Recent judgments against musicians, their labels, and producers make it more expensive to lack authentic creativity. Or at the very least requires the payment of a licensing fee to the person who owns the IP for the song, lyric, or musical element.

For decades, artists faced legal challenges from fellow artists for elements of their songs that are similar to theirs. Some claims appeared to be desperate money grabs, while others were deemed legitimate in eyes of a court. In the cases listed in the WSJ article, federal courts awarded over $8 million in damages where some legal minds felt the judgments went.

The appropriate path to avoid cost of litigation is to enter a royalties agreement before the song is released. Understandably, artists and production teams may not be able to identify every possible claim, but a proactive approach upfront can reduce a significant judgment later when the song is a hit.