Copyrights and Royalties and $$$

I came across THIS BLOG POST today.

Get Paid When You Get Played (@DiscMakers blog)

It’s a decent quick and dirty overview of copyrights and performance royalties and why you should definitely join a performance rights organization (PRO) if you have any recorded works getting performed or broadcast anywhere. It’s slightly erroneous on the issue of PUBLISHING. At least with BMI, the song writer is considered the publisher unless a separate publisher is reported, and both halves of the pie are paid to the same person or band. It’s fairly easy to register as a publishing company with the PROs too though, if you want to.

I just banked $145 in performance royalties from having my CD played (albeit often) on a single college radio station during Q1 2009. And I expect a similar check from BMI every quarter thereafter, considering my CD is in heavy rotation at that station. So I strongly advise joining a PRO if you haven’t already, assuming you have songs recorded and publicly available.


About Manwich B. Khakazzi

Joe is a songwriter, producer, performing musician, and free agent in Madison, WI.

Posted on September 30, 2009, in Essentials. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What’s the best way to get your music copyrights


    • File electronically at

      Tip: The fee is paid for each copyrighted work submitted. So if you have several songs to copyright, register them as a COMPILATION (one fee) even if they are not all recorded together (recording copyrights are a different animal entirely, this is just for the songs).

      Also be aware that copyright is AUTOMATIC as soon as you produce a song in a tangible form, on paper, recorded, etc. Filing with the copyright office only provides you some legal protections in the event someone steals your song. But your work is considered copyrighted by you as soon as it’s created in a tangible form and that’s regardless of if you file with the government.

      So for example, if you produce a CD of songs and it has a publication date and copyright notice on it, you may not have to register with the government, provided you have a paper trail of when the songs were first recorded and published.

      If you can afford it though, filing with the government is wise.



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