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Click to email ChrisSongwriting and the Music Marketplace: A Study Guide
by Christopher Knab
Fourfront Media & Music
- June 2010

Back to Music Business 101

If you write your own songs or compositions and want more from them because you think they have value, then you need to approach the business of songs as if you were researching how to build your house. You need to take it THAT seriously. So, below is a list of topics you should know about, and after you have studied what the music marketplace is like, then you should be able to DO some things with the information you are armed with. So, here is a challenge: read through the two sections below and take up the challenge I am giving you to learn all you can about songwriting and the music marketplace.

Topics To Be Studied On Your Own

1. The components of a song: Verse, chorus, bridges.+ elements of melody and rhythm
2. What makes one song commercial, and another not?
3. Copyright registration basics: The "rights" inherent in a song, and how to protect your songs.
4. Types of income available from songs: Performance, Sales of Product, Sheet Music, Synchronization, Downloading, Streaming, and Song Licensing
5. Study the 2 most common sources of income from songs
     a. Performance Royalties: The function of ASCAP, BMI,      and SESAC
     b. Mechanical Royalties: The Harry Fox Agency
6. Music Publishers: Definition of their job, and how to setup your own Publishing company
7. Shopping for deals: The right and wrong way to find uses for songs
8. Songwriting partnerships: How to find the perfect songwriting partner
9. Lawyers and songwriting contracts: Learning how to read a publishing and record label contract
10. Putting it all together: Writing a plan of action to sell your songs

When you have studied the above issues, you should then be able to do the following:

You should be able to:

  • define the parts of a song
  • describe what makes a song commercial
  • register your songs for copyright protection, and describe the "rights" inherent in a song
  • Describe the many potential sources of income from a song
  • Define what a performance right is, and what a mechanical right is, as well as know who pays them to whom
  • Describe what a music publisher does, an/or how to start your own music publishing company

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