13 Different Ways To Make Money From Your Songs

By Jeff Price & Jamie Purpora

In today’s world your songs can generate money and royalties via the traditional “Physical/Analog” music industry or the new “Digital” music industry. There are in fact 13 different and specifics ways that you as a songwriter can make this money off of your songs.

Note – each income stream and type of royalty is generated off the original recording of a song (i.e. the Beatles version of Paul McCartney’s song “Yesterday”) or off of a cover of the song (i.e. if multiple artists cover the song, the song becomes an “x” factor multiplier for revenue). In the case of “Yesterday,” there are over 25,000 covers.

We’ve broken these income types into two categories:

-Physical/Analog Songwriter Royalties and Revenue
-Digital Songwriter Royalties and Revenue

Click here to download our newest TuneCore Survival Manual: 13 Different Ways To Make Money From Your Music

Related to this article: The Global Songwriter Shell Game

  • Neat, thanks for the info.

    • Anonymous

      very welcome!


  • Pitchkettle

    Good info here! Thanks!

  • Jaybe1333

    So, we know where is generated and who should pay.  But how the writer gets the money?

  • Jaybe1333

    So, we know where is generated and who should pay.  But how the writer gets the money?

    • Anonymous


      Now that is the right question to ask!!

      The problem is no infrastructure exists to serve the needs of the new music industry
      It’s why we also launched http://www.tunecore.com/songwriter

      Thank You

      Jeff Price

      • William A Mcmillan


        If a member subscribes to your “Songwriter Service”, will it address all 13 revenue sources, or will there still be gaps in the collection effort? — Bill

        • Anonymous

          Hello William,

          Yes, we will administer worldwide for all income types listed.

          Thank You!



          •  What if I use TuneCore but also other distributor for the stores you don’t cover, will the Songwriter Service be helpful to me? I mean, will you collect the songwriter royalties from other stores you don’t cover?

          • Anonymous


            yes, the songwriter service will get you your royalties from all digital stores, regardless of if TuneCore did the distribution.
            TuneCore Songwriter Service collects the following types of royalties:
            • Mechanicals
            • Streaming Mechanicals
            • Download Mechanicals
            • Print
            • Ringtones
            • Synchronization
            • Master Use Fees (from Synchronization uses)
            • Direct Digital Performance (bypassing ASCAP/BMI and SESAC with digital sources/stores) • Performance (radio/TV)
            • Digital Performance (streaming, satellite radio)
            • Live Performance

          • TuneCoreSongwriterInfo



            Yes! You can register songs with us that are NOT distributed
            through TuneCore by simply submitting a registration form to us via email.
            Please visit the following attached link for further instructions and to
            retrieve this form. http://pub.help.tunecore.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/162


            Thank you,


            Best Regards,



  • Great information! I like the explanations of each income source.

  • Bulimiatron


  • Hi I’m with BMI wright now don’t they do that http://www.ElvisCarden.com carinden@juno.com

    • Anonymous


      no, they dont. BMI only represent one of the six legal copyrights you get when you create a song – the right of Public Performance. THey do not represent the right of Reproduction which earn you mechanical royalties
      They also do not represent the rights of:

      Public Display
      Digital Transmission

      In other words, they only pick up a small portion of your money.

      TuneCore Songwriter Service collects the following types of royalties:
      • Mechanicals
      • Streaming Mechanicals
      • Download Mechanicals
      • Print
      • Ringtones
      • Synchronization
      • Master Use Fees (from Synchronization uses)
      • Direct Digital Performance (bypassing ASCAP/BMI and SESAC with digital sources/stores) • Performance (radio/TV)
      • Digital Performance (streaming, satellite radio)
      • Live Performance

      BMI, ASCAP and SESAC collect the following:

      • Performance (radio/TV)
      • Digital Performance (streaming, satellite radio)
      • Live Performance

      TuneCore monitors, audits and gets this money from BMI, ASCAP and SESAC back to you.

      The mechanical royalties due from streams, downloads (outside of the US & Mexico) and physical sales are not collected by performance societies like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. The digital stores that stream and sell downloads do not have your songwriter information, therefore the money goes unclaimed. The TuneCore Songwriter Service registers your information with the stores, song by song, so you get paid.

      We also license and collect royalties for print, ringtones, synchronization fees (for film and TV licenses) and collect directly from some digital stores for streaming performances. By going direct to the digital stores for streaming performance, we bypass ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and get you more money.

      So being affiliated with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC does not get you all of your money!

      more on this can be found here: http://www.tunecore.com/songwriter

  • This is great. Thanks for sharing this information.  I’m downloading the TuneCore Survival Manual right now. I’ll be reading this in the next month. Thanks for helping musicians and songwriters alike.

  • Bourne2havefun

    thankd download now

  • All comments are very interesting.

    I’ll be downloading this manual shortly,speaking as an Indepentent Artist its Nice to know that theres someone/company such as Tunecore in your corner, who is not just genuienly trying to help, but certainly making the efforts the give back most of the Hard working Indepentent Artist Monies.

    Unlike these Greedy Record Labels/Companies who rip off there own artist every day of the week. You know what I mean:
    You make a track – which wouldn’t be created without you, your hard work, everybody loves it, you get 20% – 10% if you dont kiss ass !
    Label walks away with a minimum of 80% of your creation !!
    Plus dont forget they also OWN your Masters.
    Thats taking the piss….Do the maths ??

    ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC doesn’t seem to be helping the Artist which they are suppose to be representing  – collecting less than half the monies it owes us whats up with that ?
    Makes you think what cosy relationship is going on with them & the lables?

    Its highly convient that theres no infrastructure exists to serve the needs of the new music industry ??
    Would this be because we would have a lot more money in our accounts than they want us to have…..

    Check this out :

  • Cliffordjarrett

    If I record a record using another artist instrumentals,but using my original copywritten lyrics; is it legal for me to sale my music by using TuneCore or ITunes?

  • Cliffordjarrett

    If I record a record using another artist instrumentals,but using my original copywritten lyrics; is it legal for me to sale my music by using TuneCore or ITunes?

    • Anonymous

      In order to use another artist’s instrumentals with your lyrics, you would need permission from the copyright holder of the instrumentals.

    • Anonymous

      it is if you have gotten the rights to the other artists recordings and compositions

    • Chriskav

      you need a ‘mechanical’ licence

      • Anonymous

        you also need a license to the “master” recordings (unless you are going to re-record)
        if you license the original recording or re-record, but change the original work by adding lyrics (as it was an instrumental) you have now created a “derivative” work.
        You then need the person that wrote the song to issue you a license, this would not be a mechanical as there is compulsory law in the US for a derivative work

  • Emailer

    ha stonehenge = 18″!

  • Onthego5

    I have a song listed through tune core on i tunes and it seems that there are very little download purchases because the preview time for the song is long enough for people to hear (1.30) the song so they don’t have to purchase it. I remember when the preview song was only 30 sec. long.

    • Tjay

      What did you do to promote the song? If you haven’t done any promo, chances are that you will not have any sales at all. Preview time has no correlation with sales, other than the longer the more sales. If your music pops up on torrent, you know that there are people who desire to hear your music. If no one cares, it’s either because people don’t get hooked by your music or they don’t know about it because you haven’t let them know, i.e. haven’t promoted it enough.

      Good luck!

    • I thought if people liked it enough the impulse to “have to have it” would prompt purchase.

    • JamesRocks33

      I agree with TJay. It’s important to promote your music correctly if you’re looking to increase albums sales. I used HypeGenius.com for my band’s promotion and that did huge things for our album sales. That said, everyone’s music is different. Don’t be afraid to do your research and try out a  few things.

  • Thank you for this great resource. Musicians often don’t think beyond the joy of getting songs out there so its good to be reminded that our work is “our work’….

  • Manye42

    listing to my single. reverbnation.com/bizymany?popup_render%fartist%2fupload_photo%2f2139024%3from_activate%3Dtrue 

  • Kdotson23

    Why won’t the Manual dowload? is there a problem with it?

    • Anonymous

      Are you able to try downloading on Safari, Firefox, or Chrome? Just checked on all three and it worked!

  • JMarsBEATS


  • Gurjit Singh Khehra

    Thank You Very Much…..I’ll Read it.
    Wiki For You | Help and How To Tutorials

  • Sikxhilton

    Dear Tune Core,
    I have tried multiple times to correspond with your “help” to no avail. So I will post it here, maybe the boss man “Jeff” will see it!
    the last 5 tracks of my album are in the wrong format. they are 32 bit 2822 kbps wav. files, not 16 bit 1411 kbps wav files…i released my album yesterday through your site, and after I released the album, I noticed that i had the wrong format of files for the last  5 songs, For some reason Tune Core let me release this album with the last  5 songs in the wrong format? How do I change the songs without  taking down the album and then have to pay again for a new release.
    Please let me know “HELP” with what i need to do in order for me to change those last  5 songs on my album to the correct format.
    “Within and When” 

    • Sikxhilton

      Hello Steve-Support-Tune Core,Thank you so much for the quick response and for all the help-instructions!!!
      This is a reply to the comment that I posted here, requested upon my completion of all the instructions listed in your message.
      I am finished uploading the songs that are now in the proper format, and my album is ready for release.
      Please finalize and release my album “Within and When” 859707641289 to stores now.
      Thanks again for all the help!!!
      Tune Core’s services and support team rules!!!


      ~Sikx Hilton~

  • Author7211

    Question? My music is on itunes through tunecore and it streams on myspace and other sites and I am wondering how much myself as an artist gets paid. And I advertise like crazy but I am wondering how everything really works?

  • Im a lyricist how do i go about putting my music on the map

  • AmbArmAn/W@lkyM@n

    Hey…! Hi or Hello and Hold it Here…do i can include More Tracks in Media Player Posted..?  Thanks

    • Anonymous

      Yup, you can always update your media players to add or remove tracks that you’ve distributed through your TuneCore account.

  • Make it slap Productions

    What Time on the second and Fourth  wed. Do the Systems update Transactions?

  • I would like to thank everyone who have listened to my Music and have either purchased it or purchased it and told others to purchase. It is my Pleasure and Honor to write the Songs that touch your Hearts and Soul. For You who have not heard my Songs , I welcome You to become a listener, a Fan and a collector. For more info. contact me at allbusinessconsultingllc.net

  • Heinz Schall

    Hi, I’m in
    Germany and I have decided for TuneCore because it is the best business
    basis, I think. But what about your Songwriter Service, it is for me as
    good although I am a german, or do I have any disadvantages in buying?

    • Anonymous



      Thank you for your
      interest in TuneCore’s Songwriter Service and for your positive feedback.
      Heinz, if your songs have been exploited in anyway then our service can
      definitely benefit you! The great thing about our service is that it is
      available worldwide and we will collect for you on a worldwide basis! Heinz,
      please refer to the brief summary  below of what the songwriter service
      entails below.


      Please don’t hesitate
      to contact us should you have any further questions and/or concerns.


      To sign up for the
      Songwriter Service please go to www.tunecore.com/songwriters


      There you can sign up
      by clicking the “join now” button.  If you have questions about
      the service click the questions/learn more button or please contact us at songwriters@tunecore.com.


      Or please visit our
      FAQ page for more information. http://pub.help.tunecore.com/app/home



      TuneCore Publishing
      /Songwriter Service:


      As a songwriter, there
      are laws around the world that require you to be paid additional money each
      time your song is downloaded, streamed or played publicly.  The TuneCore
      Songwriter Service will get this money for you.  If you don’t collect it,
      it’s given to Warner, Sony, EMI and Universal, amongst others.


      Where Is My Additional
      Songwriter Money Coming From?

      Songwriters must be
      paid mechanical royalties for downloads and streams.  Outside of the US
      & Mexico, mechanical royalties are paid by the digital stores to copyright
      collection organizations.   These foreign collection organizations (i.e. 
      MCPS, GEMA, JASRAC etc.) do not have your songwriter information.  In
      addition, there is no one showing up on your behalf to get your money. 
      The majors (Warner, Universal, EMI, Sony) get this “unidentified
      money” and split it amongst themselves.  We will get you paid before
      they take it.


      What About Internet
      Streams Of My Songs?

      Money from Streams is
      the fastest growing for songwriters.  With the US launch of Spotify and
      Apple’s iMatch service, it will grow even more.  Each time your song is
      streamed you are owed two additional songwriter royalties:

      a mechanical royalty

      a public performance royalty. 


      We are doing direct
      collection deals for songwriters with stores like Apple for iMatch and Spotify
      etc for both.  This will get you more money, more quickly with more
      transparency. Unlike blanket licenses used by ASCAP/BMI/SESAC that benefit only
      the most popular songwriters, all members of the TuneCore Songwriting Service
      will receive money because you’ll be paid on a per stream basis. 


      What About

      We are not replacing
      ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, for collecting money from jukeboxes, radio, venues,
      etc…but we are going to step in where there is a lack of efficiency and
      effort and get songwriters paid. Artists can be members of ASCAP/BMI/SESAC and
      still have TuneCore perform its service.


      What Services Will The
      TuneCore Songwriter Service Provide?

      The licensing and collection of your songwriter revenue for: synchronization,
      mechanical, master, print, performance, streaming performance, streaming
      mechanical and digital downloads

      Quarterly payments and detailed accountings (with as close to accounting real
      time coming) in your TuneCore account.

      Policing your songwriter earnings by matching them up with your distribution
      earnings for downloads and streaming as well as policing for copyright


      What Does It Cost?

      Set Up Fee:

      There is a limited
      time offer set up fee of $49.99 per songwriter.  There will be no
      additional annual charge.  The fee covers costs to register your songs
      with the global organizations and services that use, license, collect and pay
      out money on your songs.


      Collection Fee:

      TuneCore receives 10%
      of the money it is able to directly collect and get back to you.



      Thank you!

  • Gravity4000

    i already sign up…send info plz

  • Khaled Aziz

    you should cheek this program it will help you a lot in your music