Photo courtesy of Under30Ceo.com. http://under30ceo.com/music-drugs-and-how-to-see-opportunity-like-jay-z/. Phillip Wiggins.

Business Services a Must for Creative Entrepreneurs

Starting a business in any creative field – whether as a creator, producer or one of the many ancillary supporting roles, e.g. lawyer, accountant, music engineer – must be a full-time, revenue-focused endeavour. Like any new business venture, there is little chance of success unless you and your team are prepared financially, mentally and emotionally for the road ahead. Business advisory and legal services are crucial in setting off on the right foot.

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DJs are the Ultimate Artist Entrepreneurs

I want to share with you a simple but powerful idea: you are not a DJ.

You are an artist-entrepreneur.

More than that, you are business.

I give this advice to each of my music clients in the course of my entertainment practice because artists need to hear it. Many artists are sometimes quick to view their work only as ‘creative’ without also realizing that their work is inherently commercial. And the DJ world, more than many other category of artist, exists where the creative meets the commercial: you’re regularly transporting equipment around the world, you’re making deals with club owners and publishers, and you’re performing live every weekend.

Two business men shaking hands at international business meeting.

Selecting Business Partners

It may seem like a common sense issue, but experiences illustrates time and again that carefully selecting the people with whom you work will not only ensure the highest possibility for success, but also save you money and headaches down the road.

At best, your partners may be hard working, professional and honest people, but not necessarily possessing of the skills and contacts you really need to build the business. At worst, they are inept, dishonest and have different agendas, and this can seriously drain you emotionally and financially when you’re fighting with them over control over your assets one year later.

This applies not only to entrepreneurs in any of business (including law), but also to creators who partner with co-creators, writers, production companies, record labels, managers and publishers.

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Registering Your Copyrights

Should you register your copyrights? Probably.

Registering your copyrights with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) creates a presumption of ownership in the work, and serves as a time stamp for when the work was created. Most importantly, copyright registrations can be used in court as evidence of ownership. The process is easy, you don’t have to send anything in to CIPO, it costs $50 and can be done on-line. Once registered, your work will be listed in the publicly accessible CIPO Copyrights Database.

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Royalties for Producers (aka Allocation for Music Producers Act)

Congressmen Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) have put forth the Allocation for Music Producers Act (AMP, H.R. 1457), (AMP Act) an act designed to create a statutory framework for producers, mixers and engineers to be paid a partial royalty for the songs they work on.

The bill would permit artists (via a letter of direction) to designate a portion of the 45% royalty rate they receive for digital broadcasts of their songs to the song’s producer(s). Recall that, in the United States, performers and record companies only receive royalties for sound recordings which are broadcast digitally – terrestrial broadcasts, e.g. radio, do not pay a sound recording royalty (but, of course, radio does pay for broadcasting music, meaning the underlying song or musical composition).