How Musicians Make Money Off Royalties

There are a number of ways that musicians and songwriters make a living off their songs. With royalties, artists can be paid for a number of years – long after they’ve even sung them. Make sure you’re receiving the compensation you deserve. Here are four types of royalties that every artist can receive.

Mechanical Royalties

These are fees paid by manufacturing companies, like your record label, for producing your songs on physical products like CDs and cassettes. In the U.S, musicians get paid about $0.09 cents per song.

Public Performance Royalties

These are fees paid by venues where you would be playing gigs. Public places that play recordings of your songs, like radio stations, grocery stores and movie theatres should also be paying these royalties. Instead of paying the musician directly, the store will often pay for a music service that in turns pays the artist. There’s no standard price, so it should be negotiated accordingly.

Synchronization Royalties

These are fees paid by movie production companies, advertising companies, toy companies, etc. that use your music to enhance their own product. Composers and singers will often work with these companies directly. However, your music can also be found in a huge database provided by a third party. These royalties range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Print Royalties

These are fees paid by publishing companies that display your sheet music, tablature, or lyrics. For these royalties, there is no set fee, but it can be around 15% of the song price.

You can also make some extra cash off of radio and online streaming services (Spotify, Pandora) – which generate revenue from advertising and subscription plans.

A music career isn’t for everyone and making a living can be tough. Knowing how and what you should be paid for is the biggest difference between surviving – and thriving.

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Michelle Nguyen is a creative writer whose passions include music, sports, health, and wellness. She loves playing drums and bass guitar, as well as swimming. If she indirectly helps you write the next “Stairway to Heaven,” she will be very happy.

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