Skip to main content

Who owns a sound recording?

3 min read

Understand who owns a sound recording.

The most common sound recording owners are record labels and self-releasing creators.

Under , the owner of a is the person or company responsible for the creation of the sound recording.

That person or company usually finances the production and oversees the entire process of creating the sound recordings, including booking the recording studio, brokering a deal with a , and organizing and paying for the and of the sound recording. The legal term for this entity is .

In simple terms, the owner of the sound recording is usually the person or company that made and paid for the or making up the recording. This can be an , a music producer, or a .

Companies or individuals responsible for the sound recording are sometimes called who can be , or , or music producers.

Learn more about record labels in the Record Labels section of our Music Industry Ecosystem topic.

What rights do sound recording owners have?

The sound recording owner has the legal freedom to maximize commercial opportunities and generate income from various channels, pay according to their contracts, and ideally make a profit. These legal freedoms, or rights, are typically called the .

Ownership of the in the sound recording also depends on the terms of the agreements between the artists, the record label, and any other parties involved in the creation of the sound recording.

Sound recordings are usually owned by record labels, but some creators are negotiating deals that allow them to own their sound recordings and, hence, the master rights.

If you are an independent creator without a record deal and working solo, you will usually own the sound recordings you create and have the master rights.

For more information, visit the topics on Music Creators’ Rights, Rights Transfer and Licensing, and Scope of Protection.

Thumbnail credit: Parapix