SCHIRMER TRADE BOOKS Music, Money, and Success, 5th Ed.

Legal advice geared at optimizing the financial rewards of songwriters, recording artists, music publishers, and producers.
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Music, Money, and Success uses plain language instead of legalese to prepare the reader for entering into contract negotiations and determining their music''s monetary value for specific uses.

The subtitle for Music, Money, and Success (Schirmer Trade Books, 2006) reads “The Insider's Guide to Making Money in the Music Business,” and that's no empty promise. Written by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec, entertainment-business lawyers with credentials a mile long, Music, Money, and Success is filled to the gills with closely held legal advice geared at optimizing the financial rewards of songwriters, recording artists, music publishers, and producers. It is the most comprehensive and clearly written reference book I've read on the subject.

Name That Tune

The book begins with three chapters that delve deeply into songwriting and music publishing. Topics include publishing-contract terms for individual songs and staff-writer deals; the ins and outs of copublishing, administration, and subpublishing (foreign publishing) deals; and sources of income for both songwriters and publishers (including TV, film, home video, commercials, video games, ringtones, Internet streaming and downloads, and much more). The fourth chapter explains various aspects of copyright law, including copyright registration, compulsory licenses, and works made for hire. (Compositions written for film and TV often fall into the last category.) Toward the end of the book, an entire chapter is devoted to an in-depth examination of subpublishing.

Chapter 5 is a must-read for aspiring recording artists. Beginning with the 22 most important points to be negotiated in every recording contract, this chapter tells you in plain language how to avoid getting screwed. What deductions from your royalties and what payment delays will the record company try to include in your contract? Will the label obligate you to pay for your own music videos, tour support, music equipment, and record producer's services? Who owns the artist's masters and Web site? If you don't know this stuff, it's actually possible to lose money in a record deal.

After a very brief but authoritative chapter on the legal aspects of sampling, the next three chapters devote more than 100 pages to various contractual aspects of writing underscore, licensing songs for television shows and film, writing jingles, and licensing songs for TV commercials. If you ever get a call from a producer wishing to use one or more of your songs in a TV series, TV special or made-for-TV movie, you''ll likely need to negotiate contract terms (including options for home-video and foreign theatrical uses and for term extensions) and synchronization-license fees on the spot or lose the deal. The Brabecs give you specific advice on the fees you can charge, what inducements to offer to seal the deal, and how to ensure you'll get paid the often-more-substantial performance royalties after the licensed use of your tunes takes place.

Chapter 10 guides you through choosing which Performing-Rights Organization (PRO) to join and how and when each pays performance royalties to their members and affiliates. ASCAP and BMI are given in-depth treatment. However, SESAC is barely even mentioned, arguably because of its relatively scarce presence in the United States. Chapter 11 deals with writing music for Broadway.

Paradigm Shift

A significant portion of the fifth edition's roughly 40 additional pages covers new technologies, which are discussed in depth in Chapter 12. Those comprise contract terms and the going rates for licensing songs and their recordings for Internet use (such as on-demand streaming and downloading), cell phones (as ringtones), video games, digital jukeboxes, and Dual Disc (audio and audiovisual) recordings.

Leaving no stone unturned, the next chapter discusses the selling of music-publishing catalogs. Brief chapters follow on the roles of lawyers, managers, and agents; tips for breaking into the music business; and contact information for numerous industry organizations. But the book's focus is primarily on contract terms and the royalties and fees you can negotiate, quoted in both dollars and cents and percentages. This grounded approach is exemplified by the five sample contracts provided at the end of the book and by the numerous tables presented throughout that detail typical royalty and license payments for different uses.

Music, Money, and Success has more than 500 pages of indispensable information that songwriters, recording artists, music publishers, record producers, and all other music-business professionals can put to practical use. You absolutely need to know this information before considering or negotiating a contract or license. The softcover book's $24.95 list price is a pittance compared with the staggering wealth of expert legal advice contained therein. The 16-page table of contents and 18-page index increase the book's value as a handy reference. I cannot recommend Music, Money, and Success highly enough. If music is your business, make it your business to read this book.

Value (1 through 5): 5
Schirmer Trade Books