This article is inspired by my attendance at the Hip Hop Film Festival, where they hosted a wonderful panel featuring Bow Legged Lou, B-Fine, and Paul Anthony of Full Force, a group of singers, songwriters, and producers who have worked for prestigious artists such as Patti LaBelle, James Brown, Samantha Fox, Will I Am, and many many more. They discussed with us some very important information, based on their experience, on how to get your music distributed/promoted as an indie artist and submitted to films and TV shows for licensing. Here are some of the tips they shared with us:

Keeping Publishing Rights While Going Indie: For those who don’t know, music “publishing” is the owning of the songwriting part of the song, which allows the songwriter to be paid for the use of that song for radio use, TV/film use, commercial use, sheet music use, sampling use, etc. A publisher is a company that makes sure you get paid for those uses. Full Force has seen the success of artists giving away their music for free on Youtube in exchange for building a buzz and bringing attention to their music, which obviously increases their chances of getting their music discovered for licensing, sampling, downloading, etc. Then you can take that following and start doing shows where most of your following lives.

Partnering with Record Labels instead of Signing: Partnering with record labels is a great way to do business with them and still keep your publishing rights. You can hire the record label’s promotion department, publishing department, etc to do some of the needed work for you, while you can focus on creating music.

Collaborating with Other Upcoming Artists: it’s important that you pay attention to who is building their buzz on platforms such as Youtube or Facebook, and find ways to collaborate with them. Getting exposure to their fan base automatically means more fans to your base as well.

Registering with Companies who Protect Your Publishing Rights: There are different types of companies who protect different types of rights. Performance Rights Organizations, or PRO’s, such as BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC, are responsible for making sure you get paid performance royalties, such as when your music is played on the radio (satellite or internet), films and TV shows, live venues, online streaming services, etc. Aggregators, such as CD Baby, TuneCore, and Full Force’s favorite, Cobalt, are responsible for making sure you’re paid for mechanical royalties, such as when your music is “copied”, such as CD distribution, downloads on platforms such as iTunes and Amazon, etc.

These are just some of the few tips to make sure you get paid for the publishing rights you own. If you would like to stay updated for more articles like these, sign up to our newsletter by Clicking Here.