What Are Music Royalties?

What Are Music Royalties?

Music Royalties are where the money in the music industry comes from. As music is a form of art, specific copyright laws and regulations protect the artist and their work which, in turn, creates a profit. If you are looking at making a living from your music, it is essential to understand music royalties, the types of royalties out there and how they work.

Who Benefits From Music Royalties?

Music royalties generally don’t solely get paid to the artist but to a collective of industry majors that assist with all the processes involved. While the composers and voices behind the songs receive a hefty portion of the earnings, some royalties provide a split earning that allows both the artist and the third party to benefit.

Recording Royalties

Recording royalties often only go to record labels, as they own the rights to the sound recording. However in this day with so many artists choosing to invest in their careers independently, that means that they are the sole recipients of the recording royalties.

Micro-sync Royalties

Micro-sync royalties often refer to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram where users make use of snippets of sound in their videos. These earn both performance and mechanical royalties for the artists, as the music is synchronized to videos. Usually, it is the platform itself that pays these royalties.

Performance Royalties

Covers, remixes, and even the original song being performed publically or broadcast publically are subject to Performance royalties. All public broadcasters should apply for a license through their PROs. This gives them access to all the music content under that PRO and the right to broadcast it. It also applies to other musicians and any public forum that uses the music.

Mechanical Royalties

Mechanical royalties are related to the copying and distribution of your music. Whenever your music is copied into a physical form (CD or record) or receives several listens on a streaming service, you, as the artist, are receiving mechanical royalties. The fee is small, but when your fan base increases, so too do your earnings.

Sync Licensing

A Sync License is a royalty that is usually paid as a once-off. This license allows visual creators to use your music in their work. Whether your song ends up syncing to a Netflix show or the next big videogame, you will receive a small royalty to pay you for the rights.

Streaming Royalties

Streaming services have taken the music world by storm and made other distribution forms, like CDs, almost obsolete. As a result, whenever an artist is uploaded onto a streaming site like Spotify, they can earn money based on their listener statistics. The more a song is played, the more royalties are paid.


Music royalties are earned in a staggering amount of ways, but all share one thing in common. The artist is known amongst a fan base, which allows these royalties to come into play. If you want to make money from your music, we suggest you build a fan base. There’s no easier way than to let GetPlaylisted boost your Spotify presence.