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Keith Harrison

Photo by Joe Adams

There’s really no secret to it: scores of artists in the music world love to create music, have an even greater love for performing on stage, and want more and more ears to hear their music. They love to create songs and sounds that will resonate with potential fans and believers. And they have the potential to be creators, innovators, and trailblazers when it comes to making and performing this music. But when it comes to the ideals of protecting music copyrights and keeping a watchful eye on the monitoring, monetization of and compensation for public performances, things might not be quite as sexy, dramatic or fun. Still, these ideals are no less important than that of the actual creation and performance of this music, and are arguably more so. The importance of protecting works of intellectual properly and getting properly compensated for public performances cannot be stressed enough. This is where performance rights like the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP, comes into the fray. Sosoactive.com was lucky enough to recently sit and talk candidly with current ASCAP Repertory Analyst, seasoned music management professional and Full Sail University graduate Keith Harrison. Harrison gave a timely and informative presentation to Music Business students at Full Sail in Orlando. He was also gracious enough to speak with us on the importance of issues such as performance rights, publishing, copyright protection, artists being part of performance rights organizations, how to be properly compensated for public performances of your music, and how to stay educated and informed in the constantly evolving world of music business. 

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On February 23rd, ASCAPs Rhythm & Soul team presented the 3rd Annual “Morning Glory’ Breakfast Reception for this year’s Stellar Award Nominees. The 28th Stellar Awards is an annual event, honoring Gospel Music artists, writers and industry professionals for their contributions to the Gospel Music industry. The 3rd Annual ASCAP breakfast reception honored this year’s Stellar Award nominated artists.

Hosted by Pastor Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International, the annual event honored the legendary singer, songwriter and minister Andrae Crouch who received the 2013 ASCAP Gospel ICON Award as well as an impromptu all-star tribute to him, led by The Williams Brothers and other ASCAP honorees. The reception also featured a performance by Verity Recording Artist and Stellar Award nominee Jason Nelson.

Highlights from the event include appearances by award winning singer/songwriters such as gospel stars such as James Fortune, The Williams Brothers, William McDowell, Maurette Brown Clark, Flame, Lamonte Harris (of Gospel Group G.I.) and Rick Robinson who all were honored for their Stellar Award nominations.

All Photos Credited to: ASCAP/ Picture Group

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I have been a loyal user of Spotify since its U.S. launch back in July 2011. Luckily because of my ASCAP membership I was one of the first few hundred to receive an invite as it launched. The new App addition has been an interesting experience thus far.

Spotify has entered new realms with the app integrations and as the company continues to grow, I look forward to seeing the streaming music service reach new heights. Thus far, I have reviewed all 12 of the new Spotify apps that were released in late March. Out of those 12 apps the following are my top 5:

Filtr

What I like the most about Filtr Spotify app is how easy it is to use, and the simplicity of the app itself. If you aren’t one to spend hour searching for music that caters to your taste, this app is definitely for you. If you aren’t happy with the playlist it creates through the automated search engine you can refresh and find more selections. The interface is very smooth and simple. There were no play-back problems unlike many of the other apps added to Spotify recently. I recommend this for those who want quick and easy playlists to cater to their listening experiences.

Pias

This Spotify app focuses on showcasing many unique indie artists. Based out of the U.K., it was insightful enough to offer a wide range of incredible music I was previously unaware of. Song after song, I was highly impressed with all the music featured in the Pias Spotify app and continued to build my wide range of taste by using the app. The best apps will introduce you to music you were didn’t know existed and that’s what I believe the most important part of the music streaming experience is all about.

The Legacy Of

Once again, we are reminded of the legendary artists that shaped the attitudes and inspired much of what we listen to today. This Spotify app gave a comprehensive catalogue of some of yesterday’s finest music makers. You can never know what the future holds in creativity if you have no idea where it came from and how it shaped the art we love and appreciate today. This app has much potential and as more legendary artists are added to its database, the more I will continue to be an appreciative user.

Classify

Though I am completely ignorant to the works of classical artists, it doesn’t make me any less a fan of the art itself. Though today’s popular music is more about image and dance appeal, it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the classical works that instrumental music is responsible for. I have always been a fan of the beautiful sounds that come from piano, strings, and horns. This app is a must for any student who needs a little melodic motivation during study hours. It proved to be one of the most impressive apps as it served its purpose greatly with incredible functionality.

MoodAgent

This Moodagent Spotify app has been one of the most unique social music apps I have reviewed thus far. The intelligence of the app itself is something to be impressed by, as mood is something I find difficult to measure using analytics. I’ve spent much time just simply playing with its diverse user appeal and addicting playlist mix-matching. If you just want to sit back and let the feel of the music guide your play-back experience, just click the mood you’re in and let the app do the rest. Another look into the future of the digital DJ experience.

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Songtrust is a music publishing organization that helps indie artists and working songwriters register their songs with agencies around the world while collecting royalties for radio play, television play, online play and other sources.

For a flat yearly fee of $50 for a solo act and $100 for a band, Songtrust will register 15 songs, create exposure for sync licensing opportunities, collect on U.S. and Canada royalties, while the artists keeps 100% of their copyrights and royalties. I first heard about Songtrust a few weeks ago, as I started to notice that they are doing some pretty heavy online campaigning with banners on just about every music related website on the web. So, curious me decided to reach out to them via email and I was able to have a brief interview with Songtrust’s Marketing Manager James Aviaz.

What were the issues within the current royalty system that prompted you guys to create Songtrust?

Songtrust was built to help independent songwriters and bands get their fair share of the $6 billion in royalties generated each year. Prior to Songtrust, writers would normally require the services of a traditional publisher to administer their works. Typically, this publisher would take a cut of somewhere between 15-40% as an administration fee and could require the writer to give up a percentage of their copyrights. With Songtrust, songwriters get paid 100% of all royalties we collect for them and keep 100% of their rights.

How does Songtrust make sure that writers and producers are properly compensated?

Songtrust was built by Downtown Music Publishing – they look after the publishing of stars like Motley Crue and Santigold. Their knowledge and relationships in the publishing industry mean that indie writers can now get expertise normally reserved for hit makers.

What are the differences between SongTrust and a traditional organization like ASCAP or BMI?

ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are the three performing rights organizations in the United States. Virtually every established songwriter in America is affiliated with one of these organizations. In addition to assisting songwriters with affiliating with ASCAP or BMI (SESAC is invite only), we also manage all song registrations, claims and day-to-day administration on their behalf. Beyond public performance income, which is collected by ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, Songtrust registers our clients songs with other collection societies around the world that are only open to publisher members, such as HFA and Music Reports, who distribute mechanical and interactive streaming royalties from Spotify, YouTube, Rdio and thousands of other sources.

How much revenue do artists lose yearly due to unpaid digital royalties?

So many indie artists find publishing overly confusing, so they’d prefer to ignore it rather than deal with the headache of registering songs with multiple collection agencies. Resultantly, you’ve got millions of songwriters who are potentially missing out on royalties – not just digital royalties.

How do you feel about the current compensation for indie artists on streaming music services?

We’re really excited about this! Both Spotify and YouTube signed agreements with HFA (Harry Fox Agency) in mid/late 2011, which means indie publishers and writers will start to see more royalties in the coming months. As streaming becomes the mainstream consumption method in years to come, this will only grow.

What are some of the challenges that Songtrust is currently facing?

We need more people to pay attention to their publishing! There are real revenue opportunities available to artists through sync licensing (for use of music in film / TV / advertising / video games) and the back-end royalties generated by those uses – and we want artists to get those dollars!

Where would you like to see Songtrust at in the next five years?

We’d like to be a part of a revolution in independent music to get artists paid more – and more often!