File Under: Getting Licensed and Generating Royalties, Understanding Your Legal Rights

If you release remixes or different versions of your music, each one of these is a separate sound recording from the point of view of royalty organizations like SoundExchange or Performance Rights Organizations like ASCAP and BMI. And unless you register each one, you're potentially leaving money on the table that's yours. Here's how to avoid missing out on what's owed you.

As we discussed in the DIY Advisor article Here’s What You Own & What You Can Earn From Your Music, while the composition itself is covered by one copyright, each sound recording creates a unique copyright. In fact, each recording has separate:

Like many bands, we've chopped up our songs into snippets for other purposes. For example, we created various instrumental bumpers and beds for a TV show out of one song. One version had the horns. Another just the bass and drums. Still another added the guitar riff. Each version created a separate sound recording and each sound recording created a new copyright. And each version had to be submitted to our PRO and SoundExchange to ensure we could get paid performance royalties.

Demo and live versions of songs you've already released are separate sound recordings too. In the world of YouTube and streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, demo versions of songs can generate money for you too. If you don't register them, you can't get paid.

In fact, you should go through your entire catalog and make sure you cover all of the following types of sound recordings you may have released in some way to the world:

  • Remixes
  • Demo recordings
  • Snippets, bumpers, beds
  • Alternate mixes
  • Live recordings

For each of the recordings you release, consider doing the following:

  1. Compile them all into a group and register the copyright (Form SR) This step costs money, so not everyone does this, but it's a good way to protect your music. If the songwriters and sound recording owners are the same for each song, you can submit a bundle and save some money.
  2. Register each sound recording with SoundExchange (this is free!) and PRO (this too is free if you're already a member!).
  3. Get an ISRC code for all of them.This can be free if you have an unlimited membership at ISRC otherwise, it's a small fee from a provider.

By doing the steps above, you'll set yourself up to get all the potential income your released music and remixes are making no matter the medium -- streaming, radio, TV, film, and more.

Challenge: Take an inventory of all the music you've released to the public, whether through SoundCloud, YouTube, Pandora, or other streaming services. If there's any that you've released but haven't registered with SoundExchange or your PRO, do so.


#music #registration #copyright #licensing #royalties #makingmoneywithmusic #mmwm

Photo credit: Donnie Ozone