At the bottom of an album page, Spotify shows certain details including © and ℗. For example for Taylor Swift's album 1984 https://open.spotify.com/album/2QJmrSgbdM35R67eoGQo4j

© 2014 Big Machine Records, LLC.
℗ 2014 Big Machine Records, LLC.

What's the meaning of © and ℗? In the example above they are identical, but when might they differ?


1 Answer 1


From https://artists.spotify.com/blog/talk-the-talk-music-terms-a-glossary

P Line: In copyright law, the P Line is specific to musical works (the P stands for “phonogram”) and is represented by ℗. The purpose of this symbol is to indicate that legal rights are held for a sound recording and to identify the owner of those rights. You may have seen this printed on an LP sleeve or CD booklet accompanied by the year that the work was first released and the name of the owner of the sound recording. For digital music the P Line is included within the metadata associated with an audio file.

C Line: The © symbol, or C Line, is used to indicate copyright in a range of creative works other than sound recordings. In the context of music it is used to denote rights protection for the cover art or written material included within an album, like liner notes. It can also be used in relation to the underlying musical composition and lyrics. Because the P Line and C Line refer to different rights you will always see them written separately, even when the owner of the rights is the same.

  • Will the phonogram and copyright holders always be the record label we expect? Or can it be someone else?
    – Colonel Panic
    Jul 2, 2021 at 15:04
  • 1
    @Colonel Panic In many cases, on Spotify, there isn't an intermediary record label, because Spotify provides a cheap and easy way to self-publish your own recordings and earn royalties. Instead, the music will often be uploaded by the person who self-recorded their song. Often that person will also own the copyright, but sometimes there will by additional copyright owners (e.g. if a song was composed while a lead singer was a member of one group which holds the lyric and composite copyright, and is then performed with permission of the previous group by the lead singer by a new group).
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 2, 2021 at 16:08

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