Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to sell your song, earn some money and gain recognition? In this article we will be talking about some good ways to go about publishing and licensing your songs. To make a living by writing songs can be a really enjoyable job, but the only problem is no one knows how to make it.
The first and most important thing to do is to obtain a copyright of your production to protect it and yourself, by registering it in the Library of Congress and in a performance right organisation with a company like BMI, SESAC and ASCAP.
Once you’ve have complete copyright over your song its time to obtain/research various type’s of licences. There are 3 main type of licenses which we will discuss:
This first is Mechanical Rights: License granting the right to record and release a specific composition at an agreed-upon fee per unit manufactured and sold. Right to use a song owned by someone else on a recording. In other words, when another artist is interested in in making a recording of your song, copyright imposes to everyone who will record a version of your song, mechanical royalties on each reproduction or copy sold.
The second is Performing rights: Performing rights are the right to perform music in public. When someone else will play your song before an audience, the band has to pay you a rate. It is part of copyright law and demands payment to the music’s composer/lyricist and publisher (with the royalties generally split 50/50 between the two). Public performance means that a musician or group who is not the copyright holder is performing a piece of music live, as opposed to the playback of a pre-recorded song. Performances are considered “public” if they take place in a public place and the audience is outside of a normal circle of friends and family, including concerts, nightclubs, restaurants etc. Public performance also includes broadcast and cable television, radio, and any other transmitted performance of a live song.
The third is Synchronization royalties or synch licenses: They are paid for the use of copyrighted music in audiovisual productions, such as in DVDs, movies, advertisements and video games. Synchronization can extend to live media performances, such as plays and live theatre. They become extremely important for new media – the usage of music in the form of mp3, wav or flac files.
Don’t forget to always check with a reliable publisher about the rules and regulations of foreign countries. Now that you have your licencees to protect you and your production, its time to increase awareness about your song. No matter how good your song is, if no one in the industry knows about, your revenue potential will be very low. For this reason, the most artists decides to sign with producers who are very close to licensor’s and who use songs very similar to theirs. This trade off usually requires the share of all the licensing income on a 50-50 basis with the publisher. We have to think, on the other hand, that is the publisher who has to provide visibility and fame to the author’s production, and to secure appropriate licenses which let the author to earn money.
To get some tips from a music licenser, we have reported some advice given by Michael Lorda, Concord Music Group’s Director of Publishing, who handles dozens of licensing deals weekly for the more than 17,000 song catalogue he helps administer. He says:
“There are several ways for songwriters to get their music to publishers, ASCAP and BMI have regular events, workshops and conferences for songwriters. Participating in those and networking at them can be very helpful. Participating in song writing competitions is a great way to expose your material to publishers, too. There are several songwriter groups on LinkedIn, as well as other publishing and music industry groups on that site. I have noticed some publishing companies announcing that they are accepting demo’s.”
One essential thing when you are in the music publishing business is to get a knowledge of how it works properly, by read up about the subject, meet and get to know people experienced in music business market and it makes sense to consult with a music attorney or other experienced music licensing professional if you have questions before entering into any license agreements.
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