Publishing, labels and digital stuff…

I’m waiting an anxiously for the art work to come over from my talented, longsuffering, doing it in his spare time on the cheap for a mate, graphic designer. Once through, I’ll be sending it off to a couple of places and two things should happen. Firstly, a bunch of CDs nicely packaged with tasteful art work (!) will be produced (by quite a local business). Secondly, after a delay of a few weeks, the recordings will be available for download on Itunes, Napster, and a whole bunch of other down load sites.

As I mentioned in a rather long winded previous post, if all I wanted was the first option, then staying on the right side of the law and iving with myself simply requires a license from MCPS which in turn needs an application to be submitted – just visit the website or ring them up to find out what to do.

Officially registering the sound recordings so that no – one can use them without them being identified as yours is surprisingly easy. What I didn’t realise, was that by paying for the recording and being posted the master has made me the ‘owner of the rights’ – to the recording…. I still need to acknowledge the copyright of the composer of the tunes (me for half of them) hence the licence.

All I did (having not been able to figure it out by reading the website), was ring up PPL.  Over the phone, I told the very helpful women what I’d done (recorded a bunch of tunes) what I wanted to do, (release it) and she said ‘who owns the rights?’. Answer…. I do! So I register with them, they give me a code and done…. I am now officially known them to them as someone who wants to register recordings with them – in fact I made up a rather dozy name which is my ‘record label’ – so the rights are owned by the label… me. I could formalise it I suppose, by setting up a company. I then, online, register all the details of all the things I’ve recorded – giving them all a unique code they tell me how to generate (called an ISRC code). These details, by the way, include everyone who has played one the recordings. I also register a an album, the collection of all these tracks, to which I give a catalogue number (one I make up).

Incidentally: that ‘p’ with  circle in it on a CD (or record!) means that the label is identified as the owner of the rights to the sound recording. A copyright ‘c’ with a circle means that the physical product (artwork etc) is copyrighted. I thinks there may be no legal requirement to sya who wons the copyright of compositions – you often see this on records – but it seems polite as well as crediting composers!

So,  now I could apply to ITunes, to let me sell direct from ITunes. You have to apply to them and they can say yes or no. The simplest thing to do, is to go through one of an incresing number of sites that, for a fee, will do it for you. To name a few; CDBaby, Tunecore, Reverbnation, Routenote.. a  discussion thread on this randonmly discovered bulletin board  illustrates the point. These are all US based… Ditto Music is a UK based equivalent. Ditto will charge £25 and £2 per month ‘storage’. The essential point seems to be shop around, compare what they charge you and how much of any sales they keep. They will need those unique codes (ISRC) and to have registered the tracks – some (including Ditto Music ) will do it for you. With Ditto, if you really don’t get it guess what… you can ring them up!

The ISRC codes should probably be combined with the track on a CD as well (this would be done when it’s mastered) but that assumes you’ve got them at that stage!

So now, its all official! I can sell recordings of  the compositions that aren’t mine with  clear conscience,  the tracks are registered with PPL and the their official database (CATCO). Time to tell the CD man to let the presses roll, the digital people to upload and download.

Now all I need to do is make the world aware of the album, the CDs, the digital stuff …

Why do all that? Mainly I think, because I didn’t know how to do it – its been fun finding out. I was pleased, as were the band with the music (its here if you want  a listen) It’s a good representation of what we can do. And we are begiining to line a few gigs up to play it live.


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