How Much Do Internet Radio Stations Pay In Royalties

Nia Radio Network Royalties

I Was Asked How Much Does Nia Radio Network Pay In Royalties?

Before I answer this question, let’s get educated first. I find it much better to know facts in order to make wise choices in life.

Many people don’t know how the radio royalties work and they often come to the wrong conclusions which quickly turn into the wrong information being passed around (rumors).

In this post I want to share with you my own experiences in radio royalties as I myself have written, produced and published many songs with many different people. I’ve also made many friends in radio who have shared their knowledge with me over the years as well concerning radio royalties.



First off, what most people do not know is that traditional radio stations are not being tracked everyday contrary to popular belief. In fact, stations within a certain region of the country only get tracked during one quarter out the year! Then the tracking rotates to another region of the country in the next quarter. This is called “sampling” where only a sampling of what’s being played is actually reported.

So, let’s say you get heavy rotation on your area’s radio station. If that station is not tracking during the time they play your song, your song will not show up in the tracking charts. It has always been that way and is not likely to change any time soon. You could ask the station manager when their tracking period begins but they more than likely will not tell you that information.

Another problem I have been exposed to is that some stations send in a playlist that does not accurately portray what they are actually playing. In other words, they send in the same playlist pretty much all the time with a few additions and trust me, you’re not on it.

What about BDS stations? I’m glad you asked… Stations that send out a BDS signal when music is played tend to track more often than those that do not. This is because the BDS signal is “embedded” into the song and is broadcast when the song plays. Oh by the way, if your music has not been BDS encoded before it airs on a BDS station, then your song will not be tracked by BDS even though it airs on a BDS station. I teach this and show you what to do and where to go to bring your songs up to industry tracking standards at This brings me to another point and like I said, I like to find out the facts about things. There are some Internet radio stations claiming to be BDS stations and if this was true I wanted to make Nia Radio Network a BDS station. So since I have a BDS account for my music production company, I called and asked about it.

This is what I was told:

 “We aren’t currently monitoring internet-only radio stations but it is something we’re investigating as a possibility for the future so if you want to send me the URL for the station along with your contact information I’ll keep that on file and try to keep you posted with any developments.”

I get my information straight from the source so this is a definitive fact as of January 14th 2013, thanks Adam!

Okay So How Much Does Nia Radio Network Pay In Royalties?

Here’s how Internet radio works:

When we have the correct information about your music, we can tag it properly (something that should have been done by the artist) therefore making sure your information shows up correctly for royalties.

Here are examples of tagging (I see too much of this on Twitter):

[This is correct] – (it’s important this is done correctly and matches iTunes & Amazon)

  • Artist: Roderick Carter
  • Song: Never Allow
  • Album: Family & Friends
  • Year: 1998

[This is not correct even though it’s the same artist and song]

  • Artist: @RoderickCarter
  • Song: Never Allow
  • Album: Family & Friends
  • Year: 1998

[This also is not correct even though it’s the same artist and song]

  • Artist: Roderick Carter
  • Song: Never Allow /@RoderickCarter
  • Album: Family & Friends
  • Year: 1998

It’s important to have the tags filled out correctly because IT IS OUR STREAM that gets tracked. We don’t print out or send a playlist of what we played to anyone. That information is pulled directly from our stream through our licensing company. If you know anything about how a computer gathers and stores information you know that the computer takes the data as is. In other words to a computer Roderick Carter is NOT the same as @RoderickCarter. PRO companies use databases to keep up with all of the data that comes in and trust me if it sees an entry that says @RoderickCarter as the artist name but my songs are filed under Roderick Carter, their system will not see those as being the same and I will loose royalties.

Our license is through what is known as a blanket license where we pay a monthly fee and the royalties are paid through a third party. In our case it’s and you can visit their site for more information about how much THEY PAY per song spin. We don’t know what that rate is.

We would love to pay royalties directly to each PRO but since we don’t bring in enough monthly income to do that, we go through a third party licensing company. This is true for 90% of online radio stations that do pay a license fee. However, you will find that most online stations don’t pay anyone anything.


Now you know exactly what we pay in royalties for the spins we play! This holds true for and Synergy1Radio (, we both make sure we pay our license fees. All we ask is that you ask us about it and not rely on what another station or person has said.

Hope this helps,
Roderick D. Carter