Copyright Reversion & Its Impact On The Music Industry

By | Lessons, Music Business | No Comments

The Copyright Revision Act of 1976 (which became effective on January 1, 1978) included a clause that allowed artists & songwriters to reclaim their copyrights from the publishers & labels they transferred the rights to. This means any song created in or after 1978 is eligible for reversion either 35 years from publication or 40 years from the date of assignment of copyright to a publisher.

For example: a song published in 1980 has the termination window of 2015-2020. If they want the copyright to revert back to them in 2016, the notice must be filed between 2006 and 2014.

This has the potential to completely change the music industry. However, it’s too soon to tell.

While albums released in 1978 are the first batch eligible for possible reversion of ownership to pass from labels back to the artists, so far the only acts to file notice of termination for master right recordings with the U.S. copyright Office include Pat Bentar, Journey, Devo and Billy Joel.

Although 2013 theoretically is the year that master sound recordings’ copyright licenses begin to expire for albums and can revert from labels to the artists, no one is sure what exactly will happen.

Read More @

One Song, 7.5 Writers, 18+ Versions: “I Fight Dragons” Music Business Case Study

By | Music Business, Songwriting | No Comments

A crazy story about I Fight Dragon‘s time on Atlantic and their (ultimately unquenched) desire for them to turn a cool track into the smash hit song they were certain waited inside of it. Downloads below:

If you’d like to listen to / download any of the demos of different versions for your at-home listening pleasure, click here.

(via I Fight Dragons Rock on YouTube)


Types Of Publishing Deals

By | Lessons, Music Business, Music Publishing | No Comments

Standard Publishing Deal:

The songwriter is signed exclusively to a publisher for a time period, and is given an advance check against future royalties (the amount of which is negotiated & depends on the writer’s bargaining power). The publishing company then co-owns any songs you write during this period, takes care of the administration & exploitation of the catalog, and is entitled to the publisher’s share of the royalties.


Co-Publishing Deal:

The songwriter and the publisher are co-owners of any songs written during the contract period. The songwriter collects the 50% writers share, and as “co-publisher”, splits the publisher share 50/50 with the publisher. In the end, the writer receives 75% of the income, and the publisher receives 25%.


Administration Deal:

The songwriter licenses a selection of their self-published songs to an outside publisher (or independent administrator) for a time period. The publisher is responsible for handling the administration on behalf of the songwriter, and collects a fee of 10-20%. In this deal, the writer retains 100% of the copyright.

Other types of publishing deals include:

  • Single song agreement: the writer grants publishing rights for one or more songs to a music publisher.
  • Collection agreement: like an administration deal, except the publisher isn’t responsible for exploiting the copyrights. Usually handled by an accountant, attorney, or business manager, the “publisher” only collects royalties on behalf of the writer.
  • Purchase agreement: when one music publisher acquires the catalog of another publisher (whole or partial).

What Is A Music Publisher?

By | Lessons, Music Business, Music Publishing | One Comment

A music publisher is a company responsible for exploiting the copyrights of its songwriters and composers. This means pitching music to to potential licensees (artists, labels, TV/Film executives, etc.), taking care of all licenses and other paperwork on behalf of the songwriter, and ensuring they receive payment when their compositions are used. In return, they are entitled to a piece of the revenue generated.

If you haven’t signed a publishing deal, YOU ARE YOUR PUBLISHER! If you feel like you can’t take on the task of exploiting and administering your song catalog, then you should look into getting a publishing deal.

Subscribe to Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.