Thursday, February 18, 2010

Notes for Songwriters

From my weekly (AM) radio segment titled "Legal Minute"

Whether we’re an aspiring musician or weekend songwriter, the music publishing business can be complex. We need to know the pitfalls and blessings of credits, copyrights and royalties. If you’re co-writing a song with friends or bandmates, figure out the credit to each contributor before you put pen to paper. Will the credit be 50/50, 70/30? It will save headaches in the long run. Once you write the song, get the songwriters’ names out in public. The internet makes that easy to do. For MP3s, WMAs and other digital formats, encode the text tags for your files with the songwriter and copyright information. As your song gets shared in cyberspace, you can get noticed and protect your ownership rights. Don’t forget to register with the performing rights societies, BMI or ASCAP. They collect royalties from all outlets where music is played and distribute royalties to the members. Always retain your copyright ownership in the song because that is the key to all music publishing revenue. Seek a music lawyer’s help. Lastly, think outside the disc and consider other avenues in which to exploit your song. The internet, video games, ad agencies, and television are all great sources.