Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Songwriters Get From Mechanicals

Mechanical license fees paid by record labels are sent to publishers, not songwriters. So how can songwriters benefit from physical sales if they have signed away all their publishing?

I know from my experience that major publishers usually split these mechanical fees with their songwriters, after all advances (staff writer 'draws') are recouped, but I didn't know if this was the norm. The answer came from Bret Teegarden, founder of the social network for professional musicians NashvilleMusicPros.com :

Sez Bret:
Rule of thumb is a 50/50 split and most publishers pay within 30 days of a Qtr end. Some are different and terms are usually stipulated in publishing agreements or single song contracts. Any recoup of advances would come out of the writers share.
Say a song earned $1000 in mechanical royalty income in the first quarter of 2011 and the writer was advanced $300 for the song. On April 30, 2011, the publishing company would ideally issue the writer a check for $200. It gets more complicated with multiple writers and publishers on a single song, but generally is just dealing with fractions. Also, royalty payments are combined for a writer's catalog of songs.
This is indeed what I've experienced. Much obliged, brother Bret! 
(Community rocks... if you're in Nashville doing music business, you need to be on NashvilleMusicPros.com.)

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