Screen composer Rafael May helps you get paid for your jingles

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Rafael May is an award winning Australian composer who works extensively in TVCs and drama. He’s won the London International Advertising Award for best original music twice, and his feature scores have twice been named best soundtrack album at the Screen Music Awards presented by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Guild of Screen Composers.

Rafael knows his stuff – and how to do it well – which is why we turned to him for advice on how jingle writers can best get acquainted with our new reporting system. He is also a member of the APRA AMCOS Jingle Advisory Group, which means he has unique insight into how and why the system was developed. 

Introduced earlier this year, the new reporting system utilises music recognition technology to provide accurate and efficient tracking of jingle play on television and radio. It requires jingle writers and publishers to upload audio files to our Online Portal for Uploading Songs (OPUS) so that they can be matched with music used in advertisements.

All music used in ads is covered, including commissioned jingles, general works and production music, so it’s incredibly important the APRA AMCOS members use the new system if they want to be paid royalties for their work.

“As a composer, you don’t always know when an ad featuring your work will go to air,” said Rafael. “This new technology means that once audio is in the system, it will continue to be tracked, so that even if in two or three years’ time your music is used again, the system will catch it and you’ll get an APRA payment for it.”

Rafael, whose recent commercial work includes projects for Cadbury, Cadillac, OPSM, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Target and Big W, has a large back catalogue of work which he is in the process of uploading to OPUS.

“I went through everything I had done that I thought could possibly run,” he said. “I used my old Pro Tools sessions and had a copy of my APRA returns from the previous year to make sure I didn’t miss anything.”

Along the way, he has learned a lot about the system and has a few tips for other jingle writers and publishers to help make the uploading process a little easier and more efficient.

“Make sure you upload every possible version of a jingle that could go to air, but don’t worry about uploading different lengths – you only need to upload the longest version,” he said.

“Definitely upload MP3s as it’s much quicker, and make sure you strip out any dialogue or effects. If there’s a generic tag, you will also need to cut this out unless you’ve written it.”

When it comes to new work, Rafael waits until the job has been approved, then uploads the files.

“I think it’s important to upload your audio before an ad goes to air, and I do it as soon as the final version is approved. Even if the agency asks for changes after you’ve uploaded, you can always go back and upload those changes and attach them to the file. You can provide multiple bits of audio.”

Rafael emphasised just how important it is for jingle writers and publishers to use the new jingle reporting system.

“You won’t get paid money otherwise!” he said.

The new jingle reporting system is the ONLY way APRA AMCOS tracks plays in the following major metropolitan areas:

  • Australian TV and Radio: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth
  • New Zealand Radio: Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington
  • New Zealand TV: Auckland

If your jingles are only played in areas outside of those listed above, you will still need to self-report.

Frequently asked questions

Find out more about the new jingle reporting system in our FAQs

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