FAQ - If my song was on the radio, shouldn’t I get royalties?

Hopefully you are signed up with a performing rights organization like BMI (see Is a Performing Rights Organization the Same Thing as a Publisher?. PROs collect money from radio stations (and other businesses that use music) and distribute them as royalties to songwriters. You can only get paid from radio play if you are affiliated with a PRO.

Member Comments

Posted by KRMusicEnt. on 2012-11-21 at 5:51:50 pm

If my song was getting played years before today, is it still possible to collect royalties?

Posted by Gary E. Andrews on 2012-11-23 at 7:52:05 am

KRMusicEnt, I don’t know, but I’m guessing not. Royalties are calculated and paid on a cycle of play, in real time. If you didn’t have it registered with a Performance Rights Organization at the time it got airplay there’s no way for it to have earned royalties. If you DID have it registered, it may not have gotten ENOUGH airplay to earn royalties. If it got enough, and it was registered, you would have gotten paid back then. If it’s still getting played, and you have a PRO membership, you might be a redneck. I mean! You might have some earnings. lol
So what’s the story?

Posted by SW101 Moderator 2 on 2012-11-25 at 8:33:56 am

Were the songs registered with a PRO when they were played on the radio?

Posted by Gary E. Andrews on 2017-04-24 at 8:57:11 am

What you ‘register’ with a Performance Rights Organization is the Title of a Song, and who the author(s)/composer(s) are, and what Publishing Company is involved.

If that Title comes up in the lists of what Songs were played on terrestrial radio, for example, where they pay a licensing fee from which your Royalties will be paid, then you may have earned Royalties.

Could Royalties have been paid to another Song with the same title? I wonder.

All the links on Songwriter101, the articles, the FAQ’s, are worth perusing as you transition from creative hobbyist to commercial endeavor. Making that transition means starting to keep good records, files of what you’re doing with each Song, who, what, when, where, why, documentation that could be beneficial if there’s any dispute for any reason.

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