Appendix - Getting Started in the Music Business

Back to Table of Contents



Mandatory reading:

  • Castle, Chris and Mitchell, Amy E. Twenty Questions for New Artists (Marina Del Rey, CA: Semaphore Music and Books, 2010; second edition)
  • Goldstein, Jeri. How to Be Your Own Booking Agent and Save Thousands of Dollars: A Performing Artist's Guide to a Successful Touring Career (Charlottesville, VA: The New Music Times, 2000; updated edition)
  • Halloran, Mark (ed.) The Musician's Business and Legal Guide (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001; revised third edition)
  • Passman, Donald. All You Need To Know About The Music Business: Revised and Updated For the 21st Century (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000; revised and updated edition)

Song resources:

  • Association of American Publishers - the Association's "core" programs deal with matters of general interest: intellectual property; new technology and telecommunications issues; First Amendment rights, censorship and libel; international freedom to publish; funding for education and libraries; postal rates and regulations; tax and trade policy
  • Bug Music publishers of smaller catalogues and emerging artists, as well as many established acts
  • The National Music Publishers Association general publishing info plus a comprehensive page of links to publishers around the country
  • The Music Publishers' Association of the US general publishing info plus a step-by step guide to researching copyright owners/publishers
  • The Songwriters Guild of America the place to start for songwriters, plus great copyright information and the SGA Popular Songwriter Contract

General musicians' resources:

  • Musicares' Musicians' Assistance Program (MAP) a healthcare resource for the independent musician
  • Taxi: The Independent A&R Vehicle specializes in helping unsigned artists and songwriters
  • ASCAP'S Resource Guide this Guide has been developed as a "bibliography" for music resources

Some Federal laws pertaining to the music business:
(Special thanks to Anna Bobkowska for her assistance)

  • Piracy and Counterfeiting Amendments Act of 1982
    Pub. L. No. 97-180, 96 Stat. 91, 93 (amending §506(a), title 17, United States Code and title 18 of the United States Code), enacted May 24, 1982.
    Amends the Federal criminal code to revise and increase the penalties for the offense of trafficking in counterfeit labels. Establishes new criminal penalties for the criminal infringement of a copyright involving the reproduction or distribution of phonorecords, motion pictures, or audiovisual works.
  • Record Rental Amendment of 1984
    Pub. L. No. 98-450, 98 Stat. 1727 (amending §109 and title 17, United States Code, with respect to rental, lease or lending of sound recordings), enacted October 4, 1984.
    Amends the copyright law to prohibit the unauthorized rental of a phonorecord by its owner for commercial advantage. Includes within the scope of a compulsory license to make and distribute phonorecords the right to rent them. Requires the licensee to pay a royalty for each rental. Terminates such restrictions on rental after five years.
    [Copyright Amendments], Pub. L. No. 100-617, 102 Stat. 3194 (extending for an additional eight-year period certain provisions of title 17, United States Code, relating to the rental of sound recordings and for other purposes), enacted November 5, 1988.
    Amends the Record Rental Amendment of 1984 to extend for an additional eight years the proscription against the rental, leasing, or lending of phonorecords for profit-making purposes.
  • Audio Home Recording Act of 1992
    Pub. L. No. 102-563, 106 Stat. 4237 (amending title 17 of the United States Code by adding a new chapter 10), enacted October 28, 1992.
    Amends Federal copyright law to set forth definitions relating to digital audio recording devices and media.
    Prescribes royalty payment guidelines for digital audio recording devices imported, manufactured, or distributed in the United States. Requires that royalty payments be deposited into the Treasury. Identifies interested copyright parties entitled to royalty payments. Prescribes royalty payment allocation and distribution procedures.
    Prohibits copyright infringement actions based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital or analog audio recording device or medium or on noncommercial use of such devices or media for making digital or analog musical recordings.
  • Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995
    Pub. L. No. 104-39, 109 Stat. 336 (amending, inter alia, §114 and §115, title 17, United States Code), enacted November 1, 1995.
    Provides the copyright owner of a sound recording an exclusive right (with specified limitations) to perform the recording publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
    Permits any person to perform a sound recording publicly by means of a nonexempt subscription transmission without infringing the exclusive right of the copyright owner of the sound recording: (1) by complying with such notice requirements as the Librarian shall prescribe and by paying the prescribed royalty fees; or (2) if such fees have not been set, by agreeing to pay such fees as shall be determined.
    Entitles a featured or nonfeatured recording artist who performs on a sound recording that has been licensed for a subscription transmission to receive payments from the copyright owner of the sound recording in accordance with the terms of the artist's contract.
    Provides for the following allocation of the copyright owner's receipts from the statutory licensing of subscription transmission performances of a sound recording: (1) 2.5 percent shall be deposited in an escrow account to be distributed to nonfeatured musicians; (2) 2.5 percent shall be deposited into an escrow account to be distributed to nonfeatured vocalists; and (3) 45 percent shall be allocated, on a per sound recording basis, to the featured artists on such recording.
    Authorizes those who make phonorecords or digital phonorecord deliveries, when phonorecords of a nondramatic musical work have been distributed to the public in the United States under the authority of the copyright owner, to obtain a compulsory license to make and distribute phonorecords of the work.
    Sets forth provisions regarding royalties payable by the compulsory licensee after December 31, 1997, including provisions regarding: (1) negotiation of the terms and rates of royalty payments by copyright owners and persons entitled to compulsory licenses; (2) a requirement that such compulsory license royalty rates for digital phonorecord deliveries be established de novo; (3) publication by the Librarian of Congress of notice of the initiation of voluntary negotiation proceedings to determine reasonable terms and rates of royalty payments for digital phonorecord deliveries; (4) the convening of a copyright arbitration royalty panel by the Librarian in the absence of negotiated license agreements; (5) repetition of such procedures every five years after 1997; and (6) the effect of negotiated license agreements.
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act
    Pub. L. No. 105-304, 112 Stat. 2860, 2887 (title IV amending §108, §112, §114, chapter 7 and chapter 8, title 17, United States Code), enacted October 28, 1998. (This Act also contains four separate acts within titles I, II, III and V that amended title 17 of the United States Code. These four acts are each separately listed below. See the Appendix for additional provisions of this Act that do not amend title 17 of the United States Code.)
    (Sec. 402) Expands certain limitations on exclusive rights with respect to ephemeral recordings to authorize licensed radio or television stations to make one copy or phonorecord of a broadcast of a performance of a sound recording in a digital format on a nonsubscription basis.
    Revises provisions concerning the performance of a sound recording publicly by means of a digital audio transmission, other than as a part of an interactive service, to permit such performance without copyright infringement if the performance is part of a nonsubscription broadcast (deletes two current exemptions). Revises procedures for determining reasonable rates and terms of royalty payments for such transmissions. Allows copyright owners of sound recordings and transmitting organizations entitled to a statutory license to: (1) negotiate and agree upon royalty rates and license terms and conditions for making phonorecords of such sound recordings and the proportionate division of fees paid among copyright owners; and (2) designate common agents to negotiate, agree to, pay, or receive such royalty payments. Specifies procedures to determine the reasonable terms and rates of royalty payments for such statutory licenses. Sets forth conditions under which a person is allowed to make a phonorecord of a sound recording under a statutory license without infringing the exclusive right of the copyright owner.
  • Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002
    Pub. L. No. 107-321, 116 Stat. 2780 (amending chapter 1, title 17, United States Code, to incorporate new language into section 114), enacted December 4, 2002.
    Permits the suspension of certain payments by noncommercial webcasters. . Defines webcasters as persons or entities with compulsory licenses under Federal copyright law to make eligible nonsubscription transmissions and ephemeral recordings. Defines noncommercial webcasters as webcasters who: (1) are exempt from taxation; (2) have applied for tax exemption and have a reasonable chance of obtaining it; or (3) are operated by a public body.
    Expresses the intent of Congress that any royalty rates, rate structure, definitions, terms, conditions, or notice and recordkeeping requirements included in such agreements shall be viewed as a unique compromise rather than as matters that would have been negotiated in the marketplace between a willing buyer and a willing seller.
    (Sec. 5) Authorizes a nonprofit agent designated to distribute receipts from the licensing of certain transmissions to deduct from any of its receipts, prior to their distribution to an entitled person, the reasonable costs of such agent incurred after November 1, 1995, for certain duties. Includes among such duties: (1) the administration of the collection, distribution, and calculation of the royalties, as well as settlement of related disputes; and (2) the licensing and enforcement of rights with respect to the making of ephemeral recordings and performances subject to licensing under this Act and other specified Federal law.
    Modifies requirements for payments to artists. Shifts responsibility for distributing licensing receipts from the copyright owner to the designated agent. Adds the requirement that 50 percent of the licensing receipts be paid to the copyright owner of the exclusive right under Federal law to publicly perform a sound recording by means of a digital audio transmission.
  • Summary of the Determination of the Librarian of Congress on Rates and Terms for Webcasting and Ephemeral Recordings

Music law resources on the web:

Texas business law information on the web: