Musicians Law and Legal Definition

The music business encompasses various activities, including recording, publishing, concert promotion, talent management, and merchandising. The primary two are the selling of sound recordings and music publishing. When you own a copyright to music, you have certain rights, one of which is the right to perform your music publicly. In essence, it allows you to forbid anyone else from playing your songs in public. Any time you hear a song, it is being performed publicly; whether on the radio, on television, in a bar or restaurant or even on an elevator. As a copyright owner, you can forbid them from playing your songs.

However, if you want to sell your music, you will want these places to play your music. Therefore, you would grant a license (for a fee) to all these places allowing them to play your song. However, it is virtually impossible to negotiate a license with every radio station, every nightclub, etc.. In addition, it would be difficult for you to enforce your rights by suing those places who played your music without paying a license fee. Therefore, a musician might join a performing rights organizations such ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Performers) or BMI (Broadcast Musicians Incorporated) to license music on their behalf.