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How to Start a Band – An Administrative Checklist for Musicians

How to Start a Band – An Administrative Checklist for Musicians

Whether you want to play in a band or go solo in your music career, there are a few things you need to take care of in order to earn as many royalties as possible and keep yourself legally protected. You want to make sure your band name isn’t taken, that the band name you decide on is protected, your music is protected, and you’re earning as many royalties as possible.

Unfortunately, many miss these important administrative tasks involved in starting a band – not because they’re lazy, but because they simply don’t know what needs to be done.  Hopefully this checklist will help you understand what’s involved if you decide to start a band.

1. Protect your band name with a trademark

The last thing you want is to start a band, find great band members, write an album, and tour only to find that someone else from another city or country has the same name as you, and even worse, has the legal rights to the name.

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Before choosing your band name, it’s important to conduct a thorough search to ensure it hasn’t already been taken. To do this, you can search the USPTO’s website for your band name. If you find that your band name isn’t taken yet, trademark it as soon as possible so that you have the legal rights to it.

If you’re unsure about how to trademark a band name, I’d recommend you seek advice from an attorney specializing in entertainment or intellectual property law.

2. Protect your songs – copyright them

The best way to protect your songs from being stolen by other musicians is to copyright them. Technically, music is covered by copyright once it’s made into a tangible form, but you want to have enforceable protection, you need to register the song with the copyright office. Luckily, the cost to copyright a song is relatively low.

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3. Affiliate with a performance rights organization 

Performance rights organizations (PRO’s) collect fees from music users like restaurants, bars, live music venues, and music streaming services for public performance of a song, and redistribute these royalties to songwriters. If you don’t affiliate with a PRO, you’re missing out on some valuable royalties.

If you’re unsure about which PRO to choose, check out this ASCAP vs. BMI vs. SESAC comparison chart.

4. Add your music to SoundExchange

While the PROs cover music royalties paid out to songwriters, SoundExchange collects royalties from music users in need of master rights (so, the rights to the recording). This includes companies like Pandora and SiriusXM.

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To collect these royalties, you need to be registered with SoundExchange. You can register here.

5. Add your music to SoundScan

SoundScan is a tracking system operated by Nielsen that tracks sales of music and music videos in the United States and Canada. You can add your new music here. This can help you see how you compare to other professional level artists, and maybe get you charted on Billboard if you sell enough copies of your music.

6. Distribute your music everywhere

Music distribution is how you get your music in the places fans are looking for it. Luckily, many music fans only search for music online, so physical distribution isn’t as important in today’s music industry. Sign up for a service like TuneCore or CDBaby to get your music to most (but not all) of the digital music stores available online.

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Conclusion

Hopefully this checklist provided you with some valuable insights into the administrative tasks involved in starting a band. Once you have these out of the way, you can focus on writing and recording music to put out an awesome album, promoting it, and touring to the cities that love you.

More by this author

Nicholas Rubright

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

If You’re Staying In

  1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
  2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
  3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
  4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
    • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
    • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
    • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
    • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
      • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
      • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
      • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
        • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

        If You Want to Get Away

        1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
        2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
        3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
          • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
          • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
          • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
          • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
          • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
          • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
            • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
            • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

            New & Exciting Experiences

            1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
            2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
              experience.
              • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
              • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
              • Experience white water rafting.
              • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
              • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                  • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                  • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                  • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                  Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                  Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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