Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians
4 Times You Shouldn't Take the Gig
The Number One Mistake Bands Make Right After Booking a Gig
The Ultimate EQ Cheat Sheet for Every Common Instrument
15 Reality Checks Young Artists Need to Hear

How Songwriters Just Lost Music Performance Income Because of the U.S. Department of Justice

Image via Shutterstock

9/19/16 update: Federal Judge Louis Stanton issued an order rejecting the US Department of Justice’s interpretation of the BMI consent decree, which is a huge victory for songwriters. Read more about the details of the ruling on billboard.com.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently issued a massive blow to all songwriters and music publishers that will have repercussions both in the U.S. and abroad, and threatens the ability of creators to earn a living from their music as well as creativity itself.

Since 1941, performing rights organizations (PROs) ASCAP and BMI, which track and collect performance royalties on behalf of songwriters and music publishers, have been subject to consent decrees issued by the DOJ. These consent decrees are agreements that allow the government to regulate ASCAP and BMI’s license fees and how they operate in order to prevent monopolization and encourage competition. (The two other PROs, SESAC and GMR, are both independent, privately owned companies that operate on a for-profit basis and are not subject to consent decrees.)

Ask a Music Lawyer: When Is the Right Time to Register Your Songs With the Copyright Office?

Image via Shutterstock

A question often posed to me by songwriters is when to copyright their songs. Under United States law, a work is protected by copyright if meets sufficient standards of originality and is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” (17 U.S. Code § 102) If these requirements are met, then the work is technically protected under copyright law.

However, without federal copyright registration, the work will not receive the additional benefits of registration, such as the ability to sue for copyright infringement. Therefore, I always recommend that clients register their works with the Copyright Office.

Depending on the situation, though, the timing of when to actually register a work might vary. Here are a few guidelines to help you out.

This Infographic Explains Everything Songwriters Need to Know About How the Consent Decree Revision Impacts Them

Image via soundstr.com

This infographic originally appeared on Soundstr.

 

If you follow the news in the music industry, you might have been hearing about the consent decree lately. Even if you aren't exactly sure what it means, you may have been able to gather that the revisions made on the consent decree will greatly impact songwriters. There are some songwriters who are starting to sweat, and you may be as well.

If you're wondering what exactly the consent decree is... well, there's a lot to it. Its purpose is essentially to regulate how ASCAP and BMI operate and prevent the development of a monopoly in the industry. ASCAP and BMI are nonprofit companies, and the consent decree binds them to this agreement. However, there are other for-profit companies, SESAC and GMR, that aren't bound. 

Performing Rights Organizations: A Quick Crash Course for Songwriters

Image via pixabay.com

If you've gotten serious about your music, you may have heard someone mention performing rights organizations in passing (PROs, for short) – possibly even by name. Maybe you've always wondered what they were and have been embarrassed to ask. Fortunately, this article is here to help!

How Do Dry Music Venues Make Money? (And 10 Other Things You Should Know)

Photo by Austin Bauman via amplyfi.com

You’re looking to play in a new city and you find an awesome music venue… but there's no booze. What does that mean for your band? How do you get paid? Will your fans still come? Are there perks to playing an alcohol-free spot?

We got three expert talent buyers and venue owners from across the US to weigh in on the subject of booze-free music venues: