So when you decide to make a song, what do you do?
I have been producing music, writing and recording songs for nearly 20 years. Within that time, I've found myself buying exclusive (owning all rights to) beats, writing to them and paying for studio time. Then what.
It turns out you're either doing it for fun, or you want to actually try and make some profit from your creation. Doing it for fun can cost a pretty penny and making money from it can take excruciating time and effort.
First I want to share with you how I did it from scratch. I used to pay for beats, then I just invested in a Boss DR-5 and learned how to make my own. Second I did studio time, then I invested in my own equipment to record on. It took a lot of learning, a few different computers and a lot of high priced equipment. Took me a very long time to get where I am at. But from all the learning and investing, I can now provide professional studio time and make a decent amount of money from it.
So another question you will want to ask yourself is do you want to give the song for free or make money from it. Do you want to release just a single or release a project (album). Anybody can release a song.. but to make a professional project and duplicate/replicate it to have purchasable as a sole proprietor takes endurance and patience. Two qualities that most do not have.
To own all rights and maintain all publishable Monorecords you must do a greater amount of things. You will need to copyright the song/project with copyright .gov and maintain a certificate for it so no other entity can make money from your works other than you. ISRC's are electronic filing records that allow you publishing rights to your songs. As a business/sole proprietor you will need this to collect monies from resources such as ASCAP/BMI or YouTube. As well, you are going to need a UPC code (barcodes/company prefix) from GS1 to make your product sellable by merchants such as Angelos, Twist and Shout and Second Spin. This company prefix comes at a price.
So after all that being said, you're going to want to decide how you are going to distribute your professional works on the internet. This is a dangerous task. If you want to give up copyright ownership to make it easy you can go through iTunes/Amazon or Tunecore/CDBaby. But from my experience, these corporate sharks slip in fine print for you to give them rights to your Monorecords and after you sign the line or press that final button, those songs are no longer yours. Monorecords are the design of the publishing patterns I told you about above (copyright, ISRC and ASCAP/BMI).
Let's say Lions Gate, a huge film production company, decided they want to use one of your songs in a movie or even CAPCOM wanted your song in a videogame. Do you know who they would contact. It would not be you because you don't own your Monorecords anymore, iTunes, Amazon or Tunecore does. They won't even budge for an offer because they know you would fight for your rights thereafter. They make more money off of your ignorance's. You would never even know those publishers wanted to use your works.
When I ordered a cease and desist from CDBaby and Tunecore, I received an offer from Pandora to place one of my songs in rotation. Apple contacted me to offer royalties for a song of mine that they were wanting to use. The Apple deal fell through the cracks but it was still amazing to know this company was inclined to use my works. And how many other opportunities did I miss out on because Tunecore and CDBaby were representing themselves as the owners of my works.
Two months after my cease and desist, Amazon reproduced one of my albums and sold it to one of my greatest fans in Sweden. Not only was it not my official product, I did not receive pay for this sale. This was when I decided to fight against them and coach others on what to do and where to go to avoid their corporate, bloody claws.
When I place videos of my shows on YouTube and have one of my songs playing in the background, the video gets flagged for copyright infringement and it says that CDBaby still owns rights to that song. I contacted their legal counsel and they wrote me back, yet now they are avoiding my calls because they know I have a case. But let's face the realities of this and know I would need a big lawyer to face their corporate systems. Not worth my energies at this point. I decided to go forward, copyright and publish my own works from that point forward.
The absolute best way to distribute your music is by owning your own website, learning how to set up a store through e commerce and doing it all yourself. I am here to tell you that being on iTunes is not winning, in retrospect, it is actually losing. There is no imaginary promoter on their site pulling people to discover your music. I spent $2,000 on a feature on my 5th album because I knew it would get me views but after I set the song on Tunecore, the major artist's name wasn't attached to mine in the search engines. This was a massive disappointment. The truth of the matter is, the only promoter that will get people to your music is YOU.
So I am suggesting with all importance that you gain all rights, follow this publishing path, get your own website and own your own craft. Anything less is a hobby. If you are in need of coaching, please write in the contact info below and I will respond with assistance.
Thank you for your time. And Own your Own Shit!!
Daniel Scott Burke
Mental State Music, Primal Pen Publishing
And the Smile Factory non-profit organization