didn’t mention was the AMP Act.
The Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) act accommodates producers in the collection of performance royalties on the recordings they make. Currently, artists will either pay producers what they’re owed out of their own royalties, or direct SoundExchange to do so at source. The problem is that this Letter Of Direction is often the last thing on an artist’s list of things to do, so the producer’s share often gets forgotten about. This act will allow the allocation of royalties to the producer to happen at source and by default. A big win for an overlooked sector of the industry!
In other news:
 

 

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #8

News and views from the money side of music.

Putting the Band Back Together.

What a month in music industry data analytics … Phew!

As many of you have probably seen, Citigroup released an 88 page report on the state of the music business. You can read it for yourself right here:

Of all the points made in the report, the one that grabbed the lion’s share of the media’s attention was that only 12 percent of all the revenue in the music industry ends up going to artists.

The immediate reaction before reading the article was “OK, how can Citigroup have any idea what artists are making from private, individual agreements with labels, agents and promoters?” Well, they don’t. There’s a lot of guess work going on but let’s leave that aside for now.

Their proposed solution to this imbalance in revenue sharing rings out a lot like the other voices in the media-tech world right now: Disintermediation. Take everyone out from between the artist and fan, then the artist will take home all the money. Well, of course. It’s logical to say that if you give out fewer slices of the pie, you get to have more pie. Fine. But the idea of achieving this through further vertical integration just screams winner takes all. Their ideal scenario seems to be that the label, promoter, retailer and distributor become one entity. Less “value leakage” apparently, and the artist sees more of the money.

OK, but at what cost? Is this where we will see companies like Amazon and Google really running away with the industry? They already have the licenses in place with the current content owners, (Google is even positioning itself for the end of that paradigm with its United Masters effort.) They have the physical warehousing and delivery systems for any kind of merch activity. They have their own streaming platforms, their own digital delivery systems (smart speakers/screens, casting devices, phones, smart earbuds, etc.) Google even has it’s own mechanical royalty collection company! And they both have a truck load of user data. Just wait for one of them to buy Live Nation (or whatever Live Nation/Sirius/iHeartRadio becomes,) or a competitor and draw a line under the whole damn thing. Congratulations, super mega-corporation, you are the music industry.

All that aside, the report has some really great data analysis and serves as a good Music Business 101 guide. I recommend you give it a look and I’ve also linked a few articles below.

In other news:

Deadlines:

  • PPCA registration deadline — 31st of August: Make sure all new recordings are registered with PPCA to be involved in this years distribution! Get them in here if you’re an artist, or here if you’re a label. If you’re not yet a member of PPCA, artists can register here and labels here.

Feel free to reach out if you need some help with the registration process and as always, don’t hesitate to touch base for any other royalty related questions. We’re always happy to chat!

 

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #7

News and views from the money side of music.

$150mil SiriusXM/SoundExchange Settlement

Well, that was a mouthful. It’s also a pocketful of money that is about to be distributed by SoundExchange.

It comes after a lengthy legal battle over miscalculated royalties from 2007–2017. SoundExchange will be distributing the funds across right holders and artists whose sound recordings were used during that period. So, even if you had your biggest hit ten years ago, you could be up for a little windfall.

If you’re a performer and you are not a member of SoundExchange, I’d suggest you look into it. SoundExchange will not pay the artist share to the label like they do in Australia so it’s yours for the taking.

Feel free to get in touch with us for information regarding registration or details around SoundExchange and SiriusXM in general.

In the news:

As always, don’t hesitate to touch base for any royalty related questions. We’re always happy to chat!

Deadlines:

  • APRA Live Performance Report deadline — 31st of July: for any gigs you played since the 1st of July 2017. Login and get entering here
  • PPCA registration deadline — 31st of August: Make sure all new recordings ae registered with PPCA to be involved in this years distribution. Get them in here. If you’re not yet a member of PPCA you can register here

 

 

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #6

News and views from the money side of music.

The Music Modernisation Act

Massive changes to US copyright law will most likely be passed in the Senate after passing unanimously in the House of Reps on April 25th. These wide ranging changes will benefit artists and rights owners in a few ways, the main ones being:

  • Copyright protection for performance of pre-1972 master recordings (via digital/satellite radio.)
  • Introduction of a central agency to clear mechanical rights for all DSPs and pay copyright owners.

Read a short summary of it right here. (PDF)
More detail here.
And some words from A2IM CEO Richard James Burgess here

In the news:

As always, don’t hesitate to touch base for any royalty related questions. We’re always happy to chat!

Deadlines:

  • ASCAP Onstage deadline — 30th June: for performances in the period Jan — Mar 18. Get them in here.
  • BMI Live deadline — 30th June: for performances in the period Oct 17 — Mar 18. Get them in here.

 

 

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #5

News and views from the money side of music.

Dates to remember …

The end of March approaches and with it the end of Q1 2018. Oh how the time flies! … Coming up at the end of this month:

  • Dec 17 quarterly or six-monthly royalty accounts on 90 dayaccounting terms due at the end of this month.
  • BMI royalty payments due — 16th March for the Sept17 quarter performance royalties.
  • BMI Live deadline — 31st March for performances in the period Jul — Dec 17. Get them in here.
  • ASCAP Onstage deadline — 31st March for performances in the period Oct — Dec 17. Get them in here.

In the news: The Breakage 2.0 Edition!

A few years ago we heard about Breakage. This was money paid to artists out of the labels’ left over Spotify advances. Lump sums not attributable to any particular artist. With Spotify going public and labels standing to make considerable cash out of their equity shares, we now have … Breakage 2.0 ….

It could be a good idea, while all this Spotify Goes Public news is hot, to get in touch with your label and ask how they propose to account this income. We’re seeing lots of press releases but very few details.

As always, don’t hesitate to touch base for any royalty related questions. We’re always happy to chat!

 

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #4

News and views from the money side of music.

Dates to remember …

A few things to keep an eye out for at the end of Feb …

  • APRA statements due for the September quarter, including quarterly live performance income for activity in the period.
  • Royalty accounts on 60 day accounting terms due at the end of this month.
  • Spotify Publishing Settlement claim submissions was due to be available this month. Seems to be a bit behind but you can keep an eye out here for more info or sign up to be advised.

In the news …

As always, don’t hesitate to touch base for any royalty related questions. We’re always happy to chat!

 

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #3

News and views from the money side of music.

Session player/Side-Artist Unclaimed Performance Royalties

Most of us are at least a little bit across the world of Neighbouring Rights. A royalty is generated by the performance of the sound recording which is split between the copyright owner and the featured performer. But in the US, via SoundExchange, A portion of this income is set aside for non-featured performers to be claimed through AFM/SAG-AFTRA. i.e., session musicians, side-artists, etc.

If you fit the description hit up the link below to browse their unclaimed royalties section. Even if you/your client’s name isn’t listed it may be worth considering filling out a registration form for future royalties.

https://www.afmsagaftrafund.org/unclaimed-royalties.php

In the news …

As always, don’t hesitate to touch base with us for any further info on anything here!

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #2

News and views from the money side of music.

Deadline time …

The time is arriving to get your live performance registrations in for BMI and ASCAP members:

  • BMI Live deadline — 21st Dec for performances in the period Apr 17 — Sept 17. Get them in here.
  • ASCAP OnStage deadline — 31st Dec for performances in the period Jul 17 — Sept 17. Get them in here.

In the news …

 

 

White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #1

News and views from the money side of music

It’s that time again …

The June 17 accounting period has well and truly wrapped and royalty statements are dropping into a portal or inbox near you.
Hit us up now and get your statement in for review ahead of the pack.

In the news …

  • Make a claim in the $43M Spotify Mechanical Settlement — All the info is here. Claim forms will be available after the final ruling on Dec 1st. Sign up to get email notifications on the outcome and further info.
  • ASCAP and BMI playing nice together — the two copyright giants join forces to bring forth a global database of works. But will it work?
  • Blockchain and royalties — Automated royalty payments? Smart contracts? Global rights database? Sounds pretty good …
  • IFPI report 2017 — The state of the industry for H1 2017, according to global industry body. Spoilers: YouTube is king … (but where’s the money?!)
  • RIAA report 2017 — And how about the US in particular? Paid subscriptions through the roof = better royalty revenue for all. (PDF download)

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