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In this Insider's Guide to Today's Music Biz, Steve Rennie explains what you'll need to know about music publishing to turn your songs into money. He'll talk about copyrights and their value, and why music publishing is important to a successful artist's career.
He also talks about the main sources of publishing income: what they are, who pays, and how much you get. He explains the difference between performing rights organizations and music publishers and how to find and make publishing deals. Start with the first lesson, which explains how a dollar of publishing income is split between the songwriter and publisher.
Skill Level Beginner
- In this lesson, we're gonna talk about one of the most important aspects of the music business, music publishing. It can also be one of the most complicated parts of the business to understand for even the most seasoned, grizzly old veterans like myself. But I'm gonna do my best to see if I can explain it to you. Here's what I know. The music business always starts with a great song. What happens after that song gets written is what the music business is all about.
So let's talk about it. Somewhere out in this world of ours today, there's a songwriter with a song banging around in his or her head. It might have started with some great lyric that turned into a verse. It might have started with a beat that found a great melody, that lead to a great chorus until lo and behold, a song was born. And in that raw state, I think it's difficult for most folks to imagine that a song could have any value beyond the joy that someone got from creating it.
But it does, and here's why. When that songwriter wrote down those lyrics on a piece of paper or typed 'em into a Word document, or sang it into their iPhone, or recorded it on their laptop with GarageBand, or Logic, or ProTools or what have you. Something happened. As soon as that song went from an idea, banging around in his or her head, to being fixed in some tangible format, it became more than a song.
It became a copyright. Now, while most songwriters might not think of it this way, that song becomes like a piece of property. Think of it as a vacant lot that you'd like to develop somewhere. In its raw state, it looks like a pile of dirt, not something potentially valuable. But if you can build something special on that piece of dirt, it could become hugely valuable. That copyright provides value to that song the same way building a beautiful house would add value to that vacant lot.
With that copyright comes a number of exclusive rights that can help you build value in those copyrights, and help you turn those songs into money. Music publishing is all about the ownership and the exploitation of those rights. In this lesson, we're gonna talk about all the key things you'll need to know about music publishing that are gonna help you turn your songs into money.