Monday, August 11, 2014

A Basic Music Publishing Glossary

publishing contract image
It's unfortunate that many songwriters are so good at their craft yet don't understand the basics of protecting and controlling their work. Here's a quick basic glossary of frequently used publishing -related terms thanks to the Music Business Association.

Remember that each song has two rights attached to it. The first is for the composition itself (both lyrics and music) and the second is for the recording of that song by the artist.

Composition - The song written by the songwriter(s).

Copyright - The ownership or control of an intellectual property like a song.

Label - The record label, who sign the artist and usually control the copyright of the master recordings. They are responsible for licensing and distributing the recordings, then paying a percentage (a royalty) of the money earned to the artist.

Master - The produced sound recording of a song.

Mechanical License - The license to reproduce and distribute the master recordings in a physical or digital format. CDs, vinyl records and digital downloads all require this license from the publisher of the composition in exchange for a royalty for each sale.

Public Performance License - The license to transmit the compositions to the public via live concerts, radio, television and streaming.

Performance Rights Organization (PRO) - The entity that collects public performance royalties for the songwriter. This includes ASCAP, BMI and SESAC in the US.

Publisher - An entity that controls the copyright of a songwriter's compositions. The publisher is responsible for collecting the royalties on the artist's behalf.

Soundexchange - The entity that collects performance royalties for artists and labels for non-interactive streaming such as Pandora.

Sound Recording Performance License - The license issued by Soundexchange that provides the right to transmit masters via non-interactive streaming.

Synchronization (Sync) License - The license required to add music to moving images, including film, television, DVDs and video games.

Publishing is a deep subject and there are many more terms to become familiar with if you really want to get a handle on how it all works. That said, if you're unclear of the concept, these terms are an excellent place to begin.


Whitt and Judy said...

Helpful. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The key to the Mechanical License is it only after the recording has been released to the public. You can't get a Mech License for unreleased songs.
The other iissue is a Composition is a song written by two authors where they did not work on the same lyrics. For example One author writes "Mary had a Little Lamb, the other Author writes "who was white as snow" Vs a Joint Author were both authors write "Mary had a Little lamb."


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...