Top 30 Sources Of Songwriter Royalties & Fees

In the modern music industry, songwriters are finding less money from album sales and more from the collection of all sorts of royalties. Bands like the Black Keys, who spent over a decade trying to break through to the mainstream, finally did so with the help of placement of their songs in commercials for TV and film.

But sync royalties from song placements for TV and film are just one of the many, many sources that songwriters can take advantage of to collect royalties and fees. In fact, there are 5 distinct types of royalties and fees that can become a big enough source of revenues for songwriters that they alone can sustain a career.

The following is a list of common sources of royalties for songwriters. Knowing which source(s) of royalties that you can be taking advantage of can help you to create proper goals and the action steps needed to achieve them, so that you can work towards actually collecting enough money from royalties to forget worrying about how many albums you need to sell in order to survive:

Performance Royalties


1. TV (royalties are paid by the TV station for the broadcast of a show, film or commercial with your music on it. This is not to be confused with the actual placement of your songs in TV, film or commercials which is a sync royalty – see below.)

2. Radio

3. Live venues

4. Restaurants

5. Bars

6. Movie theaters

7. Elevator music services

8. Supermarkets

9. Clothing stores

10. Gyms

11. When your music is sampled

12. Jukebox


Mechanical Royalties


13. Ringtones / ringbacks

14. Recorded cover songs

15. Record sales

16. Film soundtracks

17. Karaoke recordings

18. Greeting cards


Sync Licensing Fees


19. TV shows

20. TV commercials

21. Film commercials

22. Video games

23. Smartphone apps

24. DVDs / Blu-Rays


Print Royalties


25. Lyrics reprints

26. Guitar tabs

27. Music sheet books


Digital Royalties


28. Online streaming (e.g. Spotify)

29. Internet radio (e.g. Pandora)

30. Collaborative listening (e.g. Turntable)


Source: Hypebot