Workforce + Infrastructure Development
Music has long been an integral part of the Oklahoma experience. Our state is home to many music superstars, including country music’s Toby Keith, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood, as well as Tulsa legend Leon Russell, the Queen of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson, folk star Woody Guthrie and indie rock stars The Flaming Lips. Bands, singer-songwriters and performers continue to garner national attention after budding from Oklahoma’s rapidly growing local music scene. Our historic venues, vetted recording studios and talented music business professionals statewide make Oklahoma the perfect place to create your next music project.
Recording and Distribution
Traditional Music Distribution
Once an album, EP or single has been recorded, multiple options are available for the recording to reach the general public. Whether an artist is working independently or with a record label will dictate how funds generated by record sales are distributed.
Digital Music Distribution
Over time, the music industry has migrated towards digital distribution, which now has several outlets:
Music Audience Exchange
YouTube for Artists
According to U.S. Copyright law, a new creative work is copyrighted at the moment of creation and all rights for that work reside with the creators immediately. However, registering your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright office provides a level of proof as to the creation of the work.
Every song contains two copyrights:
1) Musical Composition: consists of music, including any accompanying words, and is normally registered as a work of performing arts. The author of a musical composition is generally the composer and the lyricist, if any. A musical composition may be in the form of a notated copy (for example, sheet music) or in the form of a phonorecord (for example, cassette tape, LP, or CD)
2) Sound Recording: results from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds. The author of a sound recording is the performer(s) whose performance is fixed, or the record producer who processes the sounds and fixes them in the final recording, or both.
Copyright in a sound recording is not the same as, or a substitute for, copyright in the underlying musical composition.
Although they are separate works, a musical composition and a sound recording may be registered together on a single application if ownership of the copyrights in both is exactly the same.
To copyright your work:
All copyright applications are handled through the Library of Congress.
The electronic form eCO is the most current form for song registration.
Please see this list of frequently asked questions regarding copyrights.
Publishing and Liscensing
Music licensing refers to the process of obtaining permission to use a copyrighted work.
More information on music licensing can be found using the resources below:
Performing Rights Resources
Other Music Publishing Resources
HFA is now the nation’s leading provider of rights management, licensing and royalty services for the music industry and issues the largest number of mechanical licenses on behalf of its affiliated publishers for the use of music in both physical and digital distribution formats.
SoundExchange is the independent nonprofit performance rights organization that collects and distributes digital performance royalties to featured artists and copyright holders.
International Standard Recording Code (ISRC)
The ISRC is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording, independent of the format on which it appears (CD, audio file, etc) or the rights holders involved. Encoded ISRC provide the means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments and is recommended for all music producers by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
- Music Call for Entries
- Educational Opportunities
- Fundraising & Grants
- Associations & Membership Organizations
Oklahoma is known for a prolific musical heritage deeply rooted in the folk, country, and bluegrass genres, but that was just the beginning. Over time, our Americana roots blossomed into a diverse talent base that spans across every genre imaginable, and the state’s music education opportunities have paved the way for new voices to be heard. Below is a list of music educational opportunities in the state.
Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO) ACM@UCO in downtown Oklahoma City prepares students for careers in the music industry through a focused curriculum and real-world networking opportunities. ACM@UCO’s campus houses four professional recording studios, five large rehearsal spaces, fully-equipped classrooms and practice rooms, performance areas and two technology labs. Along with associate’s degrees/minors in contemporary music business, contemporary music performance, contemporary music production, songwriting and post-production audio, they now offer a bachelor of applied technology degree programs in commercial music and studio production.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University The music program of Northwestern Oklahoma State University prepares students majoring in music to accept the challenge of leadership in music and the arts amid the ever-changing face of society. The dedicated faculty help students experience the highest aesthetic order, thereby empowering graduates to be outstanding performers and dedicated educators.
Northeastern State University NSU’s Music Department has a mission to provide undergraduate education leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree (with options in Musical Arts, Music Business, Performance and Jazz Studies) and Bachelor of Music Education degree.
Oklahoma Arts Institute The Oklahoma Arts Institute (OSAI) hosts the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, an intensive, two-week academy in the literary, visual, and performing arts for Oklahoma’s most talented high school students, as well as the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute, a series of four-day weekend workshops for educators and adult artists of all ability levels.
Oklahoma City Community College OCCC’s two-year Associate Degree program in music develops skills in important areas such as theory, performance and individual and group applied music, all while enjoying modern facilities, including a Kurzweil Electronic Piano Laboratory with individual MIDI stations, practice rooms and a 250-seat theatre for performances.
Oklahoma City University – Wanda L. Bass School of Music With two undergraduate tracks, Oklahoma City University’s Wanda L. Bass School of Music programs are designed to develop comprehensive musical skills and literacy with subjects such as instrumental performance, music theater, vocal performance, music education, composition, music business and piano pedagogy.
Oklahoma State University – Department of Music The Department of Music at Oklahoma State University is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, and is proud to offer a wide variety of degree programs that prepare students as emerging music professionals in a wide variety of career paths.
Oral Roberts University Students who wish to major in music at ORU are preparing for one of three degrees: Bachelor of Music Education; Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance, Sacred Music, Composition or Composition Technology; or a Bachelor of Arts in music with emphasis in Music Arts or Music Technology.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Southwestern Oklahoma State University is home to one of Oklahoma’s largest music schools. SWOSU offers undergraduate degrees in Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music; the Graduate Division of the department offers the Master of Music in Performance, the Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy and the Master of Music in Music Education.
University of Oklahoma – School of Music The OU School of Music offers degrees at the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels in all areas of music performance, composition, education, history and theory.
Artists have a variety of resources available to assist with fundraising for music projects. Depending on the nature and scope of the project, the following are offered as a starting point for artists looking to raise funds for their music projects. Please visit the links below for more information.
Art Deadlines List
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Awards Programs
BMI Foundation, Inc.
Foundation Grants to Individuals Online
Guitar Center Music Foundation
Jazz Masters Fellowship | National Endowment for the Arts
Music Performance Trust Fund
National Endowment for the Arts
New Music USA
Social Services and Financial Assistance | The Actors Fund
United States Artists
Local & Regional Grants
International Bluegrass Festival Scholarship
The Mid America Arts Alliance
Norman Arts Council
The Oklahoma Arts Council
The Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Oklahoma Grant Watch
Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition
OKM Music Scholarships
Paseo FEAST (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics)
The Grantsmanship Center
All successful musicians must market themselves to some degree. Whether promoting a new release or upcoming performance, there are several resources that can be considered. Please note that this is not a complete list, but offered as a starting point.
Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
Creating an Electronic Press Kit is the easiest way to compile all the information you’ll need to pass along to venue owners, promoters, producers and agents. Whether you create your own website or use one of the available online templates, your kit could include the following:
- biography or the history of your band
- high quality music samples / downloadable mp3’s (make sure your metadata is complete and correct)
- high resolution color photos
- album cover art
- poster art
- press release (pdf)
- press quote sheet (pdf)
- one sheet (pdf)
- RIYL (“Recommended If You LIke”) list
- contact information for your label, manager, publicist or other representative
Some of the most popular EPK sites include:
Planning a live music event involves plenty of forethought and many communities require permits for such events. See below for permit information in some of Oklahoma’s largest cities. If you do not see your community listed, please contact your local municipality or chamber of commerce for more information.
If you are looking to access or join an organization with ties to the music industry, please visit the links below for more information.
Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa
Blue Dome Arts District
Country Music Singer’s Association of Oklahoma (CMSA)
Enid Arts Council
Greater Oklahoma Bluegrass Music Society
Norman Arts Council
Oklahoma Arts Council
Oklahoma Arts Institute
Oklahoma City Arts Council
Paseo Arts District
Plaza Arts District
Red Dirt Relief Fund (RDRF)
Songwriters Association of Norman
Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture (TFMAC)
National Membership Organizations
American Federation of Musicians (AFM)
Americana Music Association
Country Music Association
Folk Alliance International
Gospel Music Association
Harry Fox Agency
International Bluegrass Music Association
International Talent Buyer Association (IEBA)
National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)
National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP)
National Music Publisher’s Association (NMPA)
Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)
Recording Academy Membership
SAG / AFTRA (American Federation of TV + Radio Artists)
Songwriter’s Guild of America
Oklahoma Music Directory
Oklahoma has long been known nationally and internationally for its legendary musical talent. With the Oklahoma Music Directory, you can search or join Oklahoma’s official roster of talented musicians of all genres. If you’re a musician looking for new opportunities or a venue looking for quality Oklahoma talent, the Oklahoma Music Directory is a great place to start.
Our historic venues, vetted recording studios and talented music business professionals in all corners of the state make Oklahoma the perfect place to create your next music project. Whether you’re looking for a music teacher or searching for a place to record your next album, the Oklahoma Music Directory can direct you to the resources in your area.
Search for talent, venues and businesses or register in the Oklahoma Music Directory here.
Oklahoma’s music industry is thriving with legendary shows offered every night of the week. From outdoor stages, such as Guthrie Green in Tulsa and the Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City, to stadium-sized shows at the BOK Center in Tulsa, and the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, to more intimate settings such as Ole Red in Tishomingo, Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa and The Blue Door and Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City, the state has over 150 music venues.
From the hearts of cities to backwoods campsites, Oklahoma’s festival scene is growing rapidly. Throughout the year, you can find many opportunities to see local and national artists of every genre hit the stage at popular new events and longtime favorites, such as Norman Music Festival, a free three-day festival with more than 300 musicians performing at more than 20 venues in Norman every April; Hop Jam, a craft beer and music festival in the Brady Arts District in Tulsa every May, started by the Oklahoma pop trio Hanson; Rocklahoma, a camping festival in Pryor serving up hard-rock shows each Memorial Day weekend; OKM Music Festival, bringing classical and contemporary music for a weeklong extravaganza every June in Bartlesville; the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, featuring more than 90 folk and bluegrass artists on the weekend closest to July 14, Woody Guthrie’s birthday; and many more! Visit our online events calendar for film + music events in the state.
Oklahoma has a rich music history with legends generating from every corner of the state. Find memorabilia, artifacts, videos and more at local museums such as the Woody Guthrie Center, home to the Woody Guthrie Archives, preserving Woody Guthrie’s legacy and life story in the Brady Arts District in Tulsa; the American Banjo Museum, a world-class 21,000 square foot facility honoring the rich history, vibrant spirit and unlimited future of the banjo in the Bricktown district in Oklahoma City; the Church Studio, (opening late 2020), a 100-year-old church converted into a world-class recording studio by award-winning singer/songwriter & producer Leon Russell in 1972 – once complete, it will continue to be a recording studio, and be home to a rare collection of over 4500 items celebrating the history of the church, the Tulsa Sound and Leon Russell in Studio Row in Tulsa; the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OK POP) (opening 2020), once it is built in the Tulsa Arts District, OKPOP will be a museum dedicated to the creative spirit of Oklahoma’s people and the influence of those artists on popular culture around the world.
Rhythm & Routes Oklahoma Music Trail
From the danceable fiddle tunes of the 1930s to the silky jazz melodies of the 1940s to the chart-topping songs that brought Oklahoma to the forefront of the country music in the 21st century, Oklahoma’s music history run’s deep. Whether you want to revisit a time when western swing ruled the airwaves and the electric guitar’s potential was still untapped or see more of the state where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, the Rhythm & Routes Oklahoma Music Trail has a trail to suit every musical taste. For more information, visit TravelOK.com/MusicTrail.