Welcome to the third edition of this book. (There were also three prior editions published under the title The Musician's Manual, the first in 1979.) As the music business changes, we strive to keep each new edition current. We have updated all the chapters and have added five new ones: Digital Downloads and Streaming: Copyright and Distribution Issues; International Copyright, Getting Started as an Internet Artist, Royalty Statements: Audits and Lawsuits; and The Internet and Music. However, the basic messages from the first edition remain constant. At some point in your professional music career, you will learn that there are legal questions implicit in almost everything you do. Whether you write, perform or sell a song, your actions give rise to rights and obligations that you should consider. The time to learn is now.
The purpose of this book is to demystify the music business and the seemingly indecipherable body of law that shapes it. And to help you "make it" by explaining the industry and the laws that govern it.
This book is a collection of chapters written by people that work in the music industry. Many are lawyers; some are musicians. We have tried to make our information comprehensible to everyone, and have avoided presupposing a lot of knowledge on your part.
At this point, we must present a few warnings. First, there is no substitute for obtaining competent help as you build your career. Talent agents, personal managers, lawyers and business managers are trained to guide you. Their expertise costs money, but you must think of these expenses as an investment in your career. Also, the chapters written by lawyers are designed to identify problems, not to give specific solutions. If you have a legal problem, do not rely on the information contained in this book; see an attorney. The chapters in this book are not the law, but merely describe legal applications, in general terms, for the music industry. Additionally, before you photocopy our forms for submittal, check with the organizations to which you are submittingthey may require you to fill out their original forms. In many cases, these forms may be downloaded and submitted via the Internet.
There has been a radical change in the way musicians can access information since our last editionthe Internet. The U.S. Copyright Office and virtually all other major organizations involved in the music business now have Web sites that make their information instantly available and up-to-date.
The Internet is also a new source of distribution of both songs and sound recordings, and as acts as an advertising and promotional tool for musicians. There has been a flurry of lawsuits against those that have given away the music you create. Thankfully, the music copyright owners have either prevailed in court or have negotiated settlements-but regulating the Internet in a way to protect your works and have their use paid for, remains the greatest challenge.
One final note-although this book is a useful tool, musicians should write music, not contracts. Unless you devote your time and energy to developing and exploiting your talent, this book doesn't matter. Make it matter.
Mark Halloran, Esq.
Coauthor and Editor
Demystifies the music business and the indecipherable body of law which shapes it!
- Provides vital information about how the Internet is changing the way music is marketed and sold.
- Expanded/updated information on the impact of the Internet on legal and business issues.
- Appendix includes names; URL and mailing addresses of major industry associations and organizations, as well as a list of the important industry publications.
Definitive in scope and written specifically for musicians and songwriters by top professionals currently working in the industry, this book provides substantive information on actual practices—with clause-by-clause commentaries on all major contracts in the industry, featuring extensive analyses, not just forms and casual commentary. Clarifies the language, shows actual practices, and offers advice on what to watch for. Requires no background in law or business; is written in plain English, not "legalese." Chapters are written by lawyers, managers, agents and business people working in the music industry in New York and Los Angeles.