FAQ Music creators


What requirements must I meet to join BumaStemra as a music publisher?

To join BumaStemra, music publishers must meet several conditions. First, your publisher’s name must not be in our records already. You must also be registered with the Chamber of Commerce. We need an extract of the digital trade register from the Chamber of Commerce.

Does it make sense to join Stemra make sense if my music is self-released on CD?

Joining Stemra doesn’t always make sense if you are releasing a CD yourself. This can vary by situation and depends on any further use of the music. Please contact us so we can assess your requirements. We will consider which option best suits your situation and musical work.

You can contact us on 023 – 799 79 99 or by email info@bumastemra.nl

My music has been used in various countries. Do I need to join the copyright organisations in those countries too?

No, you don’t need to do this. It is useful to let BumaStemra know that your music will be used overseas if you know this in advance. We work with international sister societies. They keep track of what music is used and pay us directly for the use. As soon as we know that your musical work will be used internationally, we’ll contact the relevant society. This ensures you get your payment as soon as possible.

Please note that this process may take up to two years. The sooner your work is registered with us, the better.

I’m a performer, but not a composer. Do I have to join BumaStemra too?

No, if you are a performer, you can join Sena. This organisation represents the interests of performers and producers. If you been involved as a producer or performer in the recording or commercial download of a musical work, then you are entitled to payment if this recording is played on radio or television. This payment goes through Sena.


Registering music

What happens if my work is not registered?

BumaStemra can’t collect and distribute money for the use of your music if it has not been registered with us. We protect the value of your music, monitor copyright and take care of the legal aspects of the payment you are entitled to. We do this in the Netherlands and around the world. If you don’t register your works, you’ll need to handle this process this yourself.

I’m a composer, songwriter and/or music publisher. Why do I have to register my work with BumaStemra?

All music creators are entitled to fair payment from anyone who uses their music. BumaStemra handles these payments worldwide. But we can only do that if we know who created the music. You should always register your musical work. We need to know who owns the copyright shares so we can pay all rightsholders correctly.

What to register with BumaStemra:

  • The musical work
  • The title of your work
  • An audio file of the work you want to register

If you don’t register a work or title, then no claims can be raised at a later stage.

Why do I need to upload an audio file?

The audio file allows us to correctly identify your music. We use it to create a fingerprint of your work and add it to our database. This fingerprint is matched to the sound files we receive from broadcasters, so we know when your music is played.

Type channels sample rate sample size bitrate
Mp2 2 (stereo) 44.1khz 16bit 256 kbps
Mp3 2 (stereo) 44.1khz 16bit 256 kbps
wav 2 (stereo) 44.1khz 16bit 1,411 kbps (cd)
m4a 2 (stereo) 44.1khz 16bit 256 kbps
flac 2 (stereo) 44.1khz 16bit
aac 2 (stereo) 44.1khz 16bit

Record music

How does it work if I want to record my music on a DVD or CD?

The Stemra division of BumaStemra handles the reproduction and recording of music. If you want to record music on image or sound carriers such as DVDs or CDs, then you need permission from Stemra. Recording media creators include record companies, importers, broadcasters, background music suppliers and advertising agencies. Organisations that create promotional materials on CD or DVD also pay a fee. The higher the commercial value, the higher the payment made to the composers, songwriters and publishers of the music used. Commercial value is based on things like print runs and size of distribution.


Registering work


Unfortunately, it is not possible to modify a previously submitted work. You can re-submit the work with the correct information in MijnBumaStemra, and this new submission will take precedence. If you have any further questions, please contact us at info@bumastemra.nl.

How do I register my stage name or pseudonym?

If you work under a stage name or pseudonym, you can register this too. Please contact our Customer Contact Centre to arrange this. They will check that the name is not already in use and register your rights, if possible.

Please email info@bumastemra.nl with the name you want to use. If the name is available, we’ll add it to your details.

I have written a song. How and where can I register my song?

When you create a new and original song, it is automatically copyrighted. You don’t have to do anything else. For general copyright information, go to www.auteursrecht.nl.

Sometimes you have to prove that you are the creator of a musical work. You can do this by registering the work and the date it was created with a notary. Another option is to file an I-DEPOT with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (www.boip.int). You also need to upload an audio file.


Copyright limit

What is the copyright limit and how does it work?

The copyright limit is the minimum limit for processing ownership information. This limit is set at €50 because research shows that this is the best cost-benefit ratio. This means that a maximum number of musical works can be distributed at a reasonable cost.

The copyright limit is based on the total value of music use within one of the following three categories: Buma, Stemra or Online. We always assess this over a three-year period.

Does a musical work in the Online category generate €50 or more? If so, the available ownership information is processed, and payment is distributed for the musical work. Once the copyright details are completed, any future use of this work will always be paid. Even if the amount in any of the three categories listed is less than €50.


Commissioned music

If I compose music specially for a production, does my client own this music?

No, the client does not own this music. The rights to the music remain yours, unless you have agreed otherwise with the client.

As a BumaStemra member, you transfer the exploitation of your music to us. If your client wants to use this music again, they must get permission from BumaStemra first.

Can I make an agreement with my client if I am a member of BumaStemra?

In some cases, you can make agreements with your client. If the music is commissioned, you can only agree on the payment and costs of this commissioned music. And it must be genuinely commissioned music, i.e. music you make specifically on request from a client.

These agreements with your client are independent of BumaStemra. However, make sure you register the commissioned music with us.

I create commissioned music. Do I need to cancel my agreement with BumaStemra?

No, you don’t have to cancel your agreement. As a member of BumaStemra, however, you are obliged to include a ‘derogation clause’. This is an additional provision in your contract, stating that you keep your copyright. Are you a paid music creator working for a permanent employer? Then check what your employment contract says. This additional provision may already be in there!

This provision allows BumaStemra to claim your copyright. Because if you have an agreement with BumaStemra, we protect the usage rights of your musical works (including works you create in the future).


Niet-gesignaleerde uitvoeringen (Unlogged Performances)

What are Unlogged Performances, and how does it work?

Do you write music exclusively for one performance venue? Is your library music used for radio and television? Or have you written music specially for a specific TV report? If so, as a music creator you may not receive payment for this through BumaStemra.

In this situation, you can use the unlogged performances scheme (articles 9 & 10). This scheme ensures that the use of your music is rewarded. In practice, the scheme is used almost exclusively for one specific situation – for music use in amusement parks or amusement park attractions.

How does the unlogged performances scheme work?

If you want to apply for this scheme, the performances or broadcasts where your work is used must meet several criteria:


  1. This use involves the physical use of your music over several years.
  2. Your music is registered with us. If you have written with multiple co-writers, the shares must be known to us.
  3. The musical works are known to us and have been registered by all rightsholders.
  4. This involves a relatively large number of performances per musical work that are not logged. This is also linked to the requirement that the costs must not be disproportionate to the income.
  5. A licence must be in place. It is therefore important to inform your client that the use of your music requires a licence from Buma. An exception is if there is a general licence for the entire site, with music by multiple creators. It will then not be possible to identify which amount relates to which musical work.
  6. Before use, no other payment should have already taken place in any other way, including for:
    a. use of sampling
    b. use of reference repertoire
    c. use on RTV
    AM handles payment for reference repertoire.


Do you have any questions?

We understand that it can be hard to fully understand the criteria. If you have any questions, please contact us on +31 (0)23 799 7889 or info@bumastemra.nl. Our Customer Contact Centre will be happy to help.


Grand rights

What’s the difference between grand rights and small rights?

Grand rights and small rights are terms we use when determining whether BumaStemra can collect payment for a work. Grand rights include music that is part of a larger production, for example, a theatre performance, musical or ballet production. Small rights cover music that stands alone, such as a melody with lyrics. BumaStemra usually only collects for music covered by small rights, but there are exceptions. You can read more about this later.

What constitutes grand rights?
Grand rights cover music that is specially written for a production. These must be (musical) works that are part of a ‘narrative performance’. A narrative performance is a dramatical musical story involving several copyrights. For example, a combination of the lyrics, music, choreography, lighting and costumes in a ballet performance, musical, operetta or opera.

Is your music being used in a production even though it was not created especially for that production? Then this falls under small rights.

How do music creators get paid for grand rights?
BumaStemra does not licence the use of music in grand right productions. Producers of grand right productions must make their own agreements with music creators and music publishers (the rightsholders). All parties must mutually agree on music use and payments.

This also applies if your music is reused in another production, if that production is also an inseparable part of the show’s storyline. For example, a sequel in a series of performances. In this case, the producer of the show must again make arrangements with music creators and publishers directly.

When does BumaStemra collect for grand rights?
For BumaStemra to collect for the use of your music in grand right productions, you need to meet several conditions.

  • You must inform us in advance that you want us to collect for the use of your music in the grand right production.
  • You must let the producer know in advance that BumaStemra will collect.
  • It must be ‘grand rights repertoire’, i.e. musical works written especially for the production.
  • You must register the musical works with BumaStemra on time, preferably in the first month your music was used.
  • You must not have already arranged payment for the performing rights in any other way.
  • You must submit a new request to us for each production you want BumaStemra to collect for.

To submit a request, please email us at podia.theater@bumastemra.nl.


Exploitation agreement

How do I amend my exploitation agreement?

Do you want to transfer your exploitation rights for a specific country or continent to another music collection society? Then you can change your agreement with Buma and/or Stemra.

For instance, if you want to join a collection society for the United States, but for the rest of the world you want to remain a member of BumaStemra. Submit a request to us, and we’ll remove the United States from your agreement with BumaStemra.

You can change an exploitation agreement per year, with at least three months’ notice. For example, if you want to change your membership from 30 September, then your agreement will be amended with effect from 1 January of the following year. As of this date, you can join the collection society in the United States. Please specify that you only want to become a member for that country.

Do you want to exclude copyrights for a specific category? Since June 2014, this can be done through the opt-out system for the following categories: Events, RTV, Background music, Mechanical and Online. A minimum notice period of three months applies for this too.

To amend your membership, please use the copyright exploitation amendment form.

Hoe zeg ik mijn exploitatiecontract op?

Een exploitatiecontract kun je jaarlijks opzeggen met een opzegtermijn van drie maanden. Zeg je je lidmaatschap bijvoorbeeld per 30 september op? Dan word je contract per 1 januari van het volgende jaar beëindigd. Dit geldt voor alle muziekmakers: componisten, auteurs en uitgevers.

Het lidmaatschap zeg je op per brief. Vermeld daarin in elk geval:

  • Relatienummer
  • Reden van opzegging
  • Welk deel van je lidmaatschap je wilt stopzetten (Buma en/of Stemra)
  • Handtekening

Cancelling membership

How do I cancel my membership?

You can cancel your membership with BumaStemra. Membership runs for a full calendar year and is automatically renewed each year. You can cancel your membership until no later than three months before the start of the new calendar year. After your cancellation, you still keep some rights – any money you earn from your music remains yours, of course. You can still receive distributions from us up to three years after you cancel your membership. You’ll also continue to receive:

  • An annual statement showing your allocated rights income and amounts paid by category
  • Insight into BumaStemra’s management costs and other withholdings. You can read about these in the annual report and notes on our website
  • You can file a comment or complaint with us up to three years after you cancel your membership

What you need to do when you cancel your membership

  1. Please notify us of your cancellation by email info@bumastemra.nl.
  2. Make sure we have your correct address and bank details. This is because you can receive money (from rights income) distributed by us up to three years after your cancellation. If we’re unable to distribute this money because we don’t have your correct details, you’ll find the information on the annual statement you receive from us.