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By Richard Stim | Friday, March 13, 2015

Songwriters: Here's Why and How to Copyright a Song

how to copyright a song

Last year, streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify, and Google Play increased market share by an astounding 42%. At the same time, digital download sales dropped 13 %.

That was good news and bad news for songwriters.

The good news is that streaming services reduce piracy of songs. A Swedish music-business study showed that over half the people who previously downloaded music illegally no longer did so after being given access to a streaming music service. The bad news is that streaming payments per play are miniscule—as Cracker’s David Lowery demonstrated when he posted a royalty statement showing a $16.89 payment from Pandora for over one million plays of his song “Low.”

With streaming on the ascendance and album sales at their lowest numbers since Soundscan began reporting sales in 1991, the copyright value of a song seems to have diminished substantially.

Was David Bowie right when he proclaimed in 2002, “copyright will no longer exist in 10 years”? With less money to be made, is copyright even relevant for songwriters?

The answer is yes. Even with diminished revenues, song copyrights still have a pulse—and it’s a strong one.

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