Tag Archives: Royalty

Money For Performances By Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec

Money For Performances – ASCAP

By Todd Brabec, ASCAP Executive VP of Membership and Jeff Brabec

One of the largest sources of income for songwriters, composers and music publishers is the money received for performances of a writer’s work on radio, television and cable stations, concert halls, wired music services, websites and other outlets for music. These monies – over 4 billion dollars worldwide – are collected by performing right organizations (PROs) in all major countries of the world and are based on the Copyright Law – a law which recognizes that a writers creation is a property right and that permission and a payment must be made, in most cases, when it is used.

The monies from this area can be substantial. For example, a #1 song can easily generate over $1,000,000 in a few short years with a successful TV series theme song earning well over $100,000 a year in worldwide writer and publisher earnings.

Writers and publishers join a PRO, which in turn, negotiates license fee agreements with the users of music, collects the money and pays it back to writers and publishers based on surveys of performances of the works performed in the many areas licensed (radio, TV, etc).

The largest PRO in the world is writer and publisher owned ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). In addition to the collection and payment of royalties and worldwide representation, member benefits include musical instrument, studio and tour liability insurance, health insurance, discounts on musical instruments and equipment, a credit union and much more.

© 2007 Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec
For more information, check out the book Music, Money and Success: The Insider’s Guide To Making Money In The Music Business (Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales/502 pages) available for sale at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Music Sales Group and http://www.musicandmoney.com.

Money For Performances By Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec


Copyright is valuable – ‘The Birthday Song’ earns $2 Million a year in royalties by : Vanessa Kaster, Esq

Would you have guessed that the song, ‘Happy Birthday to You’ generates an estimated $2 million dollars a year in royalties?  (and has earned this much annually since 1996.)  It’s only eight measures long, spans an octave and was written for children …but it’s a BIG money maker.

The song has appeared in over 140 movies, in countless advertisements for products ranging from cars to cereals to insurance to paper products and pet stores… and was featured in the world’s first singing telegram in 1933.   Royalties are earned for public performances of the song as well as its use in movies, television shows, advertisements, music boxes, theatrical productions and the like.  (Just an fyi… singing it around the dinner table or serenading your friend is a royalty-free private performance.)

‘Happy Birthday to You’ was written by two sisters… one was an educator and the other a composer.  They were knowledgeable about copyright law and took steps to register their work for copyright protection.  They may not have guessed that their song would become one of the most popular songs in the 20th Century…. earning over an estimated $45 million dollars to date.  (Spending $35 to register your music for copyright protection pays off –> http://t.co/ynaHCbX )

Copyright is valuable – ‘The Birthday Song’ earns $2 Million a year in royalties

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