First, let’s talk a bit more about those exclusive rights inherited with that copyright and how we can use them to build value into those songs of yours. Who are the Players? First you have the songwriters. The music publisher is there to help with the business side of things. Those folk are called licensees. Who are the end licensees of music?
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- First, let's talk a little bit more about those exclusive rights you inherited with that copyright, and how we can use them to build value in those songs of yours. The owner of a copyright in a song has the exclusive right to make copies, to sell and distribute those copies, to perform that song publicly, and to prepare derivative works. Anyone else wishing to use those songs in these ways must have the permission of the author, or someone who has derived rights through that author.
That's what the US Copyright Act says. So let's give some context now to the exploitation of these rights, and talk about who the players in the music publishing world are. First, you have the songwriters. Now, while I'm sure every songwriter is unique in their own way, for the sake of this conversation, they tend to fall in three buckets. First, songwriters that write songs for other people. Secondly, songwriters who also perform and record their songs as solo artists, as members of groups or whatever.
And finally, as co writers with other songwriters. Without those songwriters, there is no music business, and there's certainly no music publishing business. But the same way you'd need some help to build that house on your vacant lot, most songwriters will likely need some help to turn those songs into money. This is where the music publisher comes in. The music publisher is there to help with the business side of things. We'll talk more later about how they do that, but in a nut shell, their job is to license the use of those songs to businesses and individuals who will use them to make money.
Those folks are called licensees. So who are the licensees that we're talking about here? Record labels who sell music, radio stations of all kinds that play music to sell ads, video games, retail stores who play music to build the vibe, a club or a venue where those songs are performed, an airplane where music is played by the flyers trying to kill time on a long flight, a birthday card for your mom or your wife or your loved ones.
Anywhere you hear music, those songs need to be licensed. Everywhere you hear music, is an opportunity for those songs to earn some money.
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.