wheres my money

Things every songwriter should know!

So you write your own music and you put together a little band.  You have started playing around and decide to take it to the next level.

You may then decide to record a few of your songs.  Maybe put them on ReverbNation.com, SoundCloud.com or any number of Internet related music sites.

Some common and obvious questions may arise.

Things like, Should I try to get an agent?  Do I need to have a website?

Where can I get a good recording done for a decent price?  How do I promote my band? 

Hopefully this article will answer some of those questions and/or point you in the directions towards realizing your ultimate goal.

The following is some basic information I think every artist must understand.

First of all, I do not think copyrights are as important for small bands as people might think.  The moment you release an original song you wrote on the Internet, it is automatically copyrighted.  This is the same as taking it to a notary as in the old days.

Second, wait until your song starts getting some attention before worrying about copyright and royalties.  The important part of releasing a song is to be rewarded with future financial benefits.  This must be done correctly to ensure you are paid as well as to be taken seriously as a professional new artist.  Until your royalty rights are set up you will not be able to collect monies or be considered legit.

In the next few paragraphs I have provided a helpful breakdown of potential royalties you can expect to receive as a songwriter.

royalties diagram

Publishing Splits:

In the music world there is a split between the publisher and the writer(s) of a song.  Make sure all the writers who need to receive a credit are listed when registering.  There are different ways to get published but in this article I will be talking mainly about CD Baby Pro, which is an Admin Publisher.

There are numerous publishing options available.  I found this to be the best option, especially since my band is on a very tight budget.

Performance Royalties:

Whenever there is a public performance of your song you are entitled to a royalty.  Say your song gets played on YouTube, on the radio, streaming from Pandora, Spotify, live concerts or other public venues, you are entitled to receive a royalty.  Nice right?  This is when you need to sign up with a PRO (Performing Rights Organization) such as BMI or ASCAP.  They are required to charge fees for cover songs played in bars, coffee shops, restaurants or other public places.  They “offer” a blanket license for such venues.  This is what allows musicians to legally play cover songs.  

Yeah, this stuff is real. This is what they are doing these days.  The good part is they divvy up any monies collected and dispersed to all parties involved.  You may want to take the time to do a bit of research on the differences between the PRO’s due to the fact that in the United States you can only belong to one of these organizations.

Mechanical Royalties:

Whenever a company like ITunes or Spotify sell and/or stream your song, you as songwriter are due money.  If someone wants to cover your song they have to pay you 9.1 cents per download or sales.  It is a little more complicated for the streaming, however you also get paid for that too.  This is called a “Compulsory Mechanical License” fee.  You can pay for a license to any song by any artist simply by paying a this sort of fee.  Some of the companies used to handle these types of royalties include:  

Harry Fox Agency, Songfile and Loudr.  In order to legally record a cover song you are required to register with one of these kinds of agencies.

Sync Licencing:

This is used when a TV show, movie or video etc. wanted to use your song in their production. The person who did the recording and the publisher make a deal for the rights to use your composition.  It becomes a bit complicated but I will get more in depth on the subject at a later time.


And then there is Sound Exchange.  What do they do?

This is another service similar to the PRO’s.  They collect money for the master rights holder of a song.  These royalties go to the person who recorded the songs, not the songwriters(s).

Admin Publishers like CD Baby Pro, act as administrators to collect royalties for your songs.  There is a difference between a full on Publisher and an Admin Publisher. 

It may be in your best interest to refer to the excellent and helpful checklist below written by Brian Hazard, before releasing your CD!  http://passivepromotion.com/the-definitive-album-release-checklist#more-4170

Owning your own Domain!

Some other things you will need to know is how to go about getting your band some promotion and the importance of owning your own domain that includes your band’s name.  

This is absolutely crucial.

 It is something every band must do.  

This may seem unnecessary and costly but by taking a little instruction you can have a WordPress website up and running in no time for little or no cost.  In addition to being a songwriter, recording engineer and musician, I have a huge passion for Internet marketing.

The purpose of this website is to bring helpful tools to artists and musicians that can lead them to success.   One of the tools I use is Wealthy Affiliate.  It has benefited me so much I cannot even list all the reasons here.  If you are interested in learning more you can click on this link to learn more about them.

One of the biggest benefits was learning how to make my own website and how to make money off of it, One of these sites was my own band site.  Wealthy Affiliate is a great place for people just starting out for for anyone who is low on cash.  They allow you to build two free websites with full WordPress tools.  Your site would look like this, “yourbandname.rubix“, until you got your own domain name.  You can purchase a domain name through namecheap.com.  at Wealthy Affiliate.

I continue to be amazed at how much I learned and the skills I have obtained while taking instruction at Wealthy Affiliate.  The techniques I have developed here have aided me in promoting my own band.

I cannot rave enough about these guys.

There is a lot that goes into releasing a song and then promoting it.  In the end your song is just like any other product.  It needs to be sold and your band is the company selling it. If you treat your product like it is something special maybe you could do some amazing things with it.

My goal is and has been to work just a few hours a day for the money I need while have the luxury to create and produce music projects the rest of the day.  I am currently a professional musician who also makes good money on the Internet.  It is not quite perfect yet….but I am having the time of my life.

To your success

Tom Radcliff

Please leave a comment below ,I would really like to know what you think!

P.S, check out my lead building resources here


How do I promote my band? — 13 Comments

  1. Good morning, great post on how to promote a band. A lot of good information to consider, for example I hadn’t heard that releasing an original song on the internet would automatically give it copyrights.

    • Yes but Its still good to register with the Library of Congress
      that is where you get the right to go after somebody if they stole your music.
      The way I understand it is that you can put the symbol on your material right
      away and that proves your ownership. Thanks for your comment

  2. Hi:)
    I was just trying reading your grate article. I don’t have skills about your main tittle promoting a band, but as an affiliate marketer the second tittle “Where is my money” captivates me and just perusing the over all message of the article.

    As you suggested this a grate place to start, because I know Wealthy affiliate as a premium member.

    It is really very fun and efficient to create a website with what ever niche just with in a few minutes. And all the tools, training and the more that 8000 community helping each other, while each one of them conducting their own business, is very very nice and helpful stuff for the one who starts a business to make money to support ones life.

    You have affirmed me all of them here in your article. It is a grate hobby to help and show the way to others as you do.

    Thanks so much! for this article and looking forward to read more from your website in the future.

  3. I checked out your band website. It’s not my kind of music, but not too shabby! Thanks for the good information. I didn’t know anything about safe lists and you have a plethora of lists to check out. Thanks!

  4. Hi there Tom,

    I’m thinking of joining this wealthy affiliate program you mention here on your site.

    Can you give me assistance if I join through your site?



  5. Hi Tom ,thank you for the info posted I’m in the throws of setting up my website but more pressed in first building up my catalogue ,Have you any info on joining the BMI I’m a composer/producer/guitarist and a PRS member. not sure on the BMI and the states.


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