New artists are so focused on honing their sound and writing and performing music that they may not consider the intellectual property’s implications related to their work. There are quite a few things that musicians can copyright or trademark to protect their musical brand. For early-career artists, contracts and music label deals are less of a concern than just putting your work out there into the world.
The world of streaming platforms
Most musicians upload their work to any number of streaming platforms to reach their audience. Some platforms present small monetary incentives per stream based on a subscription-based or advertisement-supported service. It’s so difficult to make money online. Musicians need to protect their music wherever they can ensure that it’s being shared through their chosen channels. Here are some of the ways that IP theft occurs online for new bands and artists:
Cover songs: Many new and established musicians cover popular songs by other people in their style. Those covering a piece need to pay the copyright to the owner of the music. This payment may include getting a mechanical license from the holder and paying a mechanical royalty to the publisher.
Youtube: Musicians need to monitor their streaming platforms carefully. It’s the artist’s responsibility to make sure that the metadata being used is correct so that the platform can pay them. This data also helps locate accounts that are posting their material without permission. Youtube’s rights management system allows artists to police instances of infringement.
Band names: A name can be trademarked, but it can only be solidified in its protection if used frequently and enough to gain public knowledge and association. A trademark can go a long way to preventing other acts from copying a group or artist.
Protecting the rights to your art
It’s common knowledge that the music industry isn’t where it was twenty years ago, but a person’s music is an expression of their artistic selves. You want to maintain the integrity of that expression. Pursue all the options for protecting the rights to your music.