Foreign Country Royalties


Another major source of income for many U.S. writers and publishers are the performance, mechanical, synchronization, video and artist royalties generated in foreign countries. In the area of successful songs, television themes and film or TV underscore, often more than 50% of a writer's and publisher's income is generated by uses in countries outside of the U.S. Performances (radio, television, Internet, movie theaters, live, etc.) are handled by foreign performing rights societies through reciprocal agreements, with the monies collected for U.S. works forwarded to the U.S. performing right organizations for distribution.

Mechanical royalties - as opposed to the U.S. statutory rate - are computed on a percentage of the dealer price or the suggested retail list price of the audio recording. These royalties are usually collected by the mechanical right society in each country and then paid to the music publisher who, in turn, pays the songwriter.

In these as well as other royalty-generating areas, foreign laws and practices are different than those in the U.S. and, therefore, effective and knowledgeable representation (whether by your performing rights society, publisher or other representative) is a necessity for proper collection in this area.

© 2008 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, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Music Sales Group and