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The 2 Types of Streaming Royalties & How You Can Collect Both

As streaming has become increasingly important in today’s music market, it is imperative that you understand how streams turn into publishing royalties – and of course, how to get those royalties into your wallet.

Let’s divide streaming into two different types: Interactive and Non-Interactive. These are defined by the listener’s ability to choose the songs that play next (ability to ‘interact’ with the streaming service, if you will).

1) Non-Interactive Streaming: 

Definition: Listeners play music, without the ability to choose the songs that play next.

Also Known As: Internet Radio.

Examples: Pandora, Sirius XM, NPR.

Royalties Generated: Performance royalties.
(These are performances like radio, but digital. Thus, terrestrial radio and other radio-like services generate only performance royalties.)

How to Collect: Join a PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN). PROs are responsible for tracking and collecting performance royalties generated from terrestrial and internet radio.

2) Interactive Streaming:

Definition: Interactive streaming services allow listeners to CHOOSE the songs that are played.

Also Known As: On-demand streaming.

Examples: Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Google Play, Beats Music.

Royalties: Performance royalties &  Mechanical royalties.

How to collect: To collect the performance royalties, you will need to join a PRO. To collect the mechanical royalties, you will need to become a publisher affiliate at Harry Fox Agency (to do so on your own, you must have a commercially distributed record release in the US within the last year). Or, join Harry Fox by joining Songtrust. You’ll also need to cover international royalties, which you can do by joining Songtrust.


Author: Ken Consor

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10 thoughts on “The 2 Types of Streaming Royalties & How You Can Collect Both

  1. Cleared that right up for me… Thanks

  2. Even if you collect both, the checks will be tiny. The online companies and the PROs get all the money, and the songwriters get screwed.

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  6. How are streaming mechanical royalties calculated? Surely not $0.091 per stream right?

    1. Hi Alex. Royalties from streaming are typically calculated as a percentage of the digital service’s revenue, and weighted depending on factors such as the territory in which the stream took place, whether it was on a subscription or ad supported model, etc. Spotify estimates that they pay out $0.007 per stream to rights holders, meaning that is split (not necessarily equally) between labels and publishers.

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