New Artist Checklist

Thanks for taking our quiz.

All of those questions should have been answered with a resounding “YES!”

We’ve included the questions below, plus some info on why they each deserve a “yes.”

This quiz presented by TuneCore’s Songwriter Service:

1. Should I register my copyrights?

Yes
No

While you don’t need to register your copyrights to gain some protection (all you need to do is write down or record your original work), doing s, allows you to, among other things, sue for infringement. So, yes, you should register.

2. Should I affiliate with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO)?

Yes
No

Absolutely. One of the six legal rights you automatically get when you create an original work, is the right to publicly perform that work.  The PROs track, collect, and pay copyright holders when their works are publicly performed—be it in a club, on the radio, on TV, etc. If you don’t affiliate, you won’t get paid.

3. Should I affiliate with SoundExchange?

Yes
No

Yes. SoundExchange tracks and collects public performances of non-interactive digital streams (such as when your music is played on web radio, satellite radio, Pandora, etc.), and pays to the owner of the copyright of the master (i.e. the label) and the performer. This differs from ASCAP/BMI who pay the copyright holder of the song.

4. Do I really need to get my music up on all those streaming services?

Yes
No

Yes! While, for now, the payments from these services may be low, there’s a lot of evidence to support they won’t be low for long. Additionally, even while the payouts are currently low, they can act as great awareness building agents that drive people to your own website. You do have your own website, don’t you?

5. Do I need my own website?

Yes
No

Yes you do! Perhaps you’ve heard of MySpace? A ton of artists spent a ton of time developing their MySpace presence, and curating relationships on this site, only to have it go poof. You do not own these third-party sites, and you are therefore at their whim. You also may not own the data collected on these sites. It’s therefore imperative that you not only have your own site, but leverage these other third-party sites to drive potential customers to your site where you can create conversations (and collect information) with your fans.

6. Do I need an intra-band agreement?

Yes
No

If you’re in a band, we strongly recommend you have some sort of agreement that stipulates how all the money that is generated gets divided. While this is fairly easy to discern when it comes to things like revenue from live shows, it’s far trickier when it comes to money from publishing; particularly if there’s one principle songwriter, and the rest of the band members are non-writers.  In this scenario, the songwriter stands to make vastly more than the non-writers in the band. This is because the songwriter (and the songwriter only) receives revenue from things like mechanicals, synchronizations, and public performance. Over time, this discrepancy will cause friction in the band. To avoid this, do not divide the copyright to the song with non-writers, but rather set up an agreement that stipulates something along the lines of sharing all the revenue with the band members so long as they’re in the band, but ceases when and if they leave the band.

TuneCore has launched a new service that helps songwriters collect money that is rightfully theirs. Check out the new Songwriter Publishing Administration Service to see if it’s the right fit for you: http://www.tunecore.com/songwriters

TuneCore Songwriter Service