What Are Neighboring Rights?

Neighboring rights refer to the right to publicly perform, or broadcast, a sound recording. Sound recording owners (record labels and performing artists) collect neighboring rights royalties whenever their sound recordings are publicly performed on satellite radio (such as Sirius XM), internet radio (such as Pandora, BBC), cable TV music channels, TV outside of the USA, terrestrial radio outside of the USA, and much more.

Worth noting: The neighboring rights law differs internationally. Basically, in almost all territories outside of the USA, neighboring rights are recognized by law. But neighboring rights are not technically recognized by law in the USA, for certain reasons too long and complex to explain here. (If you do want the reason, read here. However, in the USA, the society called Sound Exchange collects “digital performance royalties,” or more specifically, “statutory royalties from satellite radio (such as Sirius XM), internet radio, cable TV music channels, and similar platforms for streaming sound recordings.” Technically, this is not recognized as “neighboring rights.” But it’s so similar that we simply umbrella it all into one worldwide service: Neighboring Rights Administration.

The concept of neighboring rights is similar to that of performance rights in the field of music publishing, because both kinds of royalties are earned through public performances/broadcasts of music. Except that performance rights refer to the right to publicly perform a musical composition. Neighboring rights refer to the right to publicly perform a sound recording.

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