Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett put together the go-to checklist for every musician, artist, band or songwriter. This list helps you organize the business side of your music career.
Click this link for the Recording Artist and Songwriter Checklist as a downloadable file.
Here's a summary of the things every artist, musician, or producer needs to consider in launching a music career.
- Join as songwriter with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC (pick one)
- Join as music publisher with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC (pick the same one as you did for writer)
- Make a list of all completed songs with co-writer/co-publisher splits and contact information and date of creation
- Submit titles and songwriter "splits" to ASCAP, BMI or SESAC (just to the one you joined)
- Determine if collaboration agreement(s) needed for co-writers on songs
- Make a list of all completed sound recordings and co-owners, if any
- Determine songs and sound recordings to file for Copyright
- File Copyright Applications before release or within 90 days of release
- Secure ISRC codes for sound recordings that will be released (https://www.usisrc.org/) and provide to anyone who releases your sound recordings
- Embed metadata into digital tracks
- Join Sound Exchange as an Artist (for collection of digital performance artist royalties) www.soundexchange.com
- Join Sound Exchange as a Copyright Owner (for collection of digital performance sound recording owner royalties) www.soundexchange.com
- Determine if work for hire agreements are needed for any talent, producers, engineers, side musicians on sound recordings
- Determine aggregator to upload tracks for digital and streaming
- Determine distributor, if any, for physical product
- Secure domain name
- Secure social networking fan and business sites (not just personal)
- Consider if you need to file a trademark application for band name
- If you are in a band, do you need a band agreement? Are the band members hired?
- Do you need a formal business entity? Are you touring?
- Do you have a manager? Is this formalized in writing?
- Do you have someone loaning you money or fronting expenses/recording costs/living expenses for your career? Is this relationship in writing?
- Create Electronic Press Kit
- Secure work for hire/copyright assignment for any photos, video/footage filmed by others on your behalf
Books Recommended by Texas Music and Media Lawyer Tamera Bennett:
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