Performing Rights Royalties
Performing rights royalties are earned when a music piece is performed publicly. This can mean it is sung or played via recording or in person. Performance royalties are earned when a song is played on the radio, television, internet or performed at a live concert. Even when music is played in a restaurant, bar, or any public place performance royalties have to be paid. Streaming services like Spotify or Pandora also have to artists performing right royalties.
If you register your music with a performing right organization, they will collect the performance royalties from music users on your behalf and then pay the songwriter. The two most common organizations are BMI and ASCAP.
Mechanical Royalties are paid when music is sold, for example via CD or a vinyl copy. Streaming services like Spotify are actually a cross between performance and a sale, so they pay both performance and mechanical royalties to songwriters and artists.
Synchronization, or sync, royalties are paid to songwriters when their song is used as background music in a TV show, movie, or commercial. In this case, the TV or film producer needs to obtain a sync license to be able to use the music in their production.