North America has its own way of doing things.
The major difference between the majority of the world and North America is that a track’s duration is not a factor in how mechanical royalties are calculated.
In the United States and Canada, the statutory mechanical royalty rate for physical recordings (CDs, vinyl, tape) and fixed digital downloads is 9.1 cents per song or 1.75 cents per minute of music for songs over 5 minutes long. Most other countries gauge mechanical royalties as a percentage of a record’s wholesale price.
Another key difference: Mechanical and performance royalties are collected by different societies in North America. For instance, the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) handles physical mechanicals in the U.S., while various Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) focus on public performances. In many other countries, both mechanical and performance royalties are collected and paid by the same entity.
For more on how mechanical royalties differ from performance royalties, check out our mini-crash course, our blog post breakdown or complete list of mechanical royalty sources.
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