Making money from your original songs: A Guide to Understanding Royalties and Registering with PROs

Making money from your original songs: A Guide to Understanding Royalties and Registering with PROs

Date: 20 May 2023

As a music artist, you have a lot of opportunities to earn decently. There are many sources of income streaming to radio, TV to download, and synchronization to neighboring rights. This guide will help you to learn about and grasp all the opportunities that help music artists earn money from their original songs. But before discussing these opportunities, we will first understand what music royalties are and other aspects of music royalties.

What are music royalties?

Music royalties are remuneration payments that are given to the owners of the rights to use the music (songwriters, composers, recording artists, and their respective representatives). Most of the time, these royalties are paid by organizations that use the music, such as TV channels, radio stations, venues, streaming platforms, and others and are collected on behalf of the rights holders by middlemen. When a major label is collecting its streaming payments, for instance, the user may occasionally pay the royalties directly to the rights holders.

Types of music royalties

There are four types of music royalties: mechanical, performance, synchronization, and printed music.

  • Mechanical royalties are earned when someone reproduces an artist's musical work, such as when a streaming service makes a song available for download.
  • Performance royalties are earned when music is played in front of an audience, including background music in public places.
  • Synchronization royalties are earned when music is used in media such as commercials, TV, movies, and video games.
  • Printed music royalties are earned when music is used in printed or written form, such as in music books or sheet music.

Music artists can earn royalties through their music publishers or by self-publishing their work.

Get your music registered with Performance Rights Organizations (PROs)

Registering your songs with performing rights organizations (PROs) is an important step for music artists and songwriters to take to ensure that they are compensated properly for the use of their music. Here are some of the main reasons why you should register your songs with PROs:

  • Collecting Royalties: PROs collect music royalties on behalf of their members for public performances of their musical works, such as radio, TV shows, movies, live performances, and streaming services.
  • Copyright Protection: Registering your songs with a PRO is a good way to establish proof of ownership of your musical works.
  • International Coverage: Because PROs have partnerships with other PROs all over the world, your music will be monitored and collected in other countries where it is played or performed.

A step-by-step guide on how to register your songs with a PRO:

  • Select a PRO: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC are just a few of the PROs available. Conduct some research on each organization to determine the best fit for you.
  • Become a Member: Once you've decided on a PRO, you'll need to join. Each organization has its own membership requirements and fees, so read the terms and conditions carefully before joining.
  • Register your songs: Once you've become a member, you can register your songs with the PRO. Filling out a form with information about your songs, such as the title, writers, and publisher, is required.
  • Submit Your Music: After registering your song, you must send a recording to the PRO. This could be a CD, MP3, or another digital format.
  • Keep Information updated: It's critical to keep your PRO's contact and song information up to date. This ensures proper compensation for your music.

There are benefits to registering your songs with multiple PROs . Some of the reasons are:

  • Increased Exposure: By registering your songs with multiple PROs, your music will be monitored and collected by more organizations, increasing the likelihood that your work will be played and heard.
  • Increased Royalties: Registering with multiple PROs can also increase the number of royalties you receive, as each organization may collect different fees and distribute music royalties in different ways.
  • Offers flexibility: Registering with multiple PROs allows you to choose which organization you work with for specific projects or placements.

All about collecting music royalties

Collecting music royalties can be a complicated process, but it is critical for music artists and songwriters to be fairly compensated for their efforts. Here are some procedures for collecting music royalties:

  • Sign up with a PRO: Registration with a performing rights organization (PRO), as mentioned in a previous answer, is the first step in collecting your royalties.
  • Keep track of your results: It is critical to keep track of where your music is being played or performed in order to receive proper payment. You can use tools like music tracking software or hire a music tracking service to track the usage of your music and ensure that you are compensated appropriately.
  • Monitor your statements: PROs will send you statements that detail your royalty payments. It is critical to review these statements on a regular basis to ensure that you are receiving the proper amount of royalties for your music.
  • Follow up on missing payments: If you notice that you are not being compensated for certain performances of your music, it is critical that you follow up with the appropriate organizations or companies.

Now, let's look at some tips on how to maximize your royalty income:

  • Collaborate with other artists: Collaborating with other artists can help you gain more exposure and opportunities for your music to be used and played, which can lead to higher music royalties.
  • Concentrate on popular genres: Writing music in popular genres increases the likelihood of your music being used and played, potentially leading to higher royalties.
  • Leverage social media: Use social media platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram to increase your exposure and lead to more opportunities for your music to be used and played, which can lead to higher royalties.

However, there may be some challenges in collecting your royalties. Among these difficulties are:

  • Lack of information: It can be difficult to track all of your music's different uses, especially if it is used in different countries or regions. This can result in unpaid royalties or underpayments.
  • Delayed payments: Because royalties can take a long time to process and distribute, music artists and songwriters may experience a loss of income.
  • Legal disputes: Legal disputes over copyright ownership or usage rights can cause royalty payments to be delayed or halted, which can be a major challenge for music artists and songwriters.


Thus, through the above guide, you have come to know a lot about the opportunities to earn in the music industry through different types of music royalties. However, to get the benefit, you have to learn a lot and make a lot of effort. As a songwriter, music artist, or band, you must sign good deals with your partners, such as a record label, a publisher, or even a sync agency. Finally, make sure to be registered with a collection society to receive your earnings.

MIX Recording Studio, a professional recording studio in Los Angeles , help aspiring artists with several music-related services, such as mixing and mastering services, audio recording sessions, and professional photography and videography.

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