2.7 Other Secondary Income Streams



1. Export Strategies

2. Digital Rights

2.1 Insurance

2.2 Trademarking

2.3 PRS and royalties

2.4 Publishing

2.5 Synchronisation

2.6 Youtube

2.7 Other income streams

2.8 Legal Primer

2.9 Being commissioned internationally

3. Support and Funding

4. International 101

5. Conclusion

2.7 Other Secondary Income Streams

In addition to potential revenues explained in the previous sections, such as royalties and sync opportunities and the income streams outlined in The Composer’s Toolkit, there are other opportunities to consider to enhance your income potential. In many cases, these revenue streams are only applicable to some composers. If you are also a performer additional income streams may also apply.


Spotify and Other Streaming Services:

In many ways, streaming is a cash cow for major labels and a promotional vehicle for everyone else.  For the most part, the more streams you have at one given time, the higher rate you accrue, so those artists that have millions of tracks being streamed at the same time receive a higher rate per stream than a composer or artists streaming a few tracks at the same time to a few fans.  In addition, there are over 3 million tracks on Spotify, for example, that have never been streamed.  But as a promotional vehicle and a method of communicating to your audience, ensuring your compositions are available through streaming is integral. To best understand the revenue potential, here are a few examples:

Spotify pays 0.004p to 0.008p per stream, depending on a number of factors. This means that to make £1, on average, you need about 1,600 streams. Rdio, Deezer and YouTube are very similar, so accruing a significant amount of revenue via streaming is difficult. However, for exporting purposes, it’s important to ensure your compositions are included in the main services that serve the markets you’re aiming for.  It’s not always Spotify. Here’s a quick list of examples:

- France - Deezer Germany - Simfy

- Canada - Songza and Rdio

- United States - Pandora Middle East - Angami Nordics - WiMP

Here’s a list.  Any distributer can ensure that you are included in all these and provide an analytics structure/'back end' to measure who is listening to your music.  If you notice that there’s a spike of streams in Sweden, for example, then you could look at exporting their compositions there and finding Swedish partners.

Toplines, Ringtones and Ringback Tones:

For some composers, it’s possible to chop a composition up in a number of component parts to earn royalties from versions or sections of one track or piece of work, in addition to the complete, finished version. This may not be of interest to every composer but it does open up the possibility of excerpts being used for advertising or television, and other opportunities that may not have occurred to you. Here are a few to think about:

●      Toplining is the process of adding the vocals and the lyrics on top of a pre-recorded track to produce a new song. There are a number of jazz and classical vocalists that earn by singing on top of EDM tracks. For those working within vocal music, this is a sector worth investigating.

●      Ringtones and Ringback Tones are a main form of revenue for copyright holders in licensing their music to Africa and the Indian subcontinent.  Here, music is sold through personalised Ringtones or assigning a ringtone to a specific number, so that when somebody rings the number, your music plays instead of a ring. That’s called a Ringback Tone.  Being a part of the library where consumers access these tracks is important for export to some developing markets in particular.  You can do this by working with a reputable distributor.



●      In the United States exclusivity with a publisher or sync agent is the industry standard, whilst the UK non-exclusive relationships with music supervisors is often the case. If you get approached by a US supervisor, ensure that they have your best interests at heart within their exclusivity offering.

●      If you’re happy for your work to be divided up with excerpts used for sync, then it’s best to ensure that your compositions are divided as much as possible and mastered individually into stems to be included in music libraries.  Piano pieces used as introductions to trailers and televisions shows are very popular, and having just the piano line of a composition, for example, puts you ahead of competitors.

●     Ensure that your music is included in all free music libraries online, including:

○     MusicXray

○     Synctracks

○     Production Music Library

○     Killer Tracks

○     Audio Network

○     N.B. there are dozens of these services.

●      Pick your music distributor wisely, as this will ensure your music is available in the markets you’re exporting to. Some reputables ones include:

○     The Orchard

○     AWAL

○     ADA Global

○     Music Kickup

○     CD Baby

○     Consolidated Independent

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