Choose Your Business Name
Choosing a business name is an important step in the business planning process. Not only should you pick a name that reflects your brand identity, but you also need to ensure it is properly registered and protected for the long term. You should also give a thought to whether it’s web-ready. Is the domain name even available?

Here are some tips to help you pick, register, and protect your business name.

Factors to Consider When Naming Your Business

Many businesses start out as freelancers, solo operations, or partnerships. In these cases, it’s easy to fall back on your own name as your business name. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it does make it tougher to present a professional image and build brand awareness.

Here are some points to consider as you choose a name:

How will your name look? – On the web, as part of a logo, on social media.
What connotations does it evoke? – Is your name too corporate or not corporate enough? Does it reflect your business philosophy and culture? Does it appeal to your market?
Is it unique? – Pick a name that hasn’t been claimed by others, online or offline. A quick web search and domain name search (more on this below) will alert you to any existing use.
Check for Trademarks

Trademark infringement can carry a high cost for your business. Before you pick a name, use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to see if a similar name, or variations of it, is trademarked.

If You Intend to Incorporate

If you intend to incorporate your business, you’ll need to contact your state filing office to check whether your intended business name has already been claimed and is in use. If you find a business operating under your proposed name, you may still be able to use it, provided your business and the existing business offer different goods/services or are located in different regions.

Pick a Name That is Web-Ready

In order to claim a website address or URL, your business name needs to be unique and available. It should also be rich in key words that reflect what your business does. To find out if your business name has been claimed online, do a simple web search to see if anyone is already using that name.

Next, check whether a domain name (or web address) is available. You can do this using the WHOIS database of domain names. If it is available, be sure to claim it right away. This guide explains how to register a domain name.

Claim Your Social Media Identity

It’s a good idea to claim your social media name early in the naming process – even if you are not sure which sites you intend to use. A name for your Facebook page can be set up and changed, but you can only claim a vanity URL or custom URL once you’ve got 25 fans or “likes.” This custom URL name must be unique, or un-claimed.

Register Your New Business Name

Registering a business name is a confusing area for new business owners. What does it mean and what are you required to do?

Registering your business name involves a process known as registering a “Doing Business As (DBA)” name or trade name. This process shouldn’t be confused with incorporation and it doesn’t provide trademark protection. Registering your “Doing Business As” name is simply the process of letting your state government know that you are doing business as a name other than your personal name or the legal name of your partnership or corporation. If you are operating under your own name, then you can skip the process.

Learn about the requirements in your state and how to file in this Registering Your Doing Business As Name guide.

Apply for Trademark Protection

A trademark protects words, names, symbols, and logos that distinguish goods and services. Your name is one of your most valuable business assets, so it’s worth protecting. You can file for a trademark for less than $300. Learn how to trademark your business name.

Many songwriters aspire to be signed to a music publishing deal, but many do not know exactly what this means and what it entails. Publishing is a crucial aspect of your career, and it’s still at the heart of today’s ever-morphing music business, since it all starts with the song. And publishing can be quite lucrative, so it’s worth educating yourself about.

Generally speaking, there are two types of music publishing agreements these days: a co-publishing deal and a publishing administration deal.


A co-publishing deal is what its name implies – you share the publishing with someone else (whether an individual or a company). You as the songwriter typically assign 50% of your publishing share over to this other entity in exchange (usually) for money. The money can come in the form of an up front advance, or a draw where you get paid in semi-annual, quarterly or even monthly installments. The term of the co-publishing agreement is usually for an initial 12-month year, with options to extend the agreement for an additional year(s). Sometimes, if you are an artist as well, the co-publishing deal might be tied to each album you do.

You take on certain obligations when you sign a deal like this:

A) You must write a minimum number of 100% songs that the signing entity considers commercially satisfactory for their purposes – and if you co-write any of the songs, then the co-written songs only count towards your minimum in the share that you end up retaining (i.e. two 50% co-writes equals one full song, three 33.33% co-writes equals one full song, etc.)

B) If you are not an artist, the agreement might also specify that you have what is referred to as a “record & release commitment.” This means that you must have a minimum number of songs recorded by any artist on a legitimate label and the songs must end up getting released and start to earn income.

If you don’t meet these two main requirements then your next option typically won’t get exercised, and you will be “stuck” in your first contract year. This is why it is important to get proper legal counsel in any deal – the cost of a lawyer can save you thousands of dollars down the road. The entity you sign this deal with takes on its own obligations. It must actively pitch to get your songs recorded by artists, or get them used in film/TV/ads as long as your recordings are of master (and not demo) quality. They also should try to set you up on co-writes with other songwriters or writer/artists. And they need to do all things administratively to register, license and protect your songs worldwide.

The money you are given in a co-publishing deal as an advance must be recouped (i.e. paid back) to the entity that is paying. In the typical 50/50 co-publishing deal, since half of all income is writer’s share and half is considered publisher’s share, you are entitled to 75 cents of every dollar earned (i.e. your full 50 cents as the writer and 25 cents as the publisher, since you assigned half of the publishing away). The entity collects your 75 cents of every dollar and sets it against the advance paid to you, and you won’t see any other income from them until your entire advance has been paid back. In the meantime, they receive the remaining 25 cents of every dollar.

So as you can see, a co-publishing deal is essentially a bank loan with 25% interest. And depending on the leverage you have going into the deal, you may very well have to give complete control of these songs in perpetuity to this publisher (even though you retain 50% of the publishing). Sometimes you can build in a reversion clause where you can get control of your 50% back or maybe even the entire 100% back, but this is a factor of your leverage and your lawyer. So make your decisions carefully and with experienced counsel.


In the other scenario, you do not assign any of your publishing away. You retain 100% and engage a third party as your administrator to do all things administrative relating to your songs: PRO registrations, registrations in the US Copyright Office, worldwide registrations through sub-publishers to collect your foreign income, negotiating and issuing licenses, collecting your royalties from all sources, etc. Though you retain all ownership in your songs, you do give up a percentage to get these services done for you on your behalf – that percentage is typically 10-15% for domestic income and 15-20% for foreign income.

Some administration deals involve all things administrative but no creative; depending on the admin company you are dealing with, if they have a creative department, you might also get access to the team that would pitch your songs to artists and film/TV/ads. In that case, if they secure a use for your music, you typically have to pay them a higher percentage than what I mentioned in the paragraph above. This is the company’s incentive to go out and try to generate the income for you.

Of course, you could do all this administrative and creative work yourself, but most songwriters don’t have the knowledge or inclination to take care of their catalogue worldwide. You want as much time as possible to write more songs! It should be noted that some administration deals can come with an advance if you have “pipeline income,” or impending significant activity (e.g. a big record coming out). In that case, you don’t receive any of your income until the advance is recouped (just like under the co-publishing deal). But sometimes the percentage the administrator takes will go up if they are giving you an advance – so it’s always a good idea to run the numbers.

Speaking of running the numbers: let’s assume you have a song you wrote by yourself on a record that sells one million copies in the US. That generates $91,000 in mechanical royalties (1,000,000 copies x 9.1 cents as the current mechanical rate in the US). Under a co-publishing deal, you would see $68,250 of that income as your 75%. Under an admin deal at 10% for domestic income, you would see $81,900 of that income. The difference is $13,650. That’s a big difference. So choose your deals carefully, but most importantly, go with a company that you feel will be your partner. Nothing can beat the strength of a great working relationship.

Performing Rights Licensing in the United States: A World of Multiple Choices, Considerations, and Results

Today’s world of music licensing is undergoing major changes in practically all areas. In the U.S. performance area, the traditional music licensing entities are ASCAP (1914), BMI (1939), and SESAC (1930). Their counterparts in other countries of the world include PRS for Music in the United Kingdom, SOCAN in Canada, and SACEM in France. Existing alongside them is the ability to direct or source license music thereby bypassing the performing rights organization (PRO) structures altogether either on an individual transaction basis (e.g., a particular television show) or for an entire medium (e.g., the Internet).

To make intelligent decisions in this field, you need to know the traditional licensing structures of the PROs with their long history of negotiations, license fees, litigation, and royalty payments, as well as the possible ramifications of a direct or source license as to terms, payments, and other contractual obligations and considerations both in the United States and worldwide. This information is essential regardless of whether you are happy with past and current PRO licensing or are in a situation where you are contemplating a direct or source license or have been asked to consider one or are being forced to enter into one.

The exclusive right to publicly perform a work is a right of copyright that is set forth in the U.S. Copyright Law, as well as the laws of most countries, and that applies to the payment of license fees by music users when those users perform the copyrighted musical compositions of writers and publishers. This right recognizes that a writer’s creation is a property right and its use requires permission as well as compensation.

Performances can be songs heard on the radio, a website, or a digital jukebox; or the score in a television series or feature film; or music performed live or on tape at a Las Vegas show, an amusement park, a sporting event, a major concert venue, a local rock and roll, country, or jazz club, or a symphonic concert hall. Performances can be music channels on an airplane, music at a convention, or music on hold on a telephone. Music users (those that pay the license fees) include the major television networks, U.S. local television and radio stations, pay cable services (HBO, Showtime), basic cable (USA Network, MTV, VH-1, A&E), online streaming services, concert halls, websites, the hotel industry, colleges and universities, nightclubs, bar and grills, theme parks, and many others. In short, in most situations where music is being performed (with the exception of the home), a user is paying a license fee, an organization is collecting those fees, and writers and music publishers are being paid royalties for the performances of their copyrighted works.

In the United States, this right’s primary recognition came as part of the 1909 Copyright Act, with further definition under the 1976 Copyright Revision Act. The right covers the non-dramatic performance of copyrighted musical works. It does not involve dramatic rights, also known as grand rights, where performances of a composition are licensed directly by the copyright owner. Dramatic, or grand, rights include works being performed in musicals (the live theatre), operas, ballets, and so on. Compositions, though considered dramatic in the context of their original theater or opera setting, are generally under the non-dramatic right when performed individually on radio or television.

In the United States, three organizations negotiate license fee agreements with the users of music and distribute those fees back to the writers and publishers whose music and lyrics are being performed. The organizations are the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI); and SESAC.

The starting point for how much an ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC performance is worth is the total revenue that comes into each organization. In 2011, ASCAP’s total receipts were $985 million with BMI at $931 million. Combined distributions to songwriters, composers, and music publishers were in excess of $1.6 billion. SESAC, a smaller private for-profit corporation, does not issue financial information, but reliable estimates place it in the area of $100 million in annual revenue.

It is important to keep in mind that approximately $650 million of the $2 billion annual ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC total represents monies forwarded by foreign performing right collection societies for U.S. songwriter and composer works performed in foreign territories. Most music publishers collect their foreign monies directly at the source via their contractual arrangements with sub-publishers, but some receive their publisher royalties directly via foreign societies that remit the royalties to ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC (whichever is applicable), which then send the monies to the U.S. publisher. The foreign area is important as payments could very well be affected by the language, structure, and scope of any direct or source license agreement.

The next PRO inquiry relates to how much an individual performance is worth in any given medium, as this figure at least provides some form of comparative compensation framework in which to work. Considering that ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC have completely different payment schedules for every type of use (score, visual vocal, theme song, jingle, etc.) in every type of medium (broadcast television, cable, radio, the Internet, etc.), this second inquiry can be extensive depending on the medium and type of performance you are dealing with.

The most common type of license agreement signed by users with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC is the “blanket license.” This license allows a user (a radio or television station, for instance) to perform any works in the ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC repertory during the term of the license for a specific negotiated or court set fee. This unlimited access to repertory includes all of the past works of writer and publisher members or affiliates, as well as the works written by such members or affiliates during the entire term of the license agreement. The license also covers the works of writers who are members of foreign societies (PRS, SOCAN, APRA, GEMA, IMRO, JASRAC, BUMA, etc.). The blanket license allows a user to perform the copyrighted works of writers and publishers without worrying about infringement litigation (performing copyrighted works without permission), the administrative record keeping of what is being performed, or the identity of the correct parties to be paid and what the payment is to be.

Blanket licenses are normally negotiated agreements in which the license fee paid by the user can be, among others, a flat dollar fee, a per-subscriber or gross revenue fee, a fee based on net receipts from sponsors, a fee based on intensity of music usage, or a fee based on such other objective factors as the number of full-time students for universities, the seating capacity and the types of equipment used in nightclubs, and live entertainment expenditures for hotels. As part of the ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees with the government, a federal rate court determination of a reasonable license fee also is available. License agreements have a maximum term of five years.

A per-program license is where a station pays a license fee only for each program using ASCAP or BMI music that is not otherwise licensed directly or at the source. The fee is dependent on the advertising revenues the program has generated for the station. The station also pays an incidental music fee for music uses not contained in specific programs and ambient uses in local news programs. The core provisions of this license were set by the court decision in United States v. ASCAP (In re Application of Buffalo Broadcasting Co.), No. 13-95 (WCC), 1993 WL 60687 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 1, 1993). Additional PRO licenses include a “Per-segment license” and a “Through- to- the Audience license”.

Two other forms of license involve the writer and publisher (the copyright owner) making an agreement directly with a user or directly with a program producer (a film or television producer, who then grants the license to a user). These latter two forms of license are permitted under the ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC writer and publisher agreements, as those agreements are nonexclusive and enable a writer to license his or her works directly even though he or she is a member of ASCAP or an affiliate of BMI or SESAC.

One of the most important provisions of any contract is the termination provision—the clause and rules that govern how you can leave an organization in order to join another. In the performing rights area, these provisions not only control whether a writer or publisher can leave but also whether one can remove his or her works from one organization and place them with another.

Over the years, there have been many major writer and publisher switches—some due to advances, guarantees, and other financial incentives; some due to significant out payments by one organization over another for the same type of use; some due to an organization’s rules and regulations, which significantly affected earnings; some because of the difference in payments between writers and publishers; some because the staff and services are better elsewhere; some based on personal relationships; some based on philosophy; some based on the inability to correct a problem, understand a problem, or solve a problem; some based on inadequate surveys of performances, which determine payment; and some just to make a change.

Regardless of the reason, it is essential you know each organization’s termination/resignation provisions as well as the rules, regulations, and policies affecting continued payment and the ability to remove works.

When a writer or publisher joins ASCAP or affiliates with BMI or SESAC, he or she fills out an application and signs a contract, which is a legally binding agreement that sets forth the specific contractual obligations, duties, and remedies of all parties. Contracts have changed over time, so always be aware of the PRO contract that governs your situation.

The ASCAP agreement is the same for both writers and publishers and gives the society the right to license the non-dramatic public performances of the member’s works. The agreement also grants ASCAP the right to enforce and protect the rights of public performance, to prevent infringement of such works by litigation, and to have all of the rights and remedies for enforcing the copyrights as well as the right to sue under such copyrights. The agreement is subject to the provisions of ASCAP’s 1950, 1960, and 2001 Consent Decrees with the government, as well as the society’s articles of association and any resolutions of the ASCAP board of directors. The agreement also states that the board of directors must consist of an equal number of writers and publishers, and that the royalties distributed must be divided into two equal sums for division to writer and publisher members.

The ASCAP agreement is a continuing year-to-year agreement that gives a writer or publisher the right to resign from the society any year. A specific form needs to be completed and signed, and notice provisions, based on a writer or publisher’s date of election to ASCAP, must be adhered to. For instance, writers and publishers elected to ASCAP membership in January, February, or March of any year must give notice between July 1 and October 1 of the prior year for the resignation to be effective on April 1. The resignation notice dates for April, May, and June ASCAP elections of any year would require notice between October 1 and January 1 of the prior year for an effective resignation on July 1. And so forth.

The contracts that most writers and publishers sign with BMI are the same, but provisions can be negotiated provided the writer or publisher makes such a request and has the bargaining power to effect a change. Although most initial affiliation agreements are not negotiated, many successful writers and publishers renegotiate the provisions prior to any extension of the contract.

Most BMI writer agreements are for a period of two years and continue thereafter for additional terms of two years each, unless they are terminated by either party by registered or certified mail not more than six months or less than three months prior to the end of a term. For example, if a writer signed a BMI contract on June 30, 2010, the contract would run until June 30, 2012, and continue to renew for additional two-year periods (June 30, 2014; June 30, 2016; June 30, 2018) unless terminated. A writer could terminate by giving registered or certified notice to BMI no sooner than six months prior to June 30, 2012, or any two-year term after that, and no later than three months prior to June 30, 2012, or any two-year term after that.

Most BMI publisher agreements are for a period of five years from the date of signing and continue for additional periods of five years each, unless terminated by either party by registered or certified mail not more than six months or less than three months prior to the end of a term. If a publisher misses the termination date, the contract extends for an additional five-year period. For example, if a publisher signed a contract on June 30, 2007, and wished to terminate the contract sometime afterward, notice would have to be given no sooner than six months prior to June 30, 2012, and no later than three months prior to June 30, 2012. If these termination dates are missed, the contract will extend to June 30, 2017.

SESAC does have a standard writer and publisher agreement, which can be modified through negotiation. The writer and publisher contracts grant to SESAC on a nonexclusive basis the “right to perform publicly and to license to others to perform publicly, the writer’s and publisher’s works throughout the world.” The term of the agreement is three years, with automatic renewals for three-year periods on the same terms and conditions as the original agreement if not timely terminated. Writers and publishers can terminate these agreements by giving written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least three months but not more than six months prior to the expiration of the current period of the term. SESAC contracts prior to the late 1990s were five-year publisher and three-year writer agreements automatically renewable.
           Red Carpet Premiere Oct 16, 2014 • 7pm and 10pm showing • For Tickets

Shopping for an audio interface for your DAW or computer? Here are nine questions you should ask yourself to get the one to best suit your needs.

If you are preparing to set up a home recording studio, this article can help you better understand some of the basic elements regarding the audio interface with your computer or DAW (digital audio workstation). These concepts can get very complex, but this post will focus on some of the more basic points about the subject. Here are nine questions you should ask when comparing audio interface options.

01-Generic-audio-interface-800x1561. How many instruments will you record at the same time?
The first thing you should consider is the environment you will be working in and how many instruments you need to record at once. Some people only need the ability to record two tracks at a time and others need a minimum of eight. This is the first and most crucial step to understanding your set-up.

Note that hardware companies advertise their products as having “x” amount of inputs and “y” amount of outputs. For example, you may see this in the specifications for an audio interface:

  • (Product Name) 10×6 Inputs/Outputs
  • (Product Name) 16×8 Inputs/Outputs
  • (Product Name) 8×4 Inputs/Outputs

This does not mean that you can record 10, 16, or 8 inputs at once. It is a way of telling the end user how many connections are on the product. Hardware companies can up the number of inputs on a device if they include the following:

  • Hi-Z inputs that override microphone inputs
  • Line inputs that override microphone inputs
  • Effects returns (No microphone pre-amp, just AD converters)
  • Headphone Outputs

You need to look for the term “simultaneous audio” in order to understand how many inputs a device can record at the same time.

     In reality, a device may actually have these types of specifications:

  • 10×6 Inputs/Outputs (8 simultaneous inputs, 6 simultaneous outputs)
  • 16×8 Inputs/Outputs (12 simultaneous inputs, 8 simultaneous outputs)
  • 8×4 Inputs/Outputs (4 simultaneous inputs, 4 simultaneous outputs)
  • Make sure to look out for this, it could really throw a wrench into your budget if you don’t.

2. What kind of connections will you need for the instruments you’re recording?
There are four basic types of connections you will need to consider when shopping for an audio interface.

XLR and XLR/TRS combo. If you intend to record acoustic instruments, you will need to use a microphone and an XLR cable to use the XLR plug on your audio interface. Audio interfaces that come with combo XLR/TRS jacks are great because they can accommodate either of two types of connections. (Make sure to check if your microphone needs “phantom power” and if your audio interface supports this. Some interfaces label this as “+48v.”)

02-Input-Connections-300x108TRS (tip, ring, and sleeve). For use with instruments that do not need a preamp. Look for this type of connection if you are recording non-acoustic instruments like keyboards and sound modules.

Hi-Z. Used for guitars, basses, and any other high impedance connections.

3. What are outputs, and what will you use them for?Outputs are used mostly for listening to the audio coming out of your recording program.

Examples of outputs are:

  • Headphone jacks
  • Main outputs
  • Sub outputs
  • Outs labeled 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, etc.

These connections are typically XLR or TRS connections. This is where you would connect things like studio monitors or external effects processors.

4. What kind of connection does your computer or workstation need to connect to an audio interface?
The most common types of connections needed are USB 2.0, Firewire 400, and Firewire 800. These all stream data at different speeds but in the end tend to get the job done pretty well.

When shopping for an audio interface, check to make sure it has compatible connections for your computer or DAW.

5. Will you use any devices that require MIDI connections?
Some examples of MIDI devices include:


  • Rack-mountable synths
  • Drum machines
  • Effect units
  • Guitar amp simulators
  • MIDI sound modules


These types of hardware units require MIDI connectivity such as MIDI In, MIDI Out, and MIDI Thru. Note that a lot of MIDI devices these days connect to a computer using USB, but older units tend not to have the USB connections.

 6. What sample rate will you be recording or working with?

A sample rate is a measurement of samples taken from an audio signal over time. Humans can hear up to 20 kHz. To properly represent an analog signal in a digital domain, the sample rate must be at a minimum of double the range of the human hearing. This is why 44.1 kHz is the standard sample rate for any hardware interface. Some audio interfaces support sample rates up to 96 kHz or even 192 kHz. These sample rates produce higher resolution audio.

The next logical question you might ask is, “should my audio interface support high sample rates?” The following examples outline a couple scenarios where having a piece of hardware that is flexible across many sample rates is important.

Scenario 1
If you are mixing a recording that was recorded at a professional studio, they may have tracked the entire project at 96 kHz and given you just the project files. If your audio interface does not support 96 kHz, you will not be able to open the project up without some headache or strange behavior. Owning an interface that supports up to 96 kHz could be a great investment so you can open up just about anything that is given to you.

Scenario 2
When working as a freelance recording engineer you may be asked to record at a minimum of 192 kHz for reasons of clarity and high fidelity. Some major touring orchestras and choirs do this as a standard. Obviously this is a pretty specific scenario, but if you are not equipped to deliver on that kind of work as a freelancer, you may miss out on some opportunities.

You may not encounter either of these scenarios, but it’s important to be aware of these details before you invest in expensive hardware. Recording and mixing at 44.1 kHz is just fine, but if you are looking to spend some extra money on an interface that can record higher sample rates, then go for it!

7. Will you need more inputs in the future?
An expandable interface is usually a bit higher in price but could be useful down the road if you want to integrate it into a more serious setup. The types of connections that will allow you to sync multiple devices together include:

  • ADAT: 8 channels at 48 kHz
  • TOSLINK: 2 Channels
  • D-Sub: Depends on manufacturer’s spec
  • AES/EBU: 2 Channels
  • SPIDF: 2 Channels

When going down this route, you should definitely be conscious of “clocking.” This is the first thing most users will run into when daisy chaining multiple digital devices together. One piece of hardware should send “clock” to the others via one of the digital connections or (if available) a BNC connector. This keeps the two devices in sync with one another. Without a proper clocking method you will experience jitter – which is the sound two digital audio devices working together at different clock speeds.

Some audio interface manufacturers allow their devices to be synced together when both are connected to a computer at once. The drivers on the computer manage the synchronization. This is a rather specific situation, but it does exist.

8. Does your interface need to be portable or compact?
The size and portability of an audio interface is definitely something to consider when shopping for a device. Check out audio interfaces that are bus powered and do not require their own power supply. They could be especially useful when you are sitting in a place where only one power outlet is available (airport terminal, tour bus, train). Interfaces that are bus powered are great for taking with you on the road because most of them are small and sometimes even fit in your back pocket.
Larger audio interfaces that are portable typically will take up one or two spaces in a rack. These will ship with rack ears or have rack ears available for installation. Most of these audio interfaces are not bus powered and have their own power supply. If you end up having a few of these units, then it’s important to purchase a power conditioner. Think of it like a power strip for your rack. It keeps voltages regulated and will save your audio interfaces from getting fried by an insufficiently powered outlet.

9. Should you purchase a sound card or an audio interface? What is the difference?
A soundcard is the system on your computer that handles all of your sound. An audio interface connects to your computer through USB or firewire ports. One is internal and the other is external.
Soundcards stream audio from the Internet, games, applications, and anything else that requires basic audio playback. For the most part, stock sound cards are compatible with MME (32bit) drivers. MME (32bit) drivers are not the recommended driver mode for digital audio workstations because their functionality is limited. Most DAWs require the use of an ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) compatible device.

When shopping for a brand new sound card, make sure that you are purchasing it from a pro-audio company if your intentions are to record and mix within a DAW (some high-fi companies produce sound cards that will say ASIO compatible). The best way to know if your sound card can be used with recording software is to read its manual or technical specifications. This is where it will list what recording programs are compatible with your device.


SoundExchange paid out $161 million to performing artists and rights holders in the second quarter, an 8-percent increase from the same period last year. The number of royalty recipients — both performing artists and record labels — increased 34 percent to 22,343. The quarterly distributions put non-interactive digital radio services, which pay digital performance royalties to SoundExchange, on track to nearly match other digital revenue streams.

Even though services like Pandora, SiriusXM and iHeartRadio become a major revenue stream, their growth rate has slowed considerably. Second quarter distributions were down slightly from the $162.6 million distributed in the first quarter of 2014. Second quarter payouts were also lower than the $170 million paid out in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Royalties paid this year should easily top the $590.4 million paid in 2013. Recipients have been paid royalties of $323.6 million in the first half of 2014, an increase of almost 22 percent. If SoundExchange simply pays an equal amount in the second half of the year, annual distributions will rise 9.6 percent to $647 million.


SoundExchange’s digital performance royalties are on par with other digital revenue streams. At their current paces — which could worsen later in the year — digital tracks and albums are on track to generate revenue this year of $1.35 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. Accounting for the 30 percent of revenue retained by retailers, digital tracks and albums would return $944 million and $770 million to rights holders, respectively.

Paid subscription services like Spotify, Rhapsody and Beats Music aren’t far behind digital tracks and albums. If subscription services can match last year’s 57-percent growth rate, they will generate $987 million and, assuming a 70/30 split for rights holders/services, will return $690 million to rights holders.

There’s reason to believe digital radio services will continue to grow well into the future. Services are slowly making inroads in the automobile and taking away listening time from AM/FM radio. As of June, Pandora was integrated with over 145 vehicle models and 270 aftermarket audio systems. Google’s acquisition of Songza should also help Internet radio grow in the coming years. (Apple’s iTunes Radio and Amazon’s Prime Music will also help Internet radio, but neither pay royalties to SoundExchange and thus reside in a different category.) Greater access to mobile broadband should also help drive growth of Internet radio.



SoundExchange paid out $161 million to performing artists and rights holders in the second quarter, an 8-percent increase from the same period last year. The number of royalty recipients — both performing artists and record labels — increased 34 percent to 22,343. The quarterly distributions put non-interactive digital radio services, which pay digital performance royalties to SoundExchange, on track to nearly match other digital revenue streams.

Even though services like Pandora, SiriusXM and iHeartRadio become a major revenue stream, their growth rate has slowed considerably. Second quarter distributions were down slightly from the $162.6 million distributed in the first quarter of 2014. Second quarter payouts were also lower than the $170 million paid out in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Royalties paid this year should easily top the $590.4 million paid in 2013. Recipients have been paid royalties of $323.6 million in the first half of 2014, an increase of almost 22 percent. If SoundExchange simply pays an equal amount in the second half of the year, annual distributions will rise 9.6 percent to $647 million.


SoundExchange’s digital performance royalties are on par with other digital revenue streams. At their current paces — which could worsen later in the year — digital tracks and albums are on track to generate revenue this year of $1.35 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. Accounting for the 30 percent of revenue retained by retailers, digital tracks and albums would return $944 million and $770 million to rights holders, respectively.

Paid subscription services like Spotify, Rhapsody and Beats Music aren’t far behind digital tracks and albums. If subscription services can match last year’s 57-percent growth rate, they will generate $987 million and, assuming a 70/30 split for rights holders/services, will return $690 million to rights holders.

There’s reason to believe digital radio services will continue to grow well into the future. Services are slowly making inroads in the automobile and taking away listening time from AM/FM radio. As of June, Pandora was integrated with over 145 vehicle models and 270 aftermarket audio systems. Google’s acquisition of Songza should also help Internet radio grow in the coming years. (Apple’s iTunes Radio and Amazon’s Prime Music will also help Internet radio, but neither pay royalties to SoundExchange and thus reside in a different category.) Greater access to mobile broadband should also help drive growth of Internet radio.



As streaming has become increasingly important in today’s music market, it is imperative that you understand how streams turn into publishing royalties – and of course, how to get those royalties into your wallet.

Let’s divide streaming into two different types: Interactive and Non-Interactive. These are defined by the listener’s ability to choose the songs that play next (ability to ‘interact’ with the streaming service, if you will).

1) Non-Interactive Streaming:

Definition: Listeners play music, without the ability to choose the songs that play next.

Also Known As: Internet Radio.

Examples: Pandora, Sirius XM, NPR.

Royalties Generated: Performance royalties.
(These are performances like radio, but digital. Thus, terrestrial radio and other radio-like services generate only performance royalties.)

How to Collect: Join a PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC). PROs are responsible for tracking and collecting performance royalties generated from terrestrial and internet radio.

2) Interactive Streaming:

Definition: Interactive streaming services allow listeners to CHOOSE the songs that are played.

Also Known As: On-demand streaming.

Examples: Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Google Play, Beats Music.

Royalties: Performance royalties & Mechanical royalties.

How to collect: To collect the performance royalties, you will need to join a PRO. To collect the mechanical royalties, you will need to become a publisher affiliate at Harry Fox Agency (to do so on your own, you must have a commercially distributed record release in the US within the last year).



The world of digital distribution (in regards to music) can seem like a long walk through very murky waters for any independent musician. So, we’ve collected a pretty comprehensive list of music distribution companies and the stores they distribute to. If you were to ask: “What is the best music distribution company that will show me how to put music on itunes store?”, then our answer would be ADED.US Music Distribution at

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Companies that offer placement services / Companies that can put your music onto the various digital music stores

ADED.US Music Distribution | ADEDistribution |
(only $5 a month + a $3 submission fee) <<< CHEAPEST OPTION!
CDBaby | CD Baby |
TuneCore | Tune Core |
DittoMusic | Ditto Music |
VenzoDigital (f/k/a WaTunes) | Venzo Digital |
delivers to iTunes only
they keep 20% of your royalties
ran by Kevin Rivers from Michigan, U.S.A.
MondoTunes | Mondo Tunes |
ran by Javan Mershad from Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.
This is one of those fly-by-night companies that uses big numbers to sucker you in. They boast about being able to distribute your music to 750 stores. This may be technically accurate but not what YOU’RE thinking. Those are 750 stores… not BRANDS… iTunes accounts for at least 111+ of those “750 stores” because iTunes is available in at least 111 countries and each country is considered a different store. So, in reality, MondoTunes is a small outfit that doesn’t distribute to as many brands as they claim. Enticing would-be applicants to your service through misleading text is a bad way to start off.
BandCamp | Band Camp |
ran by Ethan Diamond from San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
DIY and they keep 10%
The way BandCamp collects their 10% is tricky. They don’t take 10% out of every sale. They give you 100% of 9 out of 10 sales you make, then they take 100% of your 10th sale.
songs purchased on BandCamp are not available to download directly to an Apple smart device
controlled by venture capitalist Tony Conrad of True Ventures
RecordUnion | Record Union |
ran by Daniel Nilsson from Stockholm, Sweden
prices vary depending on the number of stores you want to distribute to
they keep 7.5 – 15% of your royalties
Beatport | Beat Port |
They offer their own distribution but it’s really expensive. Especially compared to ADED.US Music Distribution. Plus, the songs are usually higher priced than iTunes. The website is centered around the EDM/IDM community
BeatPort is an active community of EDM Producers, DJs, and music buyers. Their site operates much like ReverbNation and BandCamp in the sense that you can buy and sell music all in the same community space, but they are lacking the artist apps of ADED.US Music Distribution
founded by John Acquaviva, it was bought out by Robert F. X. Sillerman’s company SFX Entertainment, for a reported price of slightly over $50 million.
CreateSpace | Create Space |
DIY, distributes to Amazon only
Artists using CreateSpace only collect a maximum of $0.65 per song sold regardless of what price Amazon sells it for. This pales in comparison to iTunes, which offers at least 70% of the sale price.
Artists may feel limited in their options to upload their music, as CreateSpace only accepts AIFF and MP3 (320kbps CBR) quality files (in a zip file)
FUGA | F.U.G.A. |
extremely expensive and complicated compared to other services
ran by Martin Tjho from Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amie Street
Anywhere FM
Art Empire Industries
AWAL a/k/a Artists Without A Label
Arvato Digital Services
Band Metrics
Black Market (Soho)
Blueprint Media
Brilliant Digital
Broad Street Digital
Cadiz Digital
CD Fuse
CD Unsigned
Consolidated Independent a/k/a CI or C.I. | consolidatedindependent |
extremely high priced and complicated
Digital Music Group Inc.
The Echo Nest | EchoNest |
software development company only
Key Example: There is a Spotify app called that pulls info about artists and their music from The Echo Nest and
they basically help music apps recognize artists and their music
ran by several people
The Echo Nest was founded by MIT PhDs Brian Whitman and Tristan Jehan
The company is headquartered in Somerville, MA with offices in San Francisco, New York and London.


Emu Bands


Finetunes Solutions


Free Music Archive (FMA) | FreeMusicArchive |
a site that showcases music offered in public domain, with or without creative commons licenses attached, sort of like a public library for downloading free music
The Fresh Page
The GenePool Distribution| Gene Pool |
They keep 80-90%
Based out of Plymouth, U.K.
Gracenote | Grace Note |
a site/service that catalogs music information, which many music apps pull their data from. Associated with CDDB ( compact disc data base)
Hard To Find
HMV (defunct)|
IMD Fastrax
INgrooves | Interoute | Into Music
IODA | Iris Distribution | ISA – Music
I Think Music | Javien | Juno
Kerascene | K-Tel Digital Distribution | Kudos Digital
Lime Wire | LimeWire Store (US) | Lost Tunes
Mashboxx | Masterbeat | Mbop
Mixmag Download | MJM | MOS Download
MTraks | Mubito | Musana (Beta)
Music Giants | Music Glue | Music Makes Friends
MusicNet | Musicslu | MusicStation Next Generation
Musiwave | Muziic
MyMusicSite | My Music Site |
$7.99 single / $19.99 album
very basic layout, not very informative, not many stores
MyMusicStream | My Music Stream |
$5 – $10 a month
DIY, build and sell music from your page
I don’t see how this differs from bandcamp, besides the fact that it’s more complicated and costs more. Artists wanting an official artist page/app would be better off just going through ADED.US Music Distribution or BandCamp as it is cheaper and less complicated.
ran by Andrew Drake from Sydney, Australia. Servers possibly located in London, U.K.
My Song Store | NDN | NetMusicPromotions

Neurotic Media | NeuroticMedia |
Their website is very convoluted. They like to use big words but are very vague on the exact pricing details. They don’t outline (in a list) what stores they distribute to. They ‘appear’ to be more of an artist representation service than an actual distribution company
They seem to be more of a marketing company
ran by Shachar Oren from Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Nimbit |
DIY, pricing starts at $9.95 a month
The Orchard
Passalong Networks
People’s Music Store
Piccadilly Records
QTrax (Amdocs)
ReverbNation | Reverb Nation |
ran by Mike Doernberg from Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.
controlled by venture capitalists (not music business people)
charges $19.95 a month – $41.67 a month for distribution (extremely high priced compared to others)
only allows 2 projects to be released per year at those prices.
over the course of a year, you will pay at least $239.40 to distribute 2 albums
SNOCAP (think MySpace… dead)
SongCast (a/k/a SongCastMusic) | Song Cast Music |
$6 a month for membership + $20 for each project you want to distribute
ran by Michael “Mike” Wright from Akron, Ohio, U.S.A.
Sony DADC |
they mainly create discs (CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays) and distribute them
doesn’t seem to be for independent artists
prices are quoted not public

Soul Jazz Records | Stompy | StreamUK

Tesco | Tema Digital Media | Topspin Media

Trackitdown | Trackseller | Traxsource

Trendrr (acquired by Twitter) |
analyzes the demographics of a product or brand
Tune Tuzer (defunct)
it was a site that cataloged info about the bitrates and pricing variations of different music stores
Wild Palms Music (defunct) |
possibly defunct, now it’s just a blog
based out of France (French)
Xpress Beats

A-La-Carte Music Stores / Pay-Per-Download

iTunes – 4/5 stars
BandCamp | Band Camp |
musicians set the price
Rhapsody (US Only), a division of Yahoo and MTV
Shockhound | Shock Hound |
available in several countries whereas each country has their own store (like iTunes)
24-7 Entertainment | TuneTribe | eMusic
Vidzone Digital Media
Zune (now XBox Music), a division of Microsoft – 3/5 stars
XBox Music (f/k/a Zune), a division of Microsoft – 3/5 stars
Streaming Music Stores/Apps

GrooveShark | Groove Shark | – 2/5 stars

they’ve had issues with lawsuits being filed against them for copyright infringement
Pandora | Pandora Radio – 2/5 stars
controlled by venture capitalists
they’ve had problems in the past not paying out artists’ royalties
a lot of distributors will not distribute their catalog to Pandora due to their complicated ingestion process and the problems they’ve had paying out royalties
Rdio | – 3/5 stars
they do not offer nearly as much freedom over the music you’re listening to as Spotify does
Slacker Radio | Slacker Music Service | – 4/5 stars
Spotify | – 4/5 stars
controlled by venture capitalists and major record labels
offers the most freedom over what you listen to
iTunes Radio – 3/5 stars
Google Play Music All Access
We7 (defunct) | now known as Blink Box Music |


Washington, DC – May 21, 2014 – Media and entertainment union SAG-AFTRA and SoundExchange, the independent organization that collects and distributes royalties for the streaming of sound recordings on digital radio, have teamed up. Together they identified SAG-AFTRA members who may have a cumulative $2.3 million in unclaimed royalties for the use of their recordings from 2,500+ digital radio services.

SAG-AFTRA and SoundExchange conducted an extensive crosscheck between their two databases to identify nearly 2,000 union member performers who are potentially owed royalties. A large number of those identified as potentially having royalties collected by SoundExchange on their behalf include actors and comedians, who are likely unaware they are owed money. All members identified are receiving communications via U.S. mail and email alerting them to the waiting money, and directing them to SoundExchange’s simple (and free) online registration.

“Royalties are an important revenue stream, not just for our recording artist members, but for all our members whose recordings are played on some type of digital platform,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White. “Anytime we can assist our members in collecting money for their professional work, we’re happy to help. SoundExchange has been a great partner with the union and we’re grateful that this organization exists for our members’ benefit.”
“While we are best known for our focus on music, SoundExchange also collects royalties for actors, comedians and spoken word recordings,” said SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe. “The match with SAG-AFTRA allows SoundExchange to reach all of these important performers (both music and non-music) who are entitled to their share of royalties from streaming radio services. We are pleased with the union’s efforts to help register their eligible members, and look forward to working with them on future initiatives.”

When sound recordings are streamed on certain digital services, including satellite radio, Internet radio and cable TV music channels (such as iHeart Radio, Pandora, SiriusXM and Music Choice), SoundExchange collects a royalty on behalf of both performers and copyright holders, as directed under U.S. Copyright Law. Since 2001, SoundExchange has collected and paid out more than $2 billion in digital royalties. SAG-AFTRA and SoundExchange have partnered to locate unregistered SAG-AFTRA members to ensure that they know about this important revenue stream and urge them to take the steps necessary to collect the royalties that they are owed.

Any artist whose recordings are played can earn and claim royalties through SoundExchange. Performers and owners of master recordings may register with SoundExchange free of charge to receive royalties. For more information on registration, please call SoundExchange at (800) 961-2091.

SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. With national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at

A panel of industry veterans including LEP Bogus Boys and Torae weigh in on how to launch an independent Hip Hop career.

Law 1: Do Your Research
Eric Beasley: Co-Owner of The world’s largest MC Battle League, SMACK/ URL and one of the largest Hip Hop YouTube channels online Beasley has also worked as an artist and producer manager in addition to his time at Warner as an A&R.

“Making the transition from your mother’s basement to Madison Square Garden can be extremely difficult in this current climate of the music business. Most labels won’t take a chance on an artist—especially a rapper without any traction. When I say traction, I mean trackable data about you or your brand. This data can be in the form of BDS [Broadcast Data Systems] or Mediabase radio spins, a huge buzz on a mixtape (thousands of on-line downloads, independent sales, or write ups and praise from notable publications) presence on key websites and blogs, significant views on YouTube with a music video or blogs, touring, endorsement from established artists etc. Many ask how this can be achieved when the competition has more money, contacts, management, etc. Getting signed or becoming a huge independent artist takes a plan!”

Law 2: Use Resources & Strategize
Riggs Morales: VP of A&R and Artist Development at Atlantic Records. For more music education insight, visit

“Drive: This is the trait is what will keep you moving forward as doubt sets in, as progress is made or as you reach those ‘stand-still’ moments when nothing is happening.

“Creativity: The ability to stand out from the rest starts here. Even if you find yourself in a place clogged by others pursuing the same thing you are (producing, singing, rapping), you should nurture the ability to create something that sets you apart from everyone and will help you stand out.

“Resources: Learn to work with less to get more. You can do just as much with a three people as you can with a 1,000, if it’s all you have to work with. Learning to work with bare essentials will push you to make the best with what you have.

“Strategize: Once you’ve built a cohesive system with what you have, then it’s important to utilize the little you have with a strategic approach. Make every small step count towards bigger steps.

“Vision: Have a clear (and realistic) outline of where you want to be and what you think will take to get there. Know that it will not happen overnight. It will take you time as you develop a rhythm through trial and error, which will ultimately trim the fat off your artistry and unveil the artist you were meant to be.

“Get A Job: You will make no money as you work on your craft, which can lead to a stressful state of mind and interfere with your creative rhythms. Get a job that allows you to pay bills and put food on your table until your ‘passionate hobby’ turns into ‘paying occupation.’”

Law 3: Create Quality Product
Ken Lewis: Multi-Platinum Producer for Kanye West, Jay-Z, Eminem, Drake, Usher, Danity Kane, Jeremih, 50 Cent. More info on Lewis and his online musical tutorial program is available via

“The number one thing young artists forget is that it’s really all about the music. If your song doesn’t instantly and strongly connect to people who don’t know you, you’re not going to make it very far. Don’t listen to your friends and relatives. They love you and want to see you win. Watch the reactions to your music from people you don’t know. Don’t tell me, ‘Well this rapper got signed and his songs suck.’ Really? Is that where you set the bar for yourself? If you want to get noticed, make or find hot beats, and write an undeniable hit. Then do it again, and again, and you’ll get a deal. If it was easy, everybody would do it. It’s not easy, and it takes a ton of thankless, draining, work, coupled with tons of rejection and soul searching. But there are a few who will emerge every year to the top.”

Law 4: Master The Art Of Multi-tasking
L.E.P. Bogus Boys: Blueprint/Infared/Interscope Recording Artists. Follow Count and Moonie via Twitter at @LEPBOGUSBOYS.

“What you got to understand is that whether you’re independent or signed, it all falls on you. So you have to have an immediate team that multitasks and know their roles. We only got a team of five including us, and we all make the mechanism work. When you sign, look for a label that understands your brand not just because they got a lot of money for you. You also gotta build your relationships and stay persistent. That’s how we got so far—because of our immediate outlets of people we can get to. It took a whole lot to build that so strong, but it worked. More than anything, you gotta have good product and challenge yourself to be great.”

Law 5: Value Your Independence
DJ ill Will: CEO of Tha Alumni Music Group & Manager for Kid Ink. Ill Will has worked with and broke some of the hottest artists in the game including Soulja Boy, Chris Brown, Tyga and more.

“No offense to the major labels, but stay Indie and get your paper up before you even consider a major label deal. Trust me, you won’t regret it! Putting yourself at the mercy of a major label is career suicide…unless you’re the rare few.

Law 6: Develop An Identity & A Team
Brian “Z” Zisook: VP/Editor-in-Chief of

“There are no hard and fast rules or stone cold lock advice that works universally when given to an aspiring artist, who is looking to escape from the confines of their mother’s basement and make it as a professional recording artist. There are, however, several steps that should be taken to ensure that you are giving yourself the best possible chance at future success. These steps include, but are certainly not limited to: finding a team of professionals who believe in you and your music, developing an identity as an artist and branding your stage name and music accordingly, and creating a product that will sell itself.”

Law 7: Be Humble, Realistic & Work Hard
Kyle “KP” Reilly: VP Idle Media Inc /

“For an artist to have a chance to make it out their mama’s basement and into a label’s boardroom, a lot of things need to happen, including a bit of luck. For the most part, what an artist needs more than anything is a good, realistic head on their shoulders. If your head isn’t right, you have an inflated perception of yourself or of the game, you wont make it very far. Be humble, be yourself and don’t follow everyone else’s or industry trends. Work harder and harder for yourself—not just to talk about how hard you’re working—results will speak for themselves. And lastly, do not spam or annoy those who you are attempting to sell yourself or distribute your music to.”

Law 8: Maintain A Physical Presence
J-Hatch: Co-CEO of I-Standard Producers.

“These days, the general perception is that you need an online presence. Many aspiring artists then take to their social networks to send links out to people who in most cases consider that spamming. In reality it’s all about creating a balance—yes the Internet is important and influential. But networking, performing and building a fan base are all equally as important.”

Law 9: Become Business Savvy
Nick Hiersche: President of Coast2Coast Mixtapes & Coast2Coast Live. &

“I think the number one misconception we get is they think others owe them because they made a song. Just because you made a song does not make it a venue’s responsibility to pay you all of a sudden. In order to get a paid booking, you must be able to sell tickets, alcohol or some other type of product for that venue or company. Music business is a business, and you must invest in yourself and your business until revenue starts being generated. If you are not getting paid to perform or feature on tracks, then you have not invested enough in yourself, period. The indie route is a smart route and can be done on a small budget, but it is still a budget. Until you realize this and make smart investments into your ‘music business,’ then it is a hobby, not a business.

The converse of that is that if you want a ‘major record deal,’ you must invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into your ‘music business.’ It takes that much investment for large returns to come in, which is the only thing that interests labels. So both ways cost time, money and of course effort and talent. But in today’s market you don’t really need the major label. You can generate a sufficient income by investing in your indie ‘music business’ until the revenue starts coming. And then you can just collect from the loyal fans you gained from investing!”

Law 10: Maintain Consistency
Torae: Emcee, Founder of Internal Affairs Entertainment, A&R for Soulspazm Records, co-host of Siriux XM’s “Rap Is Outta Control.” – Twitter & Instagram @Torae

“I think the most important thing in today’s market is to be visible. It doesn’t matter if you make the best music in the world if no one hears it or no one knows. So you have to be visible—seen and heard. Do a lot of shows, even if they’re free shows…even if only your family is there. Perform your music. Master it, get it air tight and record it. YouTube has birthed a number of sensations, so definitely have it uploaded and linkable there. You also have to get used to giving away music for free. There is so much competition now, in order for people to know your music, you’re going to have to give some away to build an audience and fan base. Social networking is very important as well. Make sure you’re active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. The more people are into you and what you’re doing, the more they’ll care about the music, and the more they’ll spread the word.

“I did a docu-series last year called ‘Off The Record.’ I think all new and aspiring artists should check it out to get some insight on the ups and downs of the music business. It was filmed during the recording and release of my album For The Record. I did it so that I could shed some light on what it takes on the daily basis to grind out a career in music.”