Everyday there is another story about the record labels losing their fight against piracy and file sharing.
Not so long ago, copyrights on music didn’t last that long. A few years, and it was done. Then, publishers got lawmakers to change the rules in their favor. For almost the last century, publishers had it great. It was pretty difficult to steal the songs… well, sort of. They had a lot of complaints when cassettes came out and people could record off the radio or a record.
Today, technology has overtaken the laws on music copyrights. It is so easy to upload and share music illegally that a large majority of the public does it without thinking twice. So, now, instead of being afraid that someone might start stealing your music, you should probably just assume it.
The wonderful people here at Music Marketing Center understand your fears in this unsettled and volatile industry. You have a couple choices regarding selling your music… either do it, make some money, get your name out there, and let some people steal it,
Don’t sell your music. Just keep it in your head, locked away in your little room. Sit there never making any money, never getting any fame or fortune, but delighted that no one stole any of your music.
Chances are you’re going to get ripped off in some way anyway so don’t let it stop you from moving forward with your music career. 100 years ago you would have been ripped off by the concert halls not paying you for your performance. 50 years ago, you would have been ripped off by promoters and record labels cheating on the accounting and making you sign legal documents that took away all your ownership of your music. Today, you’ll get ripped off by the fans who will end up buying your merchandise, buying concert tickets, and telling all their friends how great you are. Personally, I’ll take today’s rip off.
That being said, you have to do your best to protect your music. Copyrighting it is a must (see our past article about how to apply for a copyright). Also, you may want to sign up with a licensing company like ASCAP or BMI. The copyright is proof that you own the song(s) if it’s ever contested and the licensing company will help collect your royalties (for a big cut, of course).
Remember, that joker stealing your song will likely end up sending it off to friends without having them pay for it, but, it will get your name and your music out there and that’s the name of the game today.
All sorts of people would hear you music and one of those people could get your songs into video games, ringtones, movies, you name it. Licensing and merchandise is where the money is today. You just never know who’s listening when your music is out there on the web.
Yes, giving music away is unfair and frustrating but that’s life. Boo Hoo. Get over it and get on with what you need to do. Play your music live, get your songs out to the fans, and embrace the new methods of making money with music. Or, go ahead… live in the past, and see where that will get you.
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