Copyrights, co-publishing, exploitation, synchronization; these are some of the terms that were thrown around throughout the first class of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and Music Unites' Night School series. The joint endeavor, created to provide support and accessibility to emerging musicians, kicked off Tuesday night at the Norwood Club with 'Music Publishing 101'.
The dimly lit fourth floor parlor served as classroom, and the professors; a panel of publishing management from Downtown, Shapiro Bernstein and EMI. ASCAP's Director, Pop/Rock and Film & TV Music Marc Emert-Hutner guided the casual discussion, allowing the panel to share their diverse experiences within the industry with a packed room filled with 60 participants. Those in attendance were mostly writers and performers, but the group also included managers, lawyers and other industry executives.
"Working with Music Unites on the Night School project seemed obvious, given our organizations' common interests in supporting songwriters," says Emert-Hutner. "As a writer myself and someone with several years inside the industry, I'm excited to help create an opportunity to pass knowledge on to artists who need it."
The nearly two-hour crash course included an overview of the changing industry, the anatomy of a song, and the varied structures, pros and cons of different kinds of publishing deals. Participants received tips for success including the kinds of songs that are most sought after for specific uses, to the importance of negotiating creative credit to avoid post-collaborative legal pitfalls. The discussion was followed by a Q&A session which included queries about the requirements of staff writers' contracts, the availability of specific kinds of deals today versus five years ago, and the best ways to shop content to publishing companies.
"Based on tonight success, I'm so excited about the upcoming classes and what this will build into since there is obviously a need for this kind of educational series," says Michelle Edgar, founder and executive director of Music Unites. "I think Night School is a useful forum and different from what's out there due to the intimate atmosphere which is inviting since it allows people to engage and interact with one another in a comfortable setting."
After the Q&A, the group moved down to the third floor lounge for networking and cocktails, and an intimate performance by Brooklyn's Savoir Adore.
"I thought it was a great event overall. The panel was diverse and they covered a range of important topics," said an independent artist from the Lower East Side.
The next class "DIY 101: Critical Insights on independent artists' options for creating successful careers" will be held on November 30 at NYC's Skyline Studios and will include panelists from Pledgemusic, Songtrust, TuneCore and Gigmaven.