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If you’re a musician, songwriter, or music publisher, mechanical royalties likely make up a significant portion of your income. As a music lawyer in Houston, Hay Law Group understands the ins and outs of mechanical royalties. We can help make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for your original recordings.
For more help understanding mechanical royalties, or to request legal representation from a music lawyer in Texas, please contact us today.
What are Mechanical Royalties?
A mechanical royalty is a payment made to a music publisher or songwriter when a copy of their song is created or sold, depending on the circumstances. How mechanical royalties are paid out varies by country, and each band, label, and publisher may have
Who Pays Mechanical Royalties?
Record labels and download providers must obtain a mechanical license from the publisher or copyright owner to reproduce and distribute music. This is the organization responsible for paying mechanical royalties. For your reference, a reproduction of a song may include a CD, digital album, interactive stream, or even a ringtone.
Who Collects Mechanical Royalties?
In general, mechanical royalties go to the songwriter, which is also true of performing rights royalties. If a songwriter has a publishing deal, the publisher receives a percentage of the income. The songwriter may choose whether to share the money with other members of the band who helped perform the song, but this is not an obligation.
No matter which choice you make, it’s vital to ensure everyone is on the same page about where the money will go when it starts rolling in. This is one instance where you should hire a music lawyer in Houston. We’ll make sure you’re obeying the law, reducing legal risk, and getting everything in writing.
How are Mechanical Royalties Collected?
Many songwriters mistakenly believe that being a member of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), or Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC) will earn them their mechanical royalties by default. However, this is not true. To be paid what you deserve, you must register with a collection society that deals specifically in mechanicals.
In the U.S., mechanical licenses are issued, and royalties are collected to be paid out, by the Harry Fox Agency. If you plan to distribute your music internationally, you must register with the groups that handle these matters in different countries. Your manager or publisher can assist with this task.
What About Cover Songs?
After a song has been recorded and released to the public for the first time, other artists may obtain a compulsory mechanical license. This earns them the right to cover the same composition in their own unique way.
Should you get a share of the royalties if you take an existing track and turn it into a hit? The law says you have no claim on mechanicals for cover songs, and while it’s up to the original songwriter to decide whether they will share the royalties with you, it’s unlikely that most would even entertain the thought.
Receive Legal Advice Regarding Mechanical Royalties
Are you being denied mechanicals you believe you deserve? Have you discovered someone covered your song without obtaining a compulsory mechanical license? Hay Law Group can help you settle these and other issues related to mechanical royalties. We routinely assist with ensuring fair royalty payments and mechanical licenses to protect your interests in the music business.
To discuss your legal needs with a music law attorney in Houston, please contact Hay Law Group and request a free 15-minute telephone consultation.