Songtrust teaches key industry lessons at Georgia State

By Alysha Conner | The Atlanta Voice

Songtrust Atlanta hosted its latest Music Publishing Workshop at Georgia State University’s downtown campus in their new media center on for two hours on March 28th. Since its expansion to the Atlanta region, the global digital rights management platform has been dedicated to providing monthly sessions of Music Publishing Workshops to better educate local creators.

Bre Harper, Songtrust Atlanta A&R representative, headlined the workshop in collaboration with GSU’s Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII), a media center designed as a flexible startup incubator space to nurture media entrepreneurs, and National Collegiate Entertainers Group, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching students the entrepreneurial side of the music industry. This marked Songtrust’s first time ever collaborating with a university in Georgia.

President of GSU’s Panther Entertainment Group (PEG) Derek Jackson, offered Harper his room in the CMII building to use for the music workshop. Jackson believed that the Music Publishing Workshop was in alignment with the purpose of PEG. According the PEG website, the student organization was established in 2013 “with the purpose of educating students on the structure and formalities of the entertainment industry.” Currently, PEG’s prime directive is to generate hands-on opportunities for students to learn about the challenges and responsibilities of the industry.

Further explaining PEG’s mission and reasoning for collaborating with Songtrust Atlanta’s workshop, PEG President Derek Jackson said, “Our mission is to help empower students to use their intellectual property to build businesses. The historical rhetoric around the music industry has made it difficult for young people to understand their rights as it relates to their work.

“I’ve been following Songtrust for some time now, and I have great respect for the fact that they use education as a form of marketing,” Jackson explained. “They understand that, generally speaking, most people don’t know anything about publishing. So, their efforts to educate the population help to democratize the industry. There’s a lot of music companies that make a living off of what people don’t know. So, I think that we should celebrate the ones that are confident enough to put everything on the table and allow you to choose for yourself.”

Though the workshop was held on GSU campus, there were several non-students in audience eager to be educated on music publishing by Harper as well. Many local artists, songwriters, publishers, producers, managers, and entertainment lawyers attended the workshop.

As a GSU alumna, Harper returned to her alma matter on behalf of Songtrust, to share insight on music publishing. The workshop was similar to that of February’s 55th Park Bar Global Music Publishing Workshop presented by Harper, and Associate Director of Client Acquisition CJ Olivieri.

“It was great to be able to come back to my alma mater and give back. It’s crazy because the building and the resources that they have now for the music industry program, were not here when I was a student at GSU,” conveyed Harper.

Harper provided valuable knowledge on the difference between mechanical royalties collected by mechanical agencies, versus performance royalties collected by Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) and Collective Management Organizations (CMOs). Additional guidance about the U.S. Copyright Office, and the benefits of using Songtrust instead of creators alternatively registering their work with PROs was given as well. Harper also advised workshop participants that information in relation to the music publishing market is steadily changing.

During the workshop, one of the workshop attendees shared information he learned about music publishing on YouTube with Harper and fellow audience members. In return, Harper explained that most of the information would have been correct if only it had been eight months prior.

“I gained so much knowledge from the workshop. I particularly learned the appropriate way to bring up split sheets in a studio setting,” Tendraia Perry, a local attendee and aspiring A&R representative. “I am in the early stages of my career as an A&R, and I was able to connect with Bre to get some advice on how to effectively develop the necessary skills to succeed as a music executive.”

Following the workshop, several guests remained to further speak with Bre about music related questions, and network amongst fellow workshop participants. A discount of 40 percent off of Songtrust membership was granted to workshop attendees as well.

Harper is in the works of planning additional collaborations with GSU and the Atlanta community such as community events. Information about Songtrust Atlanta’s April Music Publishing Workshop is still pending. Updates on future Songtrust events can be found on Songtrust’s social media handles, as well as their official website.

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