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4 Releasing Music – Supplementary Work
1. (The Live Event):
This is something of a formality, as it would not be my intention for Leper
Messiah to perform live, at least not on a regular basis. While this may seem a
strange decision given that live performance is widely accepted as a key part of
the promotional process, this very fact means that by going against the grain
Leper Messiah will attract attention. Below however is a rough set of accounts for
a potential performance on “home turf”, so to speak.

Church of the Annunciation, Chislehurst (great acoustics & free).
Capacity for around 300 people.
Tickets @ £7 each.
Mates’ rates live sound @ £20.
Combination of rented & church PA @ £200-500.
Potential profit = £1580-1880.

Of course, this would be far from a professional set-up, but given that Leper
Messiah is essentially just myself the setting up of equipment would not be
particularly complex and could more than likely be done by me on my own in an
hour or so. The fact that it would be local to me would also mean that there
would be a good mix of strangers as well as people I know, whose enthusiasm
(hopefully) would help to generate interest around the event.
2. (The Release):
The release is obviously the most important part of the entire project for
everyone, but this is particularly true for me because as I’ve said previously I
don’t particularly want to rely on live performance to generate publicity and as a
result Leper Messiah’s recorded output needs to be both interesting enough and
of a high enough quality (both sonically and musically) to be able to more or less
sell itself. With this in mind it is also paramount that the costs involved are
calculated and minimised.
Fortunately as I have access to recording facilities both at college and at home,
the cost of recording is absolutely nothing at all, so if Leper Messiah’s material is
only released digitally (iTunes, paid downloads on SoundCloud etc.) then any
revenue is pure profit. However I am a fan of physical media, and this introduces
costs. If I were to issue my recordings as a limited-run cassette (widely regarded
as a dead format, but there are indie labels who use it as their primary release
media), then the cost would still be relatively low. In this case I could release a
run of 1000 copies at a cost of around £500-700, meaning that if the list price
was £5 then I would only have to sell between 100 and 140 copies (10-14% of
the run) to break even.
CDs would likely be more expensive because I would need to have the discs
printed which would add to the costs involved, although CDs are cheaper to buy
in bulk than cassettes. I would estimate the total cost for a run of 1000 CDs to be
in the region of £1000 for the CDs and the printing process. This would mean
that again at a sale price of £5 I would have to sell 200 copies (20% of the run)
to break even. While this is a larger percentage than with the cassettes, it’s likely
that CDs would be more popular with the end user, and as such it would probably

be easier to sell this number of copies. At this stage I don’t think vinyl would be a
wise choice, as despite its resurgence in recent years it is still an expensive
format to produce, and as such should be avoided by left-field acts releasing
their debut in order to avoid excessive financial risk.
3. (Copyright)
Copyright is hugely important to anyone working within the creative spectrum,
as it protects your work from being copied without your consent, and as a result
also protects your financial interests. Leper Messiah treads of fine line with
regards to copyright, as explained in my earlier piece regarding my two
plunderphonic remixes. It should however be noted that I do not believe that
copyright is redundant. For a better explanation of my views on the matter
please see Negativland’s 15,000 word copyright manifesto, which is available
So how/when is work copyrighted? In essence, copyright is automatic. It doesn’t
have to be registered like a trademark or a patent; as soon as you complete a
piece of creative work it is legally considered to be your intellectual property, to
which you hold all rights with certain limitations. For instance, copyright does not
protect you from those wishing to parody your work, issue commentary on it, or
use it in a not-for-profit manner (i.e. for educational purposes).
Copyright is protected in various ways. While there is no special Copyright Police,
you have every right to take an individual or organisation to court if you believe
that they have breached your copyright. Also, most social media and media
hosting platforms now feature safeguards in order to prevent copyright breaches
and plagiarism, although these are only really effective at protecting sound
recordings and pieces of writing.
With regard to a music release, every part of it is the intellectual property of its
creator. If you wrote the lyrics, then they belong to you, but if someone else
wrote the music then that belongs to them. If the album artwork and/or
packaging is designed by someone else, then all of that (with the exception of
any elements which they have taken with permission from other sources)
belongs to them, and so on. If any part is a collaborative effort then the copyright
is held by all of those involved unless otherwise agreed.
This ownership of the work is what dictates how the revenue is divided up. These
royalties are paid to the copyright holders automatically whenever their work is
purchased or permission is given for it to be used for example in an advert.
However, only the songwriter gets paid royalties when the advert containing the
work is played, or when a piece of the work is played on the radio.