THE BUSINESS OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS
The business side of the music business can be confusing. I do not know everything, but will share with you things that I have learned along my journey as a songwriter. The first rule of thumb is don't believe everything you hear. Test the waters and make sure you don't get swallowed up by the music sharks, who will eat you alive.
P.R.O - Every writer or publisher needs to be represented by a Performing Rights Organization. There are three functioning in the world, with two based in the United States and the other in Europe. ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) Both are based in Nashville, TN., with the third SESAC operating in London. Unless you plan to reside overseas, you will not use the latter. You only need one P.R.O. regardless on your country of residence.
The purpose of the P.R.O is to insure that songwriters and publishers get paid for their work, when used by artists, TV or print media. One must be a member of such an organization to be paid, and once they are a member, their work must be registered with their P.R.O. At today's rates, one song can produce a income of one million dollars or more. The only people getting paid for a song are the writers and publishers. Artists are paid by record company contracts, performances, and merchandising sales. Your earnings (royalties) are based on radio and TV airplay, artist performance fees and album sales. Payments are collected by your P.R.O. and paid every quarter. If represented by a publisher, you will generally split royalties with them on a 50/50 basis, unless you sign a contract stating otherwise. You will pay a one-time fee to join a P.R.O.
NSAI - Nashville Songwriters Association International, and groups similar can help the budding songwriter hone their skills and give them an outlet for their music. Local chapters meet in your area. Go to www.nashvillesongwriters.com for more info.
COPYRIGHTS - The copyright laws have changed over the years. Once you put your idea for a song on paper, it is yours. An idea cannot be copyrighted, and there is no such thing as a poor man's copyright, that idea that says, "mail a copy to yourself" and you are protected. This method has never survived a court challenge. The U.S. Copyright Office recommends that you register your work with them, as a guarantee against unauthorized use of your work. NEVER SELL YOUR COPYRIGHT, for you never know the type of income that could be generated from just one song, if put into the right hands.
SERVICES FOR HIRE - If you pay a demo producing company to add a melody to your song, the payment is all they are entitled to according to the law, unless your are gullible enough to sign a contract that states otherwise. Always read any contract or collaboration agreement to make sure you understand your rights, and know what you are giving away.
If you need a demo or a melody set to your song, contact me. I work with some of the best in the business and can get you a professional demo done at reasonable prices. If you do not already have a melody, I can provide that for you. I will take your lyrics and set them to melody for a fee of just $35.00. If you purchase a demo recording, there is no charge for that service. All work is subject to your final approval prior to any demo work. Once the demo is in production, all work is considered final. All fees must be paid in advance.