OK I may not be talking millions here. But small amounts of revenue can be accrued by the most lightly active and independent musicians. If you perform gigs at live music venues, release and sell your own music or get play on the more random or niche radio shows out there, we can get some reimbursement for our labours of love and sorrow.
1. Join the PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd)
Register any recordings and releases (if you do not have a label to do this for you) and acquire a unique ISRC code for each track. This needs to be included in the metadata during the mastering process.
If you send your music to some of the many less mainstream radio shows and stations worldwide, you may get some airplay and this can also accumulate. I have enjoyed some nice payments from the PPL with airplay here in UK (by Peel inspired Dandelion Radio, On the Wire & other BBC radio shows) and abroad.
2. Join the PRS for music
By joining the PRS in the UK you can claim for each performance in a venue that is registered with a PRS music license. Most venues need this – even sandwich shops have to have licenses to play music in public. Which has its pros and cons I know, but as a musician there are moneys allocated by registering your tracks/setlist even if it was a small gig playing only to the bar staff.
I actually only started getting payments from the PRS after signing up to Sentric Music. As payment they take a small percentage from music royalties they claim for you. Let them know when your music is played on any radio show you know about and tell them of live shows with set list. They also send out regular requests for music for adverts for TV etc. Now that can be artist’s dream come true music royalties wise.
3. Sell your music direct online
I know most of the music sales revenue is enjoyed by the few, but on sites like CD Baby and Bandcamp you can set a price for your independent releases and you receive most of the income. Through CD Baby you can also get digital distribution onto the likes of iTunes and Spotify. I like that on Bandcamp you can choose to give away your music for free, set a price per download/purchase or suggest a minimum amount. This worked very well for my latest independent album. A few showed their appreciation by paying more than twice the minimum price.
So we can’t all be making loads of money from our music but you could be missing out on some moneys you are due. I have only shared a few avenues of revenue I know of and reap rewards from by sharing my weird creative music. There’s also the royalty free music route. Oodles more advice and information is out there including this blog by Sentric Music.