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Royalty Flowchart

Posted By dawn
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 13:56

Music Royalty is tricky business, and it's easy to get lost in all the acronyms. We've tried to simplify things for you, but when in doubt, reach out the the individual royalty distributors. They want to give you your money, and they're just waiting for you to ask!

Essentially, there are four types of rights holders, and you will probably fit into one or more categories, at certain stages:

  1. The performer: This can be the singer, the musicians in a band, the studio musicians, the hired musician, etc. Anyone who performs in a song, either on stage or on a recording.
  2. The maker: This is the owner of the recording. It is either the record label, or the artist if the recording is self published.
  3. The songwriter: This is the person who writes the lyrics and/or the music. There can be many songwriters for one song.
  4. The publisher: The person who owns the song. It is the songwriter by default, unless the song/catalogue has been purchased.

Then, there are three circumstances where royalties are distributed:

  1. If the song is performed live (at a concert, in a festival, etc.)
  2. If the recorded song is played on the radio, on satellite radio, at a restaurant, in a mall, etc.
  3. If the recorded song is physically printed or copied.

In Canada, the Royalty distributors will collect royalties owed to you in Canada and around the world. This means that if you sign up with them, you're covered. However, if your songs are playing heavily in an international market, it could be worth your while to sign up directly with a royalty distributor in that market.

Here are the Canadian royalty distributors. All the information is taken from their website, but feel free to contact them directly for more details.

ACTRA RACS | For performers & makers, on a recording. Free to join / Small admin fee for disbursment. 
Artisti | For performers & makers, on a recording. Free to join / Small admin fee for disbursment.
CMRRA | For publishers, when a song is copied or reproduced. 
CPCC | For performers, makers, songwriters & publishers, when a recording is copied. 
CONNECT | For makers, on a recording.  Free to join / Small admin fee for disbursment.
MROC | For performers, on a recording. Free to join / No fee
Re:Sound | For performers & makers, on a recording. 
SOCAN | For songwriters & publishers, on a recording or live perfomance. Free for songwriters. 50$ membership fee for publishers.
SODRAC | For songwriters & publishers. Free to join for songwriters. Fee for publishers.
SOPROQ | For makers, on a recording.