Making Money From Your Music: Understanding Royalties


Royalties are payments made to the copyright holders of a song or recording for its use. These copyright holders can include songwriters, artists, producers, and music publishers. Royalties are essentially a way for creators to be compensated for their work whenever their music is used by others.


Every song has two copyrights:


  1. Master Recording: Owning the actual recording, including the performance.
  2. Composition: Owning the melody, harmony, and lyrics.


The way your music is used determines your royalties. There are different forms of Royalties which include:

  1. Mechanical Royalties: Played on streaming services, downloaded, or made into physical copies.
  2. Public Performance Royalties: Played on TV, radio, or in public venues.
  3. Sync Royalties: Featured in movies, TV, commercials, or video games.
  4. Print Music Royalties: Sold as sheet music.


Royalty collection can be complex. In the music industry, royalty collection is the process by which musicians, songwriters, and other copyright holders receive compensation for the use of their music. Below are some key players who help:


  1. PROs/CMOs: They collect public performance royalties (ASCAP, BMI, etc.).
  2. Music Distributors: Handle streaming platform royalties (Apple Music, Spotify, etc.).
  3. Music publishers (Kobalt, Warner, Sony Music Publishing e.t.c)


However, Royalty is not the only path! There are other income streams for musicians such as:

  1. Direct-to-Fan Sales: Sell music directly on digital stores and build stronger relationships.
  2. Live Performances: Tour and connect with fans while earning from tickets and merchandise.
  3. Sync Licensing: Get your music featured in media for wider exposure and potential income.
  4. Empowering Musicians Through Knowledge.


Understanding royalties is crucial for navigating the music industry. It is important to surround yourself with the right team to help with this process so you don’t lose out!