Distribution FAQ

Hit Songs Group DBA may not accept the following content for distribution to iTunes, Spotify and/or Pandora:
 

Hit Songs Group DBA may not accept the following content for distribution to ANY stores:
 

  • Any content containing artists found in our Hidden Artist List. (Legitimate releases for further review should have documented exclusive rights, a sales one-sheet, and label manager approval).

  • Misleading/deceptive content, including erroneous use of audio and art without a proper license

  • Tracks that appear on multiple releases, but do not have the exact same ISRC or metadata  Soundalikes (Low quality, Misleading Tributes, and Covers)

  • Karaoke

  • Karaoke with a lead vocal

  • Generic concepts including:

    • Relaxation

    • Generic / Repurposed New Age

    • Yoga

    • Meditation

    • Brainpower

    • Nature sounds

    • New Age

    • Workout / Fitness

    • Any pre-1965 recordings without prior Hit Songs Group DBA approval
       

  • Public Domain content

  • Fake and/or keyworded artist names

  • Generic artists, orchestras, or performers

  • Duplicated albums: a duplicated album contains at least 50% of the same tracks as another album

  • Tracks that have been delivered more than 5 times

  • Thematic style Classical compilations (for babies, for study, for sleep, etc.)

  • Generic holiday content

  • Low budget content with little editorial value

  • Titles packed with keywords

  • Low-quality cover art

  • Radio broadcasts and live performances without prior Hit Songs Group DBA approval


Please Note: These content guidelines are subject to change.
 

Reasonable Exceptions

There may be instances in which a label is allowed to distribute content that appears to violate the content guidelines. This includes the following:
 

  • Proven legitimacy of ownership of blacklisted artists

  • High-quality releases from real artists in the realm of generic content

    • New Age

    • Workout / Fitness

    • Relaxation

  • High-quality Karaoke content
     

Miscellaneous 

Hit Songs Group DBA typically recommends submitting audio releases in Product Builder at least 6-8 weeks before the street date. Please note that delivery times can vary from one store to another.

You can choose to have Hit Songs Group DBA assign an ISRC to a track if it’s the first time the track is being made available commercially. You should not use this feature if the underlying master sound recording for your track was assigned an ISRC previously, regardless of whether it was assigned to you or another party.

 

Track Lyrics are only being monetized on all major platforms and also on all major social media networks (Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, etc.) delivered to Apple Music. However, any lyrics entered will be stored and sent to other retailers once they become available for delivery as well, such as Spotify and Deezer.

Master Rights. The master rights usually belong to the entity that financed a song’s original recording, which is typically a record label, for most record deals. The original master copyright owner can sell, license, or authorize the collection of their master rights royalties to other parties. This can be done worldwide or within a specific set of territories. Please reach out to your label manager or management for clarification if you are unsure of your rights for a track. Providing the incorrect answer for your master rights can result in ownership conflicts at external service providers or lost revenue from unclaimed royalties.

No fake streams policy. While additional marketing support is beneficial and encouraged, some third-party services are actually relying on digital bots or “click farms” to drive results. This pay-for-plays method is discouraged across streaming platforms. If Spotify identifies streaming that they consider being fraudulent, they can remove a label’s or artist’s entire catalog from the platform on a permanent basis. At a minimum, you should probably avoid any company that promises you a specific number of streams.

Music Stores. These are the streaming stores to which Hit Songs Group DBA distributes digital audio. The availability of these services can vary by territory.

  • 24/7 Entertainment GmbH

  • 7 Digital

  • Altacom

  • Amazon Digital Services Inc.

  • AMI Entertainment

  • AWA

  • Beatport Digital Download Network

  • BounDEE (Space Shower)

  • Bugs Corporation

  • Deezer

  • eMusic

  • Fizy

  • Flipagram

  • Google Music

  • Grammofy

  • iMusica

  • InternetQ SA dba Akazoo

  • iTunes/Apple

  • Juno Records

  • KKBOX

  • MediaNet

  • Mix&Burn

  • Mondia Media

  • MONSTAR LAB, INC.

  • Napster

  • Next Music (Pty) Limited

  • NMusic

  • Pandora Media, Inc.

  • PCM Technologies

  • Psonar Limited

  • Qobuz

  • Saavn

  • Simfy Africa

  • Slacker

  • SoundCloud Go

  • Spotify

  • Taihe Music Group

  • Telecom Italia S.p.A

  • Tidal

  • Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook

  • Touchtunes

  • TurkTelekom

  • UMA

  • Xbox Music

 

Your release should go live between 4-6 weeks from when you submit it to us. In some cases, releases can go live within a matter of days.

 

Changing a release date after submission is not recommended. Stores may not process the new release date before the original sales start date that they already received, therefore causing the release to become available on the original sales start date anyway.

 

How We PayWe can pay either via bank transfer or via Western Union. 

Western Union is the world’s leading provider of international and domestic business payments. The Payee Manager Program is a state-of-the-art electronic payment program providing you with a secure, fast, and reliable method for receiving Hit Songs Group DBA royalty payments. It also allows you to avoid the $25 processing fee for payments by check. Other benefits include:
 

  • Immediate payment notification and tracking

  • The currency of your choice

  • Secure bank information via Western Union
     

All your accounting information and online statements will continue to be available through the Workstation in Accounting. Hit Songs Group DBA does not charge a fee to participate in Western Union’s Payee Manager Program. However, please note that your company’s bank may independently charge fees without The Orchard’s knowledge.

Royalties Reports. If your submission to join the Hit Songs Group as a partner label is accepted, you will be able to view a report of all sales through a given period on a track-by-track detail. You will also receive an email when your report has been generated, along with a page link to download your report and/or custom accounting report.

You can view the activity period for sales included in reporting for a given month by going to the Accounting tab in Workstation and filtering by channel to “Physical Sales” and clicking on “Activity Period” under Revenue Detail. Physical sales typically follow a pattern similar to digital, with sales for a given month reported the following month.  However, sales from non-US physical retailers can be reported up to two months after the month when they occurred.

Analytics. The stores and services represented in Analytics data include iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Spotify, Deezer, Rdio, and more.
The stores and services represented in Analytics data for Film & TV specifically include iTunes, Hulu, Xbox, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and more.
In order to view Facebook Fans Gained & Lost and Facebook Engagement, you need to connect your artist’s profile in Artist Builder to the Facebook account. You can access Artist Builder in Catalog by selecting the artist from the Artists page.

You will also have access to the following features:

 

The Engagement page provides additional insight into the streaming performance of your catalog, and individual tracks, by surfacing information including:
 

How listeners are consuming content

Trends in consumption behavior over time

Tracks recently placed on playlists

Information about playlists where content has been placed (author, playlist link, etc.)

The impact of a playlist placement on a track’s streaming activity

Top-performing playlist placements

(Data on the Engagement page is from Spotify and Apple Music only. Additional stores may be added in the future.)

Playlists Placements. The playlist placement data only includes the 500 top-performing placements in the last month or week (i.e. placements that have generated the most streams). A track must generate 100+ streams on a playlist for the placement to appear in Engagement.

In the Source of Streams module:
 

Listener’s Collection refers to the number of streams generated from a listener’s personal library or saved collection.
 

Active Discovery refers to the number of streams generated from sources actively sought out by listeners. Active sources show an intent to listen to a specific track. An active source could be an artist page, album page, search result page, or self-created playlist.
 

Passive Discovery refers to the number of streams generated from sources more passively discovered by listeners. Passive streams usually come from content that has been served to the user through sources like radio stations, curated playlists, or other’s playlists.
 

Comparison is an Analytics feature that allows you to view multiple songs side by side, surfacing data such as streaming performance, source of streams, top playlists, territories, and audience demographics.

The Hit Songs Group Promo Player provides a custom link to share and promote releases. The purpose of the link is to support promotional uses prior to the release date, such as marketing, advertising pitches, radio spot pitches, and other relevant circumstances that require a sneak peek into the content.

When you choose to offer album pre-orders in Product Builder, instant grats become available. With instant grats, you can release up to 50% of the album’s tracks early (i.e. before the street date) to fans who pre-ordered the whole album. In Product Builder, select which tracks you’d like to release early and specify the release date for each. The track automatically will be released to those fans according to your specifications and contracted stores for delivery.

Publishing, YouTube & Performance Rights

Mechanical licensing is the licensed distributors or retailers need to get from composers/writers/publishers in order to sell music.

Publishing administrators like Hit Songs Group DBA are companies that distribute the “mechanical” fees to composers/writers/publishers. They are responsible for finding them and transferring fees. Publishers’ Societies (such as ASCAP in the U.S. or GEMA in Germany) collect publishing royalties depending on countries were the Hit Songs Group DBA partners are based.

YouTube. We deliver video and audio content to YouTube. While we make video content available on the platform, we deliver audio only in the form of special fingerprints that YouTube uses to recognize your music in user-uploaded videos on their platform (also known as user-generated content, or “UGC”). We also fingerprint video content to identify video UGC. 

When YouTube’s system recognizes that a video contains music from The Hit Songs Group DBA, an automated email is sent to the video’s uploader notifying them that their video contains a track controlled by The Orchard. At this point, the content has been “claimed” by The Hit Songs Group DBA. YouTube then uses that connection to apply The Hit Songs Group DBA's preferred policy: either “monetize” or “block”.

If you want to block a video, contact your Label Manager. Otherwise, the video will start to monetize by default. Two automated processes will then occur:
 

  1. YouTube will place an advertisement next to the video and pass a portion of that advertisement revenue to you via The Hit Songs Group DBA.
     

  2. The artist and track name will appear below the video with a link to buy the track on iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic (if the track has been delivered to those outlets).
     

You can use Accounting in Workstation to check for YouTube Music streaming revenue for a particular track, which will indicate whether or not a video on YouTube containing your music is being monetized. There is no automatic method for determining when YouTube has linked a track.
Territory rights are supplied to YouTube by The Hit Songs Group DBA. YouTube’s system enforces this by analyzing the location of the viewer’s IP address. YouTube’s system is also able to recognize multiple licensors with split territories, but it’s important to note that you must have the exclusive rights in order to monetize UGC in a given territory.

Hit Songs Group DBA can collect money from retailers (digital, mobile, physical, video, etc.), sync placements, public performance, and broadcasting. 

Social Media & Promos

Apple Music, Spotify, Facebook, and Instagram Verification. Apple Music requests can be submitted directly with iTunes via iTunes Connect. Log into your account using your valid Apple ID and follow the prompts to add and claim your artists. Note that artist profiles need to be claimed before they can be used to post to Apple Connect. Approximate time for verification is 7-10 business days or less.

Spotify artist and label profiles will need to be distinguished. For artists, head to Spotify Artists to complete the process to get verified. For labels, you will be asked to fill out a form and submit it to your label manager. Be prepared to provide links to your artist's discography and your user profile and number of followers. Verification on Spotify is fairly quick, so contact your Label Manager if you haven’t received your checkmark after two weeks.

Please contact your Label Manager to request verification for your Facebook and Instagram profiles on your behalf.

Promotion and Marketing. You can opt-in for marketing and advertising campaigns for specific releases. The releases must be digital, and either a newly-submitted product or a product already in stores. 

You can opt-in for marketing and advertising campaigns for specific releases. The releases must be digital, and either a newly-submitted product or a product already in stores. Advertising Campaigns must be approved and set up by your label manager.

There are three pre-set packages that labels can opt into, which offer varying degrees of digital impressions across platforms. A custom package is also available to choose from.



More questions? Contact us.