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ASCAP VS BMI - Distrokid Is Not Enough to Collect Your Performance Royalties

If you’re hoping to make millions by just streaming your music on sources like Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play, we’ve got some bad news: you won’t. Yes, it’s the blunt truth, but only because we want you to know the many other sources of revenue out there that can pay you much, much more than streaming. One of those avenues is through non-profit, public performance organizations like BMI and ASCAP.

What are ASCAP and BMI?

BMI and ASCAP are what are known as Public Rights Organizations or PRO’s for short. Their purpose is to ensure that any public performance of an artist’s song is rightfully paid for, and this includes any public performance. Whether it’s performing live on stage, cafe music or radio playtime, BMI and ASCAP collect the royalties and distribute it among artists. They’re also organized under US law and the US Copyright Act, so you can trust they won’t run away with your money. 

Historically, BMI is more...

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How to Book a Tour - The Comprehensive Guide to Booking Your Own DIY Tour as an Indie Artist

This article was adapted from the original written by Josiah Garrett. Visit the original article.

Here at the Indie Music Academy, we believe that there is a revolution happening in our midst: There has never been a more affordable time to record high-quality music at home. With the rise of social media and digital marketing, your music can reach the far corners of the Earth. And with amazing new websites like Soundbetter.com you can hire pro-level producers and instrumentalists to help you achieve the sound of your dreams.

One thing that hasn't necessarily gotten easier with time is booking physical tours. Yes, it goes without saying that Google Maps is a God-send for routing your destinations. And with hotels, restaurants, and venue information just being a search away on the world wide web, there are definitely some perks to living in this digital age.

But by and large, booking your own tour as an independent artist is still incredibly difficult and...

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How Does Music Licensing Work?

One of the biggest revenue streams for artists is music licensing. Music licensing can be a confusing, intimidating journey and most artists don't find success in this area of the biz without a little guidance. But we’re here to clarify any questions and misconceptions you might have about the whole process. Let’s get started!

What is a Music License?

A music license is when a copyright holder (you the artist) grants the right to use his or her work publicly, and in return receives a flat fee and/or royalties based on an agreed contract. Sometimes these licenses have a time limit, say for a few months during the holidays, while other licenses can be granted indefinitely or bought outright from the copyright holder.

Types of Music Licenses

  • Synchronization License: Specialized for use with visual media, such as TV shows, film, commercials, news segments, and more. License fees can be determined by how the song will be used, where it will be played, anticipated...
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Everything You Need to Know About Streaming on Spotify

Spotify has had a love-hate relationship with the music industry ever since its inception. While it’s a convenient, inspiring music-streaming service for its customers, the artist side of it can feel intimidating. We’re here to help get you started, and to prove that Spotify is not the big, bad wolf that many would make it out to be. Despite the ongoing debate on appropriate payouts to artists, this powerful platform is still a strong instrument in your music career toolkit.

Why Stream At All?

Whether you like it or not, streaming is here to stay. Unless you’re already making your money by other sources of revenue, it would be very difficult to ignore music streaming altogether. It’s a convenient (and endless) source of music for your fans, even though the payouts to rights holder are controversial. 

Aside from Spotify, the top streaming giants are YouTube, Apple Music, and Google Play Music with Tidal, and Amazon Music right behind them. Lower in...

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Top 10 Coolest Jobs in the Music Industry

It's not just about the voice talent or the talented fingers on an instrument when it comes to making your mark on the music industry. Some of the coolest parts of the trade aren't behind the mic or up on stage. They're behind the scenes, in the studio, or shaking hands with a big name over a signed contract. Whatever your dream might be, these are 10 of the most interesting jobs that you can have in the music industry.

Record Producer

The record producer is the individual who oversees the entire production of an artist’s creation, whether it’s one song or a whole album. While it won’t require a degree, you have to become familiar with tracking, mixing, editing, mastering, and everything in-between. Bonus points, If you’re a songwriter or instrumentalist yourself, you’ll be able to assist artists with the arrangements (or even songwriting!) and prove yourself even more valuable.

How to Get Started: The best to learn the job, is simply to do the job....

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10 Must-Know Record Labels in the Industry

While we’re big fans of the independent record label, we know that the big three labels - Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group - loom large over the industry and have brought tremendous history to the industry as a whole. Under those Big Three are many labels you know and love, and today we want to explore those big names and how they made a name in the industry themselves.

Sony Music Entertainment

As one of the Big Three, Sony Music Entertainment is a conglomerate of music history dating back to the 1920’s, at its roots as the American Record Corporation. Through the years, it’s undergone many name changes including Columbia, CBS Records (with Clive Davis), and eventually Sony Music. Under their impressive umbrella are genre divisions such as Epic Records, Columbia Records, Sony Music Japan, Sony Music UK, and Nashville, proving just how global they’ve truly become.

Warner Music Group

Warner Music is an offshoot of Warner Bros Records,...

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3 Reasons Why You Need a Songwriter Split Sheet

One of the greatest skills that can artist can have is the ability to write and record their own songs, as well as collaborate with other fellow artists. But when there’s a lot of chefs in the kitchen cooking up a new song, it’s important to have a contract that spells out what each person is owed. This is where a songwriter split sheet comes into play!

What is a Songwriting Split Sheet?

This split sheet, also known as a royalty split agreement, is essentially a contract between you and your collaborators on how to split the shares of a song, once you start making revenue from it. There’s no “correct” way to format a songwriting split sheet, but it generally has everyone’s name, signature, contact information, and any industry or licensing information that’s necessary. By pulling this contract out at the beginning of your creative process, it’ll save you time and headaches later.

Reason #1: Makes the recording process less awkward!


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Pros and Cons of Indie Record Labels You Need to Know

When it comes to choosing the right music label for your career, it can be comparable to choosing a business partner. You want someone who can be by your side artistically, financially, and personally. While big record labels may boast these qualities, it’s a given that all three of these traits can be found with the independent music label. However, like all big decisions in life, there are pros and cons to indie labels that you should consider before taking the plunge.

Thumbs Up (The Pros)

Close Relationships

Due to the small size of an indie label, it makes all the experiences more personal. Indie labels work closely with their artists at every step of the journey, from mentoring to skillbuilding. When you have a close knit team on call, it can make the creative process more streamlined. However, this doesn’t mean hand-holding: as the artist, you’ll still be responsible for your own creativity, but have faith in the fact that you won’t be left floundering...

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4 Music Industry Jobs That You Didn’t Know Earn Royalties

You don’t need to be an incredibly talented singer to make it in the music industry. Okay, we know that sounds strange, but it’s true. There are so many other facets and positions in the industry that can make some serious coin, all without having to step in front of the microphone yourself. Take a look as we break down four music industry jobs that can earn royalties without the pressure of the spotlight.

Session Musician

As the name suggests, a session musician is hired on a per-session basis, usually to play instrumentals for a song during the production process. Most session musicians are paid on a work-for-hire basis, or just session by session, but there are instances where a session musician can receive multiple benefits while working on a song with an artist, including royalties! Some record labels put small percentages of sound recording sales aside specifically for session musicians called a Special Payments fund. This, however, this practice is not required...

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What Is a 360 Deal?

There’s a running joke that your favorite artists are probably poor behind the scenes, and a lot of this humor often stems from the reality of their poor contract agreements. The 360 deal is one of the most common, and most misunderstood, contracts in the industry. Many hate it on sight, assuming that it’s designed to solely screw over the artist. However, it’s not the predatory contract that many assume it to be. Each case and application of this contract is different, and if it’s structured correctly and fairly, both the artist and the record company can walk away with a profit.


What is A 360 Record Deal?

A “360” as it’s called in the industry, is an exclusive contract between a label and an artist. In a 360 deal, a recording label not only takes a share of the artist’s music sales, but also percentages of revenue from other ventures, such as concerts, merchandise, television appearances, or publishing. It's...

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"How to Grow a Music Fanbase
…Even If Nobody’s Ever Heard of You"

  • Video 1: How to Use Spotify and Social Media to Blow up Your Fanbase and the Secret to Earning Their Trust After They Discover You
  • Video 2: My Exact Revenue Streams and Why Income Diversification Lets Me Do More with My Music Career
  • Video 3: Establishing Your Artist Brand and How to Create a Lasting Impact with Your Music