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Music Business and Publishing Money - Part 1

Ok, let's just start off by saying that for the longest time now, Pop, Hip-hop, Rap, Gospel, Rock and R&B music artist/songwriters are the ones writing a lot of the big hits of today. And I don't really think that there's anyone out there who can reasonably debate this. Just look at whatever songs are listed at the top of the music charts. Many of the songs are co-written by the artists.

The concern though, is not so much with most of the Superstar or Major Label talent that are co-writing most of the songs they are performing. At that level of success, you're suppose to have enough sense to have a great team of professionals around you to help guide you along - to get you paid for your creations. But the non-payout to artists/songwriters that occur at the new to mid size level artist/songwriter, or especially the ones signed to a regional independent label or Production Company is sometimes a little alarming.

Are You Selling Your "Sole" Property?

It's crazy to me when new songwriter-artists repeatedly, over and over...and over again - keep signing into agreements; Song split sheets and/or songwriting/publishing contracts that take away so much. And what's even worse, many of these companies are not even paying these kids on what they are due...legally. I have personally watched talent just sit and either not know what to do or either too scared to do anything or to "make waves" that might cause a problem with their so-called "hook-up" with the industry or company. And most of this sad reality is mainly due to a lack of knowledge & understanding on some of the most fundamental music business practices; hiring your own attorney -- not the company people you are signing with. And also getting a little educated about this whole "business" of songwriting and publishing. See, one of the biggest incomes for you if you're an artist -songwriter is through the publishing of your songs.

Have you or your crew sold 50,000 (or more) units of your album release through an Independent Label that you don't own? If the answer is yes, how much money did you get in mechanicals? If you wrote all of the songs, I hope you got at least $40,000 or more. It actually can be a whole lot more. Have you even requested an audit to know the sales? Do you know there are many artists that are signed to indie labels using Tunecore and CD Baby for digital distribution, but the actual artists dont have a clue of how many units are really being sold?

But hold up, let's just say you only "co-wrote" all of the songs on your 15-song CD or iTunes release, and you just hit the 20,000 units sold status. Did you know that you as "your own publisher" could be due over $12,000 in mechanicals? Do I have your attention now?

A few years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to work with one of the most prolific Artist-Singer/Songwriters of Modern R&B popular music. I will not disclose their name, but after the 3rd day in the Studio, in the middle of re-working a song that R&B singer/songwriter Joe had written for him, I asked the artist to just "try something like what was done for one of his earlier big hits... as far as the way to approach the singing riff." And then this "un-named Superstar artist/songwriter" told me, "You know I've never received a royalty on that song". (Huh?) So I asked, "What do you mean?"  Music Business Publishing Part 2

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