Last week, our entertainment lawyers in Miami began the series “Three Steps to DIY Success” for music careers. Thanks to the digital revolution, musicians no longer have to depend on traditional record labels. You can build profitable avenues for delivering content to fans, independent of labels.
The first post in this series highlighted the necessity of honestly evaluating your musical talent and potential before investing time and money into realizing your music dream. The next step on your road to a lucrative independent music career is to find a producer that best suits your music.
A producer will help you create 3-5 tracks of demo’s (short for “demonstration” songs), which you have composed yourself or have purchased the necessary composer copyright. The demos you create should represent the styles (and languages) with which you feel most comfortable. Also, the songs you and the producer choose for the demos should be the most “commercial” or have the widest appeal.
But before you begin recording the tracks, you must ensure that the proper documents have been signed between you and your producer to avoid paying his or her service with the end result of nothing that you can ultimately use. The U.S. Copyright Act states that copyright transfers must be in a written document (email is okay) that is signed by the original owner. If you don’t have a signed document from your producer that says that the copyright in the composition and the demo-tracks have been shifted to you, then the transfer never occurred. This means that instead of owning the song entirely, you become simply a part owner.
If the demo song becomes a big hit, you’ll have an unintended partner and therefore might have trouble making money from the song. So, yes, because of the need for written copyright-related agreements, the music business is a very lawyer-intensive industry. The sooner you realize this and protect your music, the better your career will be in the long run.
Next week we will focus on how to get your music “out there” and build your career.
Chase Lawyers is a boutique entertainment law firm that advises and represents clients in legal matters related to music, sports, television/film, visual and literary works, modeling, online matters and intellectual property. If you are planning a music career and have questions about music copyright, contact our entertainment lawyers in Miami today to ensure your path to stardom is a smooth one!