• Clement S. Sealy, Jr.

Reasons Why You Never Give Up Your Copyrights and How To Still Make Money

Please remember this advice: “Never sell your songs or rights completely.” Retaining ownership of copyrights may be one of the most important decisions in your music career. Understand music is the one of few industries that dictate the everyday life of people. From the moment a person wakes up until they go to bed music is everywhere and anywhere. Believe me when I tell you that there is someone or some entity benefiting financially from that music. Why shouldn’t you.

1. Never Sell Out Just For A Hefty Paycheck

You may never see a royalty check from some of your songs and this is the reality of the music industry. However, never forget one golden rule: Every Song Is Like Money In The Bank. It is up to you to make that song monetary.

I know, it is hard in the wild west of music creators and sometimes you need to benefit from selling a song or two.

Who wants the song?Producer (who are they producing? Artist (are they signed to a major or Independent). Music Director, Videographer, Independant Film Makers. What are they going to do with it? This is important because everyone is going to want to make money on your creativity.

Producer - Will it be sold or will he use it and make more money from it.

Artist - Will they use it as a demo or presentation to showcase their skills? Are they going on tour with you music? They can get performance, mechanical and host of other royalties that you will lose out on.

Videographer, Music Directors, and Independant Film Makers can make a host of money from your songs.

2. Negotiate and Be Creative

If someone wants you music that means its good or they know how to make it better. Its your creation, not theirs. You need to make money and keep your rights. So, here are are a few ideas to help you navigate the negotiations.

Producers - Are they experienced? Ask what they like in the music? How can they make it better? Offer to give them a piece of the rights, not all. This way you get to keep your keep your rights and get a piece of the publishing as well. Also, credit for your song. If the producer can give you more experience. that is worth more than a couple of dollars because you can make couple more than that with knowledge. Build the relationship.

Artists - I have found, in this day and age, that many artists just want to hand you a couple of hundred and keep it moving for all your rights. Reality, you can make more than they would ever offer by standing on the street and selling your own music. Understand that they are the salesman in this industry. Their job is sell the songs. In doing so, they have to perform in front of audiences, create videos, stream and market their products. Your music accompanies them along this process. Tread diligently. Make sure you get all your Ps and Qs correct. Never give up all your rights. Most artists' careers have a time limit. If you don’t have any connection to them then there is no record of you every working with them. Negotiations should be more precise and you should have an agreement that allow for this. As a creator you will need to be updated on all the trends in royalties, along with the artist's job in making sure you get paid. I don’t see any reason to give an artist any rights to the song unless it is being developed by both of you. Check the copyright laws on what you are entitled to and on collaborations.

Videographer, Music Directors, and independent Film Makers - should be able to either pay up front or provide you with an agreement to get you credit on the film. Royalties should be mandatory and no need to give up all the rights to your song.

It was you that spend the time learn your craft and spend money to buy your equipment, maintain it and outsourced for quality sound. It was you that had to pay the electrical bill. You should always find legal advice when approached on giving up your rights.

If you find yourself around individuals who don’t want to negotiate, THEN FIND NEW PEOPLE TO NETWORK WITH.

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