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Over 40 Ways Artists Can Earn Money

    This has become a running list from the Future of Music Coalition (FOMC), which now counts 42 different, discrete revenue streams that artists can exploit. Take a look; add your own.

    1. Publisher advance

    Bulk payment to songwriter/composer as part of a publishing deal.
    Paid to:
     songwriter composer by publishing company.
    Rate: varies according to deal.

    2. Mechanical Royalties

    Royalties generated through the licensed reproduction of recordings of your songs — either physical or digital.
    Paid to: songwriter/composer by publisher, label, Harry Fox, or digital aggregator like CD Baby.
    Rate: 9.1 cents per manufactured copy of song/composition.

    3. Commissions

    Typically a request from an ensemble, presenter, orchestra or other entity for a composer to create an original work for them.

    4. Public Performance (PRO) Royalties

    Revenue generated when your songs are played on radio, TV, in clubs and restaurants. Paid to songwriter/composer/publisher by ASCAP/BMI/SESAC.

    5. Composing Original Works for Broadcast

    Typically a commercial request to compose an original jingle, soundtrack, score, or other musical work for a film, TV or cable show, or an ad agency.

    6. Synch Licenses

    Typically involves licensing an existing work for use in a movie, documentary, TV, video games, internet, or a commercial. Paid to songwriters/composers either via publisher or record label, or via a direct licensing deal with the licensee (movie studio, ad agency, etc) if you are self-published.

    7. Sheet Music Sales

    Revenue generated by the sale of songs/compositions as sheet music. Paid to songwriter/composer by publisher, or directly from purchasers if you are selling it on your website or at performances.

    8. Ringtones Revenue

    Generated from licensing your songs/compositions for use as ringtones. Paid to songwriter/composer via your publisher, your label or Harry Fox.

    9. ASCAPlus Awards Program

    Awarded by ASCAP to writer members of any genre whose performances are primarily in venues outside of broadcast media.

    10. Publisher Settlement

    Payment from publishers to writers for litigation settlements.

    11. Salary as Member of Orchestra or Ensemble

    Income earned as a salaried member of an orchestra or ensemble.

    12. Shows/Performance Fees

    Revenue generated from playing in a live setting (for non-salaried players).

    13. Record Label Advance

    Paid to artist as part of signing a deal.

    14. Record Label Support

    Money from label for recording or tour support.

    15. Retail Sales

    Revenue generated from selling physical music in retail stores or via mailorder. Paid to artist/performer by your label, or digital aggregator like CD Baby.

    16. Digital Sales

    Revenue generated from selling music digitally/online. Paid to artist/performer by your label, or digital aggregator like CD Baby or Tunecore.

    17. Sales at Shows

    Revenue generated from selling recordings of music at shows/live performances. Paid to artist/performer directly by fans.

    18. Interactive Service Payments

    Revenue generated when your music is streamed on on-demand services (Rhapsody, Spotify, Rdio). Paid to artist/performer by your label, or digital aggregator like CD Baby or Tunecore.

    19. Digital Performance Royalties

    Revenue generated when your sound recordings are played on internet radio, Sirius XM, Pandora. Paid to performers by SoundExchange.

    20. AARC Royalties

    Collected for digital recording of your songs, foreign private copying levies, and foreign record rental royalties, distributed to US artists by AARC.

    21. Neighboring Rights Royalties

    Collected for the foreign performance of your recordings.

    22. AFM/Secondary Markets Fund

    Paid to performers on recordings used in TV and other secondary uses.

    23. AFM/Sound Recording Special Payments

    Paid to performers for the sales of recorded music.

    24. AFTRA Contingent Scale

    Payments paid to performers when a recording hits certain sales plateaus.

    25. Label Settlements

    Payments from labels to recording artists for litigation settlements (, Limewire).

    26. Session Musician/Sideman Fees for Studio Work

    Revenue paid to you for playing in a studio. Paid by label, producer or artist, depending on situation.

    27. Session Musician/Sideman Fees for Live Work

    Revenue paid to you for playing in a live setting. Paid by label, producer or artist, depending on situation.

    28. AFM/AFTRA Payments

    Payments from the AFM/AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, which distributes recording and performance royalties to non-featured artists.

    29. Music Teacher

    Revenue generated from teaching your musical craft.

    30. Producer

    Money from producing another artists’ work in the studio or in a live setting.

    31. Honoraria or Speakers Fees

    Revenue generated from selling branded merchandise (t-shirts, hoodies, posters, etc.). Paid to artist/performer by fans.

    33. Fan Club

    Money directly from fans who are subscribing to your fan club

    34. YouTube Partner Program

    Shared advertising revenue, paid to partners by YouTube

    35. Ad Revenue

    Or other miscellaneous income from your website properties (click-thrus, commissions on Amazon sales, etc.)

    36. Persona Licensing

    Payments from a brand that is licensing your name or likeness (video games, comic books, etc)

    37. Product Endorsements

    Payments from a brand for you endorsing or using their product

    38. Acting

    In television, movies, commercials

    39. Fan Funding

    Money directly from fans to support an upcoming recording project or tour (Kickstarter, Pledge Music)

    40. Sponsorship

    Corporate support for a tour, or for your band/ensemble

    41. Grants

    From foundations, state or federal agencies

    42. Arts Administrator

    Money paid to you specifically for managing the administrative aspects of a group that you are a member of.