Frequently Asked Questions
What is Start My Song? Start My Song is a platform where songwriters can place their unpublished demos to be heard and ranked by anyone with Internet access. It is also a place where Music Publishers, Recording Artists, Bands, Advertising Agencies, Movie and TV producers, and others can find the best new songs available from songwriters around the world.
What is a Song or Music Publisher? A publisher is someone who takes partial copyright ownership of your song in return for getting you paid for use your song. The publisher will attempt to get your song recorded on a recording artist’s album, used in commercials or movies, or get you as a singer/songwriter signed to your own recording contract with a record company. The publisher will also handle all the administrative work in regards to your song. This work may include registering your song with the copyright office, negotiating and issuing licenses for use of your song, coordinating with your performance rights society, coordinating with sub-publishers of your song, and issuing royalty payments to all copyright holders of the song.
What is a Co-Publisher? A co-publisher is someone who assists with the publishing of a song and takes partial revenue apart from the standard 50% full publishing fee. Co-publishing deals are available to songwriters who are experienced in the publishing business and have established themselves as publishers as well. A songwriter may publish his or her songs and then acquire a co-publisher to help with specific areas of publishing such as the administrative work. h3. What is a Sub-Publisher? A publisher in a foreign country that helps ensure use of your song and collects monies owed for plays of your song in a foreign country. A sub-publisher usually takes 20% of the total royalties generated in his or her country for their services.
What is a Performance Rights Society? Performance Rights Societies ensure songwriters are paid for public performances of their songs. Public performances can include play in radio or television, restaurants, clubs, websites, or other broadcasting systems. The societies collect fees from these establishments which they then pay to their registered songwriters. At some point you will need to register with one of the three performance rights societies when your song begins to be publically performed.
There are three societies that a songwriter can choose from:
ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)
BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc)
What is a Mechanical License? A Mechanical License grants someone permission to manufacture and distribute copies of your song. You are compensated with mechanical royalties per song sold or downloaded. The standard rate is called the statutory mechanical rate and is currently 9.1 cents per sale of your song. A reduced rate can also be negotiated by the song distributor and music publisher, usually ¾ the standard rate or 8.5 cents. So if an album that included your song on it sold 1 million copies, the mechanical royalties from this song would be $91,000.00 distributed between the copyright holders of the song.
What is a Synchronization License? A Synchronization License grants someone the ability to use your song in ‘sync’ with visual images on a screen such as in television or movies. There are no standard rates for synchronization licenses, and the royalties from use of your songs can vary from a couple thousand dollars for use in a commercial to millions of dollars for use in a movie. Start My Song will help you negotiate the best royalty fees possible for use of your song in a synchronization deal.
Does uploading a song to Start My Song publish the song? No, your song is only published when it is recorded in some way and distributed or planned to be distributed for sale. Start My Song does not distribute your song for sale; we only stream your music over the web for others to hear for future uses of your song. However, with the addition of the Bandbox widget on your artist page, you have then placed your songs up for sale. This could be seen as being published.
Does uploading a song to Start My Song Copyright the song? Yes, a song is copyright when it is “fixed in a tangible form of expression” or basically written down or recorded. By uploading your songs to Start My Song they are “fixed in a tangible form of expression.” In order to avoid confusion, a copyright is included with artistic works to include the following:
1. The copyright symbol ©
2. The date the song was fixed in a tangible form of expression
3. The name of the copyright owner
Why should I register my copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office? You should further copyright your song with the United States Copyright office. The reason being is that in order to sue someone for copyright infringement of your song, your song must be registered. This is also the first place organizations wishing to use your song will find information on the copyright holder.
If your song is published by a music publisher, their first item of business will be to complete this registration for you.
We recommend two ways to register your song yourself:
1. To let LegalZoom walk you through the registration process step-by-step click here: Legalzoom
2. To use the Copyright office’s electronic registration system click here: Copyright office (Note: this process is more difficult but also less expensive than LegalZoom)
Why do the stars change color?
The color change on the star ranking system helps to visually see how high songs are ranked. Starting with the color RED, higher ranked songs move up to GREEN, followed by GOLD and finally PLATINUM for the top ranked songs. The color of the stars will automatically adjust based on how many stars people are awarding songs.