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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.

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Nicholas Rubright

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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