Songwriting Royalties For Non-Performing Songwriters
By: Jerry A. Greene
Question: I am thinking about a career in songwriting, but I don't really want to perform. Is it possible to make a good living as a non-performing songwriter and not have to work a day-job?
Answer: The royalties for non-performing songwriters can be extremely good and definitely make it so that you wouldn't need a day-job, but, generally you must work really, really hard to get your first cuts (recordings on other artists' CDs) if you expect to see any money come in from your music.
Getting Your Songs Heard
Before you can expect to make any royalty income from your songs, you going to have to get them heard and recorded. If you just consider yourself to be a lonesome songwriter, meaning you write by yourself and don't really have any contacts to get your music heard, let alone recorded, then you are going to either have to sign with a music publisher, or start your own music publishing company. This is extremely important, since artists (and the people that screen songs for them) are used to hearing directly from music publishers, not the songwriters themselves. If you set up your own music publishing company and don't have any contacts to get your songs heard, you may want to hire a song-plugger.There are also "music industry tip sheets" that allow you to know who is recording, or about to be in the studio and what kind of songs they are looking for.
Performing Rights Organizatons
You'll also need to sign up with a performing rights organizaiton in your country. In the United States, this would mean joining ASCAP, BMI, OR SESAC, both as a writer member and a publisher member. This will ensure that royalties from performances on radio, tv, satellite radio, and internet radio have somewhere to go! The performing rights organizations collect royalties for the use of the music and pay songwriters and publishers their percentage share of these royalites. This is one of the biggest ways that non-performing songwriters make a living.
Making Money From Your Music
Here are some of the other places you can make money in the form of royalties:
There is also a new organization called sound exchange which collects royalties from digital media. You'll want to learn about them, as they are becoming a strong force in the industry: Visit their website: SoundExchange.Com