Types of Royalties Involved in Music Publishing

Making money in the music industry involves various methods, primarily through royalties that compensate artists for the use of their copyrighted works. These royalties encompass four distinct types within music publishing:

1. Mechanical Royalties:

Mechanical royalties are earned when a song is copied, a process that historically involved mechanical reproduction. In the modern context, this primarily occurs through on-demand streaming or downloads on platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music. Rates, typically set by the U.S. Copyright Act, are around $0.06 per 100 on-demand streams.

2. Performance Royalties:

Performance royalties are earned when songs are publicly performed, including instances such as radio broadcasts, live performances, or non-interactive streaming services. Registering with Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) like BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, SOCAN, or PRS is necessary to receive these royalties.

3. Synch Royalties:

Synch royalties are paid when music is synchronized with visual media, such as movies, TV shows, or commercials. Typically, these are one-time fees, paid for the lifetime of the visual content.

4. Print Music Royalties:

Print music royalties come from sheet music sales, with proceeds shared between songwriters and publishers. While less common in the digital age, they remain relevant for musicians who release their work in sheet music form.