The music industry has a steep learning curve because there are very few people who can be considered educators. When you make the decision to jump into a “music career” you just do it. You see your favorite artist and draw inspiration from them, purchase some studio equipment for your laptop (or illegally download software), and begin your quest to be the next big thing. While there are schools that you can attend to expedite your dream these lessons are not taught with public education. There isn’t a music business class that you can take in middle school or high school; you have to learn as you go.
A couple weeks back my friends at Bringing Down The Band discussed how producers get paid and what that process entails. The topic was brought up on their “New Old Heads” podcast as it was a conversation about Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks discussing it on their podcast (some form of writing/podcast inception is happening with this sentence). Site founder and music producer Lonegevity broke it down elegantly for his co-hosts and the viewers. I’ve linked this part of the discussion below and it lasts around 10 minutes.
“You gotta look at it in two different ways. You have services rendered and then you have publishing. You’re still entitled to your publishing. You made that. So when they go and put that song on anything, when they register that on your BMI or your ASCAP… you get paid from that every time that goes on. It’s not paying for that specific use, it’s paying for the continual use of that in specific instances.”
The reason I’m highlighting this excerpt is for the producers who are just getting in the game and think selling beats is easy. This is also why I believe every artist or producer needs to know the business aspects behind the creation of their art or have someone in their circle that can study these practices. You hear stories all the time about producers not getting paid by an artist; the reason it was on “Everyday Struggle” was due to a producer’s claim that Playboi Carti owed him money.
If you’re an artist or producer that is just beginning, be sure to get your business in order. Register your music, apply for copyright and trademark licenses, everything you can to make sure you’re future is created now. Sure, you can sell someone some beats and make a quick buck right now. But what happens when you’re not selling like that and you haven’t setup your music to help you eat down the line? Don’t let that be your downfall in having to chase down your money later in life. Take care of these things right now so you’re prepared.
The New Old Heads Podcast releases a new episode every Thursday at 12pm EST. Learn more about the crew via their website. You can watch their episodes on YouTube or subscribe to their podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or Soundcloud.