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Everything You Need to Know About Music Publishing Royalties

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Music Publishing

Everything You Need to Know About Music Publishing Royalties
Everything You Need to Know About Music Publishing Royalties

WHAT IS MUSIC PUBLISHING? Music publishing is the exploitation of a song's composition copyright. The composition of a song consists of the song lyrics and melody written by one or more songwriters. This practice is an important distinction between the composition copyright and the sound recording. Music publishing is limited to composition. WHAT TYPES OF ROYALTIES WILL I RECEIVE FROM MUSIC PUBLISHING? Songwriters make a living from their songs in several ways. We will use artist Taylor Swift in some examples so you can connect the dots to an artist that does A LOT with publishing. PERFORMANCE ROYALTIES

Performance royalties are generated when music is played in public, such as during a performance.

When Taylor Swift had her song "Lover" played during a Sprite commercial, she generated performance royalties from the broadcast. MECHANICAL ROYALTIES

Mechanical royalties are earned when music is reproduced and sold in physical or digital form.

Taylor Swift's 2017 album Reputation earned her $3.2 million in mechanical royalties from sales of the physical and digital copies of the album. SYNC LICENSING FEES

Sync licensing fees are paid when music is used in a visual medium, such as television shows or films.

In 2018, Taylor Swift received a sync licensing fee of $2 million for the use of her song "Shake It Off" in the movie "Cats".


Licenses for samples must also be obtained if someone wants to use a portion of existing music.

In 2019, Taylor Swift was granted a license by the National Music Publishers Association to use a portion of her song "Shake it Off" in the film Bombshell. PRINTING SHEET MUSIC

Lastly, publishing companies can obtain income through the sale of printing sheet music for popular songs. Musicnotes, an online sheet music publisher, currently sells the sheet music for the popular Taylor Swift song "Anti-Hero" for $5.99. HOW MUCH MONEY CAN I MAKE FROM MY PUBLISHING OF MUSIC? There are some factors that contribute to how much you can make from releasing your music, including how much effort you're putting in to promote it and make everyone aware of it. The monetary value of an album depends on the amount of promotion and selling one does to generate revenue from it.

As you can see, publishing accounts for a big part of the music business's income. As an independent musician, writing your own songs is an excellent way to earn income from tons of resources. Among the various factors listed in the material above, the most profitable copyrights come from sound recordings. The remaining type of recording, video games, also pays out royalties. Royalty is earned above and beyond earnings you're earning from unhacked streams, downloads, ticket sales, and other royalties bonanza in the section above. Sales is earned exclusively from the audio recording, which is one of two types of copyright. If you aren't taking advantage of your copyright by submitting it for publication in exchange for a royalty, you're not earning your back half of the copyrights you possess. There are many financial opportunities being left on the table! HOW DO I RECEIVE INCOME FROM ALL MY PUBLISHING ROYALTIES? Independent artists who perform their own songs must recognize that while trying to administer both of their composition copyrights, it is very difficult for them to collect all the royalties generated from their craft copyrights independently. Collecting each royalty owed to you requires registering your songs with multiple entities around the world and the size of your catalog justifying a publishing company. From domestic sources, you can surely collect some of the proceeds of your publishing copyrighted by yourself. Nevertheless, it's possible that you are leaving royalties unclaimed from sources that you are not allowed to collect from. Learn more about music publishing royalties: Download our FREE e-book today and take your music career to the next level!

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