Tag Archives: contributors

W8BEN – Royalties for international stock music contributors

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The IRS recently revised instructions for form W8-BEN. A US Tax ID number is no longer required for claiming tax treaty benefits. However, you MUST supply a US Tax ID Number in the US TIN box OR your country’s issued Tax ID number in the Foreign Tax ID number box on form W8-BEN..

For non-US residents (called non-resident aliens), there’s a bit of good ‘ole USA bureaucracy involved in getting paid all, or as much of your royalties as allowed, under US Tax law from your stock music and sound effects sales.

First, all royalty payments are subject to 30% tax withholding. This means that from the royalties we pay you, we have to deduct and remit 30% of your royalty earnings to the IRS. Sucks for you, and it’s a lot of work for us. However, there are Tax Treaties in place between the US and most countries that allow for a reduced withholding rate. In many cases, the Tax Treaty benefit is a 0% withholding rate. (P.S. We’re not making this up. Check out this awesome post by Amazon.com on the same topic: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A1VDYJ32T5D3U4 — if you don’t believe us, this is what a larger company with many more lawyers and accountants has to say.)

But to get this reduced rate, you have to claim it by filing some paperwork with Productiontrax, and the US Government.

Here’s how you do it:

1) Apply for a US ITIN. (Note: If you already have an EIN, SSN, or ITIN, skip this step.) A US International Tax ID number is required to claim tax treaty benefits. You do this by filling out Form W-7. Be sure to follow the instructions. For our purposes, make sure you check box a and box h, and quote Exception 1(d) – Royalties. You will also need to enclose a letter from us – you can email us for a copy. Send that completed form and supporting evidence to the address on the instructions. In about 6 weeks or less, you will receive your ID number in the mail.

UPDATE: We’ve learned that the IRS requires an original letter from us. Please email us to have a letter mailed to you.

2) Fill out Form W8-BEN. (Instructions: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw8ben.pdf) This form certifies to Productiontrax.com that you are a foreign person claiming a tax treaty benefit. Be sure to complete part 10, enter your new EIN, SSN, or ITIN on line 6, and don’t forget to sign the form. And for goodness sake, don’t check the box in Part III — it doesn’t apply to you (wikipedia it if you don’t believe me). You send this completed form to Productiontrax.com.

3) If you’re not an individual, get an Employer Identification Number
Foreign entities that are not individuals (i.e., foreign corporations, etc.) that are required to have a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) in order to claim an exemption from withholding because of a tax treaty (claimed on Form W-8BEN) should submit Form SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number to the Internal Revenue Service in order to apply for such an EIN. Those foreign entities filing Form SS-4 for the purpose of obtaining an EIN in order to claim a tax treaty exemption and which otherwise have no requirements to file a U.S. income tax return, employment tax return, or excise tax return, should comply with the following special instructions when filling out Form SS-4.

When completing line 7b of Form SS-4, the applicant should write “N/A” in the block asking for an SSN or ITIN, unless the applicant already has an SSN or ITIN. When answering question 10 on Form SS-4, the applicant should check the “other” block and write or type in immediately after it one of the following phrases as most appropriate:

“For W-8BEN Purposes Only”
“For Tax Treaty Purposes Only”

If questions 11 through 17 on Form SS-4 do not apply to the applicant because he has no U.S. tax return filing requirement, such questions should be annotated “N/A”. A foreign entity that completes Form SS-4 in the manner described above should be entered into IRS records as not having a filing requirement for any U.S. tax returns. However, if the foreign entity receives a letter from the IRS soliciting the filing of a U.S. tax return, the foreign entity should respond to the letter immediately by stating that it has no requirement to file any U.S. tax returns. Failure to respond to the IRS letter may result in a procedural assessment of tax by the IRS against the foreign entity. If the foreign entity later becomes liable to file a U.S. tax return, the foreign entity should not apply for a new EIN, but should instead use the EIN it was first issued on all U.S. tax returns filed thereafter.

Here are the forms again:

Find your withholding rate (copyright royalties): Tax Treaties by Country

Form W7 – Application for US TIN. (instructions)
Form W8-BEN – Foreign Person Claim of Tax Treaty Benefits (instructions)
Form SS-4 – Application for an Employer ID Number. (instructions)

Productiontrax.com Celebrates 300,000th Royalty Free Production Music Upload

Phoenix, Ariz. (PRLeap) April 13, 2012 — Productiontrax.com (www.productiontrax.com), a leading provider of royalty free music, sound effects, stock footage and stock photos, today announced their 300,000th file upload. The milestone marks a doubling in size of the Productiontrax.com library since 2011.

Most of Productiontrax.com’s stock media comes from its user base of several thousand contributors like JH Kim, who added the 300,000th royalty free file this month. Kim’s contribution was a royalty free music track entitled Simple Pleasures Piano Loop 2, which sells for $12.95 for a commercial license.
“We’ve added several large libraries to our database over the past year, and continue to add content on a daily basis” says Productiontrax.com founder and CEO David Negron. “But our recent growth has been thanks to the work of our many individual contributors, who continue to show their creativity and talent, constantly adding fresh new content to Productiontrax.”

To account for the continued growth, Productiontrax.com is planning to roll out several new site features and an updated user interface later this month. “Having hundreds of thousands of files (as opposed to just thousands) requires changes in the way we present our library to the world,” Negron says. “We’ve put a lot of work into strengthening our platform from the ground up, and are working on a fresh new release that we think our customers and contributors will all appreciate.” Visitors to Productiontrax.com can expect to see changes early second quarter 2012.

Productiontrax.com, (www.productiontrax.com), a leader in online distribution and licensing of royalty free music and sound effects, enables customers to license superior-quality royalty free production music, sound effects, stock photos and stock video footage for use in film, television, and interactive media on an on-demand basis. As an innovator in online stock media, Productiontrax.com was the first site to allow creators of royalty free production music, sound effects, stock images and video to take an active role in licensing their work to the public. Productiontrax.com is dedicated to providing its customers with high-quality, yet affordable resources for multimedia productions. The music and images are 100% original, with new composers, new tracks and new images added everyday. Productiontrax.com is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona and is a subsidiary of One Light Music Productions (www.onelightmusic.com).

New Royalty Free Music Podcast – New Episode on iTunes

We’ve added a new episode of our royalty free music podcast on iTunes, featuring some of the newest stock production music on Productiontrax.com for the month of April, 2012. The royalty free music featured are all available for download and royalty-free use in any multimedia project, and we focused on a variety of styles and genres, all with great production value and a professional sound.

Click here to go to the iTunes podcast

We opened with Positive Times – Corporate Background (track ID 298305), which provides an upbeat, professional sounding intro and underscore for our opening dialogue. Duet Rag 2 by John Warye is a great royalty free dixieland rag music track, that we could see in a comedy sketch or some kind of old skool bank robery flick. Safari is a wonderful action and adventure stock music selection that captures the African Sahara mixed with elements of techno and epic orchestra.

We then switched gears to a guitar-heavy classic rock track by Space Taster called Detonator. Great track for anything needing a bit of an edge. Worlds Apart is an Indian-infused orchestral cue that combines traditional orhcestra with sitar and other south-asian elements by Abbas Premjee. If you need some authentic Afro-Cuban stock music, Train to Havana by Will Tang is a great live track that captures the essence of Latin-American music. But don’t get too comfortable, because Funktrondelic by Michael Norman will just blow your mind, combining psychadelic rock with classic funk and a bit of electronica to fill out this awesome royalty free funk soundtrack.

If you need something a bit more nostalgic, return to the 80s with April Anderson’s I’m So Glad, a female vocal pop tune that works well for so many kinds of projects, including commerical, feature film, and the requisite 80’s Montage. It will turn back time! Filling out the rest of the Productiontrax.com New Royalty Free Music Podcast on iTunes is a dramatic film music cue called From the Darkness, with chilling piano and dark undertones, perfect for any suspenseful scene, follwed by our lead-out of the month Radio Flyer, a hard hitting, high-energy Punk & Ska composition.

Subscribe for free today, and stay tuned for next month’s episode.

Bridging the Gap With Stock Music

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s true, paying for music and adhering to copyright laws does create jobs, like in this post.

And yet, the “free music economy” persists, as more and more internet surfers demand cheap or free content to use as they please. But I think there is a happy medium between the “free music economy” and prohibitively expensive licensing, and that happy medium is stock music. As computer and mobile devices become increasingly more capable, and barriers to entry in creative tasks fall, more and more people want that soundtrack for their slideshow, presentation, home movie, or viral YouTube hit. I would say most infringers steal because they simply can’t afford to play the music industry’s game, nor is their project worthy of that kind of scrutiny.

Instead of stealing, though, which I think we can all agree stifles creativity and hurts content creators, keeping food off their tables and forcing otherwise talented artists to find work elsewhere, stock music is a reasonable, affordable alternative. Artists should look at ways they can bring their products to market in ways such as this as a more desirable alternative to giving away all their stuff for free. Doing so would counteract the pirate culture. I see stock music as bridging the gap, either to bring out an unknown’s work to the public, or to lengthen the revenue tail of a song that has fallen by the wayside amidst constant musical innovation.

Similarly, multimedia authors need to step back and do things the right way. Afterall, they probably wouldn’t like it if we broke into their home and took their family photos and plastered them online… unless they already do that on Facebook. There are options for affordable projects — and stock media is one of them, which effectively keeps musicians and artists employed and the economy running so that there will be new music for the next project.