"The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” - Lost in Translation
Songwriters dream of hearing their music in every far-flung corner of the world. Right now your music could be wafting through the streets of Tel-Aviv, Tijuana or Tokyo. Keeping track of what has been played where and by whom across the globe can be complicated, expensive and time consuming, but since international markets are a great source of revenue it makes sense to understand some international music basics.
Despite its deep roots in musical tradition, covering and sampling other artists’ work is a sticky topic. Some songwriters have no issue with drawing inspiration from existing songs and sounds, while others insist it’s “cheating” and prefer a more traditional approach to songwriting.
If you’re in the second camp, we offer sincere and heartfelt admiration for your purist approach. If you’re in the former, we want to assure you that you’re in great company (see: “The entire genre of hip-hop”).
More to the point, we want to make sure you’re aware of the legal ramifications of recording or incorporating other artists’ work when it comes to the—let’s face it—sometimes confusing world of music publishing. While registering covers and samples is an increasingly common practice, you should know the upsides and downsides of covering and sampling before you start building sample-based tracks, or recording cover versions of existing songs.
At the ripe old age of thirteen, I had a badge around my neck and was attending my first songwriting conference - The Durango Songwriters Expo in Colorado. Later that Spring, I was off to the ASCAP “I Create Music Expo” in Los Angeles. I was a kid on a mission - dragging my mom to panels, workshops, meetups and listening sessions. During high school, I took extension courses in music business at UCLA and read oversized textbooks in my free time - all to wrap my brain around the complexities of the music industry and, more specifically, music publishing. Now, having recently graduated from NYU with a degree in Music Business, I realize that I have still only scratched the surface and that the music world only continues to change and evolve every day.
Savvy musicians know that YouTube is one of the best ways to locate fans and potential fans around the world. If you’ve started your own YouTube Channel, you’re on your way, but are you taking all the right steps to earn royalties from your songs on YouTube?
BASED IN Ghana, Africa, Derek Amoah Asare, also known as Drvmroll, is a music producer who has been making beats since 2010. His career was launched after rapper, and fellow Ghanian, Sarkodie released a song called “Oluwa is Involved” in 2014. His songs blend the sonics of different genres, giving him a mature sound. He’s always looking to grow and collaborate with songwriters and artists of different genres on new projects.
While many setlists have been (and undoubtedly will continue to be) hastily scribbled on napkins and scraps of paper, that doesn't mean they're not valuable – a handwritten Nirvana setlist, complete with a dirty footprint, sold for a cool $10,000, after all. A setlist doesn't have to be a collectible item or concert souvenir for it to have worth. In fact, songwriters earn performance royalties from when their songs are played in public, and submitting their setlist is key to getting those royalties.
You finally finished writing/producing that perfect song, worked out all the kinks and chosen the perfect words, and now you’re ready to share it with the world. How you move forward from here can define who you are as a creator/writer. The most important next step is to record, master, or mix your song. You can’t start collecting royalties or get public interaction until your songs are complete, so decide the way that works best for you and get finalizing.
Studying healthcare and gender studies in college, with a focus in women's health, I didn't think that by working in the music industry I could bring so much of my college education into my job. But as I learned in college, gender intersects through every aspect of life and every industry. Being the Office & HR Coordinator for Songtrust and Downtown Music Publishing, I had the opportunity to organize a week of events for International Women’s Day (March 8th) to emphasize the achievements of women in tech and music, while also highlighting the immense work that still needs to be done.