42 Revenue Streams

If you’re a musician or composer, you probably have a basic sense of the ways you can make money. Some revenue streams are simple to understand, like playing shows, or selling CDs or t-shirts. But there are many, many more ways that musicians can earn money from their compositions, performances, sound recordings, brand, or knowledge of the craft. We list 42 45 of them below.

As you read the list, remember that a song has two copyrights: (1) the musical composition, which includes the notes and lyrics, and (2) the sound recording, which is the performance of a musical composition. So if you hear Patsy Cline singing “Crazy” which was written by Willie Nelson, Willie created the musical composition when he wrote down the notes and lyrics. Patsy created the sound recording when she performed Willie’s song, and it was captured on tape. As you browse the list, it’s important to keep these distinctions in mind since there are many times when different parts of the creative team are paid differently. Don’t worry if it feels like too much to keep in your head at once — we get confused, too! Just take a deep breath and dive back in.

Songwriter/Composer | Recording Artist | Performer | Session/Freelancer | Knowledge of Craft | Brand
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SONGWRITER AND COMPOSER REVENUE
1. Publisher Advance
2. Mechanical Royalties
3. Commissions
4. Public Performance (PRO) Royalties
5. Streaming Mechanical Royalties
6. Composing Original Works for Broadcast
7. Synch Licenses
8. Sheet Music Sales
9. Lyric Display
10. Ringtones Revenue
11. Songwriter Awards Programs
12. Publisher Settlement
PERFORMER AND RECORDING ARTIST REVENUE
13. Record Label Advance
14. Record Label Support
15. Retail Sales
16. Digital Sales
17. Sales at Shows
18. Interactive Service Payments
19. Digital Performance Royalties
20. Master Use Synch Licenses
21. AARC Royalties
22. Neighboring Rights Royalties
23. Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund
24. Sound Recording Special Payments Fund
25. SAG-AFTRA Contingent Scale Payments
26. Label Settlements
PERFORMER SESSION MUSICIAN REVENUE
27. Salary as Member of Orchestra or Ensemble
28. Shows/Performance Fees
29. Session Musician/Sideman Fees for Studio Work
30. Session Musician/Sideman Fees for Live Work
31. Non-Featured Artist Payments
KNOWLEDGE OF CRAFT: TEACHING AND PRODUCING
32. Music Teacher
33. Producer
34. Honoraria or Speakers Fees
BRAND-RELATED REVENUE
35. Merchandise Sales
36. Fan Club
37. YouTube Partner Program
38. Ad Revenue
39. Persona Licensing
40. Product Endorsements
41. Acting
FAN, CORPORATE AND FOUNDATION FUNDING
42. Fan Funding
43. Sponsorship
44. Grants
OTHER SOURCES OF REVENUE
45. Arts Administrator

See these revenue streams organized by Existing, Expanded and New

View this list as a downloadable PDF

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