Music Royalties

In music, royalties are typically payable to an artist performing on the recording, the producer of the recording and the songwriter or music publisher. However, many times royalties are miscalculated or not paid at all. It is important to act quickly with respect to unpaid royalties because the law and many music business contracts limit the amount of time an artist or songwriter has to make a claim.

Common sources of unpaid royalties include:

Record Label Royalties
A recording artist's contract usually provides for an ongoing royalty every time that a copy of the recording is sold.

Mechanical Royalties
A mechanical royalty is paid to the writer of the song, or his publisher, each time the song is reproduced on CDs, Downloads, and Records. The current statutory rate for mechanical royalties is $.091 per copy.

Public Performance Royalties
Public performance royalties are payable to the songwriter and publisher when the song is publicly performed such as radio. ASCAP and BMI are public performance societies for writers and publishers. ASCAP and BMI collect and distribute performance royalties to writers and publishers.

Digital Performance Royalties
Digital performance royalties are payable to the artist when the artist's recording is performed on satellite and internet radio services. These royalties are collected and paid by Sound Exchange.

Licensing Royalties
Most music contracts provide for a royalty whenever music is licensed to third parties. Examples of these uses include: licenses of music for use in movies, TV shows, commercials, compilation albums, remixes, and samples. The royalty to the artist and songwriter for these uses can be as much as 50% of the license fee. In some contracts, the 50% rate also applies to downloads, as opposed to the standard artist royalty rate of 10% to 15%.

Contact Our Legal Malpractice and Copyright Law Attorneys
If you are an artist, songwriter, producer or other royalty recipient and believe that you may be owed royalties, contact the attorneys of Schwartz, Ponterio & Levenson, PLLC at 917.338.3879 today to find out how we can help.


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