Last week we talked about music Performance Royalties, and how you, as a media creator, might have to deal with it. In short, if an artist is from a big music label, they can command specific contracts that grant them the right to royalties. However, most artists get residual royalties through something called a PRO, or Performance Rights Organization. This has little impact on you, or your creations, as they only take revenues generated by the organizations who benefit from the audience hearing the music. In most cases, it only requires you to fill out a cue sheet to the PRO.
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Digital creators (and especially YouTube creators) face a particularly difficult challenge when acquiring music for their productions. The biggest threat is getting nabbed by YouTube’s Content ID system or, worse, getting a DMCA strike. It doesn’t help that music licensing is a particularly muddy topic.