This month, we spoke with CMRRA’s Major Label Licensing & Royalties Administrator, Melanie Lachman. She shared with us details about her career in the music industry, a peak at her latest single, and her experiences volunteering with FACTOR.
What is it like working as a Major Label Licensing & Royalties Administrator at CMRRA?
Working as a Major Label Licensing & Royalties Administrator is great as I’m able to have a bit of variety in my work when it comes to licensing and administrative duties. I research and add shares to works (songs) as claims come in and I stay on top of the top charting Major Label albums to ensure they are licensed and up to date with any share changes. While major labels typically own the master rights for their artists’ recordings, they also need to license the rights to record the song, which are typically owned by a music publisher and/or songwriters. I mainly license songs on a product level to the “Big 3” major labels in Canada (Universal, Warner and Sony) on behalf of the music publishers and self-published songwriters that CMRRA represents. . I also switch gears every quarter during the royalty processing and distribution periods, when I work to adjust royalties payable when publishers’ administration or shares change within the quarter.
What led you to a career in the music industry?
Music has always been a passion of mine since I was a child. It is something I’ve always connected with on a deep level and is one thing that remains constant in my life and keeps me grounded. I am a singer/songwriter as well, and always wanted to pursue music creatively. Toward the end of high school, I realized that learning about the business side of the music industry was something that I did not have as much knowledge in as I would have liked and it did not seem accessible at the time, especially for aspiring artists. I felt that learning more about the business side would be helpful in this on-going journey of navigating this complex industry. I was accepted into the Creative Industries program at Ryerson University, specializing in Media Business and the Music Industry and developed more of an interest in understanding publishing and licensing within music, which led to me to search for publishing and licensing jobs in the music industry in Toronto after graduating from the program in 2017.
Are you currently working on any music projects?
I released my second R&B single called, “Show Me” in May of 2020 during the pandemic, which drove me to want to continue finding my authentic voice within music. This past year I’ve been reconnecting with my love of poetry and now I’m working on taking the time to find ways to blend both poetry and music together to create something that not only sounds melodically and sonically pleasing, but can also feel healing. For now, as I figure out what this process looks like for me, I’m continuing to brainstorm and get ideas down and write as much as I can before developing a plan for future music projects.
In the meantime, you can listen to “Show Me” here.
You’ve volunteered as a FACTOR Juror for almost three years. Can you tell me a little more about your experiences with this? Has working at CMRRA changed how you look at songwriting throughout these processes?
I’ve always attended events and panels for up-and-coming artists in Toronto wherever I can, as, in my experience, artists, especially those of marginalized groups within the city, have always lacked the proper resources and access to information. I find volunteer opportunities a great way to learn from experience and develop transferrable skills, strong connections, and networking opportunities.
Back in 2018, I sung back-up for the lovely ladies of the former Hip-Hop/Rap group, The Sorority. Through performing with them in Toronto, I was able to meet people like Gabrielle Rubaine who worked at FACTOR and kept up with their panel events. A year later I attended FACTOR’s Women’s Day Panel where I heard Haviah Mighty speak on her experience being a FACTOR Juror before finding out she received a grant from FACTOR that day. I had no idea that becoming a FACTOR Juror was as accessible as it was for me while also being an artist until that point, so I applied in the following months to become a Juror. It has been a great learning experience so far, as I’m able to understand what goes into writing various types of grants and what FACTOR may be looking for when it comes to assessing grant proposals. I find it such a privilege to be able to take up space and be part of giving other artists like myself who are trying to express themselves through music, the access and means to do so.
Working at CMRRA has changed how I look at songwriting throughout these processes by understanding how royalty rates and share splits work at a publisher/songwriter and even major label level and how it affects the royalty income of a song. It further emphasizes the importance of registering share splits and claims for everyone involved in the songwriting process to be fairly compensated as a songwriter.
Thinking about becoming a client of CMRRA? Already a client but you have questions? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll get you the answers you need.