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getting paid as a writer only from CD sales.


Let's say I co-wrote some songs that ended up on a CD but I was not the artist/ not in the band.
Let's also say that there is no dispute that I did so, ie anyone involved @ any level would agree that I was the co-writer.

How do i get paid from sales (not airplay which I i know would be ASCAP/BMI etc).
eg If 20,000 CDs sell & I get a check, who/where does it come from?

Would there be any difference if (1) the artist was independant rather than signed (2) the predominant medium for sales was mp3s not cds?



Silver Supporting Member
It doesn't matter who wrote the song....it matters who owns the publishing.

Here's one scenario: you wrote a song. You got it published by signing a contract with Country Stars Publishing. They went out and found an artist to cut it. Any royalties due from that song are paid to the Country Stars Publishing. Then CSP pays you (the writer) whatever cut you agreed to in your contract with them....usually 50%. This is called "the writer's share". If you there are multiple writers, they all split the writer's share between them.

If you wrote the song and found an artist to cut it all by yourself then you own 100% of the publishing and get all the money yourself. You are, in essence, a publishing company.

Here's a link that gives a quickie explanation of publishing.


It changes a lot.
Here it is now.
Digital Downloads: The songwriter / publisher statutory rate for permanent digital downloads is 9.1¢ (with 1.75¢ per minute for songs over 5 minutes).
CD/Physical Product: The mechanical CD royalty rate is 9.1¢ per composition (sometimes called the "minimum statutory rate) or 1.75¢ per minute for songs over 5 minutes (the latter timing royalty being sometimes referred to as the "long song" rate).

This statutory mechanical rate represents the songwriter/music publishing royalties payable for songs contained on all physical audio recordings which are made and distributed from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2012.


Gold Supporting Member
Sales of CDs (or downloads for that matter) trigger the mechanical royalty. If the deal calls for 100% of statutory rate, it is 9.1 cents per song/per unit. As already stated, this gets paid to the publisher (or administrator, like Harry Fox Agency) and the publisher and writer share the mechanicals, per their agreement.