REGISTERING, PUBLISHING AND DISTRIBUTING YOUR MUSIC PART 1
This is part 12 of “How To Create A Rap Song” By The Lokkz Music
PART I – MINDSET
PART II – CHOOSING THE MUSIC
PART III – BEAT LICENSING
PART IV – SONGWRITING TECHNIQUES
PART V – THE HOOK
PART VI – PRE-PRODUCTION
PART VII – VOCAL RECORDING TECHNIQUES
PART VIII – OVERDUBBING
PART IX – MIXING THE BEAT
PART X – VOCAL MIXING TECHNIQUES
PART XI – BASIC MASTERING TECHNIQUES
PART XII – REGISTERING, PUBLISHING AND DISTRIBUTING YOUR MUSIC PART 1
Welcome to the final installment of my series “How To Create A Rap Song” where I give you a full blueprint of creating a rap song from scratch, starting with the idea, all the way to the actual release of the song. At this point we have already completed everything in this series. From capturing the initial idea, to writing and recording the song, all the way to the final mastering stage. Now we are ready to release our polished song right? Well, not quite yet. There is only four more steps we need to take before we can officially release our song, and those four steps are Copyrighting, Registering, Publishing And Distributing.
COPYRIGHTING AND REGISTERING YOUR SONG
WHAT IS COPYRIGHTING?
I’m sure most of us know what copyrighting is, but for those of you that missed out on that info, let me explain it to you briefly. When you create anything and proclaim ownership of it, this is copyrighting. Whether it’s just stating that you own it or marking it with your signature or tag, this is copyrighting. Heck, you don’t even have to do that. The minute you create something, it is essentially copyrighted. As long as you have the original incarnation of your work, you hold the copyright.
A copyright is put in place to protect your work from being stolen and used without permission. Any situation you can think of that relates to anyone using your work as their own, is protected by copyrighting.
The type of natural copyrighting that we just explained in the first paragraph is only viable against your peers and the non-professional world. When it comes to the music business and entertainment business, whoever owns the legal registered copyrighted work, is the legal copyright owner of the song. So while proving you are the owner of a work by showing it’s original creation will sustain your respect, and credit of accomplishment, it won’t get you paid or reimbursed for any money stolen by someone else. If you want to be legally protected in the music business, you must file an official copyright registration form and tatach your work to the form.
LEGAL WAYS TO COPYRIGHT
So, there are 2 ways you can copyright your music. The first way is to fill out an actual paper form. This form is found at the copyright.gov website. All you have to do is select the type of copyright you will be registering and download the pdf file of the form. You then print that out and fill in all of your data. Once you are ready to send in the form, you must also attach a CD or Flash drive containing the sound recording and the written lyrics of your song.
The second way to copyright your song is by filling out the application via the eCO (Electronic Copyright Office). This is obviously the easiest and quickest route to go. You simply log on to the eCO portal and create an account. Once you create an account, you will select the type of work you want to register and then proceed to filling in the data for your song. You will also be asked to upload an electronic audio file of your song and an electronic file of your lyrics.
TYPES OF WORKS
If you followed the links above to the Copyright website, you will see that there are many types of works that you can copyright. For music, there are two specific ones that we need to pay attention to. There are Performing Arts Copyrights or PA, and there are Sound Recording Copyrights or SR.
Performing Arts (PA)
The performing Arts copyright pertains to the underlying musical work. This includes the actual song and lyrics. So for this case, we don’t own the underlying music unless you purchased the rights to the music, or composed everything yourself. So we will only be copyrighting the lyrics. For the lyrics of the song, It is usually enough just to upload the audio file of the song containing the lyrics. To be extra cautious, we can also attach a lyric sheet with our PA application.
Sound Recording (SR)
The Sound Recording copyright is different in that it only copyrights the actual sound recording attached to the copyright application. This is useful for people who do not own neither the lyrics nor the underlying music of the song. They may have done a cover of the song or was the primary artist that performed and recorded the song but did not compose or write it.This is an application that you will always need to fill out when releasing music. This will protect your ownership to the master copy of the song.
Those are the two copyright applications you will need to submit to get full protection of your work. There is a $35 fee for each type of work. However, you can submit multiple works in one application if you wanted to say, get 10 songs copyrighted, just submit those 10 songs with 1 PA application and 1 SR application. You just copyrighted 10 songs for only $70 as apposed to paying $35 for each.
PERFORMING RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS
WHAT IS A PRO?
A performing Rights Organization or PRO, is a company that collects performance royalties on behalf of songwriters and publishers. As a songwriter, you get performance royalties whenever your song is played via radio stations, TV shows, commercials, in restaurants or clubs and live performances. However in order to be able to collect those royalties, you have to be registered with a PRO who will then always keep track on where your music is being played and make sure you are getting royalties.
HOW TO REGISTER YOUR MUSIC WITH A PRO
To register with a PRO, all you have to do is go to their website and just create an account as a songwriter or creator. When it comes to PROs, there are 3 major companies that come in to play. BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. There really is no major differences in these companies, it is simply a matter of choice. Before you register with one, just visit each one’s website and do some research on them. Make a list of pros (haha see what I did there?) and cons and choose the one that you favor the most. As a songwriter, you may only register with one PRO. However if you also create a publishing company, you may register that company with another PRO if you like. We will talk more about publishing in part 2 of this article.
Once you make an account, you will then be able to start registering your music. For this step, you will need to be very precise and accurate with the data you input. Everything about the song must e exactly how it is listed in the final release. This way it will be easy for your PRO to detect when your song is being used and get your royalties for you.
After reading this, we should now have our song copyrighted in both PA and SR forms. We should also be registered with a Performing Rights Organization and have our song registered so we can collect all performance royalties. Stay tuned for part 2 of this article where we will discuss publishing our music and finding a distributor to release our music to the public for us! If you have any questions, make sure you comment below and I will answer them as soon as possible. Until next time. Peace!