A&R (Artist & Repertoire)
Music Publishing & Licensing Terminology
The person or group of people who sign new acts to a record label.
(They used to select material from publishers for artists signed to
their label, hence Artists and Repertoire.)
Assignment Of Copyright
The transfer of ownership of a copyright from one party to another,
which must be in writing to be effective.
An industry term for film, television or any other visual production.
The creator of "Intellectual Property" such as literary, musical and dramatic works;
choreography; pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; audio/visual works and sound recordings.
Generally the word author can denote composer, lyricist, record producer, choreographer, artist,
photographer, writer or other creator (see "Work for Hire").
Music used (other than as feature or theme music) that creates mood and supports the spoken
dialogue of a radio program or visual action of an audio/visual work.
A license which allows the music user to perform any or all of millions
of songs in a Performace Rights Organization's repertory as much or as little as they like.
Licensees pay an annual fee for the license. The blanket license saves
music users the paperwork, trouble and expense of finding and negotiating
licenses with all of the copyright owners of the works that might be used during
a year and helps prevent the user from even inadvertently infringing on the copyrights
of PRO's members and the many foreign writers whose music is licensed by PRO's
with reciprocating blanket license agreements in other nations.
See also Per Program License
The replaying of pre-recorded works to multiple listeners through
various media or in a ‘semi live’ setting such as a bar or bookstore,
and including radio, TV, web casting, pod casting, etc.
For the right to use music in most circumstances it must be cleared
with the copyright owners. Clearance is needed for copying, not just
for commercial use. It is normally negotiated through licensing
directly with labels and publishers or other copyright holders.
Organizations that Issue licenses to music users and share the license
fees among copyright owners which are normally the record labels,
publishers, writers and performers. See also Performing Rights
Control means the publisher (see Music Publisher) has the right to negotiate and
execute all licenses for the "life of copyright" which according to U.S. copyright law
is the length of the copyright owner's life plus 70 years after his/her decease.
The publisher licenses mechanical, print, synch and performance rights on behalf of itself and
any of its rightful co-writers and/or co-producers. Any licensing fees or other royalties are
collected by the publisher (the owner of the copyright) on behalf of itself and distributed
to any co-writers, co-producers or other co-owners of the music.
The legal right to exclusive publication, production, sale or distribution of a literary
or artistic work. Copyright is granted by law in most countries and in the United States
by a federal statute called The Copyright Act of 1976.
Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panels (CARP)
As successors to the Copyright Royalty Tribunal, CARPs will consist of
private citizens appointed by the Register of Copyrights to act as arbitrators
in matters of setting periodic changes in the royalty rate for the compulsory
mechanical license, as well as for compulsory licenses for distant signal cable
television transmissions and public broadcasting. CARPs will also determine entitlements
to the royalties received by the Copyright Office for the latter two licenses and under
the Audio Home Recording Act.
In popular music, a cover version, or simply cover, is a new
performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded
commercially released song or popular song.
Originally, Billboard and other magazines which track the popularity of
the musical artists and hit tunes, measured the sales success of the
published tune, not just recordings of it. Later they tracked the
airplay that songs achieved for which some cover versions are the more
successful recordings of the particular songs.
For complete details with related discussion and references, follow this link to an in-depth Wikipedia article
about cover songs.
In music publishing, songs which are "exploited" create revenue streams
which are the result of the publisher executing licenses and filing the
Dramatic Performances or Grand Rights
Dramatic and grand rights are licensed by the composer or the publisher of the work.
While the line between dramatic and non dramatic is not clear and
depends on the facts, a dramatic performance usually involves using the
work to tell a story or as part of a story or plot.
Dramatic performances, among others, include:
(i) performance of an entire "dramatico-musical work.
(ii) performance of one or more musical compositions from a
"dramatico-musical work" accompanied by dialogue, pantomime, dance,
stage action, or visual representation of the work from which the music
(iii) performance of one or more musical compositions as part of a
story or plot, whether accompanied or unaccompanied by dialogue,
pantomime, dance, stage action or visual representation.
(iv) performance of a concert version of a "dramatico-musical work."
The term "dramatico-musical work" includes, but is not limited to, a
musical comedy, oratorio, choral work, opera, play with music, revue or
Music and recordings for film can be licensed from publishers and
record labels. Unlike licenses for normal broadcasting or performance,
rates for these master use and sync licenses are not fixed, so film
(video, advertising, etc.) makers negotiate a price. Library and
catalogue music providers offer ready made, pre-cleared recordings for
a wide range of video (and other) applications.
Independent normally means record labels that are not "majors" or artists that are not
signed with a major publisher or label.
A hand-made (usually) reproduction on paper of a newly-written song.
A collection of musical compositions that are licensed by the publisher or administrator for use as background,
theme, or score music, on radio, broadcast and cable television, films, or video productions.
The right, granted by the copyright holder, for a given person or
entity to broadcast, recreate, perform, or listen to a recorded copy of
a copyrighted work. See also Mechanical Rights, Performance Rights
Sync Rights and Print Rights Licensing.
The owner of the licensed work
The person or entity to whom the work is licensed
There are several primary rights that music publishers use to license the
use of their music. Mechanical, Performing, Sound Recordings, Synch and Print Rights.
They can be found further below listed in alphabetical order.
Master Use License
A phonographic copyright license to pay recording owners for music used
in film, video, or TV soundtracks. There is no fixed fee for master use
See License, Mechanical Rights, Performance Rights, Sync Rights and Print Rights Licensing.
A mechanical right is the right to record and distribute (without
visual images) a song on a phonorecord for private use. Mechanical
rights or a mechanical license must be obtained in order to lawfully
make and distribute records, CD's and tapes.
A person that is authorized to license the reproduction of a particular musical work
in a sound recording. (USC 17) More broadly, the publisher typically licenses mechanical,
print, synch and performance rights on behalf of itself and any of its rightful co-writers and/or co-producers.
A license similar to the blanket license in that it authorizes a radio
or television broadcaster to use all the works in the ASCAP repertory.
However, the license is designed to cover use of a PRO's music in a
specific radio or television programs, requiring that the user keep
track of all music used. Also, the user must be certain to obtain
rights for all the music used in programs not covered by the license.
The live performance of a musical piece, regardless of whether it's
performed by the original artist or in the manner it is best known
Performing Rights Licensing
The "blanket" licensing rights the “PRO”s administer with radio
stations, television stations, clubs, restaurants, stores, digital
streaming services, etc. Songwriters and publishers normally
belong to one if they have any exploited songs. For the price of
these blanket licenses (which vary depending on the size of the
broadcaster) the broadcaster can play all the BMI, ASCAP or SESAC songs
an unlimited number of times for a measured period of time. These
‘plays’ are tracked and the pool of blanket license money is divided in
proportion to the number of plays and the value of plays.
Performing Rights Organizations
In the U.S. these societies (known as "PRO"s) include ASCAP, BMI, and
to a lesser extent SESAC. Their fundamental job it is to keep track of
every single performance or broadcast of all works protected under
Music that is ready to be licensed for various commercial uses
including video, film, advertising and the like. See also Film Music.
Print Rights Licensing
Sheet music, song folios, scores or notation in any printed or digital
form released for sale. Once sold, printed music earns royalties from
the print rights license which the publisher negotiated.
See Film Music.
Refers to the status of a work having no copyright protection and, therefore,
belonging to the world. When a work is "in" or has "fallen into" public domain it
means it is available for unrestricted use by anyone. Permission and/or payment
are not required for use. Except with respect to works eligible for restoration of copyright,
once a work falls into the public domain ("PD") it can never be recaptured by the owner.
Public Performance Rights
A public performance is one that occurs "in a place open to the public
or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a
normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered." A
public performance also occurs when the performance is transmitted by
means of any device or process (for example, via broadcast, telephone
wire, or other means) to the public. In order to perform a copyrighted
work publicly, the user must obtain performance rights from the
copyright owner or his representative.
When publishers acquire (purchase) a copyright, they are acquiring the publisher's
share. Depending on the agreement, this is the share of the song ownership that can
be bought, sold or sub-licensed. (see Sub-Publishing) The writer's share always
stays with the original author of the song or musical composition.
Publishing administration is limited to royalty collection. The
publisher will not get additional customers for the compositions. The
rate for administration is normally about 10%.
A record label (or company) makes, distributes and markets sound
recordings (CD's, tapes, etc.) Record labels obtain from music
publishers the right to record and distribute songs and in turn pay
license fees for the recordings. Record labels may also invest in
artists, promote recordings and collect earnings from phonographic
A transmission of a performance is one that is sent by any device or
process (for example, radio, TV, cable, satellite, telephone) and
received in a different place. A retransmission is a further
transmission of that performance to yet another place.
You or your music publisher registers your songs with a performing
rights organization (ASCAP, BMI or SESAC) to get the song details in
their database so the correct percentages of performance royalties can
be attributed and paid to the correct party.
Your music publisher registers your songs with a ‘local’ publisher in a
foreign territory so they can, in turn, register the songs with their
local mechanical and performing rights societies (mechanical and performing rights organizations) so the
correct percentages of foreign mechanical royalties and the publishers
side of performance royalties are attributed and paid to the correct
Royalties are fees paid to rights owners (normally record labels,
publishers, writers and performers) for the use of their work. Royalty
collections provide ongoing earnings of licensed songs from each sale
Sampling or sample licensing requires record label and publishing
clearance. There is no fixed rate for clearance so licensing costs can
be negotiated with the publishers.
The music that is used in synchronization to an audio/visual work,
or the body of music composed for a dramatic-musical work.
A sound recording refers to the copyright in a recording as
distinguished from the copyright in a song. The copyright in the song
encompasses the words and music and is owned by the songwriter or music
publisher. The sound recording is the result of recording music, words
or other sounds onto a tape, record, CD, etc. The copyright encompasses
what you hear: the artist singing, the musicians playing, the entire
production. The sound recording copyright is owned by the record
label. The copyright in the musical work itself is owned by the music
publisher, which grants the record label a "mechanical" license to
record and distribute the song as part of the record.
A contractual arrangement between a primary publisher of a song and a
secondary or co-publisher to handle the exploitation, licensing and collection for
the song in, for example, a specialty, private label or foreign territory market.
Synchronization (or sync) license is the licensed right for a film or
other audiovisual medium to use music to synchronize (match) to
recorded images in an audio-visual product. It can be a commercial,
video game, film, TV show, music video, DVD or website, etc. A synch
license usually produces a negotiated fee for certain rights depending
on the usage. Synchronization rights are licensed by the music
publisher to film and video producers, ad agencies or other program or
See synchronization licensing.
Work For Hire
As defined in Section 101 of the 1976 Copyright Law, this is a work prepared by an employee
within the scope of his/her employment, or a work specially ordered or commissioned for use by
another person in accordance with a written document as a contribution to a collective work,
motion picture, audio/visual and other certain types of works, the nature of which is specifically
defined in Section 101 of the Copyright Law. In the case of a work made for hire the employer is
considered the author of the work under the Copyright Law (and unless the parties agree, otherwise
owns all the rights in the work).
The writer's share represents the authorship of the song. While a
copyright can change ownership many times; the writer's share remains
the property of the author. See Copyright for more
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