Monday, November 1, 2010

Music Business/Law Tips - "Foreign Performance Income" (Part 1)

If a songwriter composes a hit song, it is quite possible that the song will receive airplay in foreign countries. If so, there will be what is called "performance money" due that songwriter from the foreign countries playing the song. This article will explain the process of distributing "foreign performance" monies to the songwriter.

Any serious songwriter should first become a member of one of the United States performance rights societies: BMI, ASCAP or SESAC ("societies"). The songwriter will enter into a contract with the society chosen, giving that society the right to license the public performance of that songwriter's songs. The societies have arrangements with the parties (radio, television, concert venues, restaurants, etc.) who want to use the songs in the societies' respective catalogs. For a licensing fee, the societies will grant to that user what is called a "blanket license", which means that the user can play any song, by any songwriter or publisher affiliated with that society, any number of times. Publishing companies enter into a similar agreement with the societies.

[part 2 next week]

Ben McLane Esq

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