Musicians and the Law in Canada

Paul Sanderson, one of the most recommended and sought after “Entertainment and Arts Lawyers”, recently wrote the musician’s version of the “Ten Commandments” for our fans and followers. On the heels of Paul’s recently released book, “Musicians and the Law in Canada”, we thought we would re-post the invaluable article for those who may have missed it.Here it is……paul sanderson_10 commandments

COMMANDMENT # 1. Get it in writing

I know this is a cliche, but I’m a lawyer and this really does mean something in practice. Even a simple agreement in writing can be more protective of your rights than an oral arrangement which is often hard to prove. Also, in some instances – a grant of an interest in copyright, for example, must be in writing to be valid.

COMMANDMENT # 2.  “Know your rights”.

Yes the music business is complicated and it keeps getting more so, but in this day and age, information is often readily available. You can forearm yourself and with knowledge you can also assist your team. How? By being able to give informed instructions, you can save yourself money on fees. You don’t need to be up on all the details – that’s up your counsel and other advisers, but being able to get the big picture and give good instructions to your manager, lawyer and accountant will stand you in good stead in your career. For example, a lawyer well utilized can both make you money by negotiating better deals on your behalf and save you money by helping you avoid costly legal career pitfalls.

COMMANDMENT # 3. “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate”.

Guess what? Almost everything is negotiable and is a negotiation. For example, even deciding where to go for lunch with a friend can be a negotiation. This one is a truism in law and in life. It is something that you can “take to the bank” and live by.

COMMANDMENT # 4. “Trusted advisers are worth the money.”

No one can succeed wholly on their own. It takes a team. You need a team you can trust and information that you can rely on. Definitely budget and spend your money wisely, but at the end of the day, whether it be good equipment or professional advice, you get what you pay for. Pay your team what they are worth. They are worth the investment.

COMMANDMENT # 5. “It’s always about the money”.

When they say its about trust, honesty, artistic integrity… that’s when … it’s about the money, because its always about the money.

COMMANDMENT # 6. “Actions speak louder than words”.

When you are confused, don’t listen to what the other side says, watch what they do. Pay attention to their actions. They may be confused themselves. Actions are where you get the truest sense of what someone one wants or is about.

COMMANDMENT # 7. “Have fun!” It’s the music business.

We live for the moments and the stories we live become us. If you didn’t want to have fun you could have done something that was more secure, lucrative and much more boring.

COMMANDMENT # 8. ” The basics apply”.

Always have. Always will. Great songs. Great performances. Great production. Apply the basics. Always.

COMMANDMENT # 9. “The facts are often 3/4 of the law“.

This is a quote from the late great Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of India who was also a lawyer. So who am I to question this? Besides, I’ve found in practice this statement often affords very good practical insights into legal issues and legal problem solving. So get the facts.

COMMANDMENT # 10. “Know yourself. Be true to yourself“. 

It’s been said “It takes 30 years to build a reputation and 30 seconds to destroy it.”  Longevity is about integrity. Stay true

to yourself and your vision as an artist and person. That way the success that you do achieve will be meaningful.

Article submitted by: Paul Sanderson

Don’t wait until it’s too late – be prepared… know your legal rights! Order your copy TODAY.

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The Strategy Behind Gig Reminders

Artists, bands, record labels and anyone doing a show needs to make their fan base very aware when they’re doing a gig. You can’t rely on just a single email to get the word out, it takes a more comprehensive strategy. Here’s an excerpt from my Social Media Promotion For Musicians book that outlines just such a strategy that has proven very effective in getting people to your show.



“Gig reminder emails fall into a different category in that they can be a lot shorter and a lot more frequent. While the email sequence below may seem like a lot of emails, remember that for true fans, you’re doing them a favor by keeping them informed, and you’re marketing yourself for other things at the same time.


A potential reminder strategy is:

  • The day a show is announced or tickets go on sale. As soon as you know that you’re playing at a venue, send out an email. This could be to the entire list if it’s announcing a tour, if it’s the monthly schedule for a cover band, or if you believe that people will travel to see the show.
  • A week before the show. Send out a reminder but concentrate more on the band, regarding a new part of the show, new songs, a music video, or something that you want to the fan to see.
  • 3 days before the show. Send out a reminder and include more information about the club and who else is playing.
  • 1 day before the show. Once again, remind the fan about a a different feature of the show or the music that’s unique and won’t be seen or heard any other way than attending. You can change the headline to “You don’t want to miss this,” or “See our new show tomorrow night.”
  • The day of the show. Send out a short reminder in the late morning to just the portion of your list in the general area of the club. Use a headline like, “Can you make it tonite?”, or “Last chance to buy tickets!”
  • The day after the show. Send an email with backstage pictures, pictures of meet and greets with fans or just fans in the audience, as well as links to videos. This is a nice shout-out to those that were there, and a prod for those that weren’t not to miss you next time you’re in town.

Of course, if you’re lucking enough to have sold out your show, you won’t need to send as many reminders. That said, you might send one headlined “Sold Out!” that either announces another gig or another way for the fan to hear your music or buy your merch. A contest for two last minute tickets (put them on your guest list) also works well.

TIP: In every reminder be sure to include all the pertinent gig information, including the name of the venue, the full address, the phone number, the time you’re going on, and other acts on the bill. Consider including a map or a link to one as well.

bobby owsinski

Just released and added to the MUSIC BOOKS PLUS lineup

OPEN-TUNING-CHORD-BOOK-FOR-GUITAR-115x300“What a super book, this is such fun. I could use this for the next album.” – David Bowie.

This handy open tuning chord manual gives guitarists working in standard tuning a basic introduction into open tune playing. Though commonly used for slide playing open tunings have become increasingly popular for their unusual and rich voicings.

The book contains chord shapes for over 300 chords in the two most popular tunings – Vastopol (or Open D) and Spanish (or Open G) – with a page per key. For example, turn to page 17 and there are twelve chords in Open D tuning in the key of G – major, minor, 6th, dom 7th, diminished, augmented, minor 6th, major 7th, minor 7th, 7th sus 4, 7th flat 9 and 11th.

Order today at MUSIC BOOKS PLUS,  visit

IMSTA FESTA Top 10 Bestsellers

Thank you for everyone who dropped by our booth at IMSTA FESTA – I hope you had a great show. If you were not able to attend,  here is a list of our Top 10 Bestsellers from the show for you to check out. To receive a special 10% discount, use the Coupon Code ‘IMSTA’ when purchasing.

ADAG1-21. A Career in Music – The Other 12 Step Program

music law2. Music Law Handbook for Canada

51EQ2NVHB9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_3. What’s a Synthesizer?

ITC100-24. The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, Third Edition

rogers5. The Roger Nichols Recording Method

basic6. Basic Mixing Techniques

AP4510-27. The Recording Engineer’s Handbook, Third Edition

AP4494-28. The Music Producer’s Survival Guide

FP581-29. iTunes Music: Mastering High Resolution Audio Delivery

FP586-210. Web Marketing for the Music Business, 2nd Edition

 To place your online order visit, TODAY!! or Call 1-800-265-8481


top5Jonathan Feist author of Music Industry Forms (Berklee Press, 2014) shares his five favourite forms that EVERY musician should know about…and USE!!

“Musicians have several traditions for passing along knowledge. The mentorship model, where a master teaches the craft privately to students, is among the most efficient and effective means of learning a craft, and it has all but disappeared from most other fields.

Another way that musicians pass along wisdom is via various charts, diagrams, and other types of forms that present our best practices in reusable formats. The most obvious examples are notation—our own languages (traditional staff notation, lead sheets, drum notation, tablature, etc.) for communicating what would be nearly impossible to describe otherwise. But working as a musician requires many types of knowledge, from how to set up a concert stage to how to label audio archives. My recent book Music Industry Forms details and provides models of 75 such forms. Here’s a list of 5 of my favorites.

  1. Stage plot. A stage plot shows how to set up a stage for a concert or rehearsal. An x indicates a chair, a dash (–) indicates a stand. Other common symbols are used to podiums, large instruments (tympani, piano, harpsichord, etc.), and audio gear, though mic/monitor setup might be specified separately in a similar “audio plot.”
  2. Practice log. A practice log is a chart that helps organize practice time, helping us track how much time we spend on different activities, such as technique, repertoire, ear training, and theory. Typically, it show’s a week’s worth of activity, and might be reviewed/discussed between a private teacher and a student at every lesson.
  3. Songwriter split sheet. A split sheet is an agreement between multiple writers, used when they are working together to co-write a song. It articulates the percentage of ownership that each will have of the song that they create.
  4. Photo release. A photo release (or “model release) is a form used by a photographer when a photo of a person might be used publicly, such as for an album cover or website. It clarifies that the photographer has permission to use the image, and specifies any promised compensation. Without it, the image might be unpublishable.
  5. Audition rating sheet. An audition rating sheet is used by a jury who are listening to several players vying for a position in an ensemble, award, placement in an academic system, etc. Often kept secret, it lists criteria such as technique, timing, melodic memory, improvisation ability, stage presence, “x-factor” (that special indescribable “something”), or other criteria that they panel is looking for. Typically, each quality is scored, then tallied to give the candidate an overall score and thus make it possible to rank all the candidates against each other.”

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Announcing “BOOK OF THE MONTH”

Each month Music Books Plus will highlight a different book and share with our fans. These books will be full of value, advice, and help kick start, jump, and advance your career in music.

This month, we recommend reading “Music Marketing for the DIY Musician” by Bobby Borg. This book is your guide to producing a step-by-step fully customized, low budget plan to market your music.

BOTM September 2014

Order your copy by visiting

3 Steps to Mastering Live Music!

We are pleased and excited to have Tom Jackson, author of “Live Music Method”, contributing to our Blog. Tom is a master at transforming an artist’s live show into a magical experience for the audience! Here’s Tom’s 3 basic steps to Mastering Live Music…

1) There’s a Method to the Madness of the Music Business!

For businesses to be successful in the 21st century they must have two things: high tech and high touch. For musicians, the Internet, recordings, radio, TV, & more are the high tech.

But your high touch is your live show. When you’re in the same room with people and can make an emotional connection with them, they will become fans.

There is a Method that will ensure you make those fans!Banner-Ad-Book-300x250

When people leave your show, do they remember it being unique? Was it memorable? Are they talking about you favorably? Do they want to come back to your next show and visit you online?

A great live show will motivate people to do exactly that. They will become fans, not just people who show up once in a while.

Even though the industry has changed, for most artists, their live show is still 90-95% of their revenue. That is a lot of money and a lot of reasons for being high touch!

2) Being Successful Requires a Plan

I compare my method to that of building a house. The highly abbreviated version is this:building_frame

  • Plan it
  • Lay the foundation
  • Build your home
  • Move in 


That’s the short version, and though it sounds simple, if you’ve ever built a home, you know it’s anything but simple!

For instance, the planning is something most artists leave out of their preparation. They want to “be spontaneous!” Which is great. But they don’t understand that both form and spontaneity are part of a great show.

Having a foundation of confidence, authority, humility, the courage to take risks, loving your audience, and understanding their needs and expectations is of major importance. Why? Because, the audience relates to the human side of you. What is happening through you, before and during your time onstage, is what the audience sees, feels, senses, and connects with.

Then there are technical skills, tools, and fundamentals that go into being a great performer. And by the way, these skills are intended to equip artists to have an original show, not a canned show. If you’re a guitar player you have to learn chords — you must have the technical skills to understand the theory and how to play that chord. Simple as that, or you won’t be able to play. How you choose to use that chord is your point of originality. But having no skill does not make you original!

In my book, I lay out, section by section, this Method of planning and building a live show that helps you get more fans, sell more CDs, book more gigs, and get your audience to want to connect with you in this high tech world.

3) Invest Your Time, Money, & Energy Wisely

timeEnergyMoney2I realize music is emotional. And for some of you, it’s the most important thing in your life! To be able to create, record, and perform music that moves people is a good enough reason to do this, even if no money were involved. But this is a business. And you need to make wise business decisions if you intend to do this the rest of your life.

In the final section of my book, I approach the business model from the perspective of the live show. After all, the live show is where you’ll make most of your money, where you’ll gain most of your fans, and it’s where you get the most satisfaction as a musician and performer.

By using multiple streams of revenue, you can increase your income 2-, 5-, or 10-fold. I’ve seen it happen over and over. The key is creating memorable “moments” for your audience, and then capitalizing on that by being purposeful in the high tech areas of the business.

Where you invest your resources will determine your path and have a direct impact on your career. So do all it takes to become a great artist and wise in business, so the music you do will have a memorable influence on the world and make this place a better planet!

tom jackson

IMPROVE your music career in 12 easy steps

This “Deal of the Day” is an Incredible Resource for Canadian Musicians.

Musician, lawyer, consultant, advocate and author of “A Career in Music, the other 12 step program”, Bob D’Eith gives us a snapshot of the 12 most important steps to building a career in music.

For a limited time, you can save 15%. Deal expires on 08/17/2014

Knowing where we came from, helps set the path to our future.


This “Deal of the Day” has invaluable resources and is a recommended read for Canadian music fanatics, history buffs and music trivia aficionados!

oh what a feelingHere’s your chance to get “Oh What A Feeling: The Next Generation” by Martin Melhuish at 30% off.

This offer won’t last long so don’t miss out on it!! Order today and start looking through Canadian Music History – know where you came from before moving ahead with your career.

The many book features include: Annual listings of hit songs by Canadian artists since 1900, Profiles of 45 artists inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, A complete list of all 2700 JUNO Award winners since 1971- 10 emerging Canadian artists who have been touted to make an impact on the music scene and much, much more.
Order Today at and receive 30% off instantly!!


10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW From “MUSIC MONEY AND SUCCESS: the Insiders Guide to Making Money in the Music Business”/ 7th edition/ by Jeff and Todd Brabec

Purchase MUSIC,MONEY and SUCCESS Today!!

1. LICENSING SONGS TO TELEVISION: 3 main types of deals. “All TV with Home Video Options”/ “All Television and Home Video”/ “All Media Excluding Theatrical (movie theaters)”. Separate types of licenses negotiated for music performance or dance centric shows (“The Voice”, “Dancing with the Stars”) as well a when a hit song is used as the theme song to a series (THE WHO/Pete Townsend songs for CSI)

2. VIDEO GAME SONG LICENSING: the deals for most games are similar to the one time fee license common in television. That includes the gamut of games from Grand Theft Auto to the big console games like Bioshock. Music centric games though (Dance Central, DJ Hero, Rock Band) can generate significant money to writers, publishers and artists. Deals for these types of games combine an upfront payment coupled with additional money based on success or sales. These include a per sale royalty (2 cents per song per unit sold), an escalating per sale royalty figure based on success (2 cents increased to 3 cents at 500,000 sales) or a dollar amount when certain sales figures are reached ($5,000. when the game sells 250,000 units and $5,000. when the sales reach 500,000).
Additional monies can be earned when your song and record are downloaded( downloadable content/DLC) into a video game after the game has been released

3. MECHANICAL ROYALTIES/ RECORD SALES: Many new configurations are generating royalties for songwriters and publishers including physical sales, permanent and limited downloads, ringtones, interactive streaming and locker services, among others. Royalties are paid on a set penny rate or a percentage of wholesale price basis.

SOCAN revenue at 276 million dollars, ASCAP and BMI collect 1.9 billion dollars combined, PRS in the UK collects 666 million pounds. Radio, television, live concerts, streaming services, movie theaters- find out how it all works and how you get paid and how much. Compare the value of a million performances on YouTube versus a million performance work on traditional radio.

Visit Music Books Plus TODAY5. MOVIES: one time fee synchronization licenses to put a song into a film. Grant of rights normally gives the movie producer the right to distribute the movie in any media now or hereafter invented for all time. For lower budget or film festival licenses, writers and publishers can negotiate an upfront fee to put the song in the film and then have additional monies paid based on the film achieving certain box office numbers (additional $5,000 if the film reaches 10 million dollars in box office receipts) or increased distribution (film goes beyond a film festival into general distribution).

6. MUSIC IN THE THEATRE: Songs in ” Catalogue/Jukebox” musicals” (Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages, Carole King) are paid in various ways including a share in a percentage of the weekly box office receipts, a share of the weekly operating profit of the show(box office sales minus the costs of running the show), a specific weekly dollar figure per song ( $250. per week per song) or a combination of all of them.

7. SONGS IN ADVERTISING COMMERCIALS: ad deals always have a duration clause as to how much of the song can be used and for how many, weeks, months or years.They also specify how the song will be used in the commercial, the type of media the ad will air on, the territory, the fee as well as whether product exclusivity or all advertising exclusivity is being requested. Also many times, increased dollars will be set forth as an option for subsequent year uses.

8. REMIXES AND SAMPLES: in remixes, never give up any portion of the copyright unless there are substantial changes to the song and record. And if you are sampling a portion of another song or record, always get permission first or as you can lose everything if you don’t. There are many types of sharing revenue and copyright deals that work for authorized samples.

Read Music, Money and Success for more details9. MUSIC IN APPS: deals are structured with both Apple and, in many cases, the app developer taking a percentage off the top (from 35% to over 50% in most cases) with the remainder shared between the songwriter/music publisher and the sound recording and artist.

10. RECORDING ARTIST AND RECORD COMPANY ROYALTIES: In most countries, sound recordings generate royalties when they are performed on radio, television and the Internet. In the U.S. though, sound recordings receive royalties only when they are streamed on non-interactive websites (Pandora, etc.).

MUSIC MONEY AND SUCCESS goes into detail on all these areas and many more ( from t-shirts, designer jeans, lyric sites, indie and major record company deals to musical dolls and toys and karaoke. 560 pages of REAL LIFE information designed to make you SUCCESSFUL and make you MONEY.

Visit Music Books Plus Today