Royalties are payments that are distributed to recording artists, songwriters, composers, publishers, and other copyright holders for the right to use their music. The four main types of royalty income include mechanical, public performance, synchronisation, and print music:
- Mechanical royalties are paid to songwriters and artists when music is sold either via a physical CD sale, vinyl or if it is streamed through a streaming platform such as Spotify.
- Public performance royalties are fees that music users must pay to collection societies such as IMRO to publicly play music. These music users include radio stations, restaurants and bars, and streaming platforms. IMRO then distributes the public performance royalties to the owner of the music.
- Synchronisation royalties are paid to artists when their music is used in any audiovisual productions such as movies, advertisements, and video games. With the artist's permission, a sync license will be granted to the video producer to use the music.
- Lastly, print royalties are paid to artists when any of their lyrics or written musical works are used such as sheet music or lyric websites.
As royalties are one of the main sources of income for artists, it is important to register with collection societies such as IMRO to get your rightful royalties distributed for your work. Whether you are a songwriter, publisher, or composer, we recommend signing up to IMRO as it is a free service and they collect payments from businesses, radio broadcasters, live performances, and online uses that play your music. Below is a step by step guide for musicians on how to sign up to IMRO and earn royalties from your music.
Firstly, IMRO has two different membership types which are outlined below.
- Writer Membership
The writer membership is for songwriters and composers and there are certain criteria that an artist needs to meet in order to join IMRO such as;
- Has your music been broadcasted on radio or TV in the past two years?
- Have you had at least 12 live performances of your music in the past two years?
- Have you had a piece of music used on a commercially available recording in the past two years?
- Is your music available on streaming or download services such as Spotify, Deezer or Apple Music?
If you meet the criteria of one of the above, you are eligible for the Writer Membership.
- Publisher Membership
The publisher membership is for music publishing companies and there are certain criteria that an artist needs to meet in order to join IMRO such as;
- Have you had at least 10 works in your publishing catalogue?
- Have at least 5 of these works received some form of commercial exploitation, e.g. commercial recordings or broadcasts?
If your answer to the above questions is “yes”, you are eligible for the Publisher Membership.
You can find more information and access to the application forms here.