How We're Getting Your Mechanicals From Downloads

October 4, 2012

By  TuneCore Music Publishing Administration

What is a mechanical from a download?

Mechanicals from downloads aka mechanical royalties: A mechanical royalty is a royalty paid to a songwriter whenever a copy of his or her composition is pressed, sold or downloaded.

What happens when a song is downloaded in the U.S. or Mexico?

Whenever a song is downloaded in the U.S. or Mexico (e.g. on iTunes or Amazon) a mechanical royalty is paid to the Master owner. It is then up to the Master owner who has distributed the song to pay the statutory mechanical to the songwriter/publisher (the current rate in the U.S. is $.091 per download). So if you are the master owner and the artist, you receive your mechanical royalties for downloads purchased in these territories with your TuneCore distribution payments.

What happens when a song is downloaded outside of the U.S. or Mexico?

For any download outside of the U.S. and Mexico (e.g .on iTunes or AmazonMP3), a mechanical royalty between 8% and 10% of retail price is deducted and paid to the local collection society (e.g. JASRAC in Japan, MCPS in the UK, GEMA in Germany etc.).

In order to receive this royalty you need to be affiliated with each one of these entities and also individually register each one of your compositions separately with each society. If these societies are not notified properly that your compositions exist, you do not get paid. Period!

Another interesting point that most songwriters are not aware of is that not all of the societies will let you affiliate with them directly. Yes, you read that right.

Two prime examples of this are Japan and Australia. If you are already affiliated as a songwriter with any other society in the world (like ASCAP, BMI, PRS/MCPS, GEMA, SACEM, etc.) you cannot become a member of JASRAC in Japan or APRA/ AMCOS in Australia.

In both cases you must also be a resident of that country. So without a publishing administrator like TuneCore, you cannot receive your mechanical royalties in those territories.

So how do I become affiliated with each collection society?

This whole process of affiliating with each entity will cost you upwards of $7,000, plus countless hours of your time—time you can better use to create, perform and promote. Language barriers can also make this a painful process. Every time you release new compositions, you would need to submit new registration forms for each territory.


TuneCore’s Music Publishing Administration service handles all of this for you. We register your compositions as your administrator. You will still be listed as the publisher (if you have previously affiliated as one). TuneCore will be listed as the administrator only. We submit registrations electronically, within one week of receiving your information.

If you release songs through TuneCore, you should send us the new titles to be registered by submitting the % you control through your TuneCore Composition Manager (click here to learn more about how that works in your account).

If the compositions have been released by another artist, label or distributor outside of TuneCore, you can fill out the registration form here.

When will I get paid?

One of the most common questions we’re asked iswhen will I get paid? Well, that depends on the collecting society, but this process usually takes between twelve and eighteen months. Why? Some of the societies account quarterly and some every six months.

Also, if your mechanical royalties have been sitting unclaimed, the society will have to sort through their back log of data to locate your mechanicals due for the downloads from previous quarters.

Unprecedented power to get you more money.

One of the big advantages of hiring TuneCore to collect your mechanicals is the built-in audit trail. If you distribute songs through TuneCore we have your sales data.

We use this data to notify each society of the sales that occurred in the digital stores in their territory, so the society can then release any funds being held for your previously unclaimed songs. This is a key point that should not be overlooked: never in the history of publishing administration has any entity had the ability to do this, and it results in more accurate and complete accountings.

What countries are covered by TuneCore’s Publishing Administaration?

The major territories currently covered by our service:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Now go and write that next hit song and let us make sure you receive your mechanicals!

Jamie Purpora
President TuneCore Music Publishing Administration