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A Funny Week

This week has been a funny one in terms of advising young inexperienced musicians. They come up with theories and believe in urbain legends about the music industry, which for sure will not help them as a professional musician.


"How many stories of great artists do we hear of that get stuck into poor contracts that benefit others before themselves. Colonel Parker and Elvis: Noted without him he may not of been the success he was, but who should get the rewards?"


Was the King of Rock & Roll, the most famous person on this planet, living in his mansion hidden away on his immense estate given a rough deal?


A sneaky trick that record companies do: Advances from record companies need to be paid back.


Of course they do, they are advances. If you go to your boss and ask for a sub, don't you have to pay it back when you get your wages at the end of the week? Or is that another sneaky trick?


It's not necessary to register your copyright with the government to sue for wrongful use of your music. Artists can mail themselves a copy of their songs and never open the envelopes. The postal date on the envelope is an official marking of the government, so this technique would be significant proof.


If you want to sue somebody for wrongful use of your music you don't need to have your music copyrighted. However to receive damages you do.

Sending yourself a REGISTERED letter may be proof of the fact that the work existed at that time, however, there is nothing to say that the work wasn't created well before the date on the envelope, nor that it wasn't created by somebody else.

Shouldn't we be thinking about how to register unprotected work so that we may continue in front without fear of future problems? Doesn't that make more sense?

In the United States, any work you create is automatically protected by law from the moment it is created.

If you publish your work (put it on fixed media like a CD) you should add the copyright logo and the name of the author.

Although it is not obligitory, you don't need to register your work at the U.S. Copyright office, but, you cannot receive damages for wrongful use of your music if it is not registered.

It's for exactly examples like these that I think it important the artist should find out about the music industry and how it works, and how to market their music at the beginning of their career. After all to work in any professional area, you need to know about how the system works. Right?


Steve Allen

Steve Allen is consultant and music producer.

Author of "Marketing Your Music – Success Strategies", "Personal Management in the Music Industry" and "Street Teams – Expand your Fan Base"



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Hi Steve, thanks for the models of contracts you sent. Thanks also for the kindness as always. Really you sent very useful contracts."

Flávio Lima
Maceió - AL


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