Understanding the difference between a Composition and a Sound Recording is KEY to understanding how people get paid in the music industry.

And you want to get paid, right? 😉

A Composition and a Sound Recording are two very different things, two types of assets you can build your music career on.

Once you understand the difference between the two, you’ll be in a good position to identify promising revenue streams for your own music.

#1 – The Difference Between A Composition And A Sound Recording

If you write and record your own songs, then you’re both a Composer and a Recording Artist. But that’s not always the case.

For example, Leonard Cohen wrote the composition “Hallelujah” but there are lots of different sound recordings of that song.

By Leonard Cohen himself, who is also a recording artist for that song.

By other recording artists like Jeff Buckley, John Cale and k.d. lang.

Songwriters and Recording Artists are not represented by the same people….

Music Publishers will try to maximize the number of times the Composition is performed (on TV, on the radio, live, etc).

Because every time the composition is performed, the Composer and the Publisher get paid.

Record Companies will try to maximize the number of times the Sound Recording is copied (on an CD, vinyl, DVD, video game).

Because that’s when the Recording Artist and Record Company get paid.

#2 – Why Is This Important?

Making the distinction between the Composition and the Sound Recording is KEY because the two are different products: Composers and Recording Artists don’t make the same kind of money.

Also from album sales, streaming, MP3s, gigs, etc.

They just sold more. Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” has been so popular many people think that Buckley wrote it!

But here’s the thing….