Easy Expenses & Artist Advances

Proton helps music labels recoup costs before artists get paid. Here's how it works!

Jason Wohlstadter avatar
Written by Jason Wohlstadter
Updated over a week ago

Proton’s Advances & Expenses feature helps a music label recover money spent on a release. You can now easily & automatically earn back money you’ve spent on cover art, mastering, promotion, remix fees, advances or more before artists get paid.

Proton's top music labels take advantage of Advances & Expenses to safely invest in their label and help it grow, without doing any accounting work or messy calculations.

  • The expense system is 100% free to use, but it must be enabled on your account.

  • Please read this guide, then ask our support team to enable the feature.

  • Expenses must be declared before contracts are sent!

How does it work?

There are 3 different kinds of expenses you can use to recoup costs:

  • Track Expenses (mastering, remix fees, etc.)

  • Release Expenses (cover art, promotion, anti-piracy protection, etc.)

  • Artist Advances (advances for an individual artist)

Artists will see these expenses declared automatically in their contracts, which is why expenses must be declared BEFORE contracts are sent!

In their contracts, artists will see their specific share of an expense based on their royalty share on each track.

Once royalties come in from stores and services, Proton automatically calculates deductions from artists and adds credits to the label manager's statement.

What do I need to know first?

By using the Advances & Expenses feature, you agree that the expenses entered are accurate and you can provide evidence should an artist ask for proof. If any irregularities are discovered, the feature will be removed from your account and you may face additional penalties.

Also, the tracklist on your release, artist details, and royalty percentages (each totalling 100%) must be complete before entering an advance or expense.

  1. First, you prepare your release with all your tracks.

  2. On each track, make sure all royalty percentages total 100%.

  3. After the tracklist is 100% complete, then you can add your expenses.

  4. Once the expenses are declared, you can send contracts!

Why do tracklists and royalties need to be set first?

Some deductions are calculated based on the number of tracks on a release. The tracklist needs to be completed so the system knows how to divide each expense and to whom it should be applied. (WAVs do not need to be uploaded to set expenses!)

How much money can I deduct from my artists?

The amount an artist is accountable for on each track is based on their royalty share. This means that if a manager spends $100 on a track and the royalty split is 50/50, the artist will see a deduction of $50. All calculations are automatic and can be seen while creating the expense.

How are deductions calculated?

The type of expense determines how your artist’s deductions are calculated:

  • Track Expense: Shared evenly between the royalty recipients on that track

  • Release Expense: Shared evenly between all tracks, then calculated between royalty recipients on each specific track.

  • Artist Advance: Only deducts royalties from a specific, individual artist.

Do artists get paid after their share of an expense is repaid?

Yes! Once their share is recouped, they will receive royalties like they normally do.

Can expenses be entered in any currency?

Proton receives your royalties in US Dollars from stores and services, so only US Dollars are supported. Please convert any expenses into US Dollars.

For remix deals, how are fees and advances different?

A common use of the Advances & Expenses feature is to recoup money spent on a remix. There are two different methods, so choose the one that’s best for you:

  • Remix Fee: A track expense where both original & remix artists have royalties deducted. Only select this option when you want original artist AND remix artist to have deductions.

  • Artist Advance: The expense is applied to only one artist of your choice, likely the remixer, so nothing is deducted from the original artist.

What if there is one artist on my release that I don't want expenses applied to, but I still want to deduct money from the other artists?

If you don’t want every artist to have royalties deducted on a particular expense, you can un-check the “Include” option for specific artists. By default, every artist is included on the expense, but you can toggle off specific ones that you don't want to have a deduction.

  • IMPORTANT: Artists are only responsible for their share of an expense, so if one artist is excluded from the expense, the remaining artists are not responsible for more than their own share. Any portion of royalties not deducted from an artist who has been un-checked will be covered by the label manager.

  • Example: Suppose you have a remix that was mastered for $10.00 and the track royalties are split 50% Label, 25% Original Artist, 25% Remixer. If both the original artist and remix artist are applied to the expense, you would recoup $2.50 from each artist before they start to receive royalties. If you exclude the original artist, $2.50 is recovered from just the remix artist, but no more because they cannot be held accountable for more than their agreed share.

Why can’t I deduct from an artist more than their share?

In almost every case, it’s not fair. Imagine a release with 10 tracks and the manager spent $10 for cover art. If the first track sells $10 but the others sell nothing, it’s not fair for the artists on the first track to have more than $1 deducted from their statements, even if it recoups the expense more quickly for the label.

I’ve read everything! How do I do this for real?

Once you have set up a release with a full tracklist and royalty percentages, look for the “Advances & Expenses” section under the tracklist, above the contracts.

  1. Click the “Create” button under “Advances & Expenses”

  2. Select the expense type, then click “Continue.” (Not sure which? Ask us!)

  3. Fill out the information for the expense. Select the label manager or the artist who paid for the expense in the “Who Paid For It?” section. And please convert the amount/currency to USD

  4. Click “Continue” to advance to the Track Select section. Click the white tracklist icon to configure which artists are included in your expense. By default, each relevant track will have the original artist and remix artist included. Any other people like mastering engineers, graphic designers, or other label managers must be added manually by clicking “Include.”  

  5. Once you’ve entered whom to deduct royalties from, confirm the proof of payment and expense guidelines checkboxes and click “Continue.”

  6. Send out your contracts, knowing all your expenses will be managed by SoundSystem! You'll see credits appear on your royalty statement, and deductions will appear on the artist's statements.

Important: Advances & Expenses must be enabled on your label before you can use this feature. After reading this article, ask the support team to get started.

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