top of page

How music creators can earn money from copyrights during the pandemic and beyond

We recently hosted a panel to discuss how artists can form an innovative approach to transforming royalty data into a valuable resource that helps guide strategic decisions and career planning. The panel featured Rob Bonstein, VP of Membership at HIFI Will Griggs, CXO at HIFI Sean Glover - Director of Royalty Admin at Soundexchange Cindy Nguyen - Head of Pop at Create Music Group

COVID-19 pandemic created a major impact on the lives of numerous people, including artists. Even though you don’t have the opportunity to take part in live shows, you don’t need to worry about it too much because there are numerous other avenues to earn money with your talent. Making money from music copyrights holds a prominent place out of them. You can focus on it to earn a decent income during the pandemic and beyond.

What are music copyrights?

As an artist, you wish to remain as the owner of the track you produced and keep all the copyrights under you. To do that, you should have a clear picture in mind about what copyrights and royalties are all about.

One of the biggest questions that most artists have is “what’s the difference between copyrights and royalties”. Let’s find an answer to that question and proceed to discover more details on music copyrights and royalties.

Music rights refer to intellectual property. These are known as copyrights. In other words, copyrights showcase that you own the music that you have produced. However, it is also possible for you to buy music and have copyrights under your name.

However, royalties refer to what other people are owing to you, in case they want to use the music owned by you in their productions.

Download PDF Courtesy of the U.S. Copyright Office

All the music should contain two different copyrights. They are as follows:

  • The rights for the recording

The rights for recording refer to the recording of music at the time of the release. In most instances, this right will be held by the recording label. But if you are an independent artist, you will be able to hold this right under your name.

  • The right to composition

The second right associated with music is the right to composition. This is referring to the song itself. It doesn’t refer to any other recording of the song. In most instances, the copyrights of a music artist are a publishing firm. They are having all the rights for publishing music as well.

The two rights, publishing, and recording can be monetized in numerous approaches as well. It all depends on how you are publishing, distributing, and licensing music. Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent royalties out there for you to consider as well.

  • Royalties on sound recording

When a distributor is selling your CDs or when a website is streaming your music, you will be able to get a payment because of the right recording rights that you own. Not just the distributors and streaming services are making payments for the sound recordings. You can still find numerous other uses and companies, which is requiring payments for the sound recording.

  • Public performance

When someone is playing your music in a public venue, you will have the copyrights. Hence, the entity responsible for playing music at the public venue should think about making a payment to you.

  • Publishing royalties

Publishing royalties refer to the royalties that are under the underlying composition. You will be able to call these mechanical royalties as well. In most instances, music is in need of a mechanical royalty. Otherwise, it will not be possible for the artists to get paid.

  • Neighboring rights

Once the performance rights payments are made to the publishers or songwriters, the neighboring rights refer to the public performance royalties, which you should be paid to the owner of the music. The owner would usually be a record label or an artist.

  • Synchronization rights

Synchronization rights refer to the license amount that is being paid when the music is being used in a video medium. It can be a commercial, movie, or even a video game.

Through all these methods of music licensing, you will be able to earn money. It is up to you to take a look at these methods and start making money based on the copyrights you own.

The importance of music licensing

You will also be able to maintain creative control of your music through licensing. Most of the publishers out there in the world would try to exploit your creations via synchronization licenses. In other words, the publishers would place your music in advertisements, video games, TV shows, and movies. They can be considered as an excellent source of passive income and why do you want to give them for free? If you have gone through music licensing, you will be able to come to a publishing agreement with your publisher and then take a commission out of all the license fees. This is one of the most popular methods followed by artists in today’s world to generate a passive income.

With music licensing, you will also be provided with the ability to restrict granting access to your songs to a specific publisher. If you are looking forward to staying away from certain types of association with your creations, such as terrible TV shows, you can refrain from providing grants. When your songs get synonymous with something negative, your impression would also be damaged. Music licensing has the ability to help you come across a straightforward solution to this issue.

Last but not least, music licensing has the ability to help you keep your options open. Whenever you get the need to compose for a TV show or a movie, you are provided with an exclusive publishing deal. It would not be possible for you to go for song deals with individual television or film studios and compose your work into their projects. Therefore, all artists and musicians should pay special attention to music licensing.

Music streaming and royalty rights

Music streaming can be considered as the most popular method that is being used by people in today’s world to listen to music. The increasing popularity of smartphones has contributed a lot towards the above-mentioned fact. A large number of music streaming services such as Spotify are also available for people to select from. On the other hand, a considerable percentage of music lovers tend to listen to music tracks over streaming websites such as YouTube as well.

The popularity of music streaming is increasing day by day. As a result, the artists have paid special attention to this fact. Artists will be benefited from music streaming in many different ways. At the moment, the majority of fans use streaming services to listen to the tracks of artists. As a result, it has become essential for artists to get their tracks uploaded into streaming services. In the near future, the number of people who use streaming services would increase. On the other hand, the streaming services would adapt along with time to accommodate the needs and requirements of the users. As a result, the artists will have to think about using streaming services to deliver their creations to the fans.

Music streaming is based on peer-to-peer technology. This can be considered as one of the best solutions available for artists to stay away from pirates. With music pirating, the artists have lost thousands of dollars. However, music streaming has provided an ideal environment for artists to stay away from this hassle. In other words, it is a convenient method available for the artists to make their fans pay for music. It is important for the artists to keep in mind that they are not being paid by the streaming service. It is the end consumers who make payments for the tracks that they listen to. As a result, the artists don’t have to worry about giving away their hard work for free.

In order to determine whether the artists are being paid fairly or not, special attention needs to be provided towards royalties. Royalty-Free music can be divided into two main categories. The first category is the royalties that are being paid to the performers and labels for song recording. On the other hand, royalties are also being paid to the songwriters and publishers for the performance of a song. At the moment, there is litigation going around making a fair compensation rate as the payment for both these types of royalties.

When an artist is getting more streams via music streaming platforms, he would be getting more royalties as well. This is something beneficial for all the musicians who have not signed for a record company or a publisher. That’s because the amount of money that they earn would never be shared across the publisher or the record company.

If you wish to learn more about music copyrights, you can take a look at the music modernization Act by the U.S. Copyright Office. You can access it via this link. You can even follow them on Twitter via @CopyrightOffice and keep yourself up to date.

324 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page