In the last couple of months I have been bringing together all of the releases of my own bands so that they are in one place and can be easily managed from the one account. A few issues struck me while going through this process that showed me the benefits and importance of being on top of your musical catalogue.
It is all too common for independent artists to release albums and then slowly let them disappear without the ability for old and new fans to access and discover their music. This disappearance of music was easily explained when we were locked into physical media as a means of distribution as maybe some releases didn’t warrant another pressing, however with digital services ranging from iTunes through to Spotify, there really is no reason not have your catalogue available and current.
In looking into our releases I discovered that we had eight releases spread over five labels and covering three different bands. All of these releases are essentially out of print with the label and distribution deals having lapsed. What I found is that a few of the releases were actually available on iTunes and Spotify and were being sold by distributors that had no current arrangement to distribute our music and there was no accountability or reporting in place. The distributors had essentially migrated their old catalogue over to the new digital services with no contact and no engagement of a new agreement. It also appears that many other bands are unknowingly in the same situation.
Currently we are going through the process of trying to have this content taken down so that we can submit and sell these records under our own in-house label. Both Apple and Spotify have mechanisms in place where you can raise a possible copyright infringement claim. I am yet to see an outcome from this process although I have received confirmation emails from both Apple and Spotify that they are acting on my information. I will update this with more information as the process continues, but I urge that everyone with past releases ensures that they have current agreements in place or administer their own catalogue through many of the aggregator services available.
While having your past releases available is a fairly simple process, it can open the door to wealth of possible opportunities such as publishing and sync deals. Each song is essentially and asset, so please, go forth and take control of your music!