How are collections from rights management distributed?

As a member, the income collected from issued licences is allocated to you on the basis of the GEMA distribution plan. The GEMA distribution plan governs the allocation ratios (splits) between composers, lyricists and music publishers of a work.

The typical splits for published GEMA works in force until the 2020 financial year were: 

  • live performances: composer share 5/12, lyricist share 3/12, publisher share 4/12
  • mechanical reproduction of sound recordings: composer share 30%, lyricist share 30%, publisher share 40%.

Since the 2021 financial year, new distribution keys are in force for the public performance rights categories (so-called AR categories). Since 1996, composers and lyricists were able to determine how to divide the shares among themselves for works of the entertainment (U) music. This type of share division is also referred to as free negotiability.

What’s new now is that the free negotiability between music and lyrics is no longer just limited to entertainment (U) music. A minimum share of 35.20% for the musical share and a minimum share of 19.80% for the lyrics share, must, however, remain.

In order to enter the freely negotiated shares in a straightforward manner during the work declaration process, you can select these shares in our Online Portal by using the slider when declaring your work.

Moreover, the so-called basic split between music and lyrics have changed in the categories of the public performance rights if the free negotiability has not been applied for the division of the shares.  Previously, the following applied for unpublished works: Composer = 66.67% (8/12) and lyricist = 33.33% (4/12) and, as an exception in the FS (TV) category composer = 50% (12/24) and lyricist = [SJ1] 50% (12/24).

What’s new now: If composer and lyricist have not come to a freely negotiated agreement on the division of shares, the composer shall receive 64.00% and the lyricist 36.00%.

What’s also new: Irrespective whether the shares were agreed between composers and lyricists based on the basic split or the free negotiability principle, the publisher share will be deduced from the share of the creator who is represented by the publisher.

Example with free negotiability of a published work in the performing and broadcasting rights categories:

If a composer enters into a publishing agreement, a publisher share of 33.33% is calculated based on the creator’s share.  

Composer (K) and lyricist (T) agree that they split music and lyrics in a ratio of 50%:[SJ2]  50%.

After that, the lyricist enters into a publishing agreement with publisher A (VA).

The shares in the work are then split to K = 50 %, T = 33.34 % and VA = 16.66 %.

If the composer enters into a publishing agreement with publisher B (VB), the shares are split like this: K = 33.34 %, T = 33.34 % and VA  = 16.66% and VB = 16.66%.

Example with a basic split of a published work in the performing and broadcasting rights categories:

If a composer enters into a publishing agreement, a publisher share of 33.33% is likewise calculated based on the creator’s share. 

Composer (K) and lyricist (T) agree that they split music and lyrics in a ratio of 64.00%: 36.00%.

After that, the lyricist enters into a publishing agreement with publisher A (VA).

The shares in the work are then split to K = 64.00%, T = 24.00% and VA = 12.00%.

If the composer enters into a publishing agreement with publisher B (VB), the shares are split like this: K = 41.67%, T = 24.00% and VA  = 12.00% and VB = 21.33%.

In the mechanical reproduction rights categories, the rules provide that the shares between the composers and lyricists are distributed at equal shares in a 50/50 ratio. Nothing has changed in this regard.

Composer (K) and lyricist (T) therefore must not and cannot apply the free negotiability principle for their shares.

If a composer enters into a publishing agreement, a publisher share of 40.00 % is calculated based on the creator’s share. 

Example:

First, the lyricist enters into a publishing agreement with publisher A (VA). The shares in the work are then split to K = 50 %, T = 30.00 % and VA = 20.00 %.

After that, the composer enters into a publishing agreement with publisher B (VB). This leads to the following share division: K = 30.00%, T = 30.00 %% and VA  = 20.00 % and VB = 20.00 %.

We also encourage you to visit our page on the Reform of the rules on distribution share splits. You can access a lot of additional information there.

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