I would suggest that with anything you need to learn and study what you can. If your trying to go at making music a career or make any kind of money of your music you should always do what you can to understand the business. There is SO much to learn and many other folks out there with more info that you have no excuse for not teaching yourself.
This article is by no means and end all but merely a starting point to educate yourself in the music business. I would also like to share with you a few places to visit at the end of this BLOG posting that you may find some helpful tools and insights along with some encouragement. Follow the links at the bottom be sure to share all things withthose in your world of influence for you never know who is listening. Peace
Whenever an original song, with lyrics or instrumental music, is “fixed” in a tangible medium (recorded or written down), a copyright is generated. The copyright owner of a song is entitled to certain exclusive rights in the song under the U.S. Copyright Act. Therefore, only the copyright owner of a song can use the song unless someone pays him to use it. When a copyright owner allows someone else to use his music, the owner is really granting a license in the copyright. A license is a legal agreement between two or more parties that allows one party to use something that another party owns, but does not transfer ownership from one party to the other. The money from these licenses is called publishing.
1. Registration with Library of Congress and optionally, with the PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) with whom the publisher and/or songwriter are affiliated. Registration provides best protection in the event of copyright infringement.
The three main PROs in the United States are BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), and SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers). Each of these works basically the same way but with a few slight differences. Each boasts thousands of members and many great artists and performers. For instance BMI has over 350,000 members including Jimmy Buffet and The Beatles. ASCAP also has over 300,000 members including Elvis Costello, Jay-Z, and Alan Jackson. SESAC has Garth Brooks and Bob Dylan in their stable.
2. Exploitation – can include sales of CDs, downloads, ring tones, video games, film, tv, advertising and many forms of different commercial licensing usages.
3. Collection – getting the money for the mechanical royalties plus any/all other licensing fees which are sold.
Summary of music publishing
Even as the music industry changes, publishing will always be the “constant” at the center, so it’s important to understand the publishing side of the music business. For example, even if CD (compac discs) sales completely fade out, there will still be mechanicals, synchronization, performance royalties and other streams of income from dozens of traditional and new commercial music licensing types.
Publishing is concerned with the registration, exploitation (Sales), and collection of the copyright.
In this video An Introduction to Music Publishing learn how royalty streams work.
1. Royalties paid to the songwriter/composer (could be same as publisher) are the mechanical royalty which covers the composition.
2. Royalties are also paid to the performer of the song, which can be the same as the publisher and/or record label.
Publishing is focused primarily on the royalties paid to the songwriters and composers. If you are just starting out, you will most likely be a self-published publisher, which is very common these days, and is the best way to build and expand your future music publishing career and licensing opportunities.
Songwriters receive the following royalties
1. Mechanicals for the composition of the music – paid by the label to the songwriter for the rights to “mechanically reproduce” the writer’s song on CD or download. Note, this occurs whether or not the writer is the performer of the song.
2. Performance – Paid by the Performance Rights Organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC), to the writer(s) of the song when the writer’s music is broadcast over the public airwaves, such as radio, tv, satellite, internet, etc. Note, some music publishers and libraries also do direct, “per program” licensing deals with broadcasters or other businesses using their music.
3. Synchronization for use of music with visual media such as film, videos, slide shows or games, etc. – Paid by the producer of a movie, tv show or ad agency to the writer of the song for the right to “synchronize” the writer’s music to the producer’s moving images.
4. Special use – paid by creators of ring tones, karaoke, video games, etc. to the songwriter for the rights to use the songwriter’s composition work.
5. Print – When music gets published in song books, sheet music or other transcriptions, the royalties are paid to the publisher and the songwriter.
It is important for you as an artist or someone involved with artists, to understand how music publishing works to generate money, but also to generate interest and audiences to continue growing your publishing career and related opportunities. To learn more about the most common music licenses categories and types, I would recommend Types of Music License article.
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