Quick Song Biz Tip: Songwriting Mechanical Royalties 101

What Are Songwriting Mechanical Royalties?

Every time a song you’ve written is manufactured (CD, Vinyl, etc) or downloaded on a digital music retail site, or streamed through services like Spotify; songwriting mechanical royalties are paid to you.

As a songwriter/publisher, you are owed a royalty every time your composition is reproduced (on vinyl, tape, CD, MP3, etc).

A record does not have to be sold, simply manufactured. If an artist records your song and manufactures 1,000 CD’s, then they owe you $91. If they sell 10,000 mp3’s on iTunes then you are owed $910. You get the picture. Songwriting mechanical royalties are paid per item manufactured. On services selling digital downloads the rate is much much lower and varies.

If you record a song co-written or written by someone else on your own record, then you will owe that writer.

Therefore, if you are putting out your own indie record and have recorded songs you’ve co-written with other writers, then you will need to pay the mechanical royalties to those co-writers as well.

Write On! ~Clay

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Author: Clay Mills