Music Royalties Diagram Infographic

How to get paid Music Royalties

There’s a shocking amount of musicians out there that have no idea they’re missing out on money that they’re rightfully entitled to. Royalty payments.

A Royalty is money that you’re owed whenever your music is streamed, downloaded or played in anyway.

For many songwriters, royalty payments are the most dependable source of income. Anyone who creates original music can collect royalties when their music is played or used around the world.

 

What are Music Royalties?

For independent artists without a label or a publisher, you need to know what royalties are and how to get them.

Firstly it’s important to recognise the difference between a songwriter and a performer. Many musicians are both, but each of those roles are entitled to a separate income; one for the people that write the songs and one for the people that perform the songs.

Many musicians mistakenly think that the money which your distributor pays you are songwriter royalties. That revenue is not a songwriter royalty payment.

Your distributor pays the performer for the SALE of the song, when your song is downloaded or streamed. This is a completely separate revenue stream, which is paid to the performer, not songwriters.

Royalties are due to a songwriter for the use of their intellectual property. Any public use or sale of your music will accrue royalties.

 

Performance Royalties

Performance Royalties are paid to songwriters whenever your music is played in public.

That could be when your music is played on TV or radio, or if it’s played in a store, cafe or club.

When your music is streamed or downloaded, you’re entitled to a Performance Royalty.

If you perform your music live or as part of a DJ set, you’re entitled to a royalty.

If it’s being played, then you should be getting paid.

 

Mechanical Royalties

Mechanical Royalties are also paid to the songwriter.

These are paid whenever your music is streamed, downloaded or physically purchased (CD or Vinyl).

The term “Mechanical” came from the days of literally mechanically reproducing music, that is, physical copies of the songs. It’s evolved since then to also include digital music – downloads and streams.

 

How to get Paid Music Royalties

So how do you get paid your royalties?

Above is an illustration of how the flow of money works.

The venues that play music in public are required to may a fee to the Performance Rights Organisation in their country. The fee is for a license which allows them to legally play music publicly.

Stores, cafes, sports stadiums, live music venues and even Spotify are all required to pay a licensing fee.

The PRO reports on the use of music, and distributes the money as royalty payments. The PRO pays the songwriters of the music which has been play publicly.

You must register your songs with a PRO in your country to receive you royalty payments.

We talk about how to do this in detail, in the music marketing course.

 

How much do you get paid?

How much you get paid depends on a number of factors.

Different venues pay different amounts in licensing fees. A sports stadium will pay a different amount to a cafe.

So it depends on where your music is being play and how often it’s being played.

A Spotify stream tends to earn between 2-4 cents per stream in royalties.

I can’t reiterate enough, this royalty revenue is a completely different stream of income to what your distributor pays. However, some distributors will collect royalties on your behalf.

 

Conclusion

If you write original music, you can collect royalties whenever your music is played.

Performance Royalties are paid to songwriters whenever your music is played in public.

Mechanical Royalties are also paid to the songwriter whenever your music is streamed, downloaded or physically purchased.

You must register your songs with a PRO in your country to receive you royalty payments.

How much you get paid depends on a number of factors. However, a stream on Spotify normally earns between 2-4 cents  in royalties.

We cover all of this and other kinds of royalty payments in detail, and how to get paid all the royalties you’re owed in the Music Marketing Course.

– Richie

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