More Than Just CDs

Originally published by So’lano Music Group.

Generally when people think about making a living as a musician, there are a few very common, conventional steps that come to mind: make a CD that can be sold, sell tickets to shows that promote the CD, sell merchandise at the shows to augment income.

These methods are certainly reasonable, but they are not a complete list. There are many agencies around the world whose sole purpose is to collect various types of revenue and distribute it to artists.

Every time a song is played on commercial radio, at a sports event, or in a public place the artist who owns the song has the right to earn income from it thanks to Performing Rights. It isn’t incumbent on artists to monitor airplay, there are agencies such as ASCAP, SOCAN, and PRS for Music already in place to keep records, collect fees, and distribute revenues to artists who need only sign up.

Mechanical Rights generate royalties from physical copies, and not just CDs. Music videos, ringtones, computer games, and even children’s toys that play songs are all possible revenue sources. For these there is the CMRRA, the Harry Fox Agency, and MCPS, among others.

Several of these agencies will also help to collect income from Sync Rights, which occur when a song is synchronized to a movie, television show, or commercial. On top of these three, there is also the emerging category of Neighboring Rights which help generate revenue based on rights that exist in relation to other rights.

It is not easy to make a living as an artist, but if you exploit your music and its exposure to its fullest capacity, it is possible to expand your revenue streams beyond the basic world of CDs, tours, and merch.

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