So yesterday I posted a short music clip on my Instagram (follow me here), singing a melody that is familiar to a lot of people.
Hard to put your finger on it isn’t it?
Well, this song is originally the soundtrack of the Amiga video game Agony.
But it was made famous when the black metal band Dimmu Borgir used it on their album Stormblast as an original song…And got sued for plagiarism. And lost.
This is why it’s is important to register your music legally.
So if one day other artists try to sell your music or lyrics as their own, you have the legal proof you are the rightful owner.
I know you are busy and you hate paperwork.
Believe me, I am french, country of Mother Bureaucracy.
But registering your music is non-negotiable in your career as a musician.
Save drafts of melodies and lyrics. Register final songs. Get it done.
How to register your music :
To register your music, you need to sign up with your local PRO.
But first, what does PRO mean ?
PRO stands for Performance Rights Organisation.
A PRO is a company that collects the money generated by your music worldwide and makes sure it gets back to you, minus their cut.
There are two types of royalties :
- Mechanical royalties : paid to you when your song sells, wether by a streaming service, digital download or a hard copy like a CD, vinyl, DVD…
Your distributor (For example Bandcamp, CDbaby, Distrokid…) handles certain mechanical royalties from streaming services (not all of them, but let’s not make this too complex). Your PRO handles part of the digital mechanical royalties and the physical mechanical royalties.
- Performance royalties : paid to you when a song is played on the radio, TV, streamed on the internet, or performed live.
Your PRO handles performance royalties.
Long story short : Being registered with a distributor doesn’t mean you receive all the money you are owed. PRO’s handle most rights.
Which PRO should I register with ?
You need to check the PRO’s available in your country.
Some countries have one, some have several.
Also, if you are an interpret as well, you want to check out if your PRO handles interpretations rights as well or if you need to sign up with an additional organisation.
- USA : ASCAP, BMI
- UK : PRS
- France : SACEM
Complete list here
Was this helpful ?
Are you registered with a PRO yet ? Which one ?
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Once you are registered, check my guide to help you promote your music online !