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- Copyright in most countries is automatic, but offers very little protection in a court of law. You need to register the copyright of your songs, if you plan to shop them around to singers, producers, managers, etc. Most countries have a website that will explain this process to you. In a search engine, type in the name of your country, and these words: copyright protection songs. (“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” gives the addresses for several countries’ copyright offices.)
- Mailing a copy of your song to yourself by registered mail is often rumoured to be a way to protect yourself if someone claims to have written your song. But you need to know that this is actually not a reliable way to protect yourself, and will probably not stand up in court. Register your copyright with your country’s government.
- Publishing your music is recommended if you are planning to get another person to record your songs. It’s possible to set up your own publishing company to do this. These sorts of small companies are usually handled at the state or provincial government level.
- If someone else records your songs, and sells copies of the recording, you are entitled to mechanical rights. Mechanical royalties are paid to the publisher, and the publisher must then split that royalty with you.
If you’re wanting to get others to perform your songs, the trickiest part of the process is getting your music out there and heard by someone in the industry. It’s very hard for people starting out to manage this on their own. There are companies that offer to send contacts to you, and you just need to do your research.
You’ll want to check out TAXI, SongLink, or some other such company, but always remember that these companies are not miracle workers, and they can’t make professional performers even listen to your music. They take a hefty fee, so as I say, do your research. They forward your music to interested professionals. But remember: there are no guarantees, and as a first step you‘ll need to have demo recordings that are essentially professional quality.
One final piece of advice: a great way to save money with copyright registration is to compile several of your songs into a “book”, and register the copyright of that book. That way, you’ve managed to protect all of the music in that book for one registration fee.
It’s no good trying to sell a song that has problems. Have you read “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”? It will show you every aspect of how hit songs work, and what you can do to get your songs in professional shape. Read more…