Selling Music Instruction

The Danger of the Controlled Composition Clause


Under U.S. Copyright Law, Congress has legislated a minimum statutory mechanical royalty rate for songwriters and their music publishers. This current mechanical royalty rate is $.091 center per song.

Despite this legislation, many record labels are using their position of power over inexperienced artists to persuade them into entering music contracts with a reduced minimum rate. Communicating the minimum rate is pursuant to the “controlled composition” clause.

This clause reduces the mechanical rate for a songwriter/recording artist and its publisher on songs written or otherwise “controlled” by the artist.  Not only is the payment reduced per song, but they may also put a limit on the total number of songs such payment will be made.

They may also go as far as fixing the point in time when the calculation will be made to circumvent the cost of living index increases.

This issue is not only for recording artists/songwriters but also for the producer/songwriter and non-contractual songwriters who choose to collaborate with an artist who signed a controlled composition clause in their recording agreement.

Make sure you look out for this clause to better insure you get paid what you are due.

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