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Posted on 05 April 2023

What are music royalties and why should musicians get them?

What exactly is royalty and why is it so important for musicians?

The internet is abuzz with Government Regulation Number 56 of 2021. Yup, especially if it's not about the collection of music royalties. So, what exactly is royalty and why is it so important for musicians?

What are music royalties?

Royalties are payments from one party to the owner of property, such as copyrights or patents. Essentially, if we enjoy or use something that is owned by someone else, we have to pay the owner.

Well, music royalties mean the payment of music users to the copyright owner. The rights owner is usually a record label, and from there it is given to the musician. There are many kinds of royalties, because every activity involving the music should generate profits for the musician. No matter how small the activity is.

Types of music royalties

Music royalties are divided into two, namely royalties from analog and digital activities. Analog royalties are obtained from CD sales, songs performed by other parties in a public performance (yup, covers), songs entering toys, and others. Digital royalties come from legal downloads (like from iTunes), streaming, digital public performances, and ringtones. There are many more actually.

Well, the recently issued PP 56 regulates more analog royalties and in detail regulates the rates for every place that uses music. Starting from hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, and a series of other places.

Check out the list and rates on the official website of LMKN (Lembaga Manajemen Kolektif Nasional), the institution that will collect royalty revenue and distribute it to rights owners.

"If you play songs from apps that have paid subscriptions, why should you still pay royalties?"

Some netizens think this way. There are also those who think musicians should be grateful that their songs are played because it can be a promotion for their songs. Oh, that's not how it works, ferguso.

From the types of royalties, streaming is included in digital royalties. Plus, streaming apps like Spotify or YouTube are intended for personal use only, not commercial. It's in the terms and conditions.

So, there's no such thing as "musicians should be grateful for being promoted". If you use or enjoy the song, pay. There's also no such thing as "we pay musicians, through adsense or streams". That's a different kind of royalty, hey.

Also, don't say that musicians are greedy. Making music is hard. The process is not for everyone. It takes talent, hard work, research, heartbreak, and many other things that also require capital. It is appropriate that the types of royalties vary so that a work can be properly appreciated.

"Musicians should be happy if their work is heard, that's a true musician. Why are they asking for money from us anyway?

We are poor, right?

Listening to music is a form of appreciation to musicians? Yes. Reviewing music and spreading it so that more people can hear it is a form of appreciation? Yes, too. However, these two forms of appreciation are just moral appreciation, what about material appreciation? Yes, from royalties!