Songwriter Carves Out a Portion of Royalties to Fund Move

Kanye West's "Mercy"

James Michael Thomas is a songwriter who, like many of us, found himself faced with a nearly impossible situation.

A sudden emergency required him to relocate his family, at a significant cost that he was not financially prepared for. He needed to raise cash… and fast.

The best asset he had to leverage was his songwriting stake in the hip-hop classic “Mercy” recorded by Kanye West and featuring Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz.

Generating interest from potential buyers wasn’t the problem. “Mercy” was an RIAA-certified triple platinum track that reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Rap and R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, and peaked at #13 on the overall Hot 100. It won an award for Best Collaboration in the BET Hip Hop Awards, the Soul Train Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year, and in 2013 received Grammy nominations for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.

The problem was that interested buyers wanted it too much. Everyone Thomas talked to wanted his entire ownership in the song… rights and all. But Thomas didn’t want to sell his full stake. He just needed to raise enough to pay for his immediate needs, while retaining his long-term position.

If you're a songwriter, publisher or performing artist currently generating royalties — we can put you in front of more than 17,000 investors interested in buying a piece of your catalog. [Click here for more information]

This kind of “all-or-nothing” choice is something far too many artists face when seeking to raise cash. Royalty Exchange was the only option he could find that allowed him the flexibility to sell only a portion of his royalty stream.

He wound up putting just his BMI songwriter share available for auction on Royalty Exchange. Opening bids started at $500, and ultimately closed at $18,000… eight times its prior year’s earnings.

“This helped me in a huge situation. I believe that this is a good platform [and] would definitely recommend it.” - James Michael Thomas

Requested a second auction

Thomas was so pleased with the auction, he returned a few weeks later to sell the public performance and mechanical sync royalties behind the same track. He raised $26,500 off an opening bid of $25,000, representing more than 5x the prior year’s earnings.

This time around, he raised enough funds to complete his coursework in sound engineering schools and launch several new projects on iTunes. What began as a desperate need to raise money turned into long-term investment in his future.

“Everything with [Royalty Exchange] was perfect. I appreciate the flexibility and the communication.” - James Michael Thomas

Rightsholders decide to sell portions of their royalty income for many different reasons. Sometimes, like Thomas’s first contact with us, it’s due to an unforeseen emergency situation. In other cases, like our second interaction with him, it’s to raise money for future projects, education, or investment diversification.

Qualification is simple - if you're earning more than $1000 a year in royalties from one of the major PROs, you can reach out to determine what your royalties may be worth.

Whatever the motivation, Royalty Exchange is dedicated to offering rightsholders flexibility, control, and fairness at every step. We strive to offer immediate solutions while retaining long-term opportunity.

With all that life throws at you, having more than one option to meet those challenges is essential.

Royalty Exchange has helped artists raise nearly $6 Million in the last year. [Click here to see some of the happy artists we've worked with.]