This web page is devoted to research on the music industry. It will focus primarily on the concerns of indie artists.


Any ideas to help make this a better resource, please contact
Peter Spang Goodrich, Department of Management, Providence College, Providence RI 02918 USA. Telephone (401) 865-2665 Fax: (775) 743-9229

Three books of especial note --
John,Braheny "The Craft and Business of Songwriting",Cincinnati OH: Writer's Digest Books, 2002.
Sheila Davis, "Successful Lyric Writing"
Donald S. Passman, "All You Need to Know about the Music Business", Free Press: New York, 2003, ISBN 0743246373

Of concern to many indie artists is the lack of health care. All too often, a member of the music community falls ill and needs help. Organizations trying to ameliorate this problem are the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Local 1000, the North American Traveling Musicians Union and the Folk Alliance Health References.

Using the web effectively may be vital to an artists continued success. Here are some web sites which seem to have come up with some effective ideas.
First consider Ani Difranco's original simple 1994 Ani site compliments of the Way Back Machine retrieval from 20100507 and contrast it with today's sophisticated righteousbabe site. Both are effective in their own way and the original site has a simple intimacy that new artists can easily mimic.
Some other music sites that seem to be very effective in their marketing of both free samples, CDs, videos, and MP3 downloads. Check out Michelle Shocked's very clever Mighty Sound site for its design, marketing, history, opinion, and shop. Also, Rory Block has a neat site with many demos of her music plus also her passion for animals especially her "gang of four" pooches.

Musicians should also be aware of MYSPACE which provides a convenient way of networking and providing music samples and gig information.


Performance Rights

For permission to publicly perform copyrighted works, contact one of the three following organizations. They do not license recording rights.

ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) Publisher information for works in the ASCAP repertory is available at the website. Click on the ACE Title Search tab, then click on Search the Database. Publisher contact information will be displayed for works in the ASCAP repertory.
BMI (Broadcast Music, Incorporated) To reproduce music onto cassettes, CDs, etc. requires permission from the music publisher(s) for “mechanical rights”. These rights may be obtained directly from the music publisher (see our web site under the “Repertoire Search” for publisher information). If you plan a distribution of 500 units or more, you will need to contact the Harry Fox Agency in New York. They have a very informative web site located at you may wish to visit for more information.
For your convenience, publisher information is available on our web site under the “Repertoire Search”. If you need further assistance in locating complete publisher information, please contact our Research Department at You can also call the BMI repertoire information hotline at 1-800-800-9313 where you can request information on as many as 3 song titles per call. BMI licenses businesses for the Public Performance Right for the usage of the underlying music and lyrics of our 300,000 affiliated songwriters, composers and publishers. Regardless of the music duration, number of songs on your site, or format of the music, our license will provide you with blanket access for the usage on behalf of our affiliates. You can complete a title search to confirm the affiliation at You may also want to visit our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information at: Depending on your business model, we offer two types of web site music performance agreements which will license you for usage of BMI affiliated music. The minimum fee for 2006 is $295. Our Web Site Music Performance Agreement ( fees are based on a % of your gross revenue. This agreement is designed for web sites that generate revenue on the site (donations, in-stream advertising, commissions from third party transactions, subscription fees). Our BMI Web Site Music Performance Agreement, Corporate Image License designed for web sites that do not generate revenue, and use music promotionally in nature. You can complete the licensing process online through our Digital Licensing Center at in a matter of moments.

If you prefer, you can send the license back to us in duplicate, enclose the annual minimum fee made payable to BMI, and return to my attention at the address listed in our agreement.

Colleen Emrick
Website Licensing
Broadcast Music Inc.
10 Music Square East
Nashville, TN 37203-4399
(T) 615-401-2924
(F) 615-401-2104
Web Licensing Homepage:
Digital Licensing Center:

SESAC (originally the Society of European Stage Authors & Composers now just SESAC international),

Recording Rights -- copying original performance

If you want to make copies or re-record an existing record, tape or CD on either a record or as part of a video, you may need the permission of BOTH the music publisher AND the record label. A music publisher owns the song (that is the words and music) and a record company owns the sound recording (that is, what you hear, the artist singing, the musicians playing, the entire production).

Recording Rights -- new performance

If you plan to hire your own musicians and singers and create an original recording of a copyrighted song on a record or as part of a video, then you need the permission of ONLY the music publisher.

Recording rights for most publishers are represented by

The Harry Fox Agency,
711 Third Avenue,
New York, New York 10017,
Telephone: 212-370-5330.
The name and address of the record company should appear on the record label. If the Harry Fox Agency is unable to provide you with the mechanical licensing, you will need to contact the music publishers directly for these rights.

For more information on the rights of record labels you may want to contact , a trade organization for record labels,
The Recording Industry Association of America
1020 19th Street, N.W.,
Suite 200,
Washington, DC,
Telephone: 202-775-0101.

Any ideas to help make this a better resource, please contact
Peter Spang Goodrich, Department of Management, Providence College, Providence RI 02918 USA. Telephone (401) 865-2665 Fax: (775) 743-9229