In the music industry, Royalties are the payments that music copyright holders receive for either the broadcast, use or sell of their music.
You may wonder the duration that royalties have once a work is published. This article will specifically address this to give you some context and an understanding into this topic.
So, How long do royalties on music last?
Royalties on music last as long as copyright protection lasts. In the U.S, copyright protection lasts the entire life of the copyright holder plus 70 years, for works published since 1978.
The royalty payments will last the copyright protection duration (which varies for every country) this duration will be considered the time limit or how long royalties will be paid on a record to the copyright holder.
If you’re in a country outside the US, you can check the copyright protection duration on WIKIPEDIA.
A summary of how royalty payments work
A royalty in music is money that is paid to a copyright holder of the music.
The copyright holder in most cases will be the artists, while in other cases they could be the record label or it could be both.
Usually people that are signed to record labels will have an agreement with the label that gives them a piece of the copyright which is often times expressed as a percentage to make it easier to split revenue.
Royalties may arise from the use of a record for things like public radio, streaming, reproduction, live shows, film, synchronisation or any other form of use that basically utilizes the original recording.
These royalties are paid to the copyright holder or holders in agreed sums.
How much royalties do you get for a song?
How much royalties you get on a record will depend on how the record is being utilized for royalties to arise. Theres no specific amount for royalties on a song because it could be monetized a number of different ways.
For example a sync license may exist that may be paying royalties of $1000 while another public performance license pays $2000 plus streaming royalties etc….
With that said, the amount of royalties you do get for a song will depend on how it’s been monetized.
If you’re strictly going for album sales, you can pretty much do the math (sale price × Number of units) . The royalty you recieve will be in accordance with the copyright agreement in place.
In a situation where multiple parties own the copyright to a song….. All royalties will be split in accordance with agreed upon percentages that each copyright holder is entitled to get.
Will I get paid when my song is played on radio?
Radio stations use and play music that they license from Performance rights organisations that act as the representatives that collect public performance royalties on behalf of musicians whose music is licensed.
If you have registered with a PRO like BMI, ASCAP or SESAC. They will collect revenue you for you when your song is played on the radio provided the radio station has a license to use your music.
Therefore, the simple answer is yes, you are supposed to be paid when your music is played on the radio.
It may not always be easy to keep track of your radio play by your self that’s why its important to register with a PRO or performing rights organisation.
They can help you manage your affairs with regard to public performance royalties that are owed to you when your music is used in broadcasting setups such as TV and radio.
Who pays royalties for live music?
Royalties for live performance can be a great boost in earnings for your live shows. In most cases musicians never really collect this money because they aren’t sure that they are entitled to it.
The reality is that, each time your original song is played in public venue like a bar, restaurant you can basically earn a performance royalty. This would be an additional revenue stream including what you’d be already earning from concert ticket sales or tips etc.
In order to collect these performance royalties you have to tell and notify your PRO like BMI, ASCAP and SESAC or the PRO for your country about the shows you’ll be playing and a list of songs you’ll play for that night. The set list will generate a royalty for each song.