How To Collect Both Kinds Of Music Royalties

Streaming-music-radio-services-playlists-comparedBy Ken Consor from the Sonicbids Blog.

As streaming has become increasingly important in today’s music market, it is imperative to 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.

[Photo via DigitalTrends.com]


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  1. At the moment, self-released publishers are not qualified to affiliate with HFA but it can change soon as I was told directly by HFA, so your commercially distributed record has to be with a label or publisher other than your own, if I am not mistaken, but you can have a non-represented account for licensing opportunities, does this apply to song trust as well?

  2. Hi – Publishers don’t have to join HFA to collect. Sign up to register the compositions you control at harryfox.com/pubonlineaccount. There are many benefits to affiliating directly or via Songtrust, but it’s not required to be eligible to collect for the digital music music services that HFA Slingshot administers.

  3. To be a bit more precise – affiliate with Ascap or BMI to collect your songwriter/publisher performance royalties AND join SoundExchange to receive your digital streaming performance royalties for your music’s sound recordings if you own the rights to the sound recording as a record label or you are the featured artist on the song.

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