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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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