How Do I Sell My Songs?
by Molly-Ann Leikin
SONGWRITING COACH & MARKETEER
Songwriters always ask me,
“How do I sell my songs? Can you show me how to sell my songs? Please help me sell my songs.”
As songwriters, we don’t sell our songs. Instead, we earn royalties when our music/lyrics/tracks are recorded and released on CD’s, performed on the air–radio, TV, online, and licensed for use in TV shows, movies, commercials, and downloaded all over the web.
When CD’s of our work are released for sale, the songwriter usually gets half of the royalty income, called mechanicals, which at the moment, is 9.2 cents per track per copy sold. When this money is collected, the publisher sends us mechanical royalty income checks each quarter.
However, these days, most of the money earned by songwriters comes from paid performances on the radio, TV and online.
Here’s how that works: There are three performing rights societies, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.
To collect performance royalties, you have to join one of the societies. They keep track of when and where our songs are broadcast, from a 5000 watt station in Beserk, MI, to a 100,000 watt station in Manhattan, and send royalty checks directly to us based on the number of paid performances logged in their regular samplings. We also receive checks for foreign performances in most countries around the world. A few still refuse to pay, but we’re working on that. Domestic royalties are distributed quarterly.
Foreign are distributed semi-annually. Since we rarely know where are songs are on the air, and when, it’s always delicious going to the mailbox and finding a royalty statement, plus a nice, fat check, showing our songs have been sung and performed on the radio, in movies, TV, and downloaded in places we can’t even spell.