Royalties administrator

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David Evans works as a European royalties administrator. Royalties are payments the writers receive when their music is played or performed in public by other artists.

What are royalties?

These are payments which are due to artists when their music is played in public. There are many different kinds of royalties, depending on whether this music has been played live in a public place or from a CD, cassette or video, for instance. When music is played in a film or as a backing track to an advertisement, the artist and composer receive a royalty payment. For instance, artists get payment when their music is used as ring tones on mobile phones.

How do you pay the artists?

Each day I receive a batch of paper documents from our European offices, which detail all the royalty payments I must record. I use a computerised system to ensure the right money is received and logged onto the system at the right time.

Each batch of papers has a special identification code that I use to open the appropriate file. I then need to enter in the right amount of money for that royalty with the correct country code.We deal with many different countries in Europe, all of which use Euros as their currency. Each month a payment is then made to all the artists based on the royalties received.

What is your working environment like?

Each day is really busy, with most of the time spent using the computer. Within my team there are three people doing this job, supervised by a manager and an assistant. We all help each other out if the work gets very busy, and if there is a quiet moment, we help out the UK team with their work. I work a normal 36-hour week.

What sort of personal qualities do you need to be a royalties administrator?

An eye for detail is essential, as accuracy is extremely important. There are certain things to look for within all the paperwork I receive, and it is really important that I don't miss anything. The ability to work in a team is also vital, as we all work together in an open-plan office.Well-developed IT skills are also very important as you need an in-depth knowledge of spreadsheets and databases.

What made you choose this type of work?

After leaving school with A levels, I decided to work in an office, gaining experience in a financial environment. I have always been interested in music and I heard about a special recruitment agency that handles jobs in the music industry. I was fortunate to be offered this position which combined my skills, previous experience and interests.

What do you enjoy about the work?

There is tremendous satisfaction in getting all the work completed and meeting the tight deadlines.Working for a music company also brings occasional perks, including free CDs and concert tickets.

David's route

  • A levels in communication studies, accounts and sociology.
  • Accounts clerk in local authority finance department.
  • Bank clerk and cashier.

David's tips

  • Try to find a job that involves something you are really interested in – you are far more likely to enjoy going to work.
  • Take every opportunity to study for qualifications that may help you.
  • Brush up on your IT skills, such as spreadsheets, databases and wordprocessing.

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Salary details

  • Salaries will vary, according to your role and the type of music publishing company you work for.
  • In a large company, junior roles normally have a starting salary of around £16,000 in London.

Getting in

  • You will need to demonstrate an active interest in music and the role of the songwriter/composer.
  • Practical experience as well as formal musical education or training is important for the majority of vacancies that occur. You will usually need at least five GCSE/S grades (A-C/1-3) including English and maths, although some posts may require A levels (or equivalent) or a degree. Good communication skills are also essential.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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