What is IP and why is it important to songwriters and creative businesses?
IP is intellectual property - the set of rights that you have as a creative artist over your original works.
The Founding Fathers thought intellectual property rights were so important that they put them in the U.S. Constitution in their own separate section. In Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, Congress is charged:
To promote the Progress of Science and Useful arts, by securing, for limited Times, to Authors and Inventors, the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
Sometimes as authors, songwriters, artists in general, we feel unimportant.
But as you can see right here in the Constitution, authors and writing are mentioned right up there in importance with scientific discoveries and inventions like the telephone, radio and search engine algorithms.
The special sauce that makes you unique is the engine that drives successful creative businesses.
The part that makes you different is your unique value proposition and can be part of your intellectual property and brand.
There are many types of intellectual property, including: copyright, trademarks, patents, geographic indicators, trade secrets, service marks, and sound recording copyrights.
A single music album may embody dozens of separate copyrights protecting the creative special sauce of songwriters, music publishers, producer and recording engineers, musicians, graphic designers, photographers, and record labels, just to name a few of the possibilities.
Press beyond the album to the other monetizable parts of the IP and you find a brand logo trademark, officially licensed merchandise and swag, music videos, documentaries, and feature films, all separate copyrights embodying dozens of other IP assets - including those already mentioned on the music album.
The smart music business entrepreneur leverages all these forms of IP and creates strategies and campaigns to connect with target demographics of people who are likely to like his or her sound.
Do your job right, and next thing you know, you're in business, creating a sustainable career for yourself employing your unique brand, monetization strategy and business model that best suits your creative and professional goals.
Far from being stifling as some creative artists fear, embracing IP as the engine that powers your individual small business is the key to releasing your full creative potential.
Who are you as an artist or creator? Are you seasoned enough to engage and entertain an audience? And who are those people, your fans?
These are the three basic questions that help you prepare the fertile ground for your creative artistic flowering as a successful entrepreneur in the new music business.
Need some help? Maybe a good kick in the rear from time to time when you slacken pace or get off track?
Good. Us, too.
That's what we do for each other here at the Songpreneurs Leadership Community, part of Songpreneurs LLC, a global community of songwriters organically flowing out of Hillbilly Culture Music Publishing founded 2010.
Fill out our Learn More survey here and we'll reach out to you when we're open for course enrollment that matches your criteria.
Thanks for stopping by to talk about the importance of protecting and respecting intellectual property IP for current and future generations of creative artists and small business entrepreneurs.
Wish a songwriter or artist you know Happy World IP Day, and if they stare at you blankly, send them here to Songpreneurs.