ello and welcome to my musical mini-series on how best to find your way into the music industry. I’ll be taking a look at all the areas you’d need to consider and factor in, so you can decide on which route is best for you and your music and/or band.
Last week I had a look at record labels. One thing to note about them, is that it takes time to be signed to one and if this is not your desired route, you can always have your own label. This is where the financial issue comes in. As I mentioned last week, either option you choose will be costly, so make sure if you are serious about getting into the music industry, you are aware that you’ll be spending a lot of money before you actually make any. Also signing to a label as opposed to owning your own label will mean your label will retain the rights to your music, so it will no longer be yours.
So this week I’ll be looking at ‘Publishing Companies’. Again, if you want to sign to a publishing company, you’ll be signing over the rights to your lyrics, so the publishing company will again retain the rights to your lyrics. It’s not something I’ve looked into yet, but you can set up your own publishing company which will help the DIY route somewhat, as you’ll retain everything you make. Anyway, let’s get started.
A publishing company is designed to generate as much revenue as they can, by granting licences for other people to use your material.
Copyright is a ‘property’ right, meaning the owner of the right has the exclusive right to authorise or prevent others from using a ‘musical work’ in various ways.
If a song is co-composed, the Musicians’ Union strongly advises contributors to sign and date a short agreement setting out the name of the song, the names of their contributors and their respective shares in the song. You’ll also need to state whether the shares are in respect to words, music or both. Under UK Law, copyright does not exist until a musical or literary work is recorded in writing or otherwise.
These are one off payments made to copyright holders by the producer of a film or a television company, for the right to incorporate songs into a film soundtrack or television programme. This fee can be negotiated directly.
What are Moral Rights?
The new Copyright Act has granted to songwriters and composers, the right to claim authorship of their work and the right to object to any modification or distortion of their work. Beware of any clause in a publishing agreement requiring you to waive completely your rights in this area.
Self Publishing Advantages
You will keep 100% of royalties earned from your songs and retain 100% of copyright.
Self Publishing Disadvantages
The larger the amount of work involved if the songs become successful, the necessity to ‘do your own deals’ with foreign sub-publishers and the investment money necessary to start your own company. These disadvantages could be overcome entering into an administration type deal.
There are a lot more in depth things to mention on the subject but that can be for another time as I’m trying to focus and the big and main issues for now. Next week I’ll be looking into Music Services/Retail.