This is the royalty earned from evey sales unit of a recording medium. This is different from performance royalties as this only take account the use of tangible forms. Recording medium could take in many forms but the most common is CD audio:
CD audio album or singles: When a certain song belong to a particular songwriter is being included in CD audio release such as artist albums or singles. It will earned royalties. The earnings depends on how many sales unit. Currently in 2008, the mechanical royalty rate is 9.10 cents per song. So this means that if all the artist albums belong to one songwriter and there are 10 songs in the album:
Mechanical royalties per album sales= 10 x 0.091 dollars = 0.91 dollars.
And if the album sales around 500,000 copies (Gold record certification). The mechanical royalties earned is around:
Total mechanical royalties in 500,000 copies = 0.91 dollars x 500,000 copies = 455,000 dollars
Massive? yes. It is why so important for an artist to write their own songs instead of always covering other songwriter songs. The benefits lies in the songwriter royalties.
Take note that is only mechanical royalties, if performance royalties are take into consideration. The songwriter from that album will earned more.
Cassette Tape/ DVD and Video CD:
Although cassette tape is almost absolute (some countries may still be selling it), but DVD and Video CD are the most common.So when songs of that songwriters gets cut in a movie sound-track, they earned mechanical royalties too from every DVD movie or a Video CD movie unit sales.
Mechanical royalties are not handled by performing right societies such as ASCAP. Also, it is impossible for any songwriter to trace all sales to claim mechanical royalties. In this type of scenario, the most appropriate is to avail the services of Harry-Fox Agency.
Once your song is registered with Harry Fox Agency, provided you have an official song release by means of album or singles.Harry Fox will trace all sales of the recording medium whether CD, DVD movies, Video CD movies, etc.
They will get a certain percentage of it (only very small) and the rest will go to you. This is very efficient and most of the music publishers and songwriters avail the services of HFA.
So for every songwriter to earn mechanical and performance royalties these are required:
1. A official song copyrighted and published for commercial purposes.
2. A membership with performing right societies such as ASCAP.
3. A song registered with ASCAP.
4. A affiliation with Harry Fox Agency
5. A song registered on Harry Fox Agency.
The following are the purpose of every steps:
-The 1st step ensures you are the creator of the work.
-The 2nd step helps you to claim performance royalties from live performance of your song in radios or any other clubs.
-The 3rd step helps ASCAP to trace the performance of your song by acknowledging the data you give during the song registration process.
-The 4th step ensures you get mechanical royalties from any sales of CD audio, cassette tape, Video CD movies by affliliating with HFA.
-The 5th step helps HFA (Harry Fox Agency) to trace any sales of a recording medium where your song has been placed in order to compute mechanical royalties.