How to Earn Sound Recording Royalties using Sound Exchange?

The good thing about being the creator and owner of a sound recording work is your right to earn sound recording royalties through Sound Exchange. If you are a home studio producer, then this is a good opportunity for you to earn some money out of your audio recording/music production works.

Soundexchange is a non-profit performance right societies that represents in behalf of the sound recording copyright owners to collect royalties of the recording performance.

Sound Recording Copyright Ownership and SoundExchange

It starts with the songwriter/musician creating the song and assigning lyrics/melodies. The songwriters themselves are the first owner of the work thus they possess the copyright of music and lyrics. When the songwriters sign-up with a music publishers; there is a transfer of copyright ownership from the writers to the publishers.

What will happen next is that these music publishers shop their songs to recording labels, recording producers or recording artists that are looking for songs for their album/single project. Supposing a certain artist/producer would license a specific song from the music publisher. The artist would then start recording the tracks (vocals, guitars, bass, piano, drums, etc.) until and fully complete sound recording of the song has been made.

This sound recording of the song is not anymore owned by the songwriter or the music publisher but this is owned by the creator which is the artist/producer in this example. The artist producer can then register the song sound recording to copyright office for official registration.

Since the artist/producer would be using this sound recording of the song in marketing and promotions. These sound recording can end up in the playlist of various digital radios, internet radios, etc.

Organizations like SoundExchange monitor the performance of sound recording copyright played in different mediums such as in radio and in the Internet. The monitored performance can then be reported back to their members and then be paid with royalties. This royalty money comes from the SoundExchange licensee which would legally perform sound recordings in any of the discussed broadcasting mediums.

If the artist/producer in the above example has his/her song listed in any of broadcasting mediums monitored by Soundexchange, then the artist/producer can earn royalties from the sound recording performance. SoundExchange requires all artist or sound recording copyright owners to be registered with them to receive royalties.

Where does SoundExchange monitor the performance of a certain sound recording?

Knowing where they monitor performance is an important information because it guides you where would you market your recording to maximize sound recording royalty earnings. The following are the common places:

1.) Web/Satellite/Internet Radio – Do a search in the Google for “internet radio” and there is a lot of popular Internet radio stations that are accepting songs from home based artist/producer. One of the most popular internet radio for independent musicians as of year 2011 is Jango.

Jango is indeed monitored by SoundExchange as well as other Internet radio. Some services are free, some are not.

2.) Cable TV music channels – if you manage to have some of your sound recording works licensed in television works particularly cable TV; then that is also monitored by SoundExchange and you will be paid with royalties.

3.) Similar platforms for streaming sound recording work– This includes other music related websites that streams sound recording copyrighted works. Before you submit work, determine first if the website streaming are monitored by SoundExchange.

How to get started being a member of SoundExchange?

Of course you will never get paid if you are not affiliated with SoundExchange. Below are the important steps that you should do to become a member of SoundExchange:

Step1.) Make sure you have completed the registration of all your sound recording works in your government copyright office. If you are marketing music in the US, you can apply in US Copyright office. If you need more information about this topic, read this guide on sound recording copyright registration process.