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

Recording

For many artists, recording is an essential part of the development of a song. Whether you plan to release a single, EP or full length album, artists agree that it is important to have tangible samples of your work at hand. For a comprehensive list of recording studios across the state, please visit the Oklahoma Music Directory.

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:

Amazon Advantage
Anghami
Bandcamp
Beatport
CD Baby
Deezer
Ditto Music
Emu Bands
Gracenote
iTunes

MP3.com
Music Audience Exchange
Nimbit
Pandora
ReverbNation
RouteNote
Shazam
SongCast
Soundcloud
Spotify
Symphonic Distribution
The Orchard
Tidal
Tunecore
Tune Launch
YouTube for Artists
Zimbalam

Publishing

Copyright

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.

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

A music publisher works with songwriters to market and promote their songs. Music publishers “pitch” songs to record labels, movie and television producers and others. The National Music Publishers’ Association explains music publishing in greater detail.

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:

Indie Slate: Music Licensing 101
Art-List
ASCAP
Audiosocket
BMI
CDBaby
Directional Music
Marmoset
Musicbed
Music Vine
The Harry Fox Agency
SongFreedom

Performing Rights Resources

ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are the three main performing rights organizations in the United States. Members of these organizations receive royalties when their music is used commercially. You may also contact them to determine the current publisher of a song or to access resources for licensing and royalty distribution.

Other Music Publishing Resources

Harry Fox Agency (HFA)
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.

Sound Exchange
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 Resources

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) At ACM@UCO, students connect directly to the music industry through auditions, live performances, showcases and an online database of talent.

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 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.

Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (OSAI) is an intensive 2-week residential school that provides professional training to artistically talented OKLAHOMA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, including graduating seniors, in the visual, literary, and performing arts.

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.

Crowdfunding

One way that artists can solicit funds for their projects is through crowdfunding. In the digital age, this method has proved successful for countless music projects. Some popular crowdfunding sites include:

Artist Share
Kickstarter
Indiegogo

Below are some articles on crowdfunding that may be helpful:

Launch and Release

Forbes

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
  • discography

Some of the most popular EPK sites include:

SonicBids
Reverbnation
UVUMI Press Kits
WIX

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.

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.

Performance Venues

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.

Music Festivals

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.

Music History

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.

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