Monday, December 17, 2012

Tracking the Audio Sent to Copyright Office

Here's an easy way to track which audio file copy  you sent to the U.S. Copyright Office.  
One of my greatest challenges has not been writing and recording
over 250 songs  as of now   at  (index site).
No -- it is TRACKING  which version of the MP3 was in the package I sent to the  U.S. Copyright Office.  I'm always double-checking before I delete duplicates out of iTunes and my Finder (Explorer etc.)  lest I delete the actual file sent to be copyrighted.

After all,  as you've probably learned,  as time goes by and we develop more skills and ideas,
we often have fun doing "remixes" on older songs!  The basic FILE DIRECTORY  blog hints that I provided awhile back still work.
Here's a new great method I found specifically for audio files;  for me, these are .MP3 files.  This is an ADDED STEP  to Item 4 on my blog for 2 October 2012.

1.  Create a File Folder (Directory) for the entire Copyright Package.  I identify mine by YEAR-dash-LETTER,  where the letter = A for my first submission in the year,  C for the 3rd, etc.  For example, I am currently developing my Package for  Copyright 2012-J.  HOWEVER, because I have so many packages,  I continue the letter from year to year.  In 2011,  I submitted (and received approval of) four packages named 2011-D, 2011-E, 2011-F,  and 2011-G.  My first set of 25 songs submitted this year was 2012-H.

2.  Within the Folder (see 2 Oct for details),
A.   Create an index document file.
I put an underscore in front of the filename so it's always on top when I take files to my second studio which uses PC's.  A space does the same if both you and your studio use a Mac.  The U.S. Copyright Office provides the information you need to put at the top of this page, such as Date of first publication (can be published on your website), contact info, country, etc.

B.  Put PDF copies of the Lyrics (-LY),  Music (-MU),  Score (-SCORE piano, -SCORE flute) files and the audio file (such as .mp3) in this folder.  NOTE -- Since the USCO does not accept .DOC files, I keep these in a separate folder.  You will probably  find that easier also.

C. HINT that you can use on a Mac -- In Finder, select the final files and change the filename color to ORANGE  (or your choice).  Later when I search for files, I always know -- NEVER delete an orange file unless I've looked at it within its enclosure folder to be sure it's not an essential ARCHIVED file.

3.  NEW HINT - for tracking which Audio file you sent
A.    Complete your Folder, checking that you have all files needed and ONE AUDIO file for the complete song, including vocals  (Always check that you remembered vocals on the submitted file!
B.   In your Explorer/Finder window,  Click on "KIND" or "TYPE"  to sort by file type.

C.   Select all  audio files  (.MP3 type).
D.  While they are selected,  in a Mac, right click and select MAKE ALIAS.  On a PC, you will create a SHORTCUT  instead.  Keep these new files in this SAME directory for now.

E.  Looking at the Last Modified date of the ORIGINAL audio file,   add a note into the filename of the alias that tells you the DATE of the original file, and the studio if you use more than one. 
EXAMPLES from my directory:
Amazing Grace DOXOLOGY   cw 5-19-2012.mp3 alias
          tells me that file was produced at VwP Studio by Claxton Wilson
Clean Camp Faith jk 7-21-2012.mp3 alias  (Produced at J&T Studio by Johnny Kyle)
Church Budget Proof Diana mix 12-17-2012.mp3 alias  (My personal mix)

F.  Create  a new folder  WITHIN that one with a title like 
          __Mixes I didnt use and DATE notes    (hey, I understand my title! Pick what you like!)
G.  Once again,  do Step B to sort by file type.
H.  Select all  of these "pointer" files  ( .alias  or  shortcut  type).
I.  While they are all selected,  slide them up into the folder you created
     in Step F.

You now have a clean list of files to send to the U.S. Copyright Office
and kept the  ability to track the date (and therefore the EXACT MIX)  of your submitted audio format.

Much joy to you in tracking more and more audio files for your music!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Avoid the PRIDE THING in Studio

It's almost amusing.
As we singers "advance" in our dreams and goals, sometimes we get enough money
to hire a studio producer to record our singing.

It's rather human that we don't reach this point until we think we're pretty good.
It's rather human to be a bit miffed when hearing the suggestion that we could improve something.

But we are -- after all -- paying someone  
who "knows" his or her stuff.
Who has experience and equipment to make us sound good --
but also the professional responsibility to be honest 
when we can improve.

Amazingly, I've repeatedly heard professionals speak of singers
who were insulted to be told they were slipping off key,
or had their feelings hurt when told that their tone for Part 1 did not match that of Part 2 in a song.
So this is a pretty simple hint.  Sorry it sounds a bit preachy.  Just ignore if you'd like. But here 'tis:

In a studio, you would be paying for professional services to make you sound "good".
The producers have no interest in hurting your feelings;  
they just want to do what they're getting paid for -- 
give objective evaluations.  
Only then can singers move on to the next step in good vocal recordings:
         Consider the advice without pride. 
         And -- if desired -- take it.  
You can always ask for the old recorded vocal track to be used :)

Much joy to you in growing your music!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hint for Practicing Tongue-Tying Songs

An odd title.  What do I mean?  You know how you sometimes say you're tongue tied when trying to speak?  Same thing happens -- even worse -- in front of a microphone in a studio where you're paying for professional recording time.  So here's an easy hint for practicing (even if you record vocals on your own time at home).

Sometimes one of my draft songs is REALLY fast with half counts.
That means I have to get a LOT of syllables out of my mouth in moments.
We EACH have two choices when we keep stumbling over words during practice:
    1.  Select different words with less syllables.  Don't write off this good hint; sometimes it's best.
    2.  Practice in the following way:
Don't even try to get out your words at first.

It's like learning to drive stick shift where you're watching the road and
 3 mirrors and your speedometer until you've learned to "hear" when to change --
plus the gear shift you have to look down at when you start, 
plus feeling between the clutch and brake to be sure you get the right one...

OOoopps -- I forgot:  Please also watch the road and other drivers and
Bambi                (and enjoy the blessing if you don't understand the Bambi joke).
In other words:
There's too many things to focus on 
at once as you learn.   So you stress.
Same with music.
So first learn your melody REALLY well.
Most people do the humming thing - like "La La",
and then   start practicing  words.

My hint of Experience is to throw in a middle step 
so the learning step is not so steep:

           Sing the Alphabet.
Yes, I said to sing the ABCs on up to the TUV's     and then back to A's.

Example:  Say a different alphabet letter for each syllable in
"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"  --
  A__B___C__D_E _ F _G_ H _ 

Your mind has to focus on BOTH  the letter and the music note, 
which is harder than "La".
But not as hard as focusing on the WORD and the music note.
It's really helped me.  I hope you'll find joy in music and trying out hints like this:)

Much joy and laughter to you in feeling silly while the silliness helps your song be better!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stammering Lyrics in Songwriting

"THEY SAY (whoeverest "they" may be)  that the  longer you know someone, the  easier it is for you to know where their sentence is going and you impatiently wait for them to finish speaking -- or you just jump in  and finish their sentence so you can quickly move to the next point.  (And yup,  I know the grammar is wrong 3x,  but do you really want a "his or her" and "him or her"  instead?  Ya know where I'm going faster!   Point  illustrated!
        The same impatience happens when people listen to your song   if you're not careful:  And if you're brave enough to laugh at yourself,  it really is  FUN  to look for old awkwardnesses in earlier songs!  But here are some hints to raise your awareness if you haven't already noticed in other people's songs:

1.    Let's say you have a long common word like "Yesterday" in your lyrics.  People will know what your word will be by the time they hear syllable "ter".... After all, how many English words start even with "Yes"?
        So if it's a slow song,  they're aching to get past that 3rd count so they can hear the REST of what you're saying in your song that interests them.
2.    Or perhaps one line for your lyrics is "I hope you will come"  (which is already rather blah.  Anyway...)  The listener in English has probably caught your song pattern by now and knows the next line will rhyme with "come"So the moment you sing the sound "Inv",   the listener is waiting for you to finish the word Invitation.

Simply avoid a full count per syllable.
Put one of the syllables on the "and" of the measure's count.  Which one?
(1) Just listen and follow what sounds best to YOU, the artist.
(2) Follow the natural accents of the word.
          IN__  vi__  TA-tion   _ _  is 1_2_3 + 4_.
(3) When the natural accents don't change, such as ENDLESSLY,
      match the meaning of the word:   END sounds long-- full count.
(4) IMPORTANT:  SING your song aloud.  One of my earlier blogs speaks from experience of the danger -- and humor!-- of getting to your recording studio without practicing the song at tempo!
        Give full counts to the syllables where you need to get a complete consonant sound at the end of the syllable -- like getting that  at the end of END  is more important than the S on -LESS.

        But of course, this hint does not apply to ALL many-syllabled words.  For example, in my rather slow song "Building Cathedrals"  I kept a full count per syllable on the key title word because a cathedral is a stately building that just "seems" to deserve slow, deliberate notes per syllable.
        Hey, that's why you and I call our songs "art" -- We
use the instincts that make our music unique from other songs and other lyrics in this vast world of sound!
May you have much joy developing your own splashes and wave-pounding sounds!
     **  By the way, there's no law against having fun using odd words either... your own uniquities in lyrics design.  As long as the listener knows what you mean!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Supernatural Music Skills

     One of my secret (til now!) joys is working in my journal on future songs on the sofas in each of my studios while that studio's producer is mastering that night's recordings --- and suddenly glancing up and noticing him "bouncing" with the music as he masters it!
      My music skills are average.  I tried for a number of years to write "pretty good" songs -- not even going for "great".  Then, in frustration, I decided -- "what's the harm?  
I may as well do some experiments",   after I read about testing for help in the Bible, in Malachi 3.  And so I started praying.
        If you don't yet believe there's a God who yearns to give you joy in music and peace in life and etc. -- that's ok.  But maybe sometime you too might like to just "see what happens."  Here is what happened for me with my pretty good yet still average music skills:
       From 2001 to 2007,  I loved the hard rock and all other types of music at music festivals like ALIVE and CREATION, so  I kept trying to write songs. The result: In 2006, I wrote new music called "Amazing Grace Blues" which has been popular with church bands looking for an up beat sound.   ONE  SONG  in one year.
        (free download at )

In 2007, I wrote  half of "Nothing & Everything"; "I Praise You Despite";  and also
"I Choose Your Choice" with its key opening lines
I wanted fame and fortune and to dine out really well.
Instead I’m lucky when I can afford Tostado Bell.
I don’t need a Mercedes Benz--- a Cadillac will do.
Instead I’ve got a no-name car that’s held in place with glue...
THREE   SONGS   in one year.

In 2008, something I considered horrendous happened.  I was praying a lot anyway for 'any help I could get' -- and so figured I may as well also pray about my dream of music writing more also.  Three days after the event, I wrote "Above My Sorrow Sea"  music AND lyrics in under an hour.  I kept praying through the turmoil  (See "Third of Despair and Hope", another free download, for details).   
The results of my song  experiments: 
  53   SONGS   from 2007 through 2009 for my first copyright package
  59   SONGS in 2010   (one year)  for my copyright pkgs  A, B, C
  77   SONGS in 2011   (one year)  for my cprt  pkgs  D,E,F,G
  56   SONGS to date in 2012   for my cprt  pkgs  H, I, &  J thru now

I do not share this to brag.  In fact, I had to count up the numbers while I sit here typing, because I quit counting months ago.  The 'SONGWRITING HINT" for this blog is this ----
There are many sources of help for writing good,  even great,  songs if you really want to.  If you want more,  even maybe supernatural skills,  what's the harm in experimenting with prayer and with Malachi 3:10 type of exploration?  Doesn't waste any time..... :)  
Might help you write fun songs like my "SAFE EXPERIMENTS"!
Much joy to you in exploring ways to grow your songs!  
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved.  FREE DOWNLOADS and MUSIC SHEETS on website

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Find Music in Nature

People did not invent music. And no, dogs and dinosaurs did not either! :)  You can find amazing music ideas for your song rhythms and textures and even the lyrics by simply
listening to the creations around you.

We all learned this as toddlers, of course.  Rattle the crunchy fall leaves, swish around the ocean waters,  run for shelter from the shaking thunder and its brilliant partner...
      But sometimes we forget.  When I've been stumped for the "right sound" for one of the over 200 songs on my website,  I just sit and listen to the creation around me.   I receive so much inspiration from quieting MYSELF.  For there is so much more music around each of us than we will EVER hear if we won't patiently sit to listen.  An example from just listening to river waves against the rocks during a heavy wind:

        One day I noticed something “different” in the sound as I stood by the water at dawn.  I closed my eyes... listened... realized that to my left, the water was like the usual 4/4 time with a heavy hit on the rocks as “Count 1” and a lighter hit on “count 3” and then repeating the pattern at the end of each 4 counts.
       BUT -- on my RIGHT side, the water took longer between “count 3” and the heavy repeat on Count 1.  The Music of the Water was in 5/4 time as it hit the rock barrier at a different angle.
       I charted out what I heard in the sand, and later created a spreadsheet to study my observation.  After talking with a couple of mathematicians, I learned that the word for this combination of two different series is “Combinatoric” --- 
COMBINATORIC:  A Math term.  Taking 2 (or more) sets of something and comparing them to look for elements in common. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Organizing Songs - File Names

Here is an easy way to CREATE UNIQUE FILE NAMES for each new song's supporting files.  I'm up to at least 250 songs on the Web now (see --This method that  I developed 3 years ago REALLY eliminated filename confusion

When you copyright songs (see earlier blogs), you will probably want the following file types for each song:

1.  LYRICS - Contains song words in a word processing format (like .DOC).

2.  MUSIC SHEET  (sometimes called a LEAD SHEET) - Contains notes information (but not music staffs with note symbols) to show chords (and possibly notes) that fit the lyrics which are also included

3.  SCORE  - Traditional music on a staff, with no lyrics (unless you choose to add them).  If the song has a special score for flutes (for example), just create separate files that list each instrument.

4.  AUDIO  -MP3 format usually, which has a small file size and works well for copyright office.

HOWEVER-- whether you post files to the Web or send them to the Copyright Office (LINK for U.S. office), you need a non-editable PDF file format rather than DOC files that the recipient can change.  SCORE files automatically print from programs that way.  But you will need to have TWO file types for your Lyrics file and Music Sheet file.

It is also EXTREMELY helpful to add the filedate within the file title of paper copies; you don't want to do this for the audio file because people will see that in their iTunes or QuickTime (etc) when they download your audio file.   On the web, it is also helpful to add a TAG that puts the filename with date in the Title field so that you will always know whether you have updated a web file with your newest version.

So here is a summary of file names for my song example entitled "Albino Spiders."  Notice that there is one space after the final word of the song's title, then the dash, then the letters that identify what type of information is contained in your file.  Listed in the order above.

FILES TO POST ONLINE   and with the Copyright Office:
Albino Spiders -LY 12-23-2011.pdf
Albino Spiders -MU 7-20-2012.pdf
Albino Spiders -SCORE  PIANO.pdf
Albino Spiders -SCORE  SAX.pdf
Albino Spiders.mp3
(It's helpful to keep an ARCHIVE folder on your computer with copies.)

FILES TO KEEP ON YOUR COMPUTER  for future updates
Albino Spiders -LY 12-23-2011.doc
Albino Spiders -MU 7-20-2012.doc
Albino Spiders -RESEARCH.doc  (supporting info you used for lyrics)
Albino    (your studio's project, from which you create SCORE files)

Songwriting is SO much easier when your files are well organized .... and more fun creating new songs knowing your strategy is already worked out for filenames.  Much joy in more efficiency as you write the songs in your head!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Use Your Little Girl Voice

You can use audio waves to "paint" weakness  into a song.    I joke that I use my "little girl voice" in Part 1 of some recorded songs that are about being weak in my own strength.  Then I  "power up" in the chorus   as the words encourage people that strength CAN come to them....

For you guys who are at a disadvantage here, the technique is simple:
Just breathe at "throat level."  Exactly the opposite of what voice coaches teach.
Take shallow breaths,  
sound questioning --  like you might when talking with someone.  Simple to do,
and the weakness that starts a song
REALLY emphasizes the song's power ending.

Much joy to you in finding even more creative ways to change up songs!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;   all rights reserved.
Examples are located at under one of the Songs tabs.

Monday, September 10, 2012

FAST New Songs

When you have a few lines of a new song "in your head," you do NOT need to wait until you finish the song to start recording in a home studio.  (Obviously saves $$ to do that first for a professional studio session!)

Often I awaken with a "song clip" melody in my head, and often even with words.  Of course I quickly examine whether it's someone else's song! But it's almost always "mine."  At first I would sketch down everything I had in my journal, working at a piano to write the few melody notes I had. Sometimes even selected which of the usually-4-chords would fit  melody notes.

And that works of course when you don't have recording capability right there.  But the result is often forgetting to finish what might have been a great song.  AND.... I've learned that we lose the "feel" of the original idea if we're like perfectionists, waiting for completion before we record.
1.  Go record what you already have.  Use a slower tempo for easier recording of instruments with lots of notes, like piano or guitar.
2.  Create a duplicate track.
3.  Set the playhead (red line) a bit before the Step #1 recording ends,  and select the duplicate track.
4.  Hit RECORD and begin playing "anything" on the DUP  track.
Don't worry about perfection! Just have fun! 
5.  If you goof, you can always hit the STOP button to end the region (and show where you think you goofed).   But immediately hit RECORD again and keep going.  By "just playing,"  you'll end up with chords you might have never planned which sound great.
6.  Set the tempo to what "feels" right.  If you have words, it helps to sing with the music when deciding a tempo.  (Once I didn't realize until in the professional studio that I'd almost pass out from lack of breath singing the entire song at once in my selected tempo.... that was "HOLY HEZEKIAH BLUES" !!!
7.  Later.... you can wait until you have time!..... select the regions you want to keep or edit, and delete what you hate.  Build on these with music you like.
8.  Finally, just look at the SCORE in the recording program to calculate the melody notes and chord names to write down on your music sheet pages.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Super-QUICK Preview of Music Projects on a Mac

Songwriters often create their initial tracks on their home computer, such as on a Mac using Garageband. And we often have many draft files as we record the "music in our heads" so we don't lose it.... but are too busy on other projects to immediately finish.

And then when we go back later, we can't remember amid all our other song ideas, what we recorded for "this" draft! So as we look in Finder at our list of draft projects... well, have you ever had a really long music project with so many tracks that it takes a few moments to load even on a super-fast computer, just to hear a bit of what your project sounds like?

Here's a fast way to remember what your project sounds like WITHOUT opening the .BAND file or looking for the matching .MP3 (and hoping it hadn't changed since your last file-save):

I have about 230 songs on my websites, and about 80 Draft BAND files for future songs, some with only 2 tracks some with about 10. I couldn't remember if I had added Claxton's scripture reading for Prayer Without Asking MP3 track from his studio's ProTools project to my GarageBand project. But I didn't want to bother loading the BAND file to check.

So I decided to see if Quick Look shows the picture like GB's iLIFE preview window....

In Finder,
1. single click to highlight the .BAND file name,
2. right click on it,
3. select Quick Look --- and

Not only will you see what your .BAND file window looks like (the iLIFE preview),
but Quick Look will PLAY your project.... even a huge project with many tracks.
You must have had "bounced" the project (In GarageBand: "Send Song to iTunes") in order to hear the associated .MP3 file when you click on Quick Look.

This is far faster than waiting to open the project! Cool!
May you find MUCH joy in using and finding shortcuts to efficiently record your music!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne (Die to Self, Do for Christ,
Reflect God, all with the help of the Holy Spirit)    -- full SEARCH website in development

Monday, May 28, 2012

Organizing Song DRAFTS for Efficiency

Do you have lots of songs "in your head" or written out quickly in a file "somewhere" until you have time to work through the music or develop lyrics?

Here is the easy method I use that results in creating full completed songs in less than a week sometimes (and I'm up to 225 songs, see for the index list and free audio example and music sheets)...

1. Create a single enclosing folder such as "Songs 2012".
2. Within that folder, create 4 new folders:

a. Lyrics Drafts - to contain DOC style files of song words.
b. Music Sheet Drafts - to contain draft scores or DOC files of notes for chord progressions, etc.
c. Recorded Music Drafts - to contain BAND or MP3 or other files. You can create sub-folders depending on the type of music recording. For example, I have a GARAGEBAND folder and a VOICE RECORDER folder here (like .VPN files).

d. Support files..... see future blogs! These include Copyright records, indexes for journals so you can FIND your handwritten song drafts, etc.

There is SO much fun in taking your draft lyrics and "just playing" songs in your Recorded Music Drafts folder.... and suddenly realizing you have a great fit for your song! With some music already recorded, all you have to do is re-fit a bit either the words or the notes to quickly create a new song. Much joy in developing efficiency as you write songs for others to hear....
©2012 DianaDee Osborne

Saturday, May 5, 2012

5 Tricks for Easy Vocal Tone Matches

As we record vocals for songs or readings, it's normal to sometimes goof.
And frequently we notice the goof as soon as we do it.
Have you ever continued through the song, stopped, gone back to the spot you needed to fix, and re-sung a perfect timing or enunciation or whatever this time -- only to be told "Your tone doesn't match" by either your producer or your own observation.
Perhaps time your voice might have seemed more rich -- or more like a little girl:)

Here are 4 tricks for avoiding the difficulty 
of matching your tone for "patching" a vocal, listed in order from most effective to 'worth a try':
1.  If there's a break in the music right afterward and you have the space and you know the song well enough, go ahead and sing that piece you'll need to replace RIGHT THERE.  You or your sound guy can easily separate it out and move it back to replace that piece where you goofed.

2.  If there's not enough break, but there is some space after you've finished the song and you know the piece, sing the piece right there (with the click track still going) even if without the matching music.   Then - Same fix as for #1.

3.  OR-- Immediately after finishing the first track, create a duplicate vocal track.  Re-sing the place where you goofed with the original recording (if the mistake wasn't enough to throw you off).

4.  If the mistake WAS really bad--- You can instead cut the mistake to put in FRONT of the area on the new track where you will be re-singing the piece, so your original tone will be fresh in your mind as you re-sing that part with the mistake cut out of the original track.
TECHNIQUE for the future:
5.  If you haven't already:  Start paying close attention to how your throat and upper chest feel  as you sing a specific music range.  For example, when you sing near middle C, you may have a rumble-y feel around your collar bone, compared to a thin feel around your larynx for high notes, or for song sections where you deliberately avoid a rich tone so that the song will have contrast later.
      Thus, when you have to 'repair' a vocal track, it's easier to match your tone by matching the feel in your throat or upper chest.    
      Just a hint for those days when you're hoping to not have to re-sing or re-speak your entire track just because you got one little word out of place! ..........
Much joy to you in singing out music!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne

Monday, January 2, 2012


Let's say you're interested in publishing your original songs. Some websites are overwhelming, but the U.S. Copyright Office is pretty easy to follow except for navigation from help screens back to an application in process. So the starter hint is to try to know definitions before you start!

1. As soon as your write something "in tangible form" (by definition that means a PRINTOUT is a good idea --"touch-able") it is "copyrighted." INFORMATION:
2. Even though your work is protected as soon as it's in a tangible form including in personal letters or church newsletters, you might want to further protect it by adding a DATE after the word 'copyright' or its symbol to your tangible-form work like this:
©2012 My Name
The year is needed because the year shows when protection begins -- they keep changing the law, but it's a lot of years. Still, it's useful to show the start date:)

3. Technically, your work is copyright-protected. And the U.S. has an agreement with most countries to honor that protection. But it is more "safe" to officially register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office -- and that's both easy and inexpensive. You might not know -- it's within the 'depths' of the govt copyright office website! --
It costs only $ 35 to copyright ("register") an entire book....
even if there's hundreds of files, if you have a file per chapter... You just create a PDF-format file for each of your documents (.DOC or whatever you edit with) files. Just check the internet -- there are some really good free download programs that will enable you to "print to PDF file."

4. You don't have to wait until your work is in a final form --
you just give your draft work a different title. For example,
you could protect your drafts by registering the Book Title as 'Collection of Whispers 2011"
You just need to separate published works (such as those in bulletins) from unpublished ones (such as those still only in your office) because one of the application questions asks if the work has been published, so you need a single answer:)

5. If you decide you want to check this out,
a. Go to
b. Select the eCO program (Electronic Copyright Office) by clicking on the blue circle button (icon) in the right column.
c. When the info screen comes up, click on the same style eCO blue button to "Login."
d. When a "Security ... Privacy:..." screen comes up, read it and click on the button that says "Continue to eCO." HINT: On slow dial-up connections, hit the Stop button X and then "Reload" to get the screen to come up faster if it seems 'stopped' in progress 3/4 of the way through.
e. The first time you use the program, look right below the Login button on the left.
The bottom line says "If you are a new user, click here to register." BEFORE YOU DO SO --
YOU MUST TURN OFF YOUR POP-UP BLOCKER to register OR to upload files (a future blog will provide easy upload hints).

1. You'll need to use an electronic check (Payment screen's TOP section) or scroll down the page (NOT clearly mentioned on the site) to enter credit card or debit card to pay the fee. You might want to use a private computer, not one at the local library or local Free Wi-Fi place, to do your registration. You do NOT need fast internet to register... it's slower but not sluggish. AND you do not need to upload any files when you first open a "case" for your work's title. (Sample title for multiple songs registered together = "Song Collection #1).
2. You do NOT need fast internet to upload text files including even 12-page piano scores.
3. On the other hand... good luck trying using a dial-up internet connection to upload an MP3 audio version of your music. My average is 17 minutes per song! Once you've registered your case, you are asked for a password (you can then later change), but not your credit card info... Borrow a computer with fast connection or go to a WiFi place to upload huge files.
4. The Government site warns you that there is a 60-minute limit for uploads. Since there's no limit on how many files you can upload for a song (etc), you may want to divide up the files rather then sending them all in one batch.

THIS IS HOW I DIVIDE MY UPLOADS.... of course there's no "right" way -- this is just easy, I've found:
1. I send each individual song in one upload:
a. Audio file in .MP3 format (Copyright office required format for audio files);
b. Lyrics file in PDF format (required format).
c. A PDF file of the piano track's Music Sheet (using the OTEN music notation method described at, and
d. A PDF file of the Music SCORE (using GarageBand's Print-to-PDF feature for the SCORE for EACH important track.
e. Depending on the song, I'll also register special DRUMTRACK files in .MP3 format,
SOUNDTRACK files in .MP3 format, and indivudual instruments' SCORE files (PDF).

The government program is really easy to follow; your work has a service request registration number as soon as you create your account.
--- You get a case number (SR 1-xxxxxxx) for your title.
--- The copyright date will be when you finish uploading all files (and pay the $35 bucks:)
--- You get the paper copy in the mail for about 5 months. In fact, in January 2012, the site reports a mere 3-month turnaround time.

If you use public domain songs like old hymns within your music, you can find a lot of information at

A Joyous NEW YEAR with 12 more months of music to you and yours!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne