By Todd Brabec &
Certain companies specialize in selling instrumental versions of hit songs accompanied by printed lyrics or lead sheets, so that amateur singers can add their own voices. Some sell equipment (microphones, players with recording, dubbing, and playback capabilities, etc.) to enhance the quality and facilitate the use of such instrumental recordings. Royalties payable to writers and publishers in this area are normally: (1) the statutory mechanical royalty rate per song per version for each tape distributed; and (2) from 4¢ to more than 8¢ for each lyric sheet of the song included with a CD.
A number of firms also market home-video versions of the sing-along concept with the lyrics and music contained on DVD. Others market and distribute via the Internet.
Royalties paid for such uses are sometimes calculated on the wholesale price of each disc, with all songs sharing the aggregate royalty on a pro rata basis. It is more common, however, for a writer and publisher to charge a set penny royalty (e.g., from 12¢ to 14¢ per song for each sing-along DVD or other recording distributed).
In addition, there is usually a one-time fee given to each publisher of between $300 and $350 for the right to include the song in the video—sometimes referred to as a “fixation fee.”
The licenses in this area normally last for seven to 10 years but can be longer and are usually for the world (or the world excluding Japan).
It is also common to receive an up-front advance.