Whether you wrote a new song for your upcoming CD or you’ve just sold a composition to be recorded by a significant artist in the next few months, you need to register your music. There are plenty of sources saying “Wait, until the moment is right” but, in the days of Independent Artists having songs and videos going ‘viral,’ you may not have a moment to think, let alone register your song. Registering your song is crucial if you plan to use the music on YouTube or any other streaming social media site, such as Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, etc… Here’s how to register online with ASCAP in 5 minutes.
First: Why you need to register your music.
ASCAP registers the right to perform your music in public. If you ever plan to play your song live, outside of your house, or if you think other people might want to play it, it needs to be registered. According to ASCAP.com, “A public performance is one that occurs either in a public place where people gather (other than a small circle of a family or social acquaintances). A public performance is also one that is transmitted to the public, for example, radio or TV broadcasts, and via the Internet.”
So how do you join and register music with ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc? Each of the sites has a slightly different process, and each tries to walk you through it, but their instructions are often too long or too complicated for the basic registration. Follow this short video to join ASCAP and start submitting your material.
Besides the obvious, you should register because:
- This is not just to protect you. Any co-composers, lyricists, public domain songs, or other sources will all be given their proper credit.
- You may have friends or relatives that collaborated with you for free. This ensures that they also get the proper credit.
- You can’t control other bands wanting to profit from playing your music. In an ideal world, having your song registered will lead to royalties coming your way, rather than being “stolen” without any compensation.
- It’s a good habit to get into and learning to do things the right way early on will allow you to build a stronger foundation for your overall career.
Simply put, there’s no reason not to register your music. Even if you never play a single gig, any of your music that ends up on social media is considered a public performance. So, my advice, lay down the 50 bucks and watch this video so you know how to protect yourself for the rest of your career.
Dear Reader: Tell us a bit about the ways you share your music with the public.