Rates are regulated
radio | live | streaming
physical | downloads | streaming
tv | film | commercials | gaming
The Three Royalties
Your performance royalties are technically in a free market, however most songwriters receive these royalties through one of the big four Performance Rights Organizations (PROs). The largest, ASCAP and BMI are regulated by consent decrees, overseen by the Department of Justice. Performance royalties encompass radio, live events and part of streaming income.
Mechanical royalties have been under what’s called a compulsory license since 1909. Due to something as antiquated as player piano rolls, today songwriters have their rates determined by a three judge panel called the Copyright Royalty Board every five years. This panel is overseen by the Library of Congress. As mechanicals are integral to interactive streaming, this rate is increasingly important as streaming grows and physical and digital downloads decline.
Synchronization royalties are those that involve pairing music with audio-visual media such as commercials, TV and film. Additionally, a growing sync market is livestreaming and social media. This royalty is in the free market and therefore songwriters and performers are generally paid more equally. Sync offers a roadmap to the environment which could be achieved with less regulation of the other types of royalties.