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Where are my Royalties?

What are royalties, where do they come from and how do I get mine?

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The Best Way to Make Money

"Some of the best songs I've written, I've written in 10 minutes". - Christine McVie

The best way to make money in music is to be the writer, the songwriters are the ones collecting the royalties. If you are responsible for writing a song that goes on to sell a million copies, the mechanical royalties alone are $566,250, never mind the performance and residual royalties from other markets. The only way to make more than a songwriter is to combine that with being the recording and performing artist who makes the song popular. If this is the case, there are almost endless money making opportunities and not just in music. In addition to musical performances and CD sales artists now make money from product lines and endorsements, music and ring tone downloads, personal appearances etc. etc.

Publishing and Royalties

I just do what I do. I like to make music. - Neil Young

Mechanical Royalties – sometimes known as reproduction rights. A mechanical royalty is earned for any "phonorecord", including CDs, tapes, vinyl, and digital downloads that is manufactured and distributed with a copyrighted song on it. This also means the right to copy your work, which refers to any mechanical reproduction.

Performing Royalties – also referred to as performing rights. This is the right to perform the work in public. This performance may be a live performance, a recording or any other type of performance. This also includes the right to communicate by telecommunication to the public. (Radio, TV and satellite and Internet retransmissions) A copyright owner automatically owns the performing rights, along with other rights that make up a copyright. A performance royalty should be paid if your song is performed live in public or broadcast.

A synchronization royalty is paid when the song is synchronized with visual media, like television programs, commercials, and films.

Here are a few of the more common ways that a songwriter will typically make money.

Mechanical royalties - Paid by a record company
Performance royalties - Paid by Radio, TV, Clubs,etc.
Synchronization royalties - Paid by Film and TV
Print royalties - Paid by a print publisher to print the lyrics and music notation for your song.

Here are some of the sources you can expect to receive royalties from as a songwriter.

Domestic Singles sales
Foreign Singles sales
Domestic Album sales
Foreign Album sales
Domestic Radio and TV appearances
Foreign Radio and TV appearances
TV series theme song
Sheet music
Broadway shows
Home Video
Movie scores
TV underscores
Video Games
Advertising theme
Commercial excerpt
Internet Downloads

There are a few more that we have missed, but rest assured, there is no shortage of ways to earn amazing royalties from a popular song!

Read more about royalties

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