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BMI 3rd Quarter 2017 Royalty Report

earnings report

Holy smokes! I earned nearly $1,900 in back end performance royalties for the 3rd quarter of 2017!!! Now, I've been making about $300/mo through my licensing income through upfront sync fees, but the ability to basically QUADRUPLE my earnings through performance royalties is shocking.

(If you want to get started on license your music, you can watch this 15 minute video basically giving you an overview of the whole thing.)

This is my first quarter with significant back end royalties. I earned about $1,850 from Romania (no, I have no idea what show or why), and another $23 from sales broadcast in the U.S. on the Outdoor Network.

The most remarkable thing is that this is one of my worst songs. I previously published a post about how shocked I was that one of my least favorite songs had earned me $200 in upfront fees. Well now it's become my highest earning song, hands down.

I earned all of this money through my performing rights organization (PRO), BMI.com.  

Music Licensing Income = Sync Fees + Back End Royalties

 And so normally the way that works is I will license song through Pond 5 and it will entitle somebody to use the music the music for all sorts of projects whether it's a podcast or on YouTube or on a TV show.

And so initially they pay a fee upfront for that. The song sells for 30 anywhere from like 20 to 70, 80 dollars. And I'll get half of that from Pond 5. And you can license the same song multiple times, so I've earned hundreds of dollars in upfront royalties for my best selling songs.

But if somebody goes ahead and use the song on YouTube that's it. There's no further royalties from that. 

What Are Performance Royalties?

However there's another category of royalties called performance royalties.  Basically if your if a song you wrote is broadcast on national TV or in a public space generally speaking you are entitled to a royalty for that. 

I've done a much more in depth post on the different types of royalties in this video, if you're interested in watching. How to Get Your Performance Royalties

And in order to collect those royalties, or even to determine whether or not your songs have been performed, you need to join a performing rights organization and in the U.S. The two main ones are BMI and ASCAP.
I'm with BMI, and it's been working pretty well.
But as far as I know there's no major difference between the two different. Also, different countries have different societies.‚Äč
Once you join a PRO, what you then do is register your songs with them (including all of the different edits you might have of your song).
And then when somebody on TV, for example, uses your song on one of their shows they have to fill out this thing called a cue sheet.
A cue sheet is basically just a list of all the songs they used and how long those songs lasted. And so basically at the end of the day they submit these cue sheets to the PRO, which allocates revenues based on a proprietary formula.
The PROs distribute you a portion of the earnings that they make in proportion to how your song was play based on a formula they have.

From a Frustrated Producer in a Ragtag Bedroom Studio to Major Placements on TV Earning $1,000s!


My name is Evan, and I've been making music since around 3rd grade. I'm from San Diego, California, but I've lived in Washington, DC for the last 20 years.

After 3 grueling years of grad school, though I had put aside serious attempts at making music. I found myself spending my days doing work that was dreadfully uncreative, with a ton of student student loan debt.
Which made me feel like my favorite parts of myself were withering.
But I didn't know what to do about it.
Being in my early 30s with tons of student loan debt, in a world where there is "no money in music," I felt like my youthful dreams of trying to "make it big" were dead. Like my music would remain unheard in my head and hard drive. 
Frustrated by my inability to get my music heard, I started researching solutions.
Instead, I wanted to find a way where I could focus on making the music and let someone else deal with promoting it. 
I realized the music licensing was the perfect opportunity for a solo artist like me to get my music heard, without having to do any promotion. I just need to focus on improving what I could control - my songwriting and my production skills.

While I still have a full-time day job, I have created systems that have allowed me to produce dozens of songs a year in my spare time.

My¬†songs have been on Netflix, TV shows like the 90 Day Fiance, an award-winning indie film, and NPR‚Äôs ‚ÄúAll Thing Considered.‚ÄĚ They've also been streamed millions of times.

In addition to being a music producer, I am passionate about teaching people how they can make professional-sounding music and earn money licensing it, all in their spare time.

Thousands of musicians, like yourself, have trusted me to guide their musical journey. My YouTube videos have been watched nearly a million times. And my story has been in Forbes, Side Hustle Nation, and the Side Hustle School.

You Can Achieve Your Musical Dreams Too - Attend the Free Music Licensing Workshop!