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Rights Holders: who are they?

Rights Holders: who are they?

Managing Music Royalties With Music Royalty Management Software

When it comes to music copyright, splitting the royalties among the rights holders can become a contentious issue if it isn’t handled properly.  

The complexity of copyright law can add an especially precarious element to the situation without the proper tools. This makes organization key. In this article, we’ll help to shed light on how to keep your rights holders happy and your label, publishing company or music career healthy. Firstly, an obvious question with a slightly complex answer; Let’s break it down.

How Do Rights Holders, Well, Become Rights Holders?

There are a few different kinds of rights holders, as such, there are a few different ways to become a rights holder. You can compose, record, publish or sign your way into owning rights – depending on the contracts. There are also 2 things that can be owned by rights holders. 

The composition – This is the music – generally the melody, and the lyrics. These are the intellectual property of the artist who wrote them and comes with some exclusive rights. Publishers are also privy to composition rights. Think of these rights as following the sheet music, so to speak.

The sound recording –These rights can be held by recording studios, record labels as well as artists and publishers. These rights follow the sound recording in whatever medium it is reproduced in CD, WAV file, Vinyl, etc. 

Of course, most people in the music industry have at one point or other heard stories of artists selling disproportionate amounts of their rights to labels or publishers and it has happened. It’s worth considering that before engaging in an overly aggressive ask for any artist’s rights. This has been one of the major drivers of the independent musician movement,  but we’ll touch back on this topic below.

There are some misunderstandings that can potentially lead to trouble – especially for artists. Firstly, some of you may have heard of the idea that one can simply mail themselves a copy of the work as proof of copyright.

This is false – having a piece of mail dated by the post office does not constitute registered copyright and will not hold up in court. Especially as a professional label or publisher, you must properly register the material that you wish to be copyrighted with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Anyone who owns the right to play in public, broadcast, or copy the recording is a rights holder. 

Anyone from a major label to an individual or independent artist can be a rights holder.

How to Deal with Rights Holders?

Openness and transparency are key, and the ability to do that confidently comes with organization. As we mentioned, unfair deals to musicians have been a driver of the independent movement, however, that isn’t always for the best for every musician. Here’s why:

It’s incredibly challenging to make a living as a musician. To think about it in business terms it is quite difficult to justify; Decades of research and development (Learning music), long hours, tough margins, market saturation – the list goes on. For every talented independent musician who has managed to make it, there are surely several who have failed. Labels and publishers not only create jobs, they serve a real purpose in the industry.

Without artists there is no music industry, so making sure you have a fair deal is key. Exploitative practices and contracts are not only immoral, but they are also short-sighted. A good label or publisher works in service of the artists, and that is how they flourish. Here’s a great way to make it easier for your music business to get there: 

Why Use Reprtoir to Manage Rights Holders Administration? 

Music copyright and the transfer of wealth between rights holders has certainly been a hot topic in recent years. Without going into digital pirating and copyright law too deeply it is safe to say that a contributing factor to the difficulty experienced by music industry professionals has been the presence of so many complicated moving parts. 

What if you could manage it all in one place? 

Reprtoir is a digital workspace which is designed for music industry professionals to perform administrative tasks like assigning and handling rights holders to your entire catalog. This platform is perfect for record labels, music publishers – even independent artists who are getting serious about their career.  

The Reprtoir platform gives you the ability to manage entire catalogs of music, business and marketing assets, rights holders and more all in one workspace. Reprtoir keeps you organized and on top of things to build your business’ reputation as one of professionalism and results. 

When you treat your artists with value, your business attracts more artists and prosperity. 

Check out Reprtoir here.

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