Copyright. It’s a term we all know, but not a term we all understand. Who owns what, what belongs to whom? Thing is, it’s actually super important that all artists have a good understanding of what copyright is as it gives you protection. To keep it simple, copyright is your property. Whether you write lyrics on a napkin or record a riff in a snazzy studio – as long as it’s an original work and recorded in some way it’s copyrighted!
Well that was easy.
But what about if your creative juices are flowing and somebody else’s beat is going to be the perfect pièce de résistance?! It’s not your property so what are your options? Simply, you need to ask for written permission to use it.
As a distribution platform, we know you can be inspired by others and we love collaboration but we are firm believers in every artist having their own original works protected. How would you feel if a beat you had worked so hard on was heard in somebody else’s tune on Spotify without your permission?! And you were receiving no royalties as a result? Not good at all. Getting the right permission for using anybody else’s work is essential for getting your tracks distributed to all major stores.
We understand it’s not easy to know what’s needed for what and that’s why we have made some product changes to how you upload your release which we hope will help.
We are asking for more from you. As we care for each and every artists’ works, we want to know how each track has been created. When you next upload your latest release [yay!] and you drag and drop your WAV audio file you’ll be asked the following:
We need to know this. If you have been influenced by another musician and used their material, we can’t distribute your release without the correct permission and documentation. The good thing is, with our latest product update we are able to help along the way if you’re not sure of what you need.
How do we help?
Guidance. We don’t expect everyone to know exactly what type of documentation they need to ask for, but we don’t want that to stop you from having the opportunity to release a great cover like this. That’s why we are letting you know exactly what documentation you need to give us to so we can make sure your release is A-OK when it comes to the legal side of things.
Why does it matter?
There are a lot of reasons.
Firstly, supporting fellow artists. Give credit where credit is due. If it belongs to someone else you have to get the proper permission to use it.
Secondly, the repercussions. You’ll get caught if you don’t have the correct permissions. If your release goes live without the required documentation, you’re very likely to receive a legal claim for this down the line meaning your release will be taken down, you’ll lose all the streams you’ve earned and the revenues gained will go to the rightful owner. So why take the risk?
And finally, we won’t tolerate it. If we find you don’t have the rights to a piece of work, we won’t let it go live in the stores. Plus, with all the guidance we give to help you know what’s needed there really is no excuse not to!
We’re all a part of the artist community and we need to have each other’s backs. We go to lengths to protect your work and the work of others. Simply put, we expect our artists to do the same.
For more advice on what you need to release third-party material, check out our helpful articles below: