What is the difference between sync royalties and micro-sync royalties?

Image credit: Christian Wiediger

Micro-sync royalties are very similar to sync royalties but there is nevertheless a difference which matters for musicians and rights-holders with music on video websites.

If you’re a musician, composer, or music rights-holder taking action to earn all of your entitled earnings for your music, then you may have heard of micro-sync royalties. Whilst very similar to sync royalties, there is a distinction between the two types of sync licensing payouts.

What are sync licensing royalties?

Sync royalties are the revenue that is earned from compositions that have been used with another piece of media. The most common use of sync licensing is when music is used in film and TV. The producers of that media will agree on a license with the rights-holders behind the composition and normally a payment will be made based on the distribution and viewership of that content.

What are micro-sync royalties?

Micro-sync often refers to the sync royalties collected through internet platforms like YouTube where the sync royalties collected are technically micro-sync royalties. Micro-sync royalties are sync royalties but collected on a larger scale than their traditional sources like TV and film.

Depending on the source of the synchronization, micro-sync can also generate both performance and mechanical royalties. These will be tracked, collected, and paid through each country’s collection societies, like ASCAP and BMI in the US.

They are often not as high-paying as sync-royalties generated from blockbuster films but they have huge potential thanks to their open, worldwide audience with free access to the content online.

Does YouTube pay micro-sync royalties?

YouTube sync royalties can also be referred to as micro-sync royalties. As music added to YouTube is added alongside moving image, they are eligible for micro-sync royalty payouts and YouTube currently pay out micro-sync royalties for views in the US.

To check if your music can collect micro-sync royalties on YouTube through RouteNote, fill out this form and we’ll get back to you: https://forms.gle/GzqpP4hnAH8728b18

Writing about music, listening to music, and occasionally playing music.

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