The music industry can be a labyrinth of contracts, rights, and royalties. For musicians looking to make their mark and earn a living from their craft, understanding how to properly register their music and collect royalties is paramount. This guide will break down the process into ten easy-to-follow steps.
Register your music with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO): A PRO is a non-profit organization that collects performance royalties on behalf of songwriters and publishers. The most popular PROs in the United States include the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and SESAC. To register, musicians must create an account with the organization and submit their music.
Register your songs with a Mechanical Rights Organization (MRO): MROs collect royalties for the mechanical reproduction and distribution of music. Digital aggregators such as DistroKid, TuneCore, or CD Baby offer mechanical licensing services and can help artists register their music.
Sign up for SoundExchange: SoundExchange is a non-profit performance rights organization that collects and distributes digital performance royalties for featured artists and copyright holders. To register, create an account and submit your music.
Register your music with a Neighboring Rights Organization (NRO): NROs collect royalties for public performances of your music on radio and TV stations outside the United States. Prominent NROs include PPL in the United Kingdom and SOPROQ in Canada.
Distribute your music through a digital distributor: Digital distributors such as DistroKid, TuneCore, and CD Baby can help artists get their music on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, as well as various digital stores. These platforms collect distribution royalties and pay artists directly.
Register your music with a sync licensing agency: Sync licensing agencies represent artists for the use of their music in TV shows, films, commercials, and other media. Some examples of sync licensing agencies include Musicbed, Songtradr, and Audio Network. These agencies collect sync royalties and pay artists directly.
Register your music with a print licensing agency: Print licensing agencies collect royalties for the reproduction of sheet music and other printed music materials. Prominent agencies include Hal Leonard and Music Sales. They collect print royalties and pay artists directly.
Check if you're owed any unclaimed royalties: Occasionally, royalties may go unclaimed due to missing or incorrect information. Artists should check with their PROs, MROs, NROs, digital distributors, sync, and print licensing agencies to see if they're owed any unclaimed royalties. Services like Royalty Exchange and Royalty Solutions can also help artists track down and collect these unclaimed royalties.
Keep accurate records: It's crucial for artists to maintain accurate records of their music catalog, registration information, and royalty payments. This will assist in tracking down any missing payments and ensuring accurate remuneration.
Stay up-to-date with changes in royalty collection: The music industry is constantly evolving, with new royalty collection methods being introduced all the time. Artists should stay informed about these changes to maximize their earnings and collect all the royalties they are owed.
By adhering to these steps, musicians can ensure that they collect all their music royalties, safeguarding the fruits of their labor and creativity.
"Making Money from Music" ASCAP. www.ascap.com/help/career-development/making-money-from-music ↩
Written by OG ILLA
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