JLicense for Artists: What You Need to Know

JLicense has been a major buzzword for the Jewish music world lately. So what is it, and why is it so important for Jewish singer/songwriters to get involved? Here’s a quick rundown of what JLicense is and why you should be a part of it.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is music licensing?
In the broader music business, licensing refers to the legal usage of a piece of music by someone other than its original creator. That’s how a song can be used in commercials and movie soundtracks, or recorded as a cover song by a different artist.

Licensing is also used for live music performances (and this is what JLicense is primarily focused on). Venues have to purchase licenses with performing rights organizations such as BMI or ASCAP that, based on the reporting of the artists performing at those venues, will then pay out a dividend to the writers of the music that was performed.

What does JLicense do?
Let’s say a cantor at a synagogue wants to perform the Shalom Rav that you wrote at their next streamed Friday night service. With JLicense, the cantor can then report that your song was sung on that date, and you’ll receive a royalty check for that usage from JLicense the next time payments are made.

Do all synagogues have JLicense?
As awareness of JLicense grows, so do the number of synagogues who purchase a license. When you’re performing as a guest at a synagogue, inquire if they have it and if they need the song titles and writer names of the songs you’ll be performing. This will make it easier for the synagogue to report the songs.

How do I get my music into the JLicense catalog?
All original Jewish music is accepted into the JLicense catalog. Just email info@jlicense.com and they’ll send you the necessary forms.

Can only songs that have been recorded be on JLicense?
Not at all! As soon as you’ve finished writing the song you can add it to JLicense. No recording necessary — all JLicense needs for its database is the name of the song and the name(s) of the writer(s). What is most important is that a JLicense licensee is using your composition and can report its usage.

If I perform as well as write music, do I need to buy a license myself?
In addition to your own songs, do you perform any music written by someone else? If so, then buying a license through JLicense will make sure you have legal coverage — plus, you’ll be supporting the artists whose music you’re using! And, as a bonus, be sure to report your own music that you perform. Your stuff counts too!

JLicense now offers an individual performer’s license for this very reason. Learn more about it here.

So that’s that! Happy licensing.

Got any further questions about JLicense or what it’s like to be a Jewish music artist? Contact us here!

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