What is the right way to allow another artist to record your song?

Posted on

Member Since: Apr 26, 2006

If a recording artist is going to take a listen to some of my music for possible recording, what do I need to do first if the music already has a copyright?

I'm not sure if it should be published first, in which case I guess could self publish. I'm banking on someone in here having a bit of smarts in this area. All info is welcome considering I'm coming from the starting line on this one.

[ Back to Top ]

bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

Feb 27, 2009 07:23 pm

You should get publishing ... not difficult, you can apply to ASCAP or BMI or similar without much effort. Publishing pays you (the song writer) when your song is played in the public realm (aka tv or radio play). You need to make sure that whoever is recording the song that you wrote, acknowledges that you are the song writer when they submit it to publishing houses. Or if they modify it much that you are responsible for 75% of the writing and them 25% or whatever. This can be negotiated with the artist or their management, as 75% of something is better than 100% of nothing (even if they don't change it at all).

If the song never gets played on the radio or similar, the whole point is moot. But it never hurts to CYA.

Having the song copyrighted is a good first step in covering your rear.

Hope that helps. If you have additional questions I'll try and help but I'm not an expert or an attorney. Just have a little knowledge.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Feb 28, 2009 01:35 pm

Yep, you simply want to make certain you retain the publishing rights to it. OR as coolo stated a larger percentage of it.

I cant tell you from experience years ago, that there are a million ways they can screw with you so keep a wary eye and read every line.

Since: Jul 02, 2003

Feb 28, 2009 01:46 pm

As coolo said you should probably join ASCAP/BMI, but this is for public performance primarily. What you really need unless you want to try and do it all yourself is too publish and get listed on HFA (Harry Fox Agency) which handles licensing. You'd definitley want the copyright registered before you start shopping it around.

As far as particulars, you can either sell the rights in which you lose all rights to the music for a one time fee, or license the artist to use the song, or sell the recording/performance rights and keep publishing rights etc, you really need an attorney versed in music publishing/licensing laws/contracts etc, to be sure you don't screw yourself. In an Indie type situation you could use the Creative Commons license but again do you want to be responsible for collecting royalty's due and do you have the money to go after someone who doesn't live up to the contract?

If its a friend that you think might do well I would be willing to take my chances on a first song or 2 type deal with little if any money on the deal, but credit for writing. If the song does do well it would be valuable for you in future shopping of songs in which case you'd want to go fully into the neccessary steps to protect yourself.


Since: Apr 26, 2006

Mar 01, 2009 03:48 pm

Thanks a bunch, gave me a few things to do a bit of research on. Licensing the artist is one that never crossed my mind. And it's clear that publishing is king.

Related Forum Topics:

If you would like to participate in the forum discussions, feel free to register for your free membership.