Nielsen BDS

Why: Nielsen BDS (short for Broadcast Data Systems) is a service that tracks monitored radio, TV and Internet airplay of songs. This helps with the flow of royalties.

  • YouTube overview:
  • The site/software is called virtual encode
  • Make sure all your music is uploaded there.
  • Must sign up for an account
  • Impacts flow for performance royalties and master sound recording revenue
  • The site doesn’t show older legacy songs. If don’t know what has been registered, then can reach out to them.
  • Important Notes:
    • Featured artists should be listed as part of the artist field and not the track title
    • You don't need the ISRC codes for airplay monitoring registration
    • The mp3s and wavs that are uploaded cannot contain any artwork or they will be rejected.


When collaborating, it’s important to agree to cuts of 3 different royalties. It should stipulate:
  1. Publishing / composition splits. In hip-hop, typically 50% rapper + 50% beatmaker.
  2. Master sound recording performance. In hip-hop, does the beatmaker want to be listed as:
    • main/featured artist (e.g. Akuma & Factor) (e.g. Fresh Kils remix)
    • background artist. (e.g. see them in the credits)
    • Not listed at all.
  3. Master sound recording revenue.
    • According to this article, the standard percentage that Producers & Beatmakers get is 3%-5% of the master royalties.
    • However, if the beatmaker is splitting the funding of the recording and marketing/promo, then a 50-50 split makes sense
  4. Is it a leased beat or exclusive?
Sample contracts:

ISRC codes

They are unique codes that identify each song.

If you have a digital distributor, then you can find the assigned ISRC codes for the songs you have with them.

Some royalties/rights organizations use these codes to collect royalties, especially composition mechanicals (publishing).

Go to CONNECT and sign up to be able to generate your own ISRC codes.

Use a spreadsheet to keep track of the ISRC codes for each song.

CONNECT / Re:Sound recommends that a “music video should have its own separate ISRC code” that is different from the ISRC code for the audio recording.


Track radio play on commercial radio (and maybe campus?).



Track sales:


Matching Distributor statements to royalty statements

You should be able to look at your distributor statement (e.g. TuneCore, DistroKid, CD Baby) and match it up with payments from MROC and CONNECT. However, the payment schedules are all over the map, so they could be 6 months to a year difference.


Did you find this useful? Is something out of date or incorrect? Please let me know.

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