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Music Releases (more headlines) 09-27-2017

3 Reasons To Protect And Grow Your Music As A Business

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You may believe that you are a nobody when it comes to your music. Others will likely disagree, however, making your work susceptible to theft.

Not protecting your creative works is a certain way to lose all of your hard work to theft, piracy or plagiarism. Unprotected intellectual property is like leaving the keys in your car.

In order to make sure your work is taken care of, so you can be properly, financially and personally rewarded, as a creator, legal protection is essential.

Here’s why protecting your lyrics and compositions is critical for the success of your business:

No matter who you are, your creations are always vulnerable

The legal mechanisms for the defense of your music are just as important to beginner musicians, songwriters and singers than it is to well established ones.

In fact, the smaller you are, the more vulnerable your creations are. It is easier to steal from someone less known than to steal from Beyoncé, of course. As a beginner with little popularity (and little money), you’re in a worse position to defend your creations in the event they are stolen, plagiarized or pirated.

Protecting your lyrics and compositions, then, is especially important to you.

What if I think my music sucks?
Hey, don’t think so little of yourself!!
Let’s see it this way. You are not reaching your fullest potential yet as a songwriter (much better, and more accurate!). However, this doesn’t mean your work is immune to the possibility of plagiarism, theft or piracy either.

You may have noticed the use of a sample in another song or the use of a melody or piece of a song that sounds much like a song you already know. This may be an accident or it may be an intentional unauthorized use of the music.

But guess what? It can be intentional too.

Although technique has a role in composition, it also relies a lot on creativity and inspiration. Someone, someday, might come across your music and “get inspired” by your first verse, your pre-chorus or chorus. Months or years later, you might hear something familiar on the radio.

If your work is not protected you would have a difficult time proving that the other work was stolen from you or used without paying you the proper royalties.

Problems like that are less likely to happen if you protect your compositions accordingly.

Furthermore, by guaranteeing you’re following copyright laws and taking other legal and financial cares to protect your music, you will be able to get paid for your creative work and have your name credited, so your music can live forever.

Your intellectual property is one of the most valuable assets you might have

Musical compositions, as well as literary works, paintings and other art and entertainment works, are eligible for legal protection of intellectual property. Intellectual property, in turn, is a financial asset and can be a great source of passive income.

Thus, your creative work can produce income for you years after the creation.

Also, as an intangible asset, intellectual property might have its value increased due to many factors like an increased demand for your work, and you can earn more from it!

What’s so great about it is that you can create something today that will generate you gains that can last a lifetime – and even more. In the movie “About a Boy” starring Hugh Grant, for example, the main character is able to reap the benefits of the royalties from a famous song composed by his dead father.

Okay – maybe you’re not that lucky with your songs in the short term; but what you have to understand is that your music has financial value, and the more time, energy and effort you put into your music the more value you create.

More importantly, from an accounting perspective what you think of your work is not so important. The value of your lyrics, composition, arrangement or recording is set by others or “the market”. The only way to know what that value is is to properly account for your works by managing your copyrights well.

Furthermore, when you can properly report the value of your licenses, copyrights and trademarks, obtaining money from lenders is much easier since you now have assets to put up as collateral for loans to buy equipment, pay engineers and producers and distribute your CD’s or pay to place your music on streaming sites.

Understanding music as intellectual property, and, in turn, understanding intellectual property as an asset, will make sure you and your successors can enjoy the fruits of your creative work, which will become part of your portfolio of assets.

Serious musicians follow serious business practices

Embrace your music as a “business”. Considering your art a business doesn’t mean you have a passion for music or you don’t do it the love first. It simply means that you understand music as more than simply a passion; it is a means of creating wealth, income and value.

If you are truly serious about your career as a musician you will not only focus on your craft, you will also focus on your craft as a business. Like any business, you create revenue, use earnings or borrowed money to buy equipment, pay other musicians, hire producers and engineers, create merchandise, and so much more to grow your following.

Also, don’t underestimate the impact that a good business approach might have on your music. With serious behavior, your network and possibilities will likely increase and you’ll be exposed to new possibilities of making more and better music.

Putting together an intellectual property management plan for your copyrights and trademarks is beyond the scope of this article. A certified public accountant and attorney experienced in the music industry can help you come up with credible numbers that reflect the value of your works.

You may believe that you are a nobody when it comes to your music. Others will likely disagree, however, making your work susceptible to theft.

Not protecting your creative works is a certain way to lose all of your hard work to theft, piracy or plagiarism. Unprotected intellectual property is like leaving the keys in your car.

In order to make sure your work is taken care of, so you can be properly, financially and personally rewarded, as a creator, legal protection is essential.

Protecting your lyrics, written arrangements and compositions, even written production and mastering notes, and recordings; following sound business practices and knowing the value and worth of your intellectual property is critical to sustainable success as an artist. Although many may believe that following disciplined business principles tarnishes the artistic side of music, treating your craft like a business is the only way to ensure your survival and growth as an artist. Neglecting asset protection, a good business approach and an understanding of how the market values your work will only result in not achieving your artistic goals in the long term.

Ana and Michael collaborate on music industry business and finance issues in the United States and Brazil. Ana is an attorney in practice in Brazil and is a member of Associação Brasileira de Música e Artes. Michael is a certified public accountant in practice in the United States. He is a member of the Music Business Association. Together they have years of training and experience concentrated in the music industry. In Both compose and produce. Ana can be reached for comment at Ana@michaelfuselier.com and Michael at Michael@michaelfuselier.com.

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