Whether you started out years ago picking tunes out on an old guitar or you honed your skills rapping on the streets, you have to transition from musician to business person at some point—if you want to start making money on your craft. It's never too early to start thinking about publishing your work professionally. This is what you need to know.
Who owns your music?
If you're a songwriter, the good news is that you're richer than you think, because you already own your own music and publishing rights. The bad news is that you probably don't have the slightest idea how to leverage that ownership into cash, which is what can take you from playing Friday nights at the local bar and struggling to make ends meet during the week to living solely off your creative efforts.
How do you start getting paid for your music?
Right now, you own 100% of your material, so it seems strange, but in order to start making money from the music, the best way to do it may be to assign 50% of what you own to a music publishing company. A music publishing company does several things for you:
And that's just on the practical side of "getting your music out there" where more people can hear it and appreciate it. They also take care of another vital part of the music industry: protecting your copyright. While you own your music, protecting your rights to it is another story. If you have any doubt about how easy it can be for someone else to borrow your music for their own purposes, talk to the representatives of the estate of late guitarist Randy Wolfe, who fought a losing battle against Led Zeppelin for years over musical plagiarism.
In order to earn money from your songs, there's a lot of detail work that has to be done to protect the use of your music as it gets transferred from hand to hand and studio to studio so that it doesn't fall out of your hands. In the long run, your publishing company will help you collect payment when your music is used in everything from jukeboxes to web clips.
What do you need to take to a publishing company?
The first thing to do is sit down and put together a catalog of your music and determine who created (and owns) what among your fellow musicians if you work in a group. If you work alone, you'll have an easier time with this step. You also need to write down or record your music and get lyric sheets together. Those two things can help you get your music career off to a great start.
Then contact a music service company like Lyric House Publishing for more information about how to proceed from there. Once you've gotten through those steps, you'll be well on your way of changing a hobby to a profession.
In a month, my husband and I will celebrate our eleventh wedding anniversary. I can’t believe we’ve been married for so many years. One of my favorite aspects about our wedding ceremony was the music. I selected two country tunes and a religious song to be sung at our wedding. A couple from my dad’s church sang the religious song beautifully while my cousin’s husband sang one of the country song’s perfectly. I sang the other country song to my groom. On this blog, I hope you will discover some tips for picking the perfect musical selections for an upcoming, important event. Enjoy!