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Written by Jeffrey Brabec & Todd Brabec

User generated content, or UGC, presents unique issues, because non-pro users frequently post what they want and obviously do not seek out licenses for the music they may use. Early on, in the history of Internet video — which is to say, in the history of YouTube — such unlicensed uses often went undetected. If these uses were detected, they resulted in a take down notice from the rights holder.

User generated content presented a Hobson’s choice, since it meant either tolerating infringement or potentially outraging users. Ultimately, YouTube developed automated detection software, plus a clever, innovative third solution offered by other websites: monetizing user content with advertising and sharing a portion of the ad revenue with the rights holders.

The compensation depends on whether the commercially released master recording or only the composition itself is used. If the original master is used, the publisher, on behalf of itself and the songwriter, will receive fifteen percent of the net advertising revenue related to the particular UGC video, and the master recording owner (generally the record company) will receive thirty five percent with YouTube retaining the remainder. Otherwise, the publisher will receive fifty percent, which can be reduced to thirty five percent if YouTube elects to pay the UGC creator a portion of the revenue.


Platforms and media do, and will invariably change, with some becoming more valuable and others less so. The changes will sometimes be quick and dramatic, and in other cases, gradual and perhaps almost imperceptible. As the business changes and new ways of listening to and experiencing music are introduced, so do the contracts. The melodies of the future are unknowable, but the tune is unmistakable. As long as people continue to love music, music licensing will thrive both creatively and monetarily.

MUSIC, MONEY AND SUCCESS: THE INSIDER€'S GUIDE TO MAKING MONEY IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS, written by industry insiders Todd Brabec, Educator, Entertainment Law Attorney and Former ASCAP Executive Vice President and Worldwide Director of Membership, and Jeff Brabec, Vice President, Business Affairs, BMG Chrysalis tells you HOW THE BUSINESS WORKS, WHAT YOU MUST KNOW TO SUCCEED, AND HOW MUCH MONEY YOU CAN MAKE in Films, Television, Video Games, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, Record Sales, Downloads and Streams, Advertising Commercials, Ringtones and Ringbacks, Interactive Dolls and Toys, Broadway, New Media, Scoring Contracts and Synch Licenses, Music Publishing, Foreign Countries and MUCH MORE.

Click Here to order your copy now. 


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Music Royalties 101 Part 5: ​PERFORMANCES

 Written by Jeff Brabec & Todd Brabec The Performance Right, one of six primary rights of copyright under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, gives the owner of a copyrighted musical composition the exclusive right, with certain exceptions and limitations, to perform the work publicly. What this means is that in practically every type of situation where music is being performed, a [...]

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Music Royalties 101 Part 4: ​​MECHANICAL ROYALTIES

By Todd Brabec & Jeff Brabec Royalties,which are paid to music publishers by record companies for the sale of audio physical product (e.g., CDs, Vinyl) and permanent digital downloads (e.g., iTunes) are called “mechanical royalties.”This term also encompasses royalties paid by digital music services for such diverse uses as interactive streams, subscription based non- permanent downloads and locker services. These mechanical rates are [...]

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Music Royalties 101 Part 3: ​VIDEO GAMES

MUSIC ROYALTIES 101 By Jeff Brabec & Todd BrabecThe video game industry continues to generate substantial income for existing compositions and master recordings whether they are featured as the primary focus of a game — as in dance or music featured games—or are used as background music in dramatic scenes to story line games. There are two types of licenses used [...]

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Music Royalties 101 Part 2: ​MOTION PICTURES

By Jeff Brabec & Todd BrabecPart 2: MOTION PICTURESThe use of music in motion pictures, whether it be scores or compositions written specifically for the film or the licensing of pre-existing compositions, continues to be lucrative. Whether in domestic or foreign films from the major studios, major indies, the many other independents or film festival [...]

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MUSIC ROYALTIES 101 By Jeff Brabec & Todd Brabec

By Jeff Brabec & Todd BrabecLISTEN CLOSELY TO THE NEXT SONG YOU HEAR and you might be able to pick out a sound that’s part of neither the written music nor the performance. If you listen just right, what you’ll hear is the sweet ka- ching of music royalties being paid to those who bring us the melodies and lyrics. But, [...]

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​2-Chord Songs For Mandolin

by Wayne ErbsenMany folks are on the lookout for easy and foolproof ways to learn to play their favorite musical instrument. Who can blame them? Everyone wants a free ride down music alley. These kind of folks get lured to websites that make grand promises of quick success if you try their method. Not being afraid to jump on this bandwagon, [...]

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Tips For New and Emerging Musicians, Music Artists, Songwriters and Producers

by Steve Gordon, Esq.I am an entertainment attorney specializing in music, television, film and video, and have assisted countless artists in navigating the legal aspects of the music business. My new book, The 11 Contracts that Every Artist, Songwriter and Producer Should Know is an in-depth guide to contracts that new and emerging artists are most [...]

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Way to Reach Kids with Music

‘Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.’ PlatoMusic is something that has intrinsic and unique meaning to everyone, regardless of their social status, their nationality, gender, age or bank balance. Music forms the backdrop to our lives and as humans we [...]

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