3 ways to earn money from your music on Spotify

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Are you getting paid everything you're owed from Spotify?

Are you getting paid everything you’re owed from your music on Spotify?

If you don’t have a publishing administrator working on your behalf, the answer is probably NO.

In many cases, for every $100 your sound recording has generated on Spotify, there could be another $15 owed to you in (uncollected) mechanical royalties. That’s YOUR money just sitting there.

But this isn’t Spotify’s fault. It’s simply — or not so simply — one of those weird things about how traditional music publishing works (or doesn’t) for indie artists.

Here’s the good news: CD Baby Pro has a simple solution to this problem.

But first, which monies have you been missing out on?

Three ways you can make money through Spotify

1. The regular ‘ole payment for the stream —

Some people call this a “master use royalty.” Others call it the “artist royalty.”

Technically, it’s the payment for streaming your licensed sound recording.

If you’re distributing your music through CD Baby, it’s the money you’re paid by Spotify each time your music is streamed. You’ll see a complete report of streams and payments in the accounting section of your CD Baby member’s account.

2. Mechanical royalties —

Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music owe you a mechanical royalty every time music you’ve written is streamed.

With Spotify, those mechanical royalties aren’t paid directly to independent songwriters, but (in the US) to the Harry Fox Agency, or HFA. If you have a lot of plays on Spotify, those royalties are adding up AND going uncollected unless you have a publishing administrator working on your behalf.

With CD Baby Pro, we’ll act as your publishing administrator and make sure you get paid all the publishing royalties you’re owed — both mechanical royalties for global streams and international downloads, as well as performance royalties for the usage of your music on radio, TV, films, in live venues, etc.

For more info about what mechanical royalties are, click HERE.

3. Performance royalties — 

If you’re registered as both a songwriter and publisher with a performing rights organization such as ASCAP or BMI, then you’ll receive these royalties through them for any Spotify plays.

If you’re not already registered with a performing rights organization, check out CD Baby Pro. We’ll affiliate you as a songwriter with ASCAP or BMI, register your songs with collection societies around the world, and make sure you’re set up to collect all your publishing royalties.

For more information about what performance royalties are, click HERE.

Check out these articles for info on promoting your music on Spotify:

  1. How to get your first 250 followers on Spotify: becoming a verified artist
  2. How and when to make a Spotify playlist to promote your music
  3. How to get your music into a playlist on Spotify
  4. How an indie artist earned $56k from one song on Spotify
  5. “My band would be nowhere without Spotify”
  6. See what Spotify playlists are using your music

To make sure you’re getting paid all the publishing royalties you’re owed from Spotify, sign up for CD Baby Pro today.

In this article

Join the Conversation

  • Lauryn Shapter

    Question: we are currently registered with BMI and are (in theory) paid 200% on the royalties — 100% as songwriters and 100% as publishers. If we use CD Baby Pro, does this mean that half of our royalties go to CD Baby, as a publisher? Or do we still get both the songwriter and the publisher share?

  • You would still be owed both shares (publishers and writers share), minus the small percentage we keep as the administrator. Is that what you’re asking? We don’t keep your publishers (or writers) share of performance royalties.


    • Lauryn Shapter

      Yes, thank you, that was what I was asking. So what is the small percentage that you keep as administrators?

  • PROs can already collect your performance royalties, but they DO NOT collect mechanical royalties. So — without a publishing administrator — you’re missing out on a huge portion of publishing royalties: mainly from global streaming and international downloads.

    Even in the realm of performance royalties though, there’s benefit to CD Baby Pro in that we register your music directly with foreign collection societies (rather than relying on the reciprocal agreements that ASCAP and BMI have with overseas agencies). So you often get paid your international performance royalties much quicker than when relying on your P.R.O.


  • Yes. BMI does not collect mechanical royalties that are generated from global streams and international downloads. With CD Baby Pro, we’ll collect those royalties for you.

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