What are Mechanical Royalties?

June 19, 2024

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Within music publishing, artists and songwriters earn several types of royalties for their music. These include mechanical, performance, sync, print music, micro-sync and neighbouring royalties. One of the most common types of royalty earned by songwriters are mechanical royalties. We’re here to break down exactly what mechanical royalties are and how they are collected.

What are mechanical royalties?

Mechanical royalties are earned by songwriters and music publishers whenever a song is reproduced in a digital or physical format.  Today, the most common type of mechanical royalty is generated from streaming. This means every time your music is streamed on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, a mechanical royalty is generated.

Where are mechanical royalties generated from?

It’s important to note that mechanical royalties are generated in addition to the royalties you receive from your distributor for the master recording. If you are just signed up with a music distributor, they will only collect royalties for your master recording being streamed. A music publisher will collect mechanical royalties for the composition being streamed. These royalties are generated at the same time. It’s incredibly important to make sure you are signed up with a music publisher alongside your music distributor to collect your royalties for both the master recording and composition.

Mechanical royalties are generated from physical sales too. This refers to the sale of CD’s, vinyl and other physical media. Whilst less common, mechanical royalties are also earned from the sale of ringtones.

In addition to physical sales, you may also earn mechanical royalties from digital downloads. These are royalties generated via song purchases and downloads from online stores like iTunes. It’s important to understand that streaming and download platforms are two separate things. You will be paid mechanical royalties from both. However, revenue generated from streaming is calculated and paid separately to download purchases.

How are mechanical royalties paid?

Now we’ve covered what mechanical royalties are and how they’re generated, let’s talk about how they are paid.

Mechanical royalties are typically collected by organisations known as mechanical rights organisations (MROs). These organisations distribute the payments to rights holders. The MRO in the UK is the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society, otherwise known as the MCPS. Once your mechanical royalties have been generated, these payments are collected by MROs around the world.

If you are signed up with a music publisher such as Horus Music Publishing, the MROs will then pay these royalties to your publisher. From here, it is then our responsibility to distribute these royalties to you and ensure you get paid. If you have a split agreement in place, your music publisher will take this into account and ensure each party is paid correctly.

How can I claim my mechanical royalties?

Mechanical royalties are a crucial revenue stream for all songwriters. They are incredibly easy to access and in relation to music publishing, are often left unclaimed. This is due to the misconception that mechanical royalties are the same as the royalties earned from your master recordings. Now you know you could be earning mechanical royalties for the songs you release, why not get started with Horus Music Publishing today?

Get started here.

If you have any questions relating to music publishing or mechanical royalties, you can contact our team here.

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