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Using Tunesat and Numerator to Collect US Ad Royalties


Have you ever wondered how to track US commercials which are using your music? And how to make sure you receive royalties for them? There are steps you can take to maximize your chances of receiving royalties from US commercials. Once you know how, it’s not as complicated as it might seem. Read on below for how we do this with TuneSat and Numerator.

You will need to use two services for this:

  • TuneSat, or a similar tracking technology – Check out their service here
    This is one of various digital fingerprinting services where you can upload your music for the technology to track its usage. While not perfect, it is very useful and can show you where your music is airing. In fact, you can see airings not just in the US, but also in many other countries as well, e.g. Europe. Competitors include BMAT and Trqk.
  • Vivvix (also known as Numerator or, previously, Competitrack) – https://www.numerator.com
    These are market research or advertising intelligence companies. For reasons beyond the author of this article, PROs in the US (i.e. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) use their data to record and pay out royalties for music in US commercials. Specifically, the PRO will need what is called an ‘ad code’ from Vivvix / Numerator. Each commercial in the US has an ad code. This includes different versions of similar ads from the same company, running at the same time. US PROs use the ad codes to track airings and to pay out royalties.

How to Use TuneSat

TuneSat offers a free-to-use account which allows you to upload 50 tracks to be fingerprinted. This free account also gives you 50 free ‘detections’ per month. One detection is one instance of the technology detecting one piece of your fingerprinted music. So if your track airs for 15 seconds on a commercial at 4:14AM one day on NBC, that is one detection. Although 50 free detections per month can be used up very quickly, paid TuneSat accounts can also become very expensive. To give you an idea, at the time of writing, tracking 100 pieces of music in the US and EU would cost $187/month.

Once you have made your free TuneSat account, it is a very simple process to upload the music you wish to track. After uploading, give it a day or two and then start checking your TuneSat account for detections. If your music is airing and detected, you will see entries popping up. You can see the date, time and channel. You also have the option to download an MP3 recording of the detection. Important: You may see a ‘show’ listed alongside the channel. If the detection is for a commercial, the show is whatever was playing right before or after your commercial aired. Make sure to download and listen to the MP3, as this will help you figure out which commercial it is. Of course you might just hear the product name in the recording too if you’re lucky!

Making an Account with Vivvix / Numerator

In order to use Numerator’s service you will need an account with Vivvix / Numerator. Normally, this costs a lot, since the products are for enterprise use. However, luckily for us composers, Numerator can create an account for us for free. This is then used solely to search for ad codes of commercials using our music.

I was able to open a free account by requesting one as a composer through the contact form on their website. Just make sure to clearly state that you are a composer and the account would be to search for ad codes of commercials using your music, for you to submit to your PRO.

Using TuneSat Data with Numerator and your PRO

Once you have your Vivvix / Numerator account active, log in and head to ‘legacy search’. Numerator’s search can be a little confusing and you’ll need to experiment before you get the hang of it. One example pitfall is: on the main search, make sure you select all ads, not just ‘breaking ads’.

Assuming you have the name of the brand from your TuneSat recording, you can now search Numerator by brand and date. You can also, for example, limit the search to only TV commercials. When you see the search results list, you can sort by most recent, and then click each thumbnail to preview the ad. This way you can confirm your music is indeed in the commercial you’re looking at on Numerator.

If it is the correct commercial, the last step is to note down the ad code you see. You can then write to your PRO to let them know there is a US commercial airing with your music and give them the ad code(s). And then, hopefully, you receive the royalties owed in an upcoming distribution!

For further discussion on TuneSat check out our page by clicking here.

1 thought on “Using Tunesat and Numerator to Collect US Ad Royalties”

  1. Thank you so much Art. I have a promo running right now and so I reached to Vivvix to join. 🙂 I have used Tunesat since it first started and it is great. Recommend it to everyone. x M


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