By Chase Lawyers

What is Music Law? 

Music law is a sub-term belonging to the larger umbrella of “entertainment law.” Entertainment law covers the legal principles dealing with several branches of the industry. These include Music, Motion Picture, Publishing, Television, Theater, and Sports. 

The laws that impact how the music industry operates belong under music law. It involves anything from creating, selling, and performing music, and even how users listen to it. This law involves everyone in the music industry, from the singer, songwriter, producer, record label, live events sector, and the music publisher. 

Music law also covers traditional legal topics such as intellectual property law, contract law, bankruptcy law, defamation, and licensing laws, among others. 

Why Music Law is Important 

It’s not just people in the entertainment or music industry that are directly affected by music law. A majority of individuals in society have to deal with it in one form or the other. 

Music writers and distributors, along with the performers, are often the first few people directly influenced by music law. Distributors need a license to circulate the music, while musicians require a legal right to perform any licensed song or track. 

This is also true for any establishment or business that wants to use music. They need to comply with the legal stipulations surrounding the use of songs. Even regular listeners and consumers should follow music law, especially on their use of the track or the album they purchased. 

Main Aspects Involved with Music Law


Music copyright is the legal ownership of a musical composition or recording. Once original music is created, it only needs to satisfy two requirements to qualify for copyright. 

  • It must be an original work
  • It must be in the form of a tangible medium, like a digital or analog recording, sheet music, or a sound file

The moment original music is transposed into a tangible form, it is automatically copyrighted. There is no need to publish the track or register it with the U.S. Copyright Office. However, registering a copyright is recommended if you intend to release the music to the public and want it to be protected. Having registered copyright is also the only way to collect benefits from a musical composition. Copyright remains active for 70 years after the artist’s death. 


Songwriters and creators may choose to