This goes out to gospel singers; soloists, duets, trios, quartets, etc., etc.
Do you pay the royalties for the songs you record? If you a recording music not written by you or a member of your group and are NOT paying the royalties for those songs, you are a thief. That’s as plain as it gets. You say, “Well, it’s only 50 or 100 CDs that we order.” Stealing is stealing. I’m sure you think that you should get your set fee or your love offering when you sing; well those songwriters should get the money for their work as well.
Paying royalties is not that difficult, it’s not that expensive and it IS the right thing to do; ESPECIALLY if you are a Christian singer or group.
How it works. YOU have 10 songs you want to record, great, now get on the internet and find out who wrote each of those songs. Let’s say you are recording a song written by Rodney Griffin (Greater Vision), his songs are handled by Great Vision Music, so they are who you pay the royalties to. You contact Greater Vision Music, tell them you would like to record whatever song it is. They will send you a Mechanical License form. You fill the form out (it’s quite simple and quite self explanatory), enter the number of copies you are ordering if it’s 50 CDs then enter 50 if 100, then enter 100. Now the rate for royalties is .091 per song for songs 5 minutes and under; songs over five minutes in length are $.0175 per minute rounding up to the next minute (e.g. a song that is 6’01 in length would be rounded to 7 minutes and multiplied by .0175). So for your song written by Rodney Griffin, for 100 copies would 100 * .091 = 9.10 So you would write a check for $9.10 and send it along with the Mechanical License form to Greater Vision Music and you now have the rights to record that song. Keep in mind, that only covers the right to record that song and order the first 100 CDs (or whatever quantity you are ordering). Now, if you are using your own music or you had the track recreated by someone else, you are finished; however, if you bought a track from Daywind, or any of the other track companies out there, you will need to contact them to “lease” that track; this can get expensive, but you need to do it regardless.
So, now that you have paid the royalties for this one song, you repeat the step for the remaining 9 songs. You may find that 3 (or more) of the songs you are recording are handled by the same agency, say Wind Chime Music for example; you can list all 3 songs (or more) on the Mechanical License Form and pay the royalties for all 3 (or more). So you would send a check for $27.30 ((.091 * 100) = 9.10; 9.10 * 3 = $27.30). So for 10 songs you are going to end up paying $91.00 in royalties for the 100 CDs that you are ordering. Make sure you keep all the information for these songs because when you reorder CDs, you have to pay again. Every time you reorder you have to pay royalties.
To help you get started paying those royalties, here are some web sites you can use to search for songs and get the songwriter or agency to pay your royalties
This will get you started.
Don’t want to pay? Well, you don’t have to. Just write your own music OR don’t record. Remember the Ten Commandments? Thou shalt not steal?
Bottom line is, how do you expect God to bless you, your ministry or your recording project if you don’t pay those royalties?