What a musical mess!
When one starts to understand how music copyrights work, they realize how complicated and inefficient the systems in place are. That’s especially relevant if you’re an independent artist or producer. Are you an expert on your own copyrights? If you’re thinking you’re not, don’t worry, because you are certainly not alone!
Many creators don’t understand how it all works. We don’t blame them. Because it’s quite confusing and different countries have different rules, many creators simply subscribe to the status quo and hope that it’ll end up being good for them. Well, it takes more than hope. We encourage creators to learn more and take action. Don’t get stuck in systems that won’t work for you. We can change the status quo…together!
We’ll explain some of the general issues with music copyrights here, and we’ll go into more depth in upcoming articles.
Lots of information and stakeholders, yet lots of missed opportunities.
There are different types of music rights and many rules and regulations. There is a growing list of groups and stakeholders involved in the decision-making for the whole industry. But those decisions may not be relevant or beneficial to you or your methods.
In some cases, those rules and groups help creators find compensation for their work. In other cases, they help corporations or faceless organizations benefit on the back of creators’ works. Tons of lawsuits are flying around the industry. Huge amounts of money are spent by deep-pocketed groups to keep the current status quo in place. We believe the status quo isn’t the viable future for music, and it’s clear that a very large and growing portion of the creator community agrees!
Problems with copyrights and related revenue collection include:
- Very complicated rate-setting and licensing systems
- Outdated laws put in place before digital music formats and platforms grew to prominence
- Technology bring fragmented and not being utilized to track usage and deliver royalties
- A general lack of transparency for creators
As a result, creators may not receive their royalties, or payments owed to them for the use of their content. Digital services usually lack effective means to obtain required licenses for your work. The cost of music usage is very inconsistent. There are too many instances where that cost is not determined by the music maker. You should decide how you value your creations!
Let’s look at the types of music copyrights and licenses, and how they’re related to each other…
- Master Recording Rights / License – This gives the license holder the right to use a recording that somebody else made. Common uses of this license include sampling existing music, recording karaoke, and commercial promotions.
- Mechanical Rights / License – This is for the reproduction and distribution of song copies. For example, this could apply to a CD produced with the song, or apply to a cover version release of that song.
- Performance Rights / License – The includes music used at live performances, clubs, business establishments, streamed online, or simply played from a physical record for other listeners.
- Synchronization Rights / License – This license links the copyright owner and the licensee, granting the licensee permission to “sync” a song with a visual media.
- Print Rights / License – This is for printing or electronically displaying the lyrics, sheet music, or notes of a song that someone else created.
- Blanket Rights / License – Performing rights organizations (PROs) and music collection societies offer blanket licenses that allow a licensee to have access to a portion or complete repertoire of songs for a flat annual fee.
- Public Domain – This term refers to creative works whose exclusive intellectual property rights have expired, been forfeited, been expressly waived, or are inapplicable. Here and here are are a couple of Wiki links to more details.
There is a growing list of agencies and PROs that offer rights management, including the collection and distribution of license fees on behalf of music publishers and creators. But in addition, there’s a growing list of creators fed up with paying for these services because they feel they’re ineffective.
Are PROs giving you “pro” treatment?
Music copyrights owners often criticize PROs for slow or non-existent payments. Service/membership fees are tough when you know your music is being utilized and enjoyed out in the world, but the group you’re paying to collect those payments isn’t doing it properly. Many creators–particularly independents as well as new creators not represented by major publishing companies–also condemn PROs for what they consider mysterious formulas for deciding who gets what share of the licensing revenue received.
So speak up and join us in our mission to put more control back into the hands of artists!
Write your own future.
Let’s clean up this mess. At Artistco, you can simplify your music distribution, amplify your revenue opportunities with incentivized sharing features, and decide what it costs to access your content. We’re constantly working to improve the platform and increase its helpful tools and analytics. Lean more here and at Artistco.com
We love to get feedback from our community. Let us know what you think will drive the solution revolution!
Questions or suggestions? Contact us.
Stay tuned for more about music copyrights and how Artistco can help you manage yours!