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Should You Make Your Song Catalog Public?

Imagine this: You’ve put your song catalog up for public view online in hopes to get your name out there and extend your fanbase. But then, tragedy strikes. Someone comes across your page, likes one of your songs, re-records it, and passes it as their own. Their stolen version somehow makes it into the hands of a powerful A&R exec, and ends up being the first single for their latest signee. One day, you’re driving down the road and hear it--your song, performed by someone else, being played on the radio. And with no tangible proof, you’ll never see a dime.

This is the narrative that plays in many songwriters’ heads when they consider sharing their catalog publicly. Could it happen? Sure. Is it likely to happen? Definitely not. But it’s a dazzling story--and you are a storyteller, afterall.

If you are struggling with this concern yourself, take a deep breath. There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t worry about your songs getting stolen. First, there are many ways you can protect yourself and your work, like keeping records of when you wrote each song, who you wrote it with, who you shared it with and when. Second, the potential reward of the right person hearing your work far outweighs the risk of the wrong person hearing it.

For example, I once knew a publisher out of New York that was known for sharing his catalog anywhere and everywhere online. The writers he represented would fuss about it--you’re hawking my songs! What if someone steals my idea! They were convinced that unless their songs were being shared through a pitch meeting or private email chain, they were vulnerable or unsafe.

But one day, he got a call from Bruce Springsteen’s manager. He said that Bruce had heard his song online, loved it, and wanted to cut it. And as a result, the value of his catalog skyrocketed. I’m sharing this with you because you never know who’s going to be listening, which is why having your songs available in a professional space to listen, like Soundcloud or Youtube, is an important part of extending your reach as a songwriter.

We understand that decisions like this are daunting, but also necessary ones to make as a musicpreneur, which is why we’re here to help! One crucial aspect of our program is the weekly one-on-one sessions you receive from our coaches. Your journey as an indie artist is unique, and your plan for success should be treated as such. To learn more about our program and how to apply, click here.

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