Once you’ve finished the hard work and created your music, relax as RouteNote collects royalties on your behalf. Learn all about how music publishing with us works right here.

Creating music is a true labour of love. From the conception of an idea to the countless hours spent writing, recording, editing, and honing. It makes sense, then, that you would want to collect as many royalties for it as possible. That’s where music publishing comes in.

The RouteNote Publishing team is here to ensure that royalties for any streams and downloads of your music are immediately collected. But, there’s a little more to it than just that.

So you can understand the full picture, let us guide you through the world of music publishing!

What is music publishing?

At RouteNote, we aim to empower independent musicians around the globe. One of the best ways to do that is by educating them on all aspects of the music industry. A huge aspect of that is… you guessed it: music publishing.

But what exactly is music publishing, and why do you need to know about it?

It’s all about managing the royalties earned from the music you write and protecting your copyrights. Whilst it can be a complex and confusing topic, it can be made easy to understand.

When music is sold, licensed, or performed, the writer is owed royalties. There are a number of types of royalties that RouteNote collects on your behalf. The royalty that is collected straight away for your streams and downloads is the “Master Recording Royalty“. This is also sometimes referred to as the “Main Artist Royalty” or “Sound Recording Royalty“.

A lesser-known group of royalties is also earned when a song is played: the Publishing/Composition Royalty. This solely relates to the composition of the song. This means that when a song is written and recorded it has two rights associated with it; the Master Recording Royalty and the Publishing/Composition Royalty.

RouteNote collects more types of royalties than you probably first thought. In fact, there are different types of Compositional royalties. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Which royalties does RouteNote Publishing collect?

RouteNote Publishing has increased the number of types of royalty it can collect for you. In addition to the master recording royalty, the team is now able to collect the following Compositional royalties for music distributed with RouteNote or another distributor:

  • Performance Royalties
  • Mechanical Royalties
  • YouTube Micro Synchronization Royalties
  • Neighbouring Rights

Neighbouring Rights are not a type of Publishing Royalty, however, they do “neighbour” them – hence the name. Despite this, they are a royalty that the RouteNote publishing team can collect for songwriters.

We mentioned earlier that music publishing can be a rather confusing space. “Performance” royalties do not only refer to earnings generated whenever a song is performed live at a concert.

To clear up any confusion, we’re going to break down what each of the above royalties relates to.

What are Performance royalties?

When we hear the word performance, we think of that awesome stadium show we went to when our favourite band did a comeback tour. Or, we think about that time we shakily played an acoustic guitar in the corner of a near-empty bar, desperately trying not to cry or pee ourselves.

Performance royalties indeed relate to situations such as these. But, they also refer to some other things you may not have previously considered performances. These include:

  • Radio broadcasts
  • TV performances
  • Public streams (like in a restaurant or waiting room)

It’s vital to get familiar with performing rights organisations (PROs). These organisations vary depending on where you live. In the UK, the designated PRO is PRS, and in the US you can use ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. They also handle TV and radio performances and things like songs being used in shops or public spaces. The diagram to the right demonstrates the traditional publishing model, although not exactly RouteNote’s model.

In the case of RouteNote Publishing, RouteNote claims the Publisher’s share on behalf of writers, then hands it all over after taking a 15% cut. Writers can claim the other 50% themselves directly through their local PRO. So, you should sign up for yours in order to unlock your music’s full earning potential.

Mechanical royalties

Similarly to Performance royalties, Mechanical royalties are generated when your music is “reproduced” in some form. This could be on-demand digital streaming, via platforms like Spotify or Apple Music, as well as physical sales like CD or vinyl.

You may be noticing some crossover between Mechanical and Performance royalties, and rightly so. When people listen to or buy your music, it will generate both these royalties. It’s not uncommon for this to occur in tandem.

Mechanical royalties are also generated any time a musician recreates a recording of your composition. If an artist wants to record a cover of your song, they will need to pay a fee to obtain a mechanical license. Mechanical royalties are paid to a mechanical agency.

These agencies are similar to performance rights organisations, however, only publishers can affiliate with them. It’s very difficult for independent artists to be able to collect their mechanical royalties directly from a mechanical agency. Fortunately, RouteNote Publishing can do that for you!

What are YouTube Micro Synchronization royalties?

You may have heard of sync royalties before. This is a royalty generated when music is played alongside an image or moving image (video). Think film soundtracks and ad music.

In North America, a type of royalty specific to YouTube is generated when a video on the platform that features your song is viewed by someone living there. For instance, if you are a Paris-based musician, and a monetised YouTuber in Korea uploads a video and uses your song in it, and that video is viewed by someone in North America, then YouTube Micro Sync royalties are generated.

To ensure that you enjoy all the Compositional royalties owed to you, RouteNote Publishing will collect YouTube Micro Sync royalties on your behalf.

Why work with RouteNote Publishing?

Being a musician means you’re probably already pretty busy. In an ideal world, you’d spend the majority of your time writing music, recording it, and perhaps performing it too. Unfortunately, the industry requires you to pay attention to some important and complex things.

One of those things is music publishing.

So you can spend more time doing what you love, the dedicated Publishing team at RouteNote is on hand to take care of the complicated and confusing stuff.

Here are a few fantastic reasons why an artist might want to work with RouteNote Publishing:

  • Flexible – Artists can choose how many or how few songs they wish to onboard to the Publishing team. Additionally, artists can select the types of royalties they’d like collected. If you just want RouteNote Publishing to collect mechanical royalties for you, that’s absolutely fine!
  • Independent – The services provided by the Publishing team are completely non-exclusive. This means that you do not have to distribute your music through RouteNote to work with the RouteNote Publishing team.
  • Streamlined collection Consolidating the collection of your Compositional royalties saves a lot of headaches. Access your royalties in one simple place with the help of RouteNote Publishing, and free up more time for music-making.
  • Mechanicals unlocked – RouteNote Publishing unlocks mechanical royalties for songwriters, ensuring you get the most out of the royalties available to you.
  • Partnered with industry leaders – RouteNote is partnered with the world’s major collection agencies and organisations, ensuring all your royalties are kept track of, no matter where in the world you are.
  • Zero upfront cost – RouteNote Publishing will never ask for upfront payment. As per the RouteNote free model, a 15% cut is taken from royalties, leaving you with a tasty 85%.

Collection agencies & organisations

As previously mentioned, collection agencies and organisations vary depending on where you live. With a focus on serving independent artists around the globe, RouteNote Publishing works with a number of organisations worldwide.


  • PRS for Music


  • The MLC
  • The Core Collective
  • Music Reports
  • Harry Fox

Synchronisation/Neighbouring Rights

  • Youtube Micro Synchronisations
  • Sound Exchange

This is not an exhaustive list of the organisations and societies that RouteNote Publishing has a deal with. There are a number of others from all around the globe, enabling them to collect on behalf of songwriters worldwide.

What releases are not eligible?

There are some cases where tracks are not eligible to be onboarded to RouteNote Publishing. These instances consist of the following:


You can collect royalties (mechanical royalties, to be exact) if someone else covers a piece of music you have written. However, you cannot collect royalties if you cover someone else’s song. At least, no other royalties in addition to the Master Recording Royalty (aka Sound Recording Royalty) that you receive from RouteNote or another distributor already.

Public Domain releases

When the terms of copyright have elapsed on a piece of music, it moves into the public domain. This means you cannot collect royalties for it, as the rights do not belong to you or anybody else.

This also applies to “traditional” music, which includes works such as folk songs, hymns, and religious music – anything that functions as a marker of identity for a particular cultural group.


You will not be able to collect royalties for arrangements of musical works. For instance, if you release an arrangement of a Western Classical piece of music, you will not be able to collect Compositional royalties.

Releases with unknown composer names

The majority of agencies and organisations within the music publishing sphere require legal names to be attached to releases. For this reason, tracks without a proper, legal composer name are not eligible for RouteNote Publishing.

Releases which are already signed to another Publisher

If you have an album signed to a publisher, you cannot then ask a different publisher to collect on that album as well. Not simultaneously, at least. If two Publishers attempt to claim the same composition it creates a conflict, resulting in the earnings being received by nobody until the conflict is resolved.

If you decide to move Publishers, that’s a different story. You can also have one album signed to one Publisher, and your second album signed to a different one. Just make sure you’re explicit with everyone involved about your wish to do that.

How will you receive royalties from RouteNote Publishing?

Although it would be lovely if money magically appeared in our bank accounts out of thin air, unfortunately, that isn’t quite how it works with RouteNote Publishing. Having said that, it isn’t a million miles away from that, though. That’s the beauty of music publishing.

If you distribute music through RouteNote already, you’ll be familiar with the payment process already. This is also how you will receive any royalties from the Publishing team. However, if you are not familiar with the process, here’s how it works:

  • Any royalties will be paid to you 45 days after the month they were earned in. For example, if you earned royalties in June, you will receive them between the 15th-20th of August.
  • These are paid alongside the Master/Sound Recording royalties you receive from RouteNote (if you distribute through us!)
  • It’s worth noting – Compositional royalties can take up to 6-9 months to ingest. This is because the Publishing team is collecting royalties from over 100 countries and societies, each with its own upload period.

Wrapping up

The music industry is an ever-changing landscape. With the event of digital music streaming, social media, and now web3, it’s a constant case of adapting and changing. As a result, it can be challenging to have a handle on every aspect of it.

Music publishing is an aspect that is always fast-changing with these modern developments. In spite of this, the core idea remains the same: ensure songwriters get paid for their compositions and hard work. Since RouteNote exists to empower independent musicians, the Publishing team is a major component of the company.

If you have written songs and made them available for people to enjoy, RouteNote Publishing is here to help you collect your well-deserved royalties.

If you have any further questions relating to music publishing and the RouteNote Publishing team, get in touch at publishing@routenote.com!