I got two payments in the mail this week and they inspired me to share some insights with you.

The first was from a payment for a TV show that I got a sync placement for last year.   The episode aired in November.  But securing the license and invoicing the production company took about 4 months and now I’m getting a check.  

Takeaway – sometimes money moves slowly in sync.  This is one of the reasons that consistency is important.  You’re less concerned about the speed if you have a consistent flow coming in.

As for the 2nd check.  This was a royalty from SAG-AFTRA which is the union that represents actors and entertainers.  Why am I getting a check from them?  Because in 2016 I worked on the show Greenleaf as a songwriter and vocal producer.  For most of that work I was paid upfront on a work for hire basis (although I get performance royalties for the songs I wrote in the episodes and on the soundtrack).   However, there was one episode where the music producer, Matt Head, needed to put together a men’s choir.  He had professional singers but asked me to jump in since I was there and wanted to make the session sound as full as possible.  We sang 2 or 3 lines and it took about 15 minutes to record.  There was a different men’s choir on screen during that next episode but they used our audio.  

Let me tell you, if you ever have the chance to have your vocals used on TV, do it!  As far as I can tell, voice work pays way more than streaming royalties.  That snippet of audio was paying me hundreds of dollars every quarter.   It may not seem like much but considering how short the clip was and how quick it took us to record it, it’s amazing to me. And, while it’s not as much anymore, it still keeps coming.  I know for a fact, the professional singers that we used that season, were very impressed with their SAG royalties.  They were paid upfront for their time and then, got these really nice royalties every quarter and it still keeps coming.

The Takeaway – Follow the Money – Whatever industry you’re in, it pays to understand how the money works – it isn’t always logical and sometimes it’s difficult to understand.  But the better you understand it, the more strategic you can be about making money.