By Jeff Price

There have been six fundamental changes to the music industry that have revolutionized and transformed the business.  It is vital that artists are fully aware of these changes in order to make the most money and pursue their passion on their own terms.

These six changes are:

1)   Music fans now buy and listen to music from digital music stores and services.

2)   There is unlimited shelf space where everything can be in stock at no detriment to anything else.

3)   For no up front cost, there is unlimited inventory always available on demand as a perfect digital copy.

4)   With the launch of TuneCore, there is no gatekeeper to placing a song on Apple, Amazon’s etc store or hard drive.

5)   Distribution of a release is now global and not restricted to just one country.

6)   Artists can market directly to their fans.


With these changes, gone are the days of needing to be able to negotiate a label and/or distributor deal agreement (provided you were lucky enough to get one).

Instead, with self-distribution and access to marketing, the artist is now: The Label, The Performer, The Publisher and The Songwriter. While wearing all of these “four hats” at once, artists are now uniquely positioned to profit from the best possible contractual distribution terms and highest revenue generation via the sale, use, or streaming of their music. The challenge is that many artists don’t know what these rights are, or how to collect the money they’ve earned from these revenue streams. A comprehensive, streamlined, and completely inclusive infrastructure does not yet exist that enables every artist who is owed money to easily collect it.  However, there are solutions out there for artists, and it’s imperative that you understand these.

THE SIX COPYRIGHTS YOU MUST GET TO KNOW AND UNDERSTAND

The entire music industry is built on six legal copyrights.

The six copyrights are:

  • Reproduction
  • Derivatives & Samples
  • Public Display
  • Public Performance
  • Distribution
  • Digital Transmission

For a more detailed explanation of each one, please download or read the free TuneCore Music Industry Survival Manual: How Not To Get Screwed: The Six Legal Rights That Drive The Music Business

Money is made from music by either selling, licensing or using it –the sale of the music is the one that gets talked about the most.

The others also generate a LOT of money for artists, performers and songwriters.  This money is made based on the USE of music as opposed to just the SALE of the music – in other words, music does not necessarily have to be sold to make the artist, songwriter, performer and label money.   Much of the money from these six copyrights is  collected by entities located on every continent around the world called Performing Rights Organizations (PROs).  PROs tend to be not-for-profit or government controlled and/or mandated. Their function is to collect and distribute money owed to songwriters, labels and performers. The amount of money the writers are paid comes from federal laws in those countries that mandate entities MUST pay them for the USE of music.

This has become increasingly important now that the music industry is global – with one click your music can be distributed, sold, shared, tracked and marketed around the world.

As one example, unless the songwriter agrees not to be paid, every single time a song is streamed legally for free on the Internet, money is owed to the songwriter.  This money is paid to the PROs and sits there waiting to be claimed.

As another, every single time a song is played on the radio (either via the Internet or broadcast from an AM/FM transmitter tower) the songwriter, label and performer must get paid.   As an interesting twist, and to make a point, there is an exception to this rule – everywhere in the world the songwriter, performer and label get paid when a song is played on AM/FM radio EXCEPT for the United States. In the U.S., only the songwriter gets paid.  This means from radio play, there is money sitting in other parts of the world with a PRO for the label and performer.  If the label and performer are based in the U.S., they are not able to collect this money UNLESS there is someone in another country working on behalf of them to collect it.

As yet another example, if you are a U.S.-based band and you write your own songs and use TuneCore to distribute your music into another country like iTunes Japan, each time your music sells in Japan, iTunes pays the Japanese PRO money for the “reproduction” of your song. This money is in addition to the money iTunes pays for the sale of the song. This money sits with the PRO until it is collected by the songwriter/publisher.  After a certain period of time, if it is not collected, it is given to other members of the PRO.

It is vital for you to know about all of these potential revenue streams and how to collect on them around the world.

Major Artist Initiatives in 2011

I view it as TuneCore’s job to go into the world on behalf of its artists and help them plug into and collect all the money that exists for them.  This is a major initiative for us in 2011.  Over the next 90 days, we will be providing significant news and updates on how we intend on doing this for this new industry.

Also, in the next 45 days or so, we are rolling out a new accounting system that allows for even more transparency down to the one trillionth of a penny as well as even more advanced custom sales reports and free access to iTunes trending data.

A major education initiative is also being undertaken to provide the knowledge and information every artist should know.  To that end, we will continue to post a large amount of specific information on the blog as well as create more PDF booklets for free download. George Howard (former President of Rykodisc, current professor at Loyola) and I are embarking on a series of free to attend multi-hour seminars discussing in-depth the nuances and information around the six legal copyrights.

If you are attending South By Southwest, please make certain to join us for a free two and half hour seminar on:

The Six Legal Copyrights:

Friday March 18

2:00 – 4:30 PM

Room 8 (Third Floor)

Austin Convention Center

The power of TuneCore Artists is now unquestionable – they have sold over 300 million songs via paid download or stream over the past 2 ½ years and have transformed the industry. Artists today not only can take the power and control into their own hands, but they must do so.  This does not mean that you must go it alone; there are resources that you can avail yourself of in order to create and succeed on your own terms.  It is our mission to continue to work with you to further transform the industry and provides these resources.  Only by setting it free can the industry grow to its full potential.

Stay tuned for the next transformation…

Jeff


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