As an artist, you spend your time learning and creating, all in hopes of one day be a published artist. But as an indie artist, going at it alone can be very hard. While it is possible, there are a lot of steps to get there. But the most important thing to know is you have to own your masters.
We have discussed various ways where you can get help or how to get started on your professional artist journey. You can read a lot about that here. But now that the journey has started it begs to question what control you have or not.
A lot of this control you have over yourself and your music depends on contracts and companies that are helping you. Depending on what you do or sign, companies or those who help you create your music can also be co-artists or co-creators with you. And if you are okay with that then it is fine.
But there are also times when you want full control. And because of this, you know the benefits of having control of your own music.
This is what it means to “own your masters.”
What Is A “Masters”
Owning your masters is just jargon for, owning the rights to your song. And this is not just the final draft of a song, but the “master recording” which is the original that inspired the final recording. Meaning that the song you edited, recorded, and called the “one” will be then copied and either uploaded or printed. That song you performed to be copied, that is your masters.
And when you own this master’s, it contains a lot of benefits to you as the sole owner of it.
As the owner of the masters, you get the legal rights to use this recording as well as the rights to maximize the use of it. Meaning that if you want to enhance your way of making money you can. With this right, you can use this master recording to license and third parties. So if a network, TV show, or other artist reaches out for a sample, you have a say if they can or can’t use it.
When you keep your masters you also keep creative control. You have the say on what to do when making a song, or what moves and benefits you can have when promoting your song. When you own them you can have the upper hand with labels and companies that can try to take advantage of an indie artist.
This is why it is vital to keep your masters. There are many well-known artists that have struggled with ownership because of contracts and labels. And it is important to keep your masters and rights, to have that control.
To read a list of artists that did not own their masters, and affected their life click here. Not owning your masters affects your future greatly, and these famous artists are a great example how and why.