Music Business

Tech And Music Industry Updates - Listen On Audible

Who knew would be such a great resource for keeping up with the latest in the intersection of tech, copyright, and the music industry? I guess these days it's not so much an intersection as it is daily life that all three go together. is now offering "Channels" with short-form news and podcast segments.

This post brought to you today by Audible. Consider joining Audible to listen to audio books, news, and more.

For your listening enjoyment:

Tech Giants Boast an Edge in Music Streaming

Release Date: 07-25-16

Publisher: The Wall Street Journal

Written by: Hannah Karp

Narrated by: Alexander Quincy

Length: 5 mins


How Apple Sold a Million Drake Albums in Five Days

Release Date:05-07-16

Publisher: The Wall Street Journal

Written by: Hannah Karp

Narrated by: Paul Ryden

Length: 5 mins


Prince Went to Some Astounding Lengths to Protect His Music - and His Image

Release Date:04-25-16

Publisher: PRI's The World

Written by: Shirin Jaafari

Narrated by: Marco Werman

Length: 5 mins

Google Wins Java Copyright Case Against Oracle

"Google Wins Java Copyright Case Against Oracle" is from the May 26, 2016 Tech section of The Wall Street Journal. It was written by Jack Nicas and narrated by Alexander Quincy.

This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive some benefit if you click the links.

How Do I Invest In A Music Career or Project?

How Do I Invest In A Music Career? Musician/Artist Investor Checklist Texas lawyer Tamera Bennett #musicbiz #createprotect

Texas Music Lawyer Tamera Bennett created an "Investor Checklist" to be used by musicians, artists, and potential investors before investing in a musician's career or recording project. These tips were also discussed during the 2016 SXSW panel "Developing An Indie Artist's Career Using Their Money on Others'".

You can download the Investor Checklist here and review the information below.

Investor Checklist - Musicians, Artists

  • What are the expectations of the investor and the artist?
  • Is the investment in
    • The artist's career as a whole
    • A specific project
    • A combination of the career and a project
  • Will the investment be made in
    • Cash paid to the artist
    • Payment of recording costs, marketing, touring, other expenses
  • Will a business entity be created that is owned by the artist and investor?
    • Joint venture
    • LLC or corporation
    • General partnership or Limited partnership
    • Term/Length of the agreement?
  • How much control will the investor have in creative?
    • Songs cut
    • Social media/Public Image
  • If investing in intellectual property, who will own the songs, sound recordings, videos, trademarks/band name?
  • Is there a cap on investor’s contribution?
  • How will the investor recoup its contribution?
    • Profit share
    • Royalty
    • Loan with payment plan
  • How will a return on investment be calculated for the investor? Is there a cap on return?
  • What is the artist’s track record on prior releases/projects?
  • Will the investor just provide money or can they provide industry connections?
  • What type of commitment is the artist willing to make to promote career/project?
  • Is there anybody else that has already “invested” or is claiming an interest in the artist’s career or project?

Are you ready to take the next step with your music career?

Contact Texas music lawyer Tamera Bennett

Music business books recommended by Texas Music and Media Lawyer Tamera Bennett.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link I may receive a benefit.



Texas Music Lawyer Tamera Bennett Speaks at SXSW 2016


Texas music and trademark lawyer Tamera Bennett is honored to join her colleagues Paul Bezilla, Lynn Morrow and Kelly Vallon presenting "Developing An Indie Artist's Career Using Their Money on Others'" on Friday, March 18, 2016 at the SXSW Music Conference.

Here's a link to the materials for the presentation. And you can click the slideshow to the right of this post.

Recording Artist and Songwriter Checklist - What Do I Do Next With My Music Career? #musiclaw

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 ( 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)

  • Join Sound Exchange as a Copyright Owner (for collection of digital performance sound recording owner royalties)

  • 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:

This post contains affliate links. That means if you click a link I may receive a benefit.

What's The Impact of SESAC Buying Harry Fox (HFA)?


It's been almost two months since SESAC, Inc. announced its acquisition of the Harry Fox Agency (HFA). The deal, which merges the largest U.S. mechanical rights licensing association with the smallest U.S. performance rights organization, still needs approval by the membership of the National Music Publisher Association.

HFA has always been in the business of licensing and collecting mechanical royalties for each time a record is sold, downloaded or streamed. At one time, that meant when a physical record album was sold. Today, we usually think in terms of when a track is downloaded.

SESAC is the smallest of three public performance rights organizations in the United States. Songwriters and music publishers are members of SESAC. When you hear a song played on the radio or in a club, a public performance royalty is paid to SESAC (or ASCAP or BMI - the two other performance rights organizations).  In turn, SESAC pays a performance royalty to the songwriter and music publisher.

In the U.S., the mechanical rights collection agencies and the public performance organizations have always been separate, until now. SESAC's acquisition of HFA begins to replicate they way mechanical and performance rights have been licensed for years throughout most of Europe.

New media companies that provide streaming and locker services should be rejoicing. The merger should streamline some of the right's clearance processes. Services like Spotify, and the now defunct Grooveshark, provide music to consumers in a way that triggers both a mechanical royalty and a public performance royalty. The merger would allow for some one-stop shopping when it comes to music clearance.

We may also see an uptick in music publishers joining SESAC so the publisher can benefit from centralized licensing. The publisher would still be responsible for issuing other licenses, such as synchronization and print.

GRAMMY Music In the Metroplex - Dallas Music Business Networking

Oct 20 2014 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm CDT

Join fellow members of The Recording Academy®, along with music industry professionals from around Texas for an evening of networking and discussion about music in the Metroplex! 

We encourage you to bring a friend or colleague in the industry that you think might be interested in joining or learning about The Recording Academy.

RSVP HERE by Thursday, October 16.


Foundation Room at House of Blues

2200 N Lamar St

Dallas  Texas  75202

Link to invite from GrammyPro.

RESPECT ACT - Pre-72 Sound Recording Copyright Protection

Not paying digital public performance royalties for Pre-72 records deprived legacy artists and record labels of more than $60 million in digital royalties in 2013.
— Soundexchange

SoundExchange was joined by dozens of recording artists  to launch “Project72,” a campaign to ensure equal treatment for musicians and rights holders with sound recordings made prior to 1972 from digital radio.

Sound recordings were not protected by Federal Copyright in the United States until February 15, 1972. There's a hodge-podge of state copyright laws that artists and record labels use to fight bootleg recordings and piracy of those legacy recordings.

In a 2013 appellate court opinion, the court held that certain safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act do not extend to websites for Pre-72 recordings because such recordings do not fall under the federal copyright act.  But, the flip-side of that result is that certain benefits of the U.S. Copyright Act, such as payment of a digital public performance royalty, may not accrue to these legacy recordings. Pandora and SirrusXM both drew a line in the sand and have stopped paying digital public performance royalties for Pre-72 recordings.

In testimony before Congress in July 2014, Pandora said they have no problem paying the royalty once the Copyright Act is revised to include protection for Pre-72 recordings.  But, what about state copyright law? It's clear the Pre-72 recordings are protected by state law. So, don't Pandora, SirrusXM and others have an obligation to pay under state law? We are keeping an eye on pending litigation in New York against Pandora on this topic.

Tell Congress to support the RESPECT Act, H.R. 4772.

Think Like A Fan - A TedX Talk - Building Your Fanbase

Our future as business people and artists is dependent upon our ability to think like a fan.
— Bob Moczydlowsky

Bob Moczydlowsky, Twitter's head of Music, talks about building a fan base by giving away the best of what you, the artist/talent, has to offer.  He discusses how Drake and Jimmy Fallon effectively use Twitter and other social media sites to connect with their fans. And, talks about how a $4 beer created "The Best Night Ever" for Kid Rock fans.

Moczydlowsky is charged with developing music-related partnerships and strengthening Twitter's relationships with influential artists.

What do you think? After watching the TedX talk, should artists/talent give away the best for free?

TED Talks are licensed under the Creative Commons license "Attribution - NonCommercial - NonDerivative"

Live Hearing on the Music Business Before House Judiciary Committee

Updated June 24, 2014 - below is the hearing held on Tuesday, June 10 on the state of the music business. What's your takeaway from the music business hearing before the judiciary committee? Join the conversation and leave your comments below.

Tune in Tuesday, June 10 at 10am ET, for live testimony before Congress on the state of the music business.  Here's the link for the live feed.  We will update the link for streaming the recorded hearing when it becomes available in about a week. 

It is anticipated the Witnesses will discuss the Songwriter Equity Act and current mechanical royalty rate; digital performance royalties; future of the compulsory license scheme; consolidated music licensing databases; local television stations and public performance licenses.

The Witness list includes:

What's your takeaway from the music business hearing before the judiciary committee? Join the conversation and leave your comments below.

BMG Rights Management Buys Hal David Song Catalog

As reported by BILLBOARD, BMG Rights Management acquired Hal David's music publishing catalog at an estimated $42 million.  Net publisher's share is in the range of $3. 5 to $3.8 million and it is anticipated a multiplier of 11-13 times NPS was used to reach the purchase price. Read more here on how Net Publisher's Share is calculated.

Top Trademark/Copyright/Entertainment Law Posts of 2013

As we say goodbye to 2013, it's always fun to look back and see what our readers enjoyed. There's a great mix of trademark, copyright and music publishing cases. Most visited posts in 2013 (no matter original post date):

Number 5:  Johnny Football vs Juanito Futbal Trademark Likelihood of Confusion Number 4:  Do I Need A Music Lawyer? Number 3:  Music Publishing: A Good Investment Number 2:  New Recording Artist Checklist: What Every Artist Should Think About Number 1:  Bikram Yoga Protected by Trademark NOT Copyright - It's Hot

and a little variation on a theme - the Most visited posts that were originally posted in 2013:

Number 5:  Drybar vs Blow Dry Bar - Trademark for Blow Drying Hair Number 4:  Sherlock Holmes, Elementary, Copyright Protection and Trademarks Number 3:  Duck Dynasty - What Contract Clause Did Phil Violate? Number 2:  Johnny Football vs Juanito Futbal Trademark Likelihood of Confusion Number 1:  Bikram Yoga Protected by Trademark NOT Copyright - It's Hot

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Making Money In A Digital Age: Bootcamp On Digital Royalty Strategies

Making Money in a Digital Age:   Maximizing your client's film and music revenues with various digital options available at our fingertips.  Join the Sports & Entertainment Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association for a Boot Camp all about digital distribution for film, music, & television. Learn how to maximize you or your client's film, music, or tv revenues with various digital options available at our fingertips.When: Friday, 18 OCT 2013 at 1:00pm Where: Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208,  214-948-1546$25 for lawyers (MCLE Pending) $20 for non-lawyers

To purchase tickets, please go to:

Music PanelistsSteven Corn - Los Angeles, California Co-owner with BFM Digital

Andy R. Jordan - Dallas, Texas Music producer for interactive media and documentary films

Lee Mezistrano - Seattle, Washington Lawyer with Starbucks - Digital Ventures

Evan Stone - Dallas, Texas Lawyer with FUNimation Entertainment and Partner at Stone and Vaughn PLLC

Film Panelists

Steven Masur - New York, New York Lawyer, Venture Law Group Cowan Debaets Abrahams & Sheppard LLP

Ken Topolsky - Dallas, Texas Producer, Dallas TV Show

Lise Romanoff - Los Angeles, California Managing Director/CEO , Vision Films