Make sure your material is registered for copyright. Use all of the tools at your disposal to make it difficult for thieves. And be prepared to prove ownership. Archive your work files. If you are posting at any specific sales sites, use watermarks/beat tags.
I’ve spent so much time trying to improve my skills and get more plays online so I can get noticed, that I failed to realize I may have thrown away a substantial amount of money in doing so. I don’t even know where to go from here.