Working as a mixing/audio engineer can be tough sometimes. The long hours in the studio, and the tremendous efforts can be devastating.
And you might end up feeling a bit overwhelmed. But at least, in the end, you get royalties over your work. Or do you?
Sadly, you probably won’t get any royalties for your mixes unless you discuss it with the proper publishing company first.
Usually, one of these two things will happen. Either you’ll get paid for the hours you put in, or you’ll get paid per song.
What Royalties Can You Get?
As a mixing engineer, you are entitled to a part of the “Sound Recording” / “Master” royalties resulting from streams of digital recordings.
The Master rights usually belong to the artist, the label, the recording studio, and other affiliates that sincerely helped to the recording/mixing process.
Therefore, you have to be registered as an affiliate/ “Creative Participant” in order to get royalties over your work.
It’s also important to acknowledge that the Master copyright is separate from the Songwriting copyright, therefore, even if you mix covers or remixes, you’re still entitled to royalties resulting from streams of that digital recording.
Why Are Master Royalties Separate?
As written above, the reason that “master royalties” aren’t included inside the rest of the Songwriting copyright is covers.
Since you can record multiple versions to a single song, there can be a situation when you have to separate the copyrights and give the songwriting copyrights to the writers of the song, and the sound recording copyright to the performer and his crew.
What Can You Do To Get More Royalties?
There are two kinds of royalties you can reach out to. One is obvious, and the other will require you to do some extra work.
Do This To Get Master Royalties
To get some of the master royalties, you have to be signed as an affiliate in the publishing company.
And of course, if you want to get yourself signed, you better discuss it with them before you do anything related to the job.
Otherwise, you might find yourself spending too much time on tasks that don’t get you any further in your career.
Do This To Get Points/Songwriting Royalties
Getting this type of royalties as a mixing engineer is pretty tough, but through hard work, I believe it’s possible.
Basically, if you look at the definition of a mixing engineer, you would think that there is no way for a mixing engineer to get this kind of royalties, and you would be right.
So to do so, you’ll need to do some work that isn’t directly related to your job.
So, What Should You Do?
Do some work that is related to the creative part of the song.
When you’re mixing a project, try and find a way to manipulate some elements, so they create a new melody in the song.
One way to do so is by messing with pitch modulators and reverses, but actually, anything creative that comes up in your mind will be just fine.
After you’ve created something new in the song, send it to the producers and ask them what they think about it.
If they liked it, you can reach out and ask for royalties for the changes you’ve made.
Is it always going to work – no. But, it’s definitely worth the shot.
Is It Necessary To Always Insist On Royalties?
Absolutely Not. If you find a job that can get you a better resume, or even a job with a good salary, you should definitely take it.
Even though getting royalties can slowly make you a great passive income, you should not always insist on getting them, because if you do, you might find yourself without any jobs.
My recommendation is sensing the situation and insisting accordingly.
If I am applying to a job in a big studio, or a job that’s related to a well-known artist, I won’t be insisting that much on royalties.
But, if I am applying to a job that’s not that big, I will risk losing it to get the royalties.
Can You Get More Royalties Overtime?
The short answer – YES.
If you practice the techniques that are written above, and you improve your resume over time, you can definitely expect to get royalties more often.
The reasons for this are relatively simple:
- Over time, you become more and more experienced, and you build a bit of a brand that can help you when you’re bargaining with the record labels.
- As you get more experienced, it will become easier for you to come up with new creative ideas for the songs.
- Sometimes you’ll get to work with people you have already worked with. So, assuming your former deal included you getting royalties, it will easy to ask it again.
Do Music Producers Get More Royalties?
The music producer is an inevitable part of any song. He/She is the thing that brings the song to life.
Of course, every song needs a mixing engineer as well, but since the music producer usually has an impact on the creative part as well, he gets more royalties than the mixing engineer.
Sometimes, the label might treat the producer as a freelancer, and pay him a flat fee through a Work for Hire Agreement.
But usually, producers also get paid through music royalties that are also known as points.
What Are Points?
Points are the percentage that the producer cuts off from the total revenue earned by the song (One point equals 1% of the revenue).
Other referrals for Producer Points are points, album points, producer royalties, and producer percentage.
There are two common scenarios for giving points:
- The producer gets a cut from the album revenues – If the same producer is involved in all of the songs in an album, he will probably get paid by 2-5 points of the total revenues.
- The producer gets a cut from specific songs in the album – If the producer is only involved in some of the songs in the album, he will probably get paid by his points multiply by the songs he worked for divided by the total number of songs.For example: If the producer gets 4 points on three songs on an album that includes six songs, he will get 3/6 of 4 percent of the music royalties earned by the album, equalling 2% of the total album revenues.
If you want to understand this topic a lot better go check out this article that I’ve written – “Royalties Beatmakers Get – Finally Explained!” where I explain exactly what you need to know, in the simplest way I can.
Do Producers Get Songwriting Royalties?
Traditionally, producers shouldn’t get songwriting royalties. However, it is absolutely possible.
If the producer creates a new idea, or even if he influences the melody, the drums, or any other element of the songwriting, he can get songwriting royalties in addition to points for his other work on the project.