Music royalties are earned and collected in different ways depending on the artist’s connection to the song and how the song is used or played.
For example, if you hear Miley Cyrus’s rendition of Dolly Parton’s classic ‘Jolene’ played over internet radio, the royalty payments are paid to both Miley as the performer (paid to her by SoundExchange) and to Dolly Parton who wrote the song (ASCAP pays Dolly Parton). However, if you hear Dolly Parton’s original version over internet radio then she is compensated for both the original composition, and also for the sound recording (ie both ASCAP and Sound Exchange pay royalties to Dolly.)
Here are a few types of royalties that an artist might receive:
Performance Royalties – paid to the artist who wrote the song by Performance Rights Organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC here in the USA) from fees collected for broadcasting or publicly performing copyrighted music in a variety of ways including: over the radio, in TV shows, in concerts, in elevators, as ring tones and on YouTube.
Digital Royalties – paid to the artist/s who performs on a recording and to the owner of the sound recording from fees collected for digitally streaming music by providers such as Pandora, Sirius XM, iTunes and various webcasters.
Mechanical Royalties – paid to the artist who wrote the song by the person/company who released a record (typically a record company).
Artist/Record Royalties – paid to the artist who performs a song by the person/company who released a record (typically a record company).
Synchronization Royalties – paid to the artist who wrote the song by a movie producer, TM show, or advertiser for use of the song in a movie, TV show, or ad.
It’s important to remember that artists must register with Sound Exchange and Performance Rights Organizations to receive royalties from these entities.
- To register at Sound Exchange: https://www.soundexchange.com
- To join ASCAP: https://members.ascap.com/ma/EwaWeb/pub/omeApplication.do
- To join BMI: www.bmi.com/join
- To join SESAC: www.sesac.com/writerspublishers/affiliate.aspx
This post is dedicated to the composer Danilo Guanais. I was honored to be able to sing in a choral performance of his Missa de Alcacus last month at Carnegie Hall.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
See also: blog articles on digital music royalties at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/royalties-digital-music/page/2/; blog articles on using the copyright notice and registering your music with the U.S. Copyright Office at http://wp.me/p10nNq-18 and http://wp.me/p10nNq-13; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com