In the modern music industry, songwriters are finding less money from album sales and more from the collection of all sorts of royalties.
Bands like the Black Keys, who spent over a decade trying to break through to the mainstream, finally did so when they decided to pursue the idea of placing their songs in commercials for TV and film.
But sync royalties from song placements for TV and film are just one of the many, many sources that songwriters can take advantage of to collect royalties and fees. In fact, there are 5 distinct types of royalties that can become a big enough source of revenues for songwriters that they alone can sustain a career.
The following is a list of common sources of royalties for songwriters. Knowing which source or sources of royalties that you can be taking advantage of can help you to create proper goals and the action steps needed to achieve them, so that you can work towards actually collecting enough money from royalties to forget worrying about how many albums you need to sell in order to survive:
1. TV (royalties are paid by the TV station for the broadcast of a show, film or commercial with your music on it. This is not to be confused with the actual placement of your songs in TV, film or commercials which is a sync royalty - see below.)
3. Live venues
6. International uses
7. Elevator music services
9. Clothing stores
11. When your music is sampled
13. Ringtones / ringbacks
14. Recorded cover songs
15. Record sales
16. Film soundtracks
17. Karaoke recordings
18. Greeting cards
Sync Licensing Fees
19. TV shows
20. TV commercials
21. Film commercials
22. Video games
23. Smartphone apps
24. DVDs / Blu-Rays
25. Lyrics reprints
26. Guitar tabs
27. Music sheet books
28. Online streaming (e.g. Spotify)
29. Internet radio (e.g. Pandora)
30. Collaborative listening (e.g. Turntable)
If you want to collect royalties from all of these sources, there's simply no easier way than becoming a Songtrust client.
Take control of your publishing. Maximize Songtrust for your songs and business.
We created this guide to answer a simple question: How do songwriters support themselves?
The answer is not as simple as we’d like, but our goal is to make it as clear, transparent and understandable as we possibly can.
Songtrust is more than just a rights management platform and publishing administrator - we’re a team of experts in the music community who strive to educate, support, and provide thought leadership to creators, representatives, and businesses across the music industry.
Our hope is that you’ll finish this guide with an better understanding of the business behind songwriting and have actionable resources to help you be successful.