Day two of the UD Industry Takeover 2023 gave artists, producers and aspiring music industry professionals a plethora of knowledge about the business side of music. If you didn’t make it down, don’t worry – we’ve got the important info covered!


This panel was hosted by Chris Cooke, the co-founder and managing director at Complete Music Update (CMU), leading the discussion on music copyright. Using a powerpoint presentation, he explained how there are two sets of music rights – the songs and the recordings. The songs are made up of the rhythm, lyrics and melody whereas the recordings are made up of the performance, production and mastering.

“So because of this thing called copyright, when you make music, you have control of what happens to your music.”

He then proceeded to speak about how to use that control to generate a profit. Copyright controls reproduction, distribution, rental, adaptation, performance and communication, thus music makers work with business partners to manage their music rights like collection societies such as PRS and MCPS for the songwriting and publishing side and then on the performance side we’ve got PPL.

If you are an artist releasing music and you’re reading this I would highly recommend you register for PRS/PPL right away, so you are able to earn from your music – PRS also recently announced that for under 25s the joining fee is now only £30!

More points from Chris Cooke’s presentation:

  • Copyright is automatic, collaborators need to agree ownership
  • Whoever creates, composes and/or writes the song is the author
  • Whoever organises for the sound recording to be made is the producer
  • Co-creators co-own the resulting copyright – they must decide how the copyright will be split
  • Splits need to be agreed, documented and logged
  • Performers have rights even if they don’t own the copyright in a recording
  • Their approvals consist of fixation, distribution, reproduction, rental, live broadcast and making the songs available
  • They have a statutory right to payment when the performance or communication controls of the sound recording are exploited which is otherwise known as ‘performer equitable remuneration’

He was then joined by his panel which consisted of Jacqueline Pelham Leigh, also known as JPL who is the Relationship Manager within Black Music at PRS For Music, multihyphenate Kwame Kwaten who is a manager, music consultant, musician and record producer, Leo O’Brien – the Membership Development Manager at PPL and Wale Kalejaiye who is an Associate Lawyer at Sheridans

Key Info From The Panel

  • It costs £100 to register for PRS, it’s a one off fee but under 25s can now sign up for just £30.
  • As soon as you create a song, get into the habit of agreeing on the song splits, registering it and documenting it
  • Housekeeping is vital
  • Make sure that nobody else has snuck their name in.
  • Register all 100% to avoid people who have nothing to do with the song trying to claim it
  • If you’re yet to register, the furthest you can go back is songs that were released in January.


Image: Kat Friar

On the talk they did together and what UD did with their Industry Takeover…

Leo by Kat Friar

LEO: The event is incredibly engaging, in a great part of London and the facilities [at] UD [are] fantastic and second to none. 

JPL by Kat Friar

JACQUELINE: I think it’s absolutely amazing. I think it’s great housekeeping & teaching people, ’cause if you teach people, you make it sustainable for them to have knowledge, and bringing people in who have already done it, so they can help you with the pitfalls because we’re all learning from each other. So even myself being on a panel, I’m gonna learn from not only the people who are at UD, but the people on the panel as well.

On how the panelists found the event…

JACQUELINE: I think for me the best panels are interactive, where you can actually just pay the information forward. I love it when people ask questions – because if you don’t know you’re supposed to ask questions – I often say to people [that] you may never ever meet me again. So if you’ve got the questions to ask, ask them. If I’m here, ask the questions because that’s the way you might get some knowledge. Or I might be able to connect you with somebody that you hadn’t even thought about because you asked me a question. So I love this interactive type of panel rather than just spouting information at people and they’re there with books but they haven’t really got to understand why you did what you did or why you did what you do. So I think it’s good for people to ask questions.

Advice for people looking to work in music law as told by Wale Kalejaiye

Wale by Kat Friar

Get involved [with] your friends. If you like music law, 9 times out of 10, one of your friends or someone in your circle is doing music. If you’re doing the music, just get involved, help out, go to meetings. I encourage you to go seek out other music lawyers, take meetings, go to events like [the ones at] UD. Try and just be a part of the culture – help anywhere.

Words & photography: Kat Friar

Photography: Saadiq T

For more information on getting paid from your music, check out our long-read with PPL here or sign up to become a UD member and enjoy priority access to masterclasses and events.

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