Hi, I’m Isaac Shepard. Nice to meet you! I created The Music Maze to help independent musicians navigate the music business. You can read all about me on my biography page.
The music industry can be amazingly complex, especially if you are just starting out. Even for me, every day I learn something new or discover that I misunderstood some aspect of the music business. But don’t lose heart!
The Music Maze is a free music brain dump!
Through The Music Maze, I want to share what I’ve learned about music and the music business over the last few decades, so that you can get a jump start and make the most out of your music career. I guess it’s sort of like a knowledge base and mentorship program rolled into one.
Oh, and most importantly, I want to give you all of this for free! You don’t need to create an account, don’t need to login, don’t need to buy an eBook. You don’t even have to sign up for my newsletter or leave a tip in the tip jar (although it would be cool if you do those last two!).
On The Music Maze, you can read all about many different topics, mostly about the music business, but also about music in general. You’ll find stories sprinkled throughout the site about my music experiences, findings, tips, tricks, warnings, etc. Basically, you can think of The Music Maze as my brain dump about music.
My hope is that The Music Maze becomes a site where you can find most of the information, links, and help that you need to navigate your way through the music business. If I personally don’t address an issue or topic here, hopefully I will provide links to others who do.
The music business can be super confusing.
There’s a lot of great information out there, but it’s usually scattered across hundreds of websites or hard to find. Worse yet is when you get out-of-context information without realizing it.
For example, imagine that you find a page somewhere on the web that states you cannot copyright your version of a cover song. Years go by until you realize that you actually can copyright your version of a cover song. Was the original page you found wrong then? No, not necessarily. They could have been referring to the composition copyright, which doesn’t belong to you, or maybe the context was when you’re not making a derivative work of the original cover song. One of the big underlying problems is that using “copyright” is ambiguous on its own. There are lots of different types of copyrights. In the music world, the two primary ones are composition copyright and sound recording copyright. In most cases, yes, you can copyright the sound recording of a cover song. And maybe you find out later that the original poster was referring to the copyright system in a country other than your own! So, in our example, the answer could be yes, no, or maybe. Questions like this reveal the nuances, caveats, and gotchas in the music industry that can cause a lot of confusion!
So what is my context and bias?
Since I live in the United States, most of the information on this site is written from the perspective of a US-based musician. That said, I try to also include information for those working on their music career outside the US.
You can help out, too!
By the way, if you ever discover any typos, mistakes, misunderstandings, or incorrect information, then please kindly let me know. I’ll be happy to review your changes and fix the site. With so many topics and so much data, I’m sure it won’t be too hard to find problems on my site. I’d love to hear about them so that I can make this site as helpful as possible to others, and to better understand the industry myself.
Wondering where to begin the journey, why not check out my high-level overview of how the music industry works?