General Question

gcoghill's avatar

Do authors & musicians receive royalties and/or additional sales numbers when used items are sold?

Asked by gcoghill (139 points ) October 8th, 2007

I am curious if I am supporting authors & musicians when buying used items.

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7 Answers

Perchik's avatar

I don’t know for sure but I’d say no. My logic: Used items were new once, therefore the artist received the royalty when it was first bought. Stores that sell used stuff usually buy straight from previous consumers, then turn around and sell it for straight profit.

mirza's avatar

i doubt it they get royalty when a used item is sold e.g. when i sell a used cd on ebay, i am not paying the musician any royalty for the money i am getting in return

But as perchik pointed out, they did get royalty for the original sale

gcoghill's avatar

I pretty much figured this wasn’t the case, but thought perhaps there might be some system out there to track sales for the music charts. I suppose it would be almost impossible to track something like this online outside of major resellers like Amazon or Half (if they chose to do so).

Modern_Classic's avatar

Actually, it isn’t the authors or musicians who receive royalties. It’s the owners of the assorted copyrights to the compositions and reproductions of the music that receive the royalties. Sometimes, hardly always, that includes the actual composers and musicians. For example, the entire Buddy Holly catalog is owned by Paul McCartney, while the Lennon & McCartney catalog was once owned by Michael Jackson and is now held by Sony.

ben's avatar

Lala.com used to offer a CD-trading Netflix style service which would also give a chunk back to the artists… very clever. Though it looks like they now have some kind of online model—not sure how it works, but they still seem to compensate the artists.

When you buy used in general, though, I think you’re only supporting them in the sense of spreading their work, which further advertises it, but it’s pretty periphery. Does that mean it’s bad to get a book from the library instead of buying it? I don’t think so. For example, I just read a great book at the library, recommended to some people who went on to buy it.

gcoghill's avatar

Good points on the copyright holders vs. artists regarding the royalties, and also the library aspect.

I was discussing the impact of file sharing with a friend last weekend, and the used CD system came up as one way where music was “shared” (in a way of thinking) without the artists directly benefitting. I wondered if the artists at least got increased sales numbers for the music charts from used CD sales.

Seems the only way to support a musician’s work, either directly or indirectly, is to buy new. Unless of course you go to a live show and/or buy merchandise.

Even if the musicians don’t own the copyrights (and from what I understand, most bands sign these away for recording deals), they are still paid something for these rights. I am sure it’s not in favor of the bands of course.

gcross's avatar

Not that I know of. Generally royalties are dependent on the original contract through the original publisher. Some of the books my husband has written he receives royalties for. Others he received a set amount and nothing more. He has never received any royalty for a publication of his that was sold used.

Another way to look at it is, if you sold books at a yard sale, would you turn around and send a cut to the authors? You would be the first, I think:)

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