How Can I Make Money From My Publishing Rights? Pt.1

Part 1: Performance Royalties (Gigs & Radio Broadcasts)


In the previous post we looked at the main components of the publishing process: the song and songwriter; collection organisations; publishers and music users. We’ll now look at some key sources of publishing income.


Performance royalties are generated when your song has done just that; been performed. Money is collected by performing rights organisations (PROs) from people who use music and publishers then liaise with the PROs in order to administer and collect all publishing royalty income for their songwriters. Here we’re going to look at income from live performances (gigs) and radio airplay.



At Sentric Music [insert link] we’re home to tens of thousands of artists and writers and around 70% of the money we distribute is from live performances. It’s incredibly important to remember that, with a few exceptions, every gig where you perform your songs = £££ for you.


In the UK, gigs at small venues are generally worth around £6 in royalties and it increases from there depending on factors such as attendance and ticket price. To give you a rough idea of what can be earned, here are some examples of royalties Sentric has received for artists per performance:


  • Barflys: £19
  • O2 Academys: £100
  • Cardiff International Arena (e.g. large venue): £365
  • Leeds/Reading Festival: (e.g. major festival): £1,500


It’s important to note that these royalties are completely separate from the money you might get directly from the venue or promoter for playing the gig. That fee has nothing to do with your publishing or master rights; that’s simply ‘touring income’ and is agreed between the venue or promoter and yourself. Live performance royalties come from the license fee the venue is legally obliged to pay the PRS for the performance of music at their venue. For small venues, the PRS will charge a one-off annual fee and the royalty is a flat-rate amount taken from that. For larger venues, the PRS charge 3% of gross ticket sales and that specific income is split between the songs performed on the night.



When your song is played on BBC or a major commercial radio station a performance royalty should be generated. Again, the royalty amount will depend on several factors but here are some example BBC radio royalty rates (as of December 2012, based on an average 3min 30sec song):


  • BBC Radio 1: £48.79
  • BBC 6 Music: £14.14
  • BBC Radio Wales: £2.63


For the majority of local, digital or internet stations the PRS uses broadcast sampling. Only music broadcast on specific sample days is processed so you will only receive payment if your music is broadcast on one of the sample days for that station.


From these brief examples, it’s easy to see how royalty income can quickly add up from gigs and radio play alone. Even if you are a member of a rights society, not all income will be paid to you automatically. A publisher can help you to ensure that you receive the income you are entitled to from these sources by knowing the policies and administering claims on your behalf.


In our final post we’ll take a look at synchronisation as a source of publishing income. In the meantime, to find out more about what Sentric can do for you as a publisher and read more about the royalties you can earn, head over to their website.

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