Tell us how and when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
Well, I had been a music producer/composer for over 25 years. I have had the privilege to write and produce music for such luminaries as Smokey Robinson, Jenni Rivera, Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, Frankie J, Baby Bash, MC Magic and have had hundreds of placements in TV and major films.
I was born into a musical family. My Father and Uncle founded the group Tierra who had numerous Billboard hits in the early ’80s. Their biggest being the song “Together” which hit number 14 nationwide. For all my Father and Uncle’s accomplishments, I could not figure out why there seemed to be little to no royalties for them yet as a producer, I seemed to be doing well.
After some digging, I found out that many Performing Rights Organizations were directing royalties to someone in Norway. I had that reversed by filing numerous documents and aggressively pursuing the matter and got them paid retroactively as well as going forward. My Father and Uncle (Rudy and Steve Salas), had many musical peers who were in the same position and also needed help. Some of the older musicians just weren’t good with the computer and some heirs simply had no idea how to get paid on their loved one’s earnings.
Artists have a tendency to just focus on their art, which is understandable, so we started to help them navigate the complexities of getting their royalties paid. Pretty quickly I decided to build my company around the premise of helping artists organize their royalty portfolio and going after those who were stealing from my clients.
Tell us about your company?
We are a family-owned company. My wife Daphne helps with most of our Spanish clients as she is fluent, my stepson does most of our data entry, my sister handles the technical side of it and we have a small staff for Artist Outreach and research.
We actually started out in 2016 but I put aside my producer hat about 2 years ago and put my focus solely on Artist Royalty and Music Services. Since then, we have recovered over 1.6 Million dollars for our clients and we are rapidly growing.
Tell us how exactly does A.R.M.S works?
We basically research our client’s entire royalty portfolio and see what they’re missing. Many artists have no idea that there are royalties out there for their actual performance (including as a feature, hook, band member, etc.) which is not tied to publishing or songwriting or paid by the label.
When we find these royalties, we direct the payments to the artist and receive a small commission only after they have gotten paid. There is literally no other company out there that does this. Being a musician myself, I know it’s hard to trust people in the music business so I built this company with the premise that transparency would be absolute.
We do this by providing our clients with a shared company email in which they can see all documents, statements, and registrations. Unlike back in the day when a company could hide royalties on paper and ledger, many streaming platforms make available artist data and metrics. We are able to figure out what an artist may be owed based on that.
What do you feel distinguishes you A.R.M.S from other similar companies?
The main thing that distinguishes us from the rest is that no money goes directly to us. Every artist’s situation is different but in general, we get our commissions for a very short period of time. The artist must trust us and we need to trust them to pay us. We are very hands-on and our clients really appreciate that.
We have been successful at master reversion, publishing recovery, finding lost accounts, recovering a ton of uncollected money and resolving claim disputes within bands. Very rarely will our clients need a lawyer but if they do, we provide the lawyer with a lot of research and documents that save the artist a ton of money. We take it to a point where the evidence is solid.
What kind of royalty situations has some of your clients been through?
There’s so many but one client from a very popular group had been appointed a lawyer by the record label to look after his interests. Well, the lawyer created an LLC in which he himself was a signatory and opened bank accounts under the artist’s name.
Checks were sent to the lawyer for years without the artist ever knowing and some PRO accounts lay dormant for years. We helped the artist recover a lot of that money. In another case, the label was refusing to pay a client’s streaming royalties based on a contract from 1972.
I took that contract to a forensic handwriting analyst and she proved it was completely fabricated. After I approached the label with the findings, our client went from earning about $40 per month to about $5000 per month. In most cases, the artist just simply does not know there are royalties out there for them.
Digital royalties are different and constantly changing and growing. Unfortunately, Some artists put too much faith in their label to pay them. Another client’s former manager actually sold his publishing catalog without him ever knowing! I got that reversed too.
What suggestions do you have for artist?
Never ever allow the record company to conduct your business. They are NOT looking out for you. A lot of the time artists put their label as the contact. That’s a BIG mistake. Many times the label tries to deal with me to get the artist royalty for themselves.
Be vigilant about your earnings and if you need someone to help, call us! We are the only company out there who allows YOU to get the money first and pay us!
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