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  • Writer's pictureRandy McGravey

Library Royalty Month Breakdown (Better than my recent PRO statements!)

What if I told you my 2nd highest earning month ever in the music licensing business wasn't even a PRO statement month? Yes my friends, the sync fees are alive and well for me lately!

Since I work mostly with exclusive libraries, most of them pay either bi-annually or quarterly. Regardless of which one they do, they mostly tend pay in March and September. There is also a minimum payout threshold in most cases (often $50 or $100, or 50/100 of their country's currency). Luckily I met the threshold for quite a few libraries this time around.

Let's take a look at a breakdown of some library payouts.

Library A - 57% of earnings

Library B - 15% of earnings

Library C - 11% of earnings

Library D - 10% of earnings

The Rest - 7% of earnings (including non-exclusive sites)

Here are the amount of tracks with each library as well.

Library A - 20 tracks (most earnings are from 10 of them aka 1 of the albums)

Library B - 8 tracks

Library C - 12 tracks

Library D - 4 tracks

I should point out that I have a lot more music than is indicated on here! In fact, I have over 700 tracks that I use for licensing purposes (not all are published yet of course). Not all libraries get large sync fees, and some libraries even get very little blanket money. The ones that pay solid and consistent sync fees are the best ones to work with. From my experience, the major labels are the ones that pay the most sync fees. In fact libraries A-D all have major sub-publishers. Some libraries tend to rely mostly on backend royalties.

I did receive a handful of other statements too which didn't meet the library threshold. Those are usually libraries where I don't have many tracks, or libraries that I haven't been in for too long. Most libraries will start to show sync fees after a year or so. The good ones that pay quarterly can be even quicker than that. Some libraries don't even send statements, just "black box" money when you meet the threshold.

My highest individual sync fee this time around was $375 for a radio commercial. That same library had TONS of other sync fees, including several others in the 3 figure range.

A lot of composers think you need to do the same styles of music for a library that everyone else is doing. In other words you might hear "This library specializes in EDM, you have to write EDM for them." I don't believe this to be the case.

With Library A, I have 2 albums. One is a similar style to the rest of their albums, the other (high earner) is a style that isn't otherwise represented in their catalog. I have a kind of "monopoly" on that style in their catalog. Perhaps they release so much of the other style that there isn't enough demand to feed all of those composers. Take this as food for thought!

I'm hoping this trend of sync fees continues. As I join more libraries every year, the snowball effect will continue. Releasing more albums with good-performing libraries is key too. Needless to say, I haven't looked back once since entering the exclusive market!

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