In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the importance of protecting your creative works, particularly your music, has never been more prevalent. With the rise of online sharing and distribution, creators face new challenges in safeguarding their intellectual property. Luckily, our friends over at Cosynd have some tips to help you combat infringement effectively, including utilizing the new Copyright Claims Board. Here’s what you can do…
What To Do If Your Music Gets Stolen or Misused
Register Your Copyright
The first and most fundamental step in protecting your music is registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. This legal action establishes your ownership and strengthens your position in the event of infringement. In fact, you cannot legally enforce your rights as the owner without a registration in hand.
Monitor Your Content
Regularly track the use of your music online. Utilize digital tools and services to identify any unauthorized sharing or use. This proactive approach will help you identify potential violations promptly.
Issue Takedown Notices
If you come across instances of unauthorized use, issue Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices to the hosting platforms. This action prompts them to remove the infringing content.
Take Legal Action
If you find your work is intentionally reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without your permission, you can pursue legal action.
Note: New regulations mandate that you must have an official registration with the U.S. Copyright Office before you can file a lawsuit. Other types of registrations or mailing your music to yourself are not alternative precautions. Early registration can grant you a large payout — up to $150,000 per infringement PLUS your legal fees, but only if you register before your music is stolen or misused.
Get Justice Without Breaking the Bank
We understand that Federal Court isn’t always an affordable option. Excitingly, the new Copyright Claims Board (CCB) offers an accessible path to address infringements without excessive costs or the requirement to hire an attorney. The CCB operates independently of the courts and provides a streamlined process for resolving disputes of up to $15,000 per work and $30,000 per case.
This alternative to federal courts is designed to empower creators and copyright holders, offering a more accessible and less complex way to navigate disputes. Through its electronic filing and case management system, the eCCB platform, the CCB is equipped to handle three key types of copyright disputes, spanning copyright infringement, declaration of noninfringement claims, and disputes regarding misrepresentations in DMCA notices.
Engage Legal Assistance
In more complex cases, consulting legal professionals with expertise in intellectual property can be invaluable. They can guide you through legal proceedings and ensure that your rights are adequately protected.
By taking these steps, you not only safeguard your music but also uphold the value of your creative efforts.
After all the blood, sweat and tears it took to finally get your new music out into the world, it’s finally time to get as many people to listen to it as possible! From the technical stuff like registering with PROs to the fun stuff like social media promo, here are some of the most important things every musician should be doing after their release goes live. Let’s dive in…
What To Do After Making Your Music Available Online
Register with a PRO
To make sure you receive the royalties you’re rightfully owed, your songs need to be properly registered with either ASCAP, SESAC or BMI. Sadly, we can’t do this for you. Only you as the writer can affiliate with a PRO.
If your music is being distributed, performed worldwide, and you don’t have a publishing deal, your royalties are sitting in collection societies around the world waiting to be claimed by you. If you don’t register in time to collect your royalties, the collection societies will retain the royalties and you will miss out on that additional revenue. That’s why we created our publishing administration service to help you get through this process as easily as possible.
Register with SoundExchange
SoundExchange has paid out more than $7 BILLION in royalties to date. They are the sole organization designated by the U.S. Congress to collect and distribute digital performance royalties for sound recordings. They’re the ones who collect these digital performance rights from non-interactive music streaming on internet sources like SiriusXM and Pandora.
Sign Up for Lyric Distribution
Some distributors have partnerships for lyrics distribution and submission for example: Apple Music, Musixmatch, and LyricFind. With these partnerships, you’re able to streamline and expedite the submission process for faster turnarounds and less hassle.
Update your ‘Artist Pick’ on Spotify
Artist Pick is a great way to highlight what’s important to you right now, whether it be your latest release, playlist, show announcement, or even a Fan Support link. Check out the video below to learn how to do it…
Promote It On Socials
Social media offers an easy and effective method for promoting your latest track. To do so, start by creating a strategy tailored to your goals and target audience. Next, you can engage with your followers by posting your song in Reels, Stories, TikTok’s, and wherever else your fans frequent. You can also collaborate with fellow artists to expand your reach even further. Remember to utilize relevant hashtags, create visually appealing content, and consider running targeted ads for wider exposure. Lastly, always encourage user-generated content from your fans! Ask them to tag you in their own posts featuring your song, and get permission to re-post it on your own profile.
Pitch for Sync
When we talk about sync licensing in the music business, we’re referring to the act of synchronizing a piece of music with any form of visual media. That means getting your music featured in movies, TV episodes, commercials, video games, etc.
Get Some Press
After releasing new music, it’s always a good idea to send your music to music journalists, bloggers, and magazines for potential reviews and features. You can even share it in Facebook Groups, Reddit threads, or anywhere else where people can see your new song and share it with their communities.
You worked hard on your new track. Don’t let it get lost in the shuffle of thousands of songs trying to break through this crazy industry. Practicing things like consistently hyping yourself up on socials, optimizing your Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music, etc. profiles, and everything else we covered above, can make or break the performance of your work.
In the meantime, be proud of all your hard work! Keep going, be consistent, and believe in your talents as an artist.
So your fans are streaming your music and jamming away… Great! But what if you want more? Super fans will support you through thick and thin. Fostering deeper connections with your audience is a smart way to create a stronger fan base you can lean on throughout your career. Whether it be with a paid newsletter, exclusive merch, or a VIP subscription service, here’s how to convert casual fans into paying subscribers.
How to Convert Fans Into Paying Subscribers
Offer Something Worth Paying for
You have to think about what other artists in your genre are offering. For example, lots of artists offer early access to a new song, but if the song is going live to the public a couple weeks later, it’s not necessarily worth paying for in advance. Offer something uniquely exclusive, because everyone likes to feel special.
For example, you could start by simply mentioning your new subscription in an Instagram story. Mention an exclusive community that gets special treatment, for example: “… And we did a private concert for five of our fans, it was amazing… We even played them one of our unreleased songs.” Or offer other things like:
- Online concerts
- VIP virtual hangs
- Features on social media (Instagram Live, Twitter shoutouts, etc.)
- Access to unreleased music
- Behind the scenes content
- Autographed merch
Exclusive shit sells. Get creative with it! Think about things you’d want from your favorite artist and go from there.
Run Targeted Ads
Great advertising is a magical thing. Running targeted ads towards your current fanbase is a great way to reel in those who are already the most interested in your work.
Loyalty goes a long way. Give back.
Being a part of a community is a feeling like no other. Feeling connected and heard by your favorite artist is worth a subscription any day. When you get a new subscriber, do something special for them to show you care. Give back by promoting your subscribers on socials. Anything to create a personalized and thoughtful experience will do.
- You could try something on social media like, #followbackfridays, where you follow back everyone who subscribes to your service that day. (That doesn’t mean tagging everyone in one post, by the way. There’s nothing personal about that.)
- Record personalized thank you videos for subscribers via Twitter or Instagram.
- Invite a couple fans to join an Instagram Live with you.
It’s important to show your subscribers how thankful you are for their patronage and actually put in the work. Because without them, where would you be?
Have a Social Media Strategy
Promoting your new service on socials is the best way to stay on top of everyone’s minds. Just don’t overdo it. Don’t harass your followers with a million posts a day begging for their interest. Keep it casual but consistent. Be engaging.
Having a great CTA works wonders, but you don’t want to overwhelm your audience. When in doubt, a simple “here’s what I’m doing, here’s why it’s awesome, and here’s why you’ll dig it” should do the trick..
Just be consistent, offer something they can’t wait to get their hands on, and always be yourself. Your fans will see your spark and naturally want a part of it. You got this.
In this industry, there’s always more to learn. No matter how big you get, don’t forget the basics! If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or just want to level up, here are 7 classic methods for growing as an artist and becoming the best you can be. Let’s dive in…
7 Ways To Become a Better Musician
The biggest thing that can hold you back as an artist in any field is the inability to accept criticism. Sometimes it can be hard to hear that your biggest passion project is lacking something. Whether it be something major or even the tiniest tweak, it can sting a little for anyone to hear. But even if you disagree, it doesn’t hurt to hear them out. It’s easy to get lost in the process and fall so in love with a project that it’s almost painful to hear anything negative about it, but that being open to that alternative outside view is one of the best ways to create something truly masterful.
Nobody is perfect, and accepting that fact is the ultimate hack to becoming your best self, musically and otherwise.
Practice Every Day
This one’s a no brainer, but I do have a point. When you practice an instrument every day, (whether that’s guitar, drums, music production, or your own voice, etc.) you’re going to see noticeable improvements. The same goes for waking up early, hitting the studio at the same time every day, training your musical ear, writing lyrics, and everything that comes along with being an artist. Having a routine and sticking to it makes everything easier.
Keep in mind… it’s not that the tasks themselves are easier, it’s that you’re getting that much better at them and it’s just easier for YOU to do them. Over time, you’ll look back and be proud of how far you’ve come. Just treat everything you do like a muscle. Nourish it every day, and it will grow stronger.
Learn Music Theory
Music theory is a beautiful language of its own. It gives you the magical understanding of the structure behind every musical composition and helps you speak with other musicians in a common tongue. It’s a common misconception that music theory limits creativity… It’s the total opposite!
Think of it this way, if you’re collaborating with another artist on a new song and they hear a rogue note clashing with part of the vocals, instead of trying to find what note it was for 20 minutes, they can call it out right away and you’ll know exactly what they’re referring to. If the bass is a step too low in one section, it’ll speed up the creative process to know what that means and how to fix it. Not to mention if you plan to collaborate with someone big like Tiësto or Beyoncé, you’re going to feel like a noob by not knowing what a D minor sounds like.
Even teaching yourself the basics will give you a greater understanding of what works and what doesn’t in music and improve the quality of your work exponentially. At the end of the day, knowledge is power.
Set Realistic Goals
When it comes to your music career, your goals need to be realistic and specific. You should be able to quantifiably measure their success as you work towards them, and be able to adjust your process as you go along. Many pros around the world use the S.M.A.R.T method, which breaks down to: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. (We did a whole post about how to use this method and all it’s benefits right here.)
Let’s face it, many people overestimate what they’ll be able to accomplish in a short amount of time and doing so causes some major (and unnecessary) headaches when things don’t go exactly to plan. That’s why giving yourself a reasonable plan you can actually accomplish without ripping your hair out can make or break your success. — Just be honest with yourself. If you’ve never played a show before, the odds of you booking a world tour in a year may not be in the cards. What could be, however, is to start your first local run of shows in select cities.
Prioritize Mental Health
No matter what stage you’re at in your career, how old you are, or how much you have on your plate, this industry can be overwhelming. With so much on your plate, it’s easy to overlook your mental health and find yourself unsure of how to get back on track. At the end of the day, practicing healthy habits is just as important as sharpening your musical skills. Without a healthy balance, everything can fall apart just as fast as it came.
Collaborate with Other Musicians
Playing with others not only exposes you to different musical perspectives, but also challenges you to adapt to different playing styles. You can start locally with other musicians within your community by reaching out via DM’s on socials, making connections at live events, or just working with your musical friends.
If you want to expand even further, don’t let distance hold you back. Tools like Splice and Vocalizr let you collaborate from the comfort of your own home with artists from all over the world. We also did a whole post right here on some of the best online collaboration tools on the market to help you out.
Being a musician is one of the most fun and rewarding jobs in the world. It can also be incredibly stressful with what feels like the weight of the world on your shoulders. As you progress throughout your career, it’s up to you to commit as much time as you can to growing your skills, learning from your experiences, and taking in as much as you can from those around you. With these tips, you’re on your way to becoming the best you can be.