Year-End Income Breakdown. Feel free to share yours!

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    So I thought it would be kinda fun to go through my end-of-year financials and make a little visual representation of my income split from doing production/library music! This is just a percentage breakdown showing how much of my income came from royalties, sync fees, and up-front fees. I think it’s a fairly interesting topic to see how some peoples’ career avenues affect these stats. I won’t ask anyone to share specific numbers, but of course if you want to, go right ahead! Otherwise percentages are fairly safe and non-taboo 🙂

    Income Breakdown Pie Chart

    I’m always very royalty heavy since I mostly write exclusive cues for reality TV, where sync fees essentially don’t exist. I also didn’t start regularly writing for any libraries that pay up front until the last couple months. So that percentage will probably be higher next year. It’s also worth noting that I’m a BMI member, so I had 5 royalty payments instead of 4 this year, thus inflating the royalties more than usual.

    The sync fees are 90% from movie trailers. I actually have one more payment coming, but it won’t be here until January at least, so I didn’t get to count it. The rest of the sync money is from little random one-offs via libraries with international subpublishers.

    I’d love to see more stats like this if anyone is willing to share. I think it’s a good discussion and interesting info for people getting into this world.

    Art Munson

    Great topic!


    Thanks for getting the topic up!


    Don’t know how to insert a graph… so, here is mine in text –

    Been uploading to RF libs for 3 and a half years … and to exclusive libs for just over a year.

    RF Libraries – 60%
    Royalty Backend – 30% (A significant part of this is from a single RF track)
    Sync – 10%



    I’d say my 2021 looked a lot like yours. Mostly backend royalties from reality TV placements. I did get a few up front work-for-hire payments and also some from streaming non-exclusive music. I almost hit $20k total music revenue which is a big deal for me. 🙂 I have other sources of income so don’t totally rely on it. I’ve been doing production music seriously for about 6 years.


    Over a 10-year period, excluding some up front income, my production music income has been roughly 30% sync fees and 70% back end.

    The back end income is actually pretty consistent along a trend line over time.

    The front end varies pretty wildly year to year in a way that seems kind of random. There’s certainly no obvious trend.

    I don’t have any tracks in RF libraries, so I can’t speak to that.


    I had my best year yet – enough to support myself, my wife and our two children. So if you’re starting to believe there’s no money in the game any more think again !

    Art Munson

    @maxpower Congrats to you and well done! There is always money to be made in music. The rules may change, the business may change but if one is nimble enough success can be achieved. You have proven that!


    Congratulations, that’s very encouraging for all of us, thank you! Do you mind me to ask since when you’ve been in the game?


    Congrats @maxpower! That’s a great milestone and encouraging to hear for a newbie like myself! Keep up the good work! 🙂


    Thanks for the push to take a look – usually I have a rough idea but last year was a bit wacky, and my numbers were really different from what I usually get. Here’s my breakdown:
    57% performance royalties
    25% mechanicals
    12% sync
    6% upfront


    The problem I have with this chart is that it’s too limited in scope. The chart should include:

    1. Writers Royalties earned from PRO
    2. Publisher Royalties Earned PRO
    3. Micro Sync Fees earned for internet syncs (youtube, etc.)
    4. Major Syncs for broadcast Trailers, films, or TV spots
    5. CID Royalties
    6. Mechanical Streaming Royalties
    7. Work For hire fees, Buyouts…(I do not ever sell my tracks but some do)
    8. Neighboring Rights
    9. advance fee (write a cue for a library for a fee, give up pub, but keep writers share)


    You can break it down however you want. There aren’t any rules or anything. I just broke it down in the way that was most relevant to my own experience and interests.

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