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What is copyright?

Copyright is the legal ownership of a song

A copyright refers to the legal ownership of a musical composition. This includes rights to earn royalties on the composition, as well as distribute it.

Music copyright is split into two parts: the composition and the master. The owner of the composition has publishing rights, while the owner of the actual recording of the song, often a record label, owns the master rights.

In 2020, Kanye West went on a Twitter rant about the unfairness of many record deals, where many artists do not have the right to their master, only the composition. He proposed that artists should lease the master rights to their record labels for a set period of time instead.