My question is in regards to copyrights. Let’s say you are an investor to a songwriter and you pay for the demos and production of each song…there is no written contract involved. You, as the investor, in return for funding the songwriter, are given permission to use the songs written in your own endeavors. For the sake of this question, you are putting on a musical and using the songwriters music as the music for the musical. Now let’s say the songwriter has shut him/herself up in a room for too long writing and has mentally gone crazy. That songwriter refuses to write any more songs and has pulled his/her songs out of your musical. Does the investor have rights to the songs, even though no written contract was established, but permission was granted to use the songs in the musical?

“Well, unfortunately…NO!

If you do not take the time to create some kind of contract or agreement to clarify your rights or your ownership, then I would never advise you to put any money into the process. I would suggest to ALWAYS strive to clarify your agreement with the songwriter or artist with the assistance of a lawyer. That way, if there is ever any kind of disagreement, there is at least a way to recoup your investment. Don’t be afraid to always take the extra steps into making things legal. It may cost you a little money now, but it could save you a lot of money later.”

Have your own question about the music industry? We want to hear from you! Each month, Christian music industry leader Michael Blanton will be answering your questions about the music industry, being an independent artist, how to enhance your career, and everything in between. To submit your questions, visit the CCM Indie blog at and fill out the fields provided.

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