by Jeff and Todd Brabec
ASCAP and BMI. Both ASCAP and BMI have "index" or repertory information departments that assist producers trying to locate the owner or owners of a song.
These performing rights organizations have information on virtually every song that has ever been performed and are many times the first stop for producers or music-clearance services.
ASCAP and BMI do not assist in any negotiations, though, and are purely a resource point for finding out who owns a particular song.
Both organizations also have repertory Websites.
The Copyright Office. If all else fails, a producer can request the U.S. Copyright Office to do a search of its registrations to find the current copyright owner of a song
This service, effective July 1, 2006, costs $150 an hour.
Websites. A number of music publishers have established online synchronization sites where the potential music user (whether it be a motion picture producer, television production company, advertising agency or video producer) can access and search the catalogue of the music publisher.
The search engines usually are accessed by song title or songwriter identity, but some sites have enlarged the information field by allowing the potential user to find titles that fulfill a particular need or fit a particular theme (for example, love songs, drinking songs or songs about trains).
Audio samples of compositions can also be heard. Additionally, many of the sites provide an online licensing capability which enables the potential user to select the desired composition, complete the use request form (type of use, television series name, background vocal, term, etc.) and have the request transmitted immediately to the synchronization licensing department of the publisher that owns the composition for processing.
This article is based on information contained in the new, revised paperback edition of the book "Music, Money, And Success: The Insider's Guide To Making Money In The Music Business" written by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec (Published by Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales). www.musicandmoney.com