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A Guide to Music Publishing Part II: Performance, Sync, and Print Royalties

Last updated: December 30, 2022
Written by Bradley J Simons

Reading time: 5-7 minutes

Hey everyone! Ok we're on post two of our Music Publishing blog series. We hope you learned a bit from Part I, Mechanical Royalties. I'm hoping to keep these posts a bit shorter so that they are easier to digest, however I think we can squeeze in a few types of royalties in this post. So today we are going to talk about performance royalties, sync royalties, and print royalties, what they are, show some examples, and talk about how to collect these royalties.

Performance Royalties

What Are Performance Royalties?

Simply put, the songwriter and the publisher of a particular song are owed a performance royalty every time that song is "broadcast" or "performed" in public.


  • Played on internet radio

  • Played on terrestrial radio (FM and AM radio)

  • Played on online streaming services

  • Performed at live venues or clubs. This includes performances by yourself, by a cover band, or even by a DJ

  • How to Collect:

    These royalties are collected through a Performing Rights Organization, otherwise known as PROS. As a songwriter, you'll need to register your works with one of the PROS in your country, and they will collect your performance royalties for you.

    Here are the main ones in the United States and Canada:

    United States:


    Sync Royalties

    What Are Sync Royalties?

    Sync royalties are earned when the songwriter and publishers works are synchronized with visual media of any kind. This is typically used for TV shows and movies, but it does extend into any visual element. The trend as of late has been for companies to buyout all rights to the works, which results in a large upfront payment, however no royalty payments during the use.


  • Played in a movie

  • Played during a commercial

  • Played in advertisements

  • Played in online video streams

  • Played in video games

  • How to Collect:

    Sync royalties are also collected through PROS, but some agencies that collect mechanicals will also collect sync royalties, such as the Harry Fox Agency in the United States. So again, these are the agencies you'll want to look into:

    United States:


    Print Royalties

    What Are Print Royalties?

    Print royalties are the least common type of royalties, however they are still worth mentioning. So, whenever your compositions are transcribed and printed, you are entitled to a print royalty. The amount of royalties you receive is very simply based on the number of printed copies.


  • Sheet Music

  • How to Collect:

    Print royalties are typically paid out by the printer of the sheet music to whoever licensed the works. So this one is a case by case basis.


    Ok that's it for this post, thanks for reading! Like I said, we want to keep these nice and simple so that it makes the topic easier to digest. As I suggested in our last post, there are a few amazing books on this topic that I highly recommend you read if you're going to take publishing seriously:

    Wanna reach more listeners?

    Velveteen offers full service release campaigns for most types of artists. We help build a release strategy based on your goals as an artist and help you execute them in the most effective manner possible.

    We aim to help artists build a long term fanbase, increase their streams and visibility, and set an upward career trajectory towards sustainability.

    Juno nominated canadian musician, producer, and founder of Velveteen Music, Bradley J Simons

    Bradley J Simons

    Bradley is a Canadian musician, producer, and is the founder of Velveteen Music. His work has been nominated for 3 Juno Awards, and he has toured Canada and the US as a session guitarist. In addition to making music, Bradley also develops software for Velveteen.

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