The key to making a living or just making some extra money from music is to diversify.
If you are a songwriter there are a few key ways to generate revenue from your songs. I thought I would list some ways that I have been able to generate royalties from my works.
1. Licensing: This means getting your song used on TV, radio, internet, etc. Many times the user will negotiate a fee for use. The fee is less if it is a non-exclusive contract. How do you license your work? Well, I have done it 2 ways. The first way is to work directly with music supervisors. I have been lucky enough to have them find me online and request music. The other way that has worked for me is to used services like Pump Audio. They have a database of music submitted and they help license and negotiate with potential users.
2. Performance Royalties: These are the money collected by BMI and ASCAP when media broadcasts works. So once you get placements, when the use is reported to BMI or ASCAP, you get royalties for the public performance. The more the music airs, the more money you get.
3. Mechanical Royalties: This is what you get paid when someone records one of your songs on a commercially available CD. It is done on a per song, per unit basis. The fee now is somewhere around 9.5 cents per song, per CD. This is usually a statuatory rate set by Congress every coupld of years.
4. Live Performance: This is where you actually get off your butt and get out and perform your own songs and charge a fee for your performance. Many times you start out small at coffee shops playing for tips, etc. Then once you prove you have a following, and the chops you can start charging more.
**number one rule is all of this is to NEVER pay someone to ‘publish’ your song. If they want to use it, they should be paying you. Also, never just ‘sell’ your rights to someone, unless they pay you a HUGE sum of money…songs are property and can build value over time….don’t sell yourself short for quick cash**