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‘What does Sena do with the money I pay for my licence?’


What does Sena do with the money?

‘What does Sena do with the money I pay for my licence?’ ‘Why do I have to pay to play music?’ ‘Why do I have to pay both Buma and Sena?’ We regularly field questions from all kinds of music users: hospitality industry entrepreneurs, retailers, financial services firms and health care providers. This series of articles answers a number of frequently asked questions. This time, we focus on what Sena does with the money music users pay for their licences.

Sena passes the money that you pay for your licence on to performers and producers to ensure that they receive the payment they are entitled to for the use of their music by a business, or on the radio or television. 

Determining the payment amount
Sena aims to pay music makers as quickly and accurately as possible. To be able to do this, it needs to calculate the payment each rightholder is entitled to. It does so in four different ways:

1) Radio station and TV channel playlists
A number of radio stations and TV channels supply playlists to Sena. These playlists specify which music was played for how long on which day and at which time. This information is used to calculate payments, which differ depending on whether the music was played during prime time or during non-prime time (between midnight and 18:00).

2) Background music supplier playlists
Sena also processes playlists received from background music suppliers. These are businesses that stream music from their own databases to parties in the hospitality industry and others. The suppliers keep records of the music use of around 1,500 of these businesses.

3) Market research among businesses
As businesses (offices, retailers, the hospitality industry) cannot be expected to keep track of all the music they play and when, Sena and Buma conduct market research among 2,400 businesses twice a year. This research, which is carried out by Intomart GfK, provides a representative picture of the music sources in use.

4) Online media downloads and data
Online media offer a variety of legal music download options worldwide. In the Netherlands, Sena receives data regarding legal downloads from GfK. Sena uses this list to calculate music use through online media and distribute part of the received licence fee income. Sena does not use data from YouTube or Spotify. The music used by these platforms is made available to them by producers who own the exclusive rights.

Who receives what?
Once Sena has calculated the payment amount, it is distributed equally between performers and producers: on a 50/50 basis. As tracks often feature collaborations between multiple performers, Sena redistributes the 50% share for performers among these multiple performers. This final redistribution is based on a points system, which ensures that a featured performer receives more than a session musician. You can read more about this in the distribution subregulations.

‘Why do I have to pay both Buma and Sena?’ Find out here!