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#208258 - 04/17/03 06:15 PM independent songwriter/publisher how to's  
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 291
lizzorn Offline
lizzorn  Offline

Serious Contributor

Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 291
Morrow, Ohio USA
I am an independent singer/songwriterworking on my first release and want to self publish my own work. I am looking for some sound, basic information on self publishing, and how to navigate the agencies, royalties, etc... as a self published artist.

#208259 - 04/17/03 09:38 PM Re: independent songwriter/publisher how to's  
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rambleon Offline
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rambleon  Offline
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You say you are releasing a CD? Would this be on your own label? Unless you have a track record and/or the means to distribute your music then self publishing is probably not the way to go... at first. What advantage would you have? The only way to see income on publishing is to sell a lot of albums and get a lot of radio airplay thus self publishing for the first timer offers little incentive. If you were to somehow sell some albums it would be a good idea to seek an administrative deal with say, the Harry Fox Agency or Bug music, they take care of the paper work, collect and pay you your royalties etc.. for a small percentage.

[This message has been edited by rambleon (edited 04-17-2003).]

#208260 - 04/18/03 08:19 AM Re: independent songwriter/publisher how to's  
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danny Offline
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Nashville, TN
Lizzorn,

I'm a little confused...if you are the record label as well as the publisher and the songwriter, there really aren't any royalties to distribute.

I suppose technically: Your "record company" (you) generates the CD sale and then pays the appropriate mechanical rate to your "publishing company" (you) in addition to their "artist" (you). The publishing company (you again) then in turn distributes the appropriate share of its mechanical royalties to their "writer" (yep, you again, assuming you've written all the material for the album).

All that being said, you would want to register your publishing company with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC(whichever affiliation you are) in case your songs generate airplay and you are due performance monies.

There are several good books on the independent artist. One is by Diane Rappaport and I think it's called "How To Make And Release Your Own Independent Record." Another is by Jana Stanfield called "Making and Selling Your Own CD's". For a good book on the legal aspects I recommend Donald Passman's "All You Need To Know About The Music Business" or "This Business Of Music" by William Krasilovsky, Sidney Shemel and John Gross.

Happy reading.

-Danny

------------------
----------------------
Danny Arena/Sara Light
www.SongU.com
Songwriting Courses Online


[This message has been edited by danny (edited 04-18-2003).]


----------------------
Danny Arena/Sara Light
http://www.SongU.com
Songwriting Courses Online
#208261 - 04/18/03 08:52 AM Re: independent songwriter/publisher how to's  
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lizzorn Offline
lizzorn  Offline

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Morrow, Ohio USA
I am not interested in personal opinion, market info. etc.... but rather sound information on self publishing as an artist. Harry Fox does not work with individual artists, I know this because they told me as much, what they do do is work with publishers, but not independent self publishers, ie. one artist on their own label. Yes I could contract out my own administration, But I am more intent on working with established agencies, provided the run arounds and loop-holes can be navigated sufficiently.
Danny, I have read most of those books, but have yet to find a straight line approach to the licensing issue, which is a non-issue, as you said provided I am the only one recording my music. But in situations where others are also recording the music, or cnotract to use it, licensing does come into play. As far as the performing rights agencies go, I am working on that right now, and am not having any problems. I have had my own business as a visual and graphic artist for years, so the structure of a business plan is not a new thing, and suprisingly many of the same issues arise. But what is unique to the music business is the structure of its legal system, which reads like the US tax code, there is a lot of double talk as well as insane and outdated practices still on the books. Of course carving out a new path is challenging when you are twenty, but I am not, so the quickest most efficient route from point A to point B, is just the thing that I am hoping to establish. Thanks for the help.....

#208262 - 04/18/03 11:07 AM Re: independent songwriter/publisher how to's  
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danny Offline
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danny  Offline
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Lizzorn,

>But in situations where others are also
>recording the music, or cnotract to use it,
>licensing does come into play.

Yes, that would be a good problem to have. At the moment, I would say it shouldn't be at the forefront of your mind just yet (you probably have your hands full with other things that have more immediate concern). But it is good that you are thinking about that.

As for the mechanical license agreement in the event someone does want to record one of your songs -- it's a pretty standard agreement. One of the books I mentioned, "This Business Of Music" does have several sample contracts in it so you can see a sample mechanical license agreement. They even had a grand rights agreement that my publisher at Curb used to license my songs to a Broadway show recently.

There's another option you might consider if it's a major label artist that wants to record one of your songs. That is to go with a copyright administrator. They'll typically take anywhere between 5-15%, but they'll do all the paperwork and it's headache free. It would be worth it to consider this option if it looked like it was going to be a pretty big artist recording one of your songs.

For another independent artist covering one of your songs, you're probably better handling it yourself. Most of these work on a limited pressing basis where you get paid your mechanicals based on the number of CD's that are pressed rather than on sales.

Take your time. It's a continual learning process. If anyone knows any straight line from point A to B in any aspect of the music business, I'd love to see it :-)

Best wishes,

-Danny


------------------
----------------------
Danny Arena/Sara Light
www.SongU.com
Songwriting Courses Online


----------------------
Danny Arena/Sara Light
http://www.SongU.com
Songwriting Courses Online
#208263 - 04/18/03 05:42 PM Re: independent songwriter/publisher how to's  
Joined: Apr 2003
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lizzorn Offline
lizzorn  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 291
Morrow, Ohio USA
Re: thanks, and that is a good book to have around. The more understandable the information, the straighter that line gets.
You have been a great help. Best, lz

#208264 - 04/19/03 09:42 AM Re: independent songwriter/publisher how to's  
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rambleon Offline
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rambleon  Offline
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Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lizzorn:
[B]Harry Fox does not work with individual artists, I know this because they told me as much, what they do do is work with publishers, but not independent self publishers, ie. one artist on their own label.B]</font>


I'm not sure who gave you this misinformation but Harry Fox works with any publisher deriving income from their music. Here is some info about them that can help the independent label/publisher, in fact most of their clients are independents.

http://www.musicbootcamp.com/cover_tunes_harry_fox.shtml

"As you can see, Harry Fox performs a number of valuable services for music publishers in a variety of profit-generating genres Harry Fox is an excellent ally for independent record labels (and of course majors too) that control their own publishing rights. And, according to the requirements listed online, any music publisher (which can be solely owned by an individual) who has product released on a record label (which can also be solely owned by an individual) can use these various services as a member of Harry Fox. I'm going out on a limb here, but I just want to point out the fact that you can do a lot as an individually-owned record company/publisher provided you are well organized and align yourself with the proper resources (many of which are described in detail on this Web site)...."

[This message has been edited by rambleon (edited 04-19-2003).]

#208265 - 04/19/03 10:40 AM Re: independent songwriter/publisher how to's  
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 291
lizzorn Offline
lizzorn  Offline

Serious Contributor

Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 291
Morrow, Ohio USA
The mis -information came from Harry Fox. I sent them a similar email as my original post, with the emphasis on self publishing, their reply was this. We do not work with individual artists at this time. In that I explained to them that I was quite clear on my objective so I assumed that they understood what I was asking. I have also come across a bit of information related to independend artist/publishers, having their own record label. It works well if you record others on the label. But if it is for the sole purpose of promoting your own work, there can ( I am not saying that this is 100% the case) be barriers, when it comes to working with large agencies. Send them (Harry Fox) an email, explain that you are the chief cook and bottle washer and are only interested in self publishing your own work, see what they tell you.

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