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A Steelband Company-A music publishing company
Posted By: Steve Taylor
Date: Saturday, 18 March 2006, at 12:40 p.m.
Here is something which steel band companies, organizations whatever you want to call them can do.
A steelband especially where arrangers write songs or in their arrangerments, derivative songs are composed, the steelband organization itself can become a music publishing company. For those of you who are not quite aware what a music publishing company does, let me explain. A music publisher promotes and sell licenses-not to be confused with selling the song, but sell the priviliges of using the songs to other interested parties as they require it for commercial use. From that licensing, income royalties are collected by a performance rights society such as ASCAP, BMI and in T&T COTT on the publishing house behalf. The publishing companies make an agreement with the actual song writer to own 50% of the royalties collected and the song writer retains 50% for himself or herself.
In the case of our panorama bands especially where such elaborate arrangements of music is added to an existing song, the new song produced can be held as a derivative of the original song, and becomes a whole new entity as it where. That derivitive song will now have to share performance rights royalties into three parts-part one 33.3% goes to the original song writer of the song, 33.3% goes to the arranger/writer and 33.3% goes to the band-the derivative song publisher-the panorama piece itself-not to be confused with the original song recorded by the original song writer.
In the case of where the arranger or even someone in the band itself wrote a song, and the band and arranger decides to go with that song, the band shares 50% of the performance royalties and the other 50% to the song writer/s/arranger.
If the song writer/arranger were to pass from this world, only his/her portion of the performace rights his estate is entitled where further performace use goes on after his/her departure.
Panorama bands should register with COTT as a music publisher and even ASCAP or BMI especially since they perform internationally and their records are sold internationally, and Internet Radio stations and international terrestrial radio may play their numbers. Also a panorama band in essence is really doing the first public performance of its derivative song or its original song, "so himself pays himself" comes in. If the band itself is a music publisher, then even the performance royalties at panorama goes back to the band and song/writer/arranger.
This is the proper way it should had been set up since 1985 when the Copyrights Act first came into existence in T&T. So the statements expressed in this present case of Despers and heirs to Bradley's estate such as "Despers own every thing" or the "estate owners own every thing" are both incorrect statements. If this goes to Court, the judge considering all the facts of traditional ignorance, will revert back to the proper arrangements as described above.
Despite the fact that these things were not in place and ignorance of the laws is no excuse, given the nature of panorama bands in T&T even on carnival days playing on the roads, one cannot say that a panorama band has no performance rights of its panorama tune. They are in fact the first public performer of the song. Therefore they do have some performance rights as the first publisher/performer of the song. They need only officially act as the publishing house of their panorama tunes and any tunes they compose as well.
Music Business Consultant
Arrangers/somgwriters from steelband
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