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Songwriting For Dummies by Cathy Lynn Austin, Jim Peterik, Dave Austin

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Chapter 19

Looking at the Legal End: Dealing with Paperwork

In This Chapter

Understanding contracts

Registering copyrights

Organizing all the paper trails

Being creative, working with melodies and lyrics, and producing songs can be very time-consuming. And on top of all this, having to deal with paperwork issues can be boring, overwhelming, and cumbersome — especially for artistic people. Nonetheless, ultimately this part of the songwriting process can make a huge difference in improving your chances of success. See Chapter 18 for more on song-related contracts.

Creative and linear thinking rarely go hand in hand, and most people tend to be stronger in one way of thinking than they are in the other. But in order to really be in control of your creative output, the more you understand about the business side, the more successful you’ll be at meeting your goals. Even if you put together a business team to help you with the inevitable paperwork of songwriting (those hired to handle the publishing, legal, administration, and accounting), it’s still your name that’s scrawled on the bottom of the paper, so you can’t just sit back and “watch the wheels go round and round.” Taking the approach of, “Hey, I’m an artist; I don’t need to know that stuff!” just ain’t gonna cut it. Even surrounded by the best team possible, your basic understanding of the business is vital in helping your team function at 100 percent.

In this chapter, we discuss signing contracts, filling out forms, and keeping ...

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