Greetings World, Its’ me again Grace-C!

This week I want to blog about some very important topics that all artists should know about. No matter if you are signed to a major label, work with an independent label or if you aren’t even really sure what it means to be linked to a label, this information can be helpful and beneficial to you. If you have not been able to figure out yet, this blog focuses on YOU, the ARTIST! You may be a songwriter, a singer, a dancer, a producer, an actor, a model, or even a painter, but the bottom line is that you are an artist. As an artist it is imperative that you know and understand  the distinctions between your worth, what all is included as your property and what rights you are given. So please, even if you never read any of my blog posts again, just take heed to the advice that I have found and that I am about to share with you.

I listened to 2 podcasts on iTunesU regarding legal matters that dealt with intellectual property. As an artist our craft is usually defined under the umbrella of intellectual property, and in the legal world our intellectual property is what gives us a particular worth when legal matters arise.  The first podcast that I listened to was called CIPLIT visiting artist series featuring jazz musician Frank Catalano, by DePaul University’s College of Law. In the discussion they had Mr. Catalano and his lawyer as well as some of the college’s professors talking about legality issues they have encountered during the span of Mr. Catalano’s career thus far. They talked about the importance of having either a close relationship with an attorney or hiring an attorney before you make any legally binding decisions in your career (i.e. signing a contract). Mr. Catalano described an instance when he was just sixteen years old and he was just so excited to be noticed for his craft that he signed a contract without having a lawyer review it. Although he, fortunately, did not get cheated in the agreement that he signed, many times artists do get the short end of the deal because they signed their life away without reading the small print. By hiring an attorney that you trust, and that has your best interest in mind, you can avoid the risks of potentially giving up your entire life in one contract.

The next thing that I wanted to highlight was the importance of copyright registration. In the second podcast that I listened to, The Musicians at work forum- Intellectual Property and legal issues, given by the Chicago Music Commission they discussed this in great detail. The thing that you need to understand first and foremost is if you are a songwriter, or producer, and you make an original song, the minute that you put it in a tangible format it is yours and you own it, you own the copyright to it.  That is YOUR song. Now, where things get interesting is you need to register that ownership to the copyright office if you want to be protected under copyright laws. THE POOR MANS COPYRIGHT WILL NOT SUFFICE IN A COURT OF LAW. Register your song under the Form PA (performing arts) not sound recording Form SR. You only register it under Form SR if it is the final mastered version of your song that will be put out for distribution. Registering your copyright is one of the single most important things you can and should do as an artist, no matter your status. Registering the copyright is invaluable because that is what PROTECTS your valuable intellectual property and as an artist that is your greatest asset.
Lastly I want to highlight their discussion on performance rights organizations. After you have registered the copyright, you are advised to join one of the three major performance rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC). They are there to track any and all monetization owed you as the copyright holder. They keep track of if your song is played nationally or internationally and if it is, then they will send you money for it! Oh! The beloved “checks in the mail” that I know aspiring songwriters like myself dream of.
As an artist, make sure you are up to speed and knowledgeable about your rights and your business as a whole. The Music Business is MY business! Thanks for Reading. HUGS, LUVS, and BLESSINGS from Above!

Greetings world!
This week in my blog I want to open up a new world to you; A world that many artists and musicians fail to be utterly familiar with, although we really should be. It’s a world that can seem so foreign, that to the untrained ear this world even has its very own language. So what world do I speak of, do you ask? It is the infamous and very important world of “The LAW”. If you do not know by now, I am a songwriter/singer/producer, a musician. I find that a majority of individuals, who are taking their musicianship seriously and are in the process of turning it into their career, would have to agree with me when I say that the legal world plays a very big role in our world of music. So it is pertinent that we have a legit understanding of it all.

In this post I am going to go over a few basic legalities that all songwriters and singers should know concerning their artistry. I will also share with you a few articles regarding legal cases and rulings in court that have affected our world forever. First, one very important lesson that you need to learn about being an artist is to protect yourself! You need to be aware of the laws in our industry regarding your copyrights. If you are a songwriter, composer, producer or all of the above, it is very important that you seek to get your music officially copyrighted. You can do this online at for a small fee. Or you can at least opt for the poor mans copyright method. In learning about the laws regarding copyrights you will have an understanding of your value as the songwriter as you step into this industry. Intellectual property can be a touchy subject, but it is very strongly advise to do some hefty research on it. Copyright infringement is a liability issue that artists and songwriters need to be very well aware of, because it’s the possible infringement on our intellectual property rights. In 2001 the technology of peer-to-peer file sharing of digital music changed the music industry forever.

***Check out this case, which was a monumental mark in the music industry: A&M Records v Napster 2001-

Another topic to familiarize oneself with is the realm of music publishing, which in essence is the exploitation of copyrighted music and catalogues. Publishers do just that; they will publish your music in either have your song placed to an artist, or will have your work placed in television, film or even video games. As a songwriter this is where your money will come from. If your music does well, you can receive a great amount of royalties and be compensated by wonderful checks that will be received in the mail, for your work. But many times songwriters may get into a situation where they feel like the publisher or publishing company may have cheated them, and they will take the publisher to court. The Late Michael Jackson claimed that his publishers (Universal Music Group) owed him an extensive amount in royalty payments for some of his works recorded before the 1980’s but the case was thrown out because of the contract that Mr. Jackson had signed with Motown at the time before any of that music was recorded.
**Check out more in this article:

When you copyright a song and register it with a performance rights organization (BMI, ASCAP) that organization will keep track of how often and where your songs are played. They will then make sure you receive your share of royalties from these instances. The way these organizations are able to keep track of the music played is by the process of licensing music out to venues or certain areas that play music (including but not limited to malls, and shopping centers, amusement parks, restaurants and bars). All of these businesses must obtain a specific license to be able to play the music in which their buyers will hear. The performance rights companies will have the “music police” randomly go around to some of these venues and locations, and will do surprise license checks. They will ask the business to provide proof of permission to be able to play the music that they are playing. In a worst-case scenario you will end up with a situation like the one in this case below. The night club was sneak attacked by the music police sent out by BMI, and when questioned the owners did not have the proper licensing so they were up against a very upset company, and its represented songwriters.

Being knowledgeable about the laws within our industry is very important and well advised. If you are a songwriter, producer, and musician you need to learn some very important things to help give your career the best foot forward. I hope this was helpful and check out some of these links below. Hugs, Luvs, and Blessings from Above!

Check out more  great articles and sites for more information: