Right now, the statutory mechanical rate in the US (set by Congress) is $0.091 per unit sold. Meaning, each time someone buys an album at Wal-Mart or iTunes, each song generates $0.091 to be split among that song’s writers and publishers.
Just for the sake of easy math, let’s say you write a song by yourself and own the publishing. All that $0.091 goes into your pocket. If you get one song cut on an indie project which sells 1,000 units, that’s $91. Okay.
Now, say that same song is cut on a platinum-selling album (1,000,000 units) That’s $91,000 you just made- before taxes.
Indie cuts are great, and I’m thankful for every one I get. But I’m careful about how much time I spend on them (pitching, writing for, etc.). After all, it takes 1,000 indie cuts like that to equal just one platinum cut. Yes, there are a LOT fewer platinum cuts to be had, but that’s 91,000 reasons to spend a lot of time working on a song and a cut with platinum potential.
To see the current mechanical rate for the US, click here.
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com