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Commission Payments and Monitoring Sales

Non-exclusive music libraries, such as Pond5, usually pay sales commission on a monthly basis. A small amount issue funds quarterly.

Libraries generally offer a choice of payment methods, the most common being PayPal.

The process normally is automatic, and you’ll receive a notification from Paypal (or preferred payment method) when funds have been received.

Monies are paid when:

  • When your account balance reaches a minimum level.
  • You manually request a withdrawal at the next payment date.

Payment dates are often on or around the 1st or the 15th day of each month.

PRO Royalties

PRO’s will have varying payment schedules and methods, however it’s likely performance royalties will be paid out quarterly or biannually.

The Power of a Sales Spreadsheet

Knowledge is power. Once your sales increase and income starts rolling in, it can be tempting to just carry on as you are and assume your payments will continue on an upward trajectory.

The truth is, it’s only by paying close attention to which tracks sell, on which libraries, and at which price point, that you’ll gain an honest overall picture of your stock music business.

To help do this, I created a ‘Sales Spreadsheet’.

At the end of each month, I enter in the total commission amounts for each library. Within the same document I generate several charts; one for overall earnings, others for the individual libraries, PRO income and ‘Other’ for client work.

This allows me to view sales patterns and individual library performance over a much longer period, so I can easily judge which libraries perform best, and when.

I start a brand new sales spreadsheet each year. By the end of the year I can see exactly how much money I have made from individual libraries and ascertain my total earnings.

These results help inform me as to which libraries I should concentrate my efforts on.

Conversely, some libraries may be underperforming. You should ask yourself if you’ve put enough effort in to promoting them, if you have, then should you stop submitting music?

Dealing with Currency Conversion

If you’re based in the US, then currency fluctuations aren’t an issue, as most non-exclusive libraries pay in US dollars.

Elsewhere though, the currency markets can have quite a dramatic impact on your earnings.

For example, I’m based in the UK. After the ‘Brexit’ vote, the British Pound dramatically dropped in value against the US Dollar.

It meant my dollar earnings were worth more to me when converted to GBP. So overnight my income increased by around 15%.

Of course it also meant that any purchases I wanted to make in USD (such as music libraires) would cost me more. There’s always a sting in the tail!

Looking after your Finances

You probably feel that the accounting side of your work is the least interesting part of the job, you just want to start composing right? Surely you can tackle the financial stuff at a later date?

Making sure your accounting workflow is in place before you start licensing stock music is highly recommended. By giving the subject some thought now, you’ll save time later when the money starts coming in.

It really isn’t very complicated and doesn’t take too long to get your financial arrangements in place.