How Do Music Copyright's Work?
As a creator of original music you are the copyright owner to your work. As we will discover, this changes when you start to distribute, collect royalties, and publish your music to all the streaming sites that your fans listen to. Copyright's to your music are first and foremost when it comes to you owning your music. After you create an original piece of music, you are the sole owner of that song (depending if it is a collaboration). Below is the process the copyright goes through as you put your music on streaming sites such as Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.
A copyright is a form of protection that gives the owner exclusive rights to make copies of a creative work. As the copyright owner you can allow or disallow others from using your work. In most cases you can allow others to use your copyright and charge them a fee for a period of time while they use your work. As the copyright owner you are in full control of your creative work.
In order for you to get your music played on these sites you have to distribute your music to them. You are probably familiar with sites such as Distrokid, CD Baby, and TuneCore which all act as distribution to the streaming platforms.
When you allow others to distribute your music to streaming sites you are essentially handing over the copyright to your music. Once these platforms has the copyright to your music, then they can go and distribute it to all of the major streaming sites. The distributer who is now the copyright owner of your music collects your royalties from these sites and kicks back to you a percentage of the royalties. You pay either a yearly, monthly, or percentage to them for their services.
The good news is that the distributer will simply distribute all of your music to be uploaded to the sites that your audience listens to. They collect your royalties for you and take care of all the hassle that may come from this as you get to focus and create more music.
The bad news is that you are essentially handing over the copyright to your music. The one who holds the copyright to the songs is the one who has the most control and power.
The copyright of your music is essential to full ownership and decision making over your music. You have options when you have the copyright. Which is originally yours when you create a song. Only after you make the song and allow others to shop it around for you, do you hand over the copyright to your music. You are giving others the ownership to distribute your song by providing you with convenience.