Ownership in the context of music refers to the legal rights held by an individual or entity over a particular musical work or sound recording. This includes the rights to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, display, and create derivative works based on the original.


Ownership is closely related to the concept of authorship. While an author is the original creator of a work (such as the composer of a song), the owner of the work is the individual or entity that currently holds the legal rights to the work. The author is typically the original owner of the work, but ownership can be transferred to others, such as when a songwriter assigns their rights to a music publisher, or a recording artist assigns their rights to a record label.


For example, a song’s copyright might originally be owned by the songwriter, but if they sign a publishing deal, they might transfer ownership of the song to the music publisher. This would give the publisher the right to license the song for use in media, distribute sheet music, and collect royalties on behalf of the songwriter.


Understanding ownership is essential for any music professional, as it impacts who has the power to make decisions about how a musical work or sound recording is used, and who profits from those uses.



This concept of ownership should not be confused with authorship, which refers to the original creation of the work. For a more thorough understanding of these concepts, consider visiting the Authorship page on Wikipedia.

Ownership is mentioned in the following posts: