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Royalties for Songwriters

Here at Be Radical Make Music, I focus on the creation of music, helping you express yourself and create something new in the world.

Though I usually emphasise the songwriting process, I often get questions about the financial side, what is copyright, what royalties are, and what rights you have.

The Importance of Knowing Your Rights

Recently, there have been many conversations in the music industry about ensuring songwriters are properly compensated. As songwriters, we are the lifeblood of the music industry. It's crucial to know your legal rights. When you create music, certain legal rights automatically come into play.

Understanding Royalties and Copyright

For those confused about royalties and copyright, this overview aims to provide clarity. Understanding this information is essential, though it can be confusing at times.

Video Accompaniment

Oh an BTW! If you want to dive into this topic a little more in-depth and or prefer visual aids, there’s a video accompanying this podcast. You can find it at Seeing the information can sometimes help make it clearer!

Let’s break down the basics....


What is copyright?

It's the legal right to use, distribute, and control your songs. Like a painter owns their painting, you own your song as soon as it's created. This ownership is automatically protected by copyright law.

TOP TIP : ALWAYS Document your work: record yourself, email tracks to yourself, and back up your files with dates and times.


Royalties are payments you receive when your music is used or shared.

There are two main types you will encounter as a music artist:

Performance Royalties

These are payments for public performances of your song, such as radio play, TV broadcasts, or background music in public places.

Mechanical Royalties

These are payments for reproductions of your song, like physical copies (CDs) or digital downloads. Streaming services also pay mechanical royalties.

To recap: copyright is your legal right to use and distribute your songs. Performance royalties are for public performances, and mechanical royalties are for reproductions.

Don't forget to watch the video for a much more in-depth explanation of your royalties! If you have any questions, find me on Instagram @beradicalmakemusic, and we can chat.

Be informed, educate yourself, and empower yourself. Thank you for listening or watching, and see you in the next episode. Take care.

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