Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Collecting Royalties as a Composer

Q: Hi Chris!
I took your music business class at the Los Angeles Music Academy last year. I need some help with a situation that has come up with my career. I am currently in Phoenix recording my first record. One of the songs I wrote, another band really liked and wants to record. I'm totally happy about that and want to let them do it. I also want to make money for letting them use it. I'm not really sure what the rules are here and I don't want to get screwed. If you could give me any advice I would really appreciate it.

A: Hey that's great! I would suggest that you should make a publishing company as a DBA. register with BMI as a publisher and writer. This will make sure that you collect performance royalties when the song gets played on the radio, in film or TV. As you'll recall from the class, as a composer you are entitled to points when a CD gets sold. You can get paid directly for mechanicals from the record company or sign with harry fox to administer and collect (maybe this is better as you don't have much experience).

A DBA stands for "do business as." More about that here: