Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Photo: Andrea Piacquadio and John Guccione
There are many different ways to sell music. You can sell your music on CDs, in digital stores, and in many other places. But, in the modern-day, there are two common ways to make money from your music:
1. Putting your song on Streaming Sites 2. Selling Licenses
We will discuss both methods in detail. So Ready? Set, Go!
1. Putting your song on Streaming Sites
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You can send your music to different music stores like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, etc. You need a distributor to distribute your music to different stores (streaming sites). Once your music is available on the streaming site, your fans can stream your music and you will earn royalties. Your distributor will send that to you.
2. Selling Licenses
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Apart from streaming revenue, there is another way to make money from your music: Selling Licenses. People need licenses to use music. For example, using music in a video, advertisement, movie, or playing music at a restaurant, club, etc. Just like you need a driver's license to drive. Legally, one cannot play/use music anywhere without a license.
You can sell licenses of your music to someone who wants to use your music. You need to upload or register your song at a music licensing organization/company. There are mainly two places where you can upload/register your songs: 2.1. Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) 2.2. Audio Libraries
2.1. Performing Rights Organizations (PROs):
A performance rights organization (PRO), also known as a performing rights society, provides intermediary functions, particularly collection of royalties, between copyright holders and parties who wish to use copyrighted works publicly in locations such as shopping and dining venues. Almost every country has its own PRO. For example, in America, there are two PROs: ASCAP and BMI.
Mostly, PROs only sell licenses to those who wish to use music in Films, Television, Radio or play music at a public venue like restaurants, clubs, etc. They also collect publishing royalties which a distributor does not collect. Some examples of licenses sold by PROs: 1. Website & Mobile App Music License 2. Restaurant, Bar & Night Club Music License 3. Radio Music License 4. Television Music Licence 5. Church/Ministry Music License 6. Dance Studio Music Licence Every songwriter should register to a PRO in order to receive publishing royalties. Here, generally, the PRO does not promote any songs on their website and does not spend money on promotions. These are not-for-profit organizations with the sole purpose of collecting royalties.
2.2. Audio Libraries:
An Audio Library is a platform where artists can sell licenses to creators, businesses, and others. It's a lot different from a PRO. Generally, PROs are not-for-profit organizations while an Audio Library is a private company that licenses your music to its customers and shares the revenue with you. Almost every Audio Library takes a fixed cut from Artist's earnings. Some examples of Audio Library are Music Vine, Artlist, Epidemic Sound, StoryBlocks, etc. Some audio libraries also work as a distributor as a complimentary service.
An audio library sells licenses for music usage in: 1. Videos on Social Media (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, etc.) 2. Digital Ads 3. TV Shows 4. TV ads 5. Other Usage It should be noted that Audio Libraries, generally, do not cover radio, restaurants, clubs, etc. while PROs, generally, do not cover Social Media. Of course, the services vary at different PROs and Audio Libraries. Conclusion: So, there are two common ways to sell your music: 1. Put it on a Streaming Site or 2. Sell Licences. Both methods are great. It's up to you what you want to do with your music. I hope that this blog post has helped you and you liked it. Thanks for reading!