An Introduction To Mechanical Royalties

28 May 2021

Photography by @ryrylikespictures 

There are two main types of royalties that can be earned through musical production; Mechanical and Performance. 

Mechanical royalties are earned as musical works are licensed by a third party and are commercially produced. Examples of this are physical copies of music (Vinyls, CD’s, MP3), and physical streams (Spotify, Apple Music). These royalties are typically earned by songwriters. 

Performance royalties are earned when musical works are played publicly. A public performance can be considered as radio plays or music played in a restaurant or bar. These royalties are typically earned by performers and recording artists. 

Basically, performance royalties are when a song is played and mechanical royalties are whenever a song is sold. 

AMCOS is the sole mechanical rights organization that licenses musical works to third parties for Australia and New Zealand, and distributes mechanical rights to musicians and songwriters.

AMCOS is available to musicians and songwriters within Australia if: 

  • You are a copyright owner to musical content 

  • You do not already belong to an overseas mechanical rights organisation

  • At least one of your works is unpublished and has been commercially produced

More information on mechanical royalties can be found on the APRA AMCOS website: HERE

This is all very surface level when it comes to the distribution of royalties, but it will be an easy introduction into how it works for most.


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