What are collecting societies? What are they for? How many exist and which ones to choose? Are they necessary or can we even do without them?


We are talking about an extremely undervalued and little understood reality, namely that of collecting companies or for those who eat macaroni like us, collective management companies. What a collecting company is and what it is for, for many, remains and will remain a mystery.

Not long ago we stumbled upon a YouTube video of a “misunderstood genius of music” (any reference to facts, things and people is not purely coincidental) who stated how little it was important to deposit their songs with a collecting company . According to the videomaker, the most important thing was to establish the color of the cover of our CD that we would publish on a digital aggregator behind the promise of “100% royalties” (we will deepen the topic of digital distributors in a future article).

Unfortunately, those who make these videos often ignore that paying for streaming is one thing while copyright is another. In this way, conscious or not, it makes those who look at them lose precious money and rely on those tips.

Of course, there are also lots of videos and very interesting information on the subject. The purpose of this article is to try to clarify and hope that you can make the choice of the collecting company as wisely as possible. Then if you have fun watching YouTube videos on collecting companies as a hobby, so be it, as long as you don’t mistake the smoke of burnt tires for scented incense.

So if you are an artist who writes unreleased works, whether it’s just text or music, you should keep reading this article carefully. If you only sing and play covers then you could also do without it but if you want to create something of your own one day, you should consider this information anyway.


Let’s start from the definition of a collecting society that the Treccani encyclopedia gives: “Collective management companies (or” collecting societies “) are bodies that exercise copyright (or related) patrimonial rights on behalf of a plurality of owners towards users of intellectual property: in particular, these organizations grant licenses, collect the related proceeds to distribute them to the right holders and ensure control over unauthorized uses of the works. “

What does that mean? In less technical terms, without a collecting company all your songs would return zero euros in terms of copyright and related rights. Collective management companies, such as SIAE or SOUNDREEF in Italy, are organizations that deal with collecting the money derived from the economic exploitation of your songs in the world.


Without the work of a collecting society you could never monetize a radio play of your song anywhere in the world. You could not even raise money from using one of your songs or a CD / Vinyl within a music program or from compiling a Bordero (we will learn more about music licensing in the next articles).


Managing your rights as the author of an intellectual work is very simple. For example, by granting non-exclusive licenses for the use of your work, by collecting and distributing part of your royalties through their multimedia section or by entering into agreements with other foreign collecting societies to collect your rights around the world. So what about, do you still think they’re useless?


Now that we have a clear idea of ​​what a collecting society is for and no longer rely on web scoundrels, we now understand which one to choose for our needs. In our experience, we have often encountered artists registered in a foreign company such as ASCAP or in any European company such as SUISA or others. What are the pros and cons of giving a mandate to a foreign company.


Let’s start from the concept of territoriality of collecting societies. They operate in the country in which they exist, SIAE operates in Italy, SUISA operates in Switzerland, ASCAP in America and so on. For a detailed list of all SIAE representatives abroad see & nbsp; https: // www.siae.it/it/chi-siamo/la-siae/siae-allestero .

What does that basically mean? For example, let’s take the case of an artist registered with SUISA (Swiss collecting society) but who works in the Italian territory. He spreads his music in Italy by physical means (CD Audio) or through a series of live concerts. Its economic entitlements will be collected by the collecting society of the nation in which it operates, therefore SIAE. Since he is registered with SUISA (Switzerland), these fees will not be paid directly to him.

So they will be lost? No, he will simply have to wait for SIAE to pay the proceeds to SUISA in the half-year accounted for the reference period of his musical activity. In turn, SUISA, in the period in which the regulation makes the distribution of the royalties collected during the year, will make the payment to the artist. This all takes a long time. Under the contract, the wait could last up to three years before being scolded for their royalties. Furthermore, this transfer of rights between collecting is not a job these companies do for free. They take a percentage that they deduct from royalties.

So in order to monetize your royalties better and faster, it is advisable to register with a collecting company in your country. Assuming you are reading from Italy, you can choose between SIAE or SOUNDREEF.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two collecting companies? Soon we will deepen these topics in dedicated articles. In the meantime, we are available to evaluate with you the choice of the most appropriate collecting company for your needs. Above all, we can explain to you what steps to take to be able to monetize your musical works to the maximum.


  • If you are an artist who writes original compositions, consider joining a collecting company
  • Collecting companies manage various rights related to your unreleased music and can represent a very interesting economic income
  • Evaluate your circumstances to decide which collecting society to entrust your works to