There are so many artists out here giving out free music, with no intent on cashing in on anything but Soundcloud plays. There are so many ways to get compensated for your hard work creating music, that it baffles me why most music artists aren’t doing anything to capitalize on it. What they don’t know, is that whether or not they’re cashing in, SOMEBODY is getting paid.
So why shouldn’t you give out free music?
You should NEVER give away free music, as there should always be a transaction for your work. Note that this doesn’t have to be upfront money. Maybe you can do this in exchange for exposure that will potentially bring a return in the future. Maybe you do it to build relationships. But whatever you do, make sure that your business Is being handled.
Let’s say you post your free music on Soundcloud without being set up to collect royalties, and it blows up. Say your song gets millions of views. How will you get paid for this? Answer: You won’t. However, Soundcloud is in full position to take advantage of this by offering listeners a platform for new music, and offer creators a platform to host their music. They make money as well through advertising and subscriptions.
Now let’s take another case. Let’s say you drop a YouTube video, but you aren’t set up to collect your royalties. Let’s say this video blows up as well, gaining millions of views. You may be able to get some AdSense money through monetizing your YouTube channel, but do you know that there is also a mechanical royalty and performance royalty that should be getting generated as well? YouTube is doing its business, making money off of advertising due to the traffic provided as a result of your song.
Why aren’t you getting all of the money you are entitled to for it?
Don’t get it twisted though, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do music when you don’t get paid money for it. I’m not saying that at all. Not everyone will want to pay for your music. Not everyone has the money. What I am saying is, every time you release a song, your legacy is at stake. Make sure you get what you deserve from these companies who are using your music for their own financial gain, because they aren’t just going to hand it to you. They are a business, and are looking to keep as much money for themselves as possible.
In accounting terms, the money that they have to pay out to you is an “expense”. The money that they get from advertising is called “revenue”. The revenue from advertising, less the expenses that they pay out is called “profit”. Their job is to ensure that their profit remains as high as possible, which is one of the largest in the world.
What steps should you take right now to ensure you are set up to collect royalties?
Register with a PRO (Performance Rights Organization). There are 3 main PROs that you can register with, BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. You can register with only one as a writer, but you can register with all 3 as a publisher. Every song that you release, make sure you register with one of these organizations at least. They will collect your royalties and send a check to you.
Another tip, nothing in this world is free. So make sure you have a plan for your music. If you’re releasing it for free upfront, you can still collect royalties on the backend from that music. NEVER do music for free again!
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