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How to get your music on YouTube Music Key, YouTube’s music subscription service

By Chris Robley
November 13, 2014{ 1 Comment }

Move over Spotify and Rdio. YouTube Music Key is finally here.

After much anticipation, YouTube has just announced the launch of its subscription streaming service: YouTube Music Key.

YouTube Music Key, available in the US and 6 European countries, will let subscribers listen to ad-free music (including full albums in high quality audio) AND watch music videos — even when offline — for $9.99/month (though the introductory price is $7.99).

And YOUR music (and “Art Tracks” videos) could be available on YouTube Music Key soon!
Read more »

The business of songwriting: co-writes and split sheets

By Guest Blogger
November 12, 2014{ No Comments }

Screen shot 2014 11 12 at 10.11.44 AM 1 The business of songwriting: co writes and split sheetsAs a songwriter, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the creativity and excitement of writing and forget about the business side of things.

A lot of times, the very subject of business, royalty splits and copyright can change the atmosphere of the room and dry up whatever creative juices were flowing.

However, it’s important to remember that it’s your copyrights that will get you a publishing deal, a licensing contract, and ultimately, an income in the future. If you don’t legally and properly claim your work, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars worth of opportunities.

Of course, this becomes a little more complicated if you work with other writers or producers to compose songs. Co-writing is pretty common these days among songwriters and the collaboration culture is growing rapidly in today’s music industry. It’s a great way to explore new styles, find inspiration, and discover melodies and grooves you never knew you had in you. However, it also means that all co-writers have a stake in the song and it’s up to you to determine just what percentage each writer owns. These splits will determine the royalties you receive in the future.

The Split Sheet

In the US, in the absence of a written agreement each co-writer automatically owns an equal share in a song. To get around this, you’ll need to create a split sheet putting each songwriter’s ownership down on paper. A split sheet is a short document that details which writer owns what percentage of a song. While it is a legal document, you probably don’t need to hire a lawyer, especially during the early stages of your career; instead, you could download this free template. You’ll need to create a split sheet for every song you write with someone else. Read more »

Sell your music on Facebook with CD Baby’s MusicStore!

By Chris Robley
November 12, 2014{ No Comments }

CD Baby’s MusicStore on Facebook is a customizable music player and store for your Facebook Band or Artist Page.

You can sell MP3s, FLAC files, CDs, and vinyl — and the best part is, it’s FREE for all CD Baby members. We’ll even handle the transactions and accounting for you, so all you have to do is turn it on!

CD Baby’s customizable MusicStore makes it easy for your friends and fans to share, purchase, and promote your songs on Facebook — the world’s most popular social network. Read more »

Which popular Christmas songs are still protected by copyright?

By Chris Robley
November 11, 2014{ 1 Comment }

shutterstock 168405965 Which popular Christmas songs are still protected by copyright?‘Tis the season…

If part of your music promotion plan this year is to release some Christmas songs — and that’s always a smart plan, since people love to buy music around the holidays —  you need to make sure you’re dotting all your i’s and crossing all your t’s.

Are the songs you’re choosing to release still protected by copyright? If so, you’re going to have to pay the songwriters and publishers before you can start selling ‘em!

Are they old Christmas songs that are in the Public Domain? If so, great! You won’t have to pay any mechanical royalties.

But “old” is a relative term. Just because a classic holiday tune seems ancient doesn’t mean it’s in the Public Domain.

To find out for sure, download CD Baby’s free PDF “Christmas Songs in the Public Domain (and those that aren’t).” 

This PDF includes:

* A list of popular holiday songs in the Public Domain

* A list of popular, copyrighted Christmas songs

* Composer names for copyrighted holiday songs

Download the free PDF now and see which holiday compositions you can record without paying mechanical royalties!

Here are just a few examples…
Read more »

Think music has been devalued? Think again.

By Chris Robley
November 11, 2014{ 5 Comments }

Free Music Think music has been devalued? Think again.The modern musical landscape: doom-&-gloom, or bright-&-sunny?

It’s easy to assume these days that the whole world thinks music (recorded music, live music, your music, all music) should be FREE.

Talk to working musicians and it seems like everyone from local bar owners to regional concert promoters are growing more reluctant to provide guarantees.

Your friends ask to get on the guest list for all your shows, even though they’ll each happily drop $50 on drinks.

Look at Facebook any day of the week and you’ll see armies of musicians sharing images and memes that express frustration over the dearth of paid live performance opportunities.

Even the NFL thinks it’s OK to ask superstar musicians to pay in order to play the Super Bowl.

As far as music sales go, industry-wide revenue from physical formats (CDs and vinyl) has long since given way to downloads, and now even the giant digital music services (like iTunes, Amazon, and Google) are getting into the streaming game due to declining download figures.

Then there’s the cultural (or is it universal?) attitude that being a musician isn’t a respectable profession but a hobby, something you do for fun. It’s become an all-too familiar tale: the lonely musician struggling without a support system, learning by necessity to tune out all the family and friends that keep asking “when are you going to get a real job?”

A few years back, Jon Simson, former executive director of SoundExchange, talked about a survey that showed there are “a surprising number of Americans who believe that artists should have a second job to support themselves – as they should not expect to be paid for their art!”

Hell, even the IRS makes it difficult for professional artists in the midst of building their careers to be taken seriously.

So what’s the deal? What does it take to get some respect around here? Doesn’t anyone think you should have to PAY for music anymore?

Well yes, actually. Let me share a few stories with you… Read more »

Sell your music in time for the holidays: end-of-year distribution deadlines

By Chris Robley
November 9, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 88839703 Sell your music in time for the holidays: end of year distribution deadlinesAre you ready for the holiday boom in music sales? 

20% of all music sales (and 30% of sales on happen in the last 6 weeks of the year.

CDs and vinyl records will be wrapped under the tree. Download cards will be stuffed in stockings. Millions of iTunes and Amazon gift cards will be purchased and redeemed. Lots of brand new iPhones and iPads will access Spotify and other popular streaming services for the first time.

We want to make sure that when music sales skyrocket, you’re ready for the ride.

If you’d like your music selling on iTunes and CD Baby in time for the holidays, you’ll need to send it to us SOON!

CD Baby distribution deadlines for the holiday season*:

Launch date Final approval for distribution by…
12/8—12/12 Friday 11/28
12/15—12/31 Friday 12/05
1/1—1/09 Friday 12/12

* Launch dates are for iTunes and only. We cannot guarantee that all our digital music partners will make your tracks available by this date.
Read more »

For a limited time, we’re going to offer 1¢ shipping on CD orders

By Chris Robley
November 7, 2014{ 3 Comments }

mainimage 1 For a limited time, were going to offer 1¢ shipping on CD orders

We’ve never done this before.

We want you to sell more CDs this holiday season. To help you do this, we’re going to offer standard domestic and international shipping for CD sales through for just 1¢. Yes, that’s ONE PENNY. It’s (almost) free shipping!

Starting December 1, 2014 (Cyber Monday), and running for 3 days, we’ll take the hit on shipping costs to encourage music fans to buy more of your CDs from CD Baby. It doesn’t matter if they order 1 CD or 100, standard shipping – domestic AND international – will be $0.01, TOTAL. And of course, we’ll still be shipping these CDs for you, and your fans will get them in plenty of time for the holidays.*

This will NOT affect what you make from your CD sales or the pricing you have set. This is coming completely out of our pocket (and not your fans’). We just want to do what we can to help you sell more CDs this season!

How can you prepare?

Read more »

How a new band with no fanbase can start building local buzz

By Guest Blogger
November 6, 2014{ 1 Comment }

shutterstock 150411383 How a new band with no fanbase can start building local buzz[This article, which originally appeared on The Sonicbids Blog, was written by Dylan Welsh.]

Every band has to start somewhere. Many groups playing the world’s largest stages today started in small clubs in and around their hometowns. But sometimes, it’s difficult to even get that far. When you’re at the very beginning, with no fanbase or connections whatsoever, how do you cut through the noise and get people to notice you? Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and fans you already have, but it’s becoming harder and harder to access new fans through it with so much oversaturation. Here are my tips on how a band with no fans or connections can get moving and start building a career.

Support your scene

Other musicians are by far your strongest allies starting out. In the beginning, your best (and sometimes only) shows will usually happen through other bands, whether they asked you directly or referred somebody to you. So you need to get out there and make some friends! Read more »

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Homage or Fromage? The “Blurred Lines” between musical influence and copyright infringement

By CD Baby
November 6, 2014{ 3 Comments }

pharrell t i robin thicke Homage or Fromage? The Blurred Lines between musical influence and copyright infringement[This article was written by Rob Filomena, CD Baby’s Director of Music Publishing.]

What’s the difference between being influenced by a song and stealing one outright? A case involving a dispute between some very well known tunes took an interesting turn this week and suggested this question may be much harder to answer than you think.

One of the biggest songs of the past couple of years was “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. Thicke was one of those oft-ignored fixtures of pop music’s B-list who in an attempt to branch out from adult-contemporary radio started working with Pharrell Williams. The result was a massive radio hit and the unquestionable Song of the Summer in 2013, stealing the mantle from another Pharrell fronted track in Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” The song went on to sell 6M copies and spent 12 weeks at #1. It was a career boon for Thicke who went on to enjoy a moment in the spotlight that few ever get, and even less are prepared for.

Extreme popularity can bring extreme amounts of scrutiny, and “Blurred Lines” was immediately under fire for the perceived misogyny in its lyrics and video, which featured a besuited Thicke and Parrell surrounded by scads of topless women. While that storyline will inevitably remain as an important part of the legacy of both “Blurred Lines” and Thicke as an artist, nothing will cause a re-evaluation of the song’s stature as a bona-fide zeitgeist hit like what came next.

This next chapter began in the most bizarre way possible: Robin Thicke filed a lawsuit against the estate of Marvin Gaye. Why? Because he’d heard they were planning on suing him. Wait… what? Marvin Gaye’s family was planning on (and eventually ended up) suing Thicke and Pharrell for copyright infringement, alleging there were some uncanny similarities between “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s 1977 Disco classic “Got To Give It Up.” Read more »

How to plan your booking schedule

By Guest Blogger
November 5, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 110130863 300x225 How to plan your booking schedule[This article was written by guest contributor Rus Anderson.]

In my guide How To Book My Band I give you tips on everything you need to know to get started playing out live. Here I’ll talk about planning your booking schedule.

Getting your first gig is a big hurdle — and it’s a big victory once that gig is booked. You’ve got all the songs planned out and your guest list printed up and you’re ready to rock the stage and make panties drop (or boxers, whatever you’re into).

During the show, you prove to the venue manager that you can perform on a pro level. Afterwards, she is happy with how the night went and when you’re getting paid she says “let’s get you back in here soon; when are you available?”

It’s so important to be ready to book right then. Before you ever book your first gig you need to have already discussed with the members of your band all the details of how you want to schedule gigs.

So here are some things to be ready with:

How much do you want to play?

You’ve got five members in your band. Each member is going to have different ideas about how much they want, and are available, to play. Some of them may have jobs and families that they have to book around. Read more »