How do I Collect all my Royalties from Digital Distribution?

How do I Collect all my Royalties from Digital Distribution?

To collect all your royalties from digital distribution, you need to distribute your music through a distributor, register to a PRO as a songwriter, register to a PRO as a publisher, register to an Admin Publishing Company, and register to SoundExchange. Let’s break down each of these and where you can register for each to collect the most royalties.

Distribution Company

A distribution company is a company that gets your music onto streaming platforms and digital music stores.

Your distribution company will also collect all of your mechanical royalties from purchased music and give it to you.

Mechanical royalties are a royalty paid to a songwriter whenever their song is made.

With your mechanical royalty, you earn 9.1 cents everytime an album or single with your music is sold. You also earn a percentage from streaming platforms on your mechanical royalty as well. Both of these mechanical royalties are passed to you through your distribution company when the mechanical royalty is generated in the United States. Mechanical royalties earned outside the United States are collected by an Admin Publishing Company (more details on this below).

You can get free distribution and keep 100% of your royalties and rights with DISTRO100.

PRO For a Songwriter

A songwriter’s PRO collects 50% of your composition performance royalty from both interactive and non-interactive streaming platforms.

Composition performance royalties are paid to a songwriter and publisher whenever their song is played on streaming platforms.

Both the songwriter and the publisher need a PRO.


  • BMI (They keep 12% of your royalties)
  • ASCAP (They keep 12% of your royalties)
  • SESAC (Then keep an undisclosed amount of your royalties)

We break down how to choose a PRO here.

PRO For a Publisher

A publisher’s PRO or Admin Publishing Company collect the other 50% of your composition performance royalty from both interactive and non-interactive streaming platforms.

Your publisher’s PRO does not have to belong to the same PRO as your songwriter PRO.

If you don’t have a publisher, you can be your own publisher by registering to a PRO as a publisher yourself, registering to an admin publishing company, or if you register to BMI as a songwriter and don’t have a PRO for the publishing side of your music, BMI will automatically give you all your royalties.

Admin Publishing Company

Alternatively, you can use an Admin Publishing Company to collect your publishing portion of your composition performance royalty.

An Admin Publishing Company will also collect your foreign mechanical royalties.

Admin Publishing Companies:

  • CD Baby Pro (They keep 30% of your royalties)
  • TuneCore Publishing (They keep 15% of your royalties)
  • Songtrust (They keep 15% of your royalties)
  • Audiam (They keep 0% of royalties from your YouTube channel and 25% of the royalties on other YouTube channels)
  • Kobalt (Must be signed to them. Percent of royalties they keep is undisclosed.)

SoundExchange collects royalties for the featured artists, non-featured artist(s), and the sound recording copyright owner.

SoundExchange splits these royalties:

  • 50% to label or rights owner
  • 45% to the featured artist
  • 5% to the non-feature artist(s).

SoundExchange keeps 7% of the total royalties.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice provided by an attorney of your choosing. TuneGO, Inc. does not warrant or represent that the information in this post is accurate for all people or in all circumstances and encourages you to seek qualified legal counsel in all instances. TuneGO, Inc. will not be responsible for your reliance on any information contained in this article.

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