We asked Ai to explain Music Mechanical Royalties – Here’s what happened

Ai, can you explain Mechanical Royalties for Music Distribution to me like I was a child.


Of course! Imagine you have a special machine that makes yummy cookies. You’re really good at making these cookies, and everyone loves them. Now, let’s say you decide to let your friends enjoy these cookies too, but you want something in return since you worked hard to make them.

Mechanical royalties in music are kind of like this. Imagine your song is like a delicious cookie, and you’re the one who made it. When you let someone else use your song, like putting it on a CD, streaming it, or using it in a movie or video game, they need to give you something in return because you created the song.

This “something” is called a “royalty.” It’s like a little thank-you gift. When people use your song, they need to give you a small part of the money they make from it. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, you made this amazing song, and now that we’re using it, we’ll give you a bit of money each time.” Just like when you share your delicious cookies and your friends give you a little something in return.

So, mechanical royalties are like a special treat you get when others use your song, and it helps you get rewarded for your hard work in creating the music!

Ai, what is the difference between “Mechanical Royalties” and “Publishing Royalties”?


Imagine you have your yummy cookie recipe, and you decide to let a bakery use it to make and sell cookies. They’ll pay you a little bit of money every time they make and sell a batch of cookies using your recipe. This payment you receive is like the “Mechanical Royalty.” It’s a thank-you for letting them use your recipe to make cookies.

Now, let’s say you also tell a friend your special cookie recipe, and they want to use it to make their own cookies at home. They’re not a big bakery, just making cookies for themselves and their friends. If your friend shares those cookies at a small gathering and gets some money for it, they might want to give you a little thank-you for sharing your recipe. This thank-you is like the “Publishing Royalty.” It’s a way of saying thanks for sharing the recipe, even if it’s on a smaller scale.

So, to sum it up:

  • “Mechanical Royalties” are like the money you get when big companies use your song (or your cookie recipe) to make and sell lots of copies, like putting it on CDs or streaming it.
  • “Publishing Royalties” are like the thank-you you get when people use your song (or your cookie recipe) on a smaller scale, like playing it on the radio, using it in a small movie, or performing it live.

Both types of royalties are ways of saying thanks for letting others use your creative work, just in different situations.


Ai, how many types of music royalties can a recording artist earn?

  1. Mechanical Royalties: These are earned when copies of the artist’s music are made and sold, like when their songs are included in CDs, vinyl records, digital downloads, or streaming services. This is similar to getting paid when someone uses your special cookie recipe to make and sell cookies.
  2. Performance Royalties: When a song is performed publicly, such as on the radio, in concerts, or even in public spaces like stores and restaurants, artists earn performance royalties. It’s like a thank-you for letting others enjoy your song.
  3. Sync Licensing Royalties: When an artist’s music is used in movies, TV shows, commercials, video games, or other visual media, they earn sync licensing royalties. It’s like getting a special payment for letting your song be part of a cool movie scene.
  4. Digital Streaming Royalties: With the rise of streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, artists earn royalties every time their songs are streamed online. It’s like getting a tiny bit of money each time someone listens to your song on their computer or phone.
  5. Print Music Royalties: If an artist’s music is used in printed sheet music, like when musicians play the song on instruments, they earn print music royalties.
  6. Broadcast Mechanical Royalties: In some countries, artists earn additional mechanical royalties when their songs are broadcast on the radio or TV. It’s like a special bonus for sharing your music with a wide audience.
  7. Foreign Royalties: When an artist’s music is played or sold in other countries, they can earn foreign royalties. It’s like getting a thank-you from people all around the world who enjoy your music.
  8. YouTube Content ID Royalties: Artists can also earn royalties from YouTube videos that use their music through the Content ID system. It’s a way to earn money even from fan-made videos that use your song.

So, recording artists can earn many different types of music royalties depending on how their music is used and where it’s distributed. Each type of royalty is like a little reward for sharing your creative work with the world!


Finally what are “Neighboring Rights” and how do artists receive money from them?


When a song is played on the radio, TV, or in public places like stores, restaurants, and live venues, two main groups of people contribute to that performance:

  1. Performers: These are the artists who actually perform the song, like the singers, musicians, and bands.
  2. Producers: These are the folks who help make the recording happen, like the sound engineers and the record labels.

Neighboring Rights are about the rights of the performers and producers for those performances of music. They’re called “neighboring” because they’re closely connected to the main copyrights of the song (like the songwriting itself), but they’re not exactly the same thing.

Artists and producers earn money from Neighboring Rights when their music is played in public. For example, when their song is broadcast on the radio, played on TV, streamed in public spaces, or used in public events, they’re entitled to a share of the money that’s collected from these uses. This money comes from various sources like radio stations, streaming platforms, and organizations that manage the licenses for playing music in public places.

To receive money from Neighboring Rights, artists and producers usually need to be part of a collective management organization or a performance rights organization. These organizations keep track of when and where their music is played and collect money from various sources. Then, they distribute these earnings to the artists and producers who are registered with them.

So, Neighboring Rights are like a special kind of payment for the people who perform and help create the music, when their work is played for everyone to hear in public places and on various media platforms. It’s like a way to thank them for making the music that brings joy to people’s ears!