There are a number of things that composers must do to keep updated about industry issues, learn about the business and ensure that their works are protected. Here is a list of essential sites to help composers and music producers keep on top of it all.
Organizations and Associations: As a composer, you must register with a PRO (Performing Rights Organization). There’s a good article here if don’t know what this is or what it does. You should also belong to at least one association or guild. There are numerous out there. Associations usually have membership fees which could get expensive, so you should pick your associations carefully.
- U.S. Copyright Office – go here and register your works before sending anything out to anyone!
- Harry Fox Agency – mechanical licensing, collection, and distribution agency for music publishers in the U.S.
- ASCAP and/or BMI – if you’re a working composer you need to be a member of one of these organizations. There is also a ton of useful info and industry news on the site. There is a list here of some PRO’s around the world.
- SoundExchange – a non-profit performance rights organization that collects statutory royalties from satellite radio (such as SIRIUS XM), internet radio, cable TV music channels and similar platforms for streaming sound recordings.
- Local Music Network/Association – there’s often a music network or group in your local area. There include networking groups, songwriting groups and city/state organizations. Here is the link for the LA Music Network as an example.
- Grants/Government Organizations – there are programs sponsored by your government meant to foster talent and support the arts. There is usually a long process in applying for these programs so you need to do your homework and follow the application rules to the letter (the application process is a huge factor in determining where you get the grant or not). There are grants for almost every imaginable area of the music industry from recording to touring so it’s worth your while to look into this.
Forums – forums are a great resource for education and community. Some of these are sponsored by music companies but contain tons of valuable info.
- Music Business Forum – what’s happening with the music business from recording.org site.
- Velvet Rope Forums* – forums on business, music production and touring.
- SOS Forum* – a little bit of everything here brought to by the publishers of SOS magazine.
- TAXI Forum* – an interesting forum from the membership driven TAXI.
- Harmony Central* – another great forum with info on everything music related.
Industry News: you’ll need to keep updated of all of the latest industry news. There are a ton of music blogs out there. These are mostly news aggregation websites but also useful sites on various items within the industry.
- BillBoard – still one of the top publications for industry news and charts. There is also the .biz site for more industry news.
- Hypebot – there are tons of blogs about the latest news in the music industry but this is one of my favorites.
- Music Think Tank – brought to you by some of the best minds in the business.
- Music Library Report – lists most of the online music libraries and allows composers to submit their review and comments on each. There’s also a ton of advice and insight from other composers.
- About.com Music Careers – general info on all areas of the music industry.
Directories: The most reliable info usually costs. Here is a list of industry publications and directories that range in price. These can be quite pricey so do your homework.
- The Music Business Registry* – one of the most well known directories that has around a number of years.
- AandR Online* – another well known online directory that also has a great newsletter.
- SongLink* – a directory from the UK listing songs needed by artists and labels.
- CueSheet* – is a directory listing Film, TV and other media projects requiring soundtrack music, composers, songs, library music, cues or idents, etc.
- Hollywood Creative Directory* – a list of directories brought to you by industry heavyweights.
- Songwriter’s Market* – this publication has been around a while. It has listings for record companies, publishers, associations and tons of other useful businesses for musicians. It’s updated once a year.
For musicians, keeping up with it all is an on-going education. Having the right information is essential to keeping your career going. Hopefully these sites will help with the mountain of information that a musician needs to deal with on a daily basis. Good luck.
*Note: not advocating the services or company.