As a musician, there are many things you will do to try to create music that people will enjoy. You might write lyrics, create simple loops or create some tentative recordings of how a song might sound.
If you are going to be signed to a label, it's very important that you take the right steps to protect yourself and your creative rights.
What should you do to protect yourself as a new artist?
The first thing that you should do is to surround yourself with a team of professionals who are there to protect you. A New York attorney should be one person who is on that list. Since you will have to sign a contract with the music label, you want to make sure that the contract is as fair as possible. Other people that you should have around you include your own manager, a business manager and an agent. If you haven't yet learned about the music business, it can be beneficial to take a course at a local college or online. Try to talk to other artists, too, so you can get a better feel for what to expect.
What should you do if you want to send sample music to a record label using cover songs?
The first thing to do is to make sure that you have obtained a mechanical license, since this gives you the right to create a cover. You will also have to pay mechanical royalties to the publisher of this song. If you intend to play the song live, remember that you must have a performance license. This is normally the responsibility of the owner of the venue, but it is also your responsibility to make sure that you are not violating any copyright laws.
How do you protect your digital music files?
Once you upload your music online, you need to make sure that your metadata is accurate. That way, companies like YouTube can make sure that others aren't infringing on your rights. You can also report any instances of misuse, so that the violations can be addressed by the companies presenting them. Your attorney can also help you reach out to have unapproved covers of your songs removed from websites and reduce the likelihood of sales.
These are a few things to know about being a musician today. Surround yourself with help, and you'll be able to protect yourself.