You just wrote the greatest hit this world will ever listen to and want to try it out at your next show. The band after you hears this song and records it. They take it to their next practice learn and record it. By some stroke of luck, some famous record producer now hears this band playing “your song”, absolutely can’t live without it and signs them. Now you’re driving in your car to practice and you hear “YOUR SONG” on the radio, but it’s not you. That copyright you should have done, it could have saved you from losing all of your creative efforts.
When we write something new, the first thing we want to do (especially in this digital world) is make a video or recording of it and post it on social media to see what the people think. Although it may seem like a good idea, it’s not. Not at all. You need to be patient when it comes to exposing your masterpiece.
Make sure you copyright all of your music. You can even send the Library of Congress a bulk package of everything to save some money, but that one small fee and the price of postage will give you the ownership to your music for the duration of your existence, plus 70 years after.
The mechanical license is one of those terms thrown around a lot in the music industry. Basically, it is a license that grants the right to make copies of a song and distribute those copies to the public. In the US, mechanical licenses are compulsory, meaning that as long as your song has been commercially released and the user pays you the required 9.1¢ per copy, you are required by law to grant the license. If your song has not been released to the public and someone wants to record it, you can charge whatever you want, or even deny them. This is called the right to first use.
Before you do anything with your music, even if it is as simple as someone caught a video of you at your show and posted it, make sure that you have a copyright to your own music. It could be your saving grace down the road. The world needs to hear you, just make sure you’re protected. Some labels won’t even record you until you show them a proof that you have ownership to all of your music. Before you hit “Upload” so your fans can love you even more, hit the post office and send out everything you have to the Library of Congress. You’ll thank us later.