What is Music Publishing
Music publishing is the exploitation of one’s songs by another. In exchange for this “right,” you (or your music publisher) are entitled to collect mechanical royalties every time a third party makes and distributes a phonorecord (“sound recording”) of your song. Publishers may act as agents for the songwriter. Or they may pay the songwriter an advance against future earnings and make money by exploiting songs for licensing income. The music publishing industry makes money from various sources including performance royalties, mechanical royalties, synchronization fees and print royalties.
A music publisher’s main tasks are to increase their music creators’ revenues, protect the rights of the songwriters and play a supportive role in the creative process. They help create the legal framework for the creation of music, manage the rights of songwriters, and ensure that the creators get paid for their work.
A music publisher can put a songwriter in contact with a network of record companies, film companies, video production companies, advertising agencies, etc. The network can reach out in other countries where they want to promote their music. Music publishers can also create original prints of notes, negotiate with printers, proofread, etc. If a music publisher represents a songwriter, it is the music publisher that registers the songs with STIM and manages settlements and outgoing payments.
Get your music in the hands of the right people, so that you can earn a living with your talent. The best way to do this is by hiring us. We connect talented artists with the right people to ensure that they get paid for their craft. We manage all legal aspects of the creation of music, assist in creating a framework for copyright, and ensure that all royalty rights are protected.
Check out some of the most frequently asked ‘Music Publishing’ questions below. If we have missed something or things are still unclear, drop us an email and we would be more than happy to schedule a video meeting and talk you through the process.
Music publishing is the exploitation of a song’s composition copyright. The composition of a song is the lyrics and melody as written by one or more songwriters.
A music publisher is the business partner in a musical composition. A good music publisher has the knowledge and contacts to promote a composition. Typically a publisher enters into a songwriter/publisher agreement with the songwriter (also known as the producer, the vocalist / singer & the composer in EDM), whereby the songwriter assigns ownership and control of the copyright protected musical works to the publisher in exchange for a percentage of the income derived from the exploitation of the musical works. A music publisher cannot collect more than 50% of the performing right. A reputable publisher never charges a fee for his/her service. We at Soundrive Music collect a mere 30% for our service. Get in touch for more details.
A music publisher is responsible for:
- The contractual acquisition of copyrights
- The administration of the copyrights including the registration of copyright ownership
- Issuing of licenses on request
- Registering of works with copyright collectives such as SOCAN, CMRRA or SODRAQ to ensure and generate revenue
- Distribution of reproduction rights royalties to the writers
- Ensuring compensation of all usage of catalogue domestically and internationally
They may also be responsible for:
- The creative exploitation of copyrights including song pitching for cover recordings
- The placement of songs in film, television shows and commercials
- Various ancillary uses including but not limited to ring-tones and merchandising
Music publishing royalties are a bit different than other types of royalties. While traditional publishing royalties are paid by the publisher to the author, who then pays their writer (if they’re not self-published), music publishing royalties are paid directly from the publisher to you.
As a songwriter, you’ll earn money every time your song is played on TV or radio, streamed online, sold as sheet music or downloaded as a digital file.
You can also earn money when others use your song in their own recordings or performances. For example, if someone were to cover one of your songs and release it on an album or as an individual track, you could earn performance royalties every time that album is sold or streamed online. In addition to this, you’d also receive mechanical royalties for each copy of that album sold that includes your song being performed live: these two types of royalty payments combined would make up the “performance income” portion of your overall music publishing income.
The amount of money you’ll earn from your music publishing rights depends on several factors: firstly, how popular your songs are with listeners; secondly, how often they’re played (on TV shows/radio stations etc); and finally – what percentage of total revenue has been
Songwriters / Producers / Composers can earn money from their compositions in a few different ways:
- Performance royalties
- Mechanical royalties
- Sync licensing fees
- Licenses for samples
- Printing sheet music
Any time a song you composed is played in public – via a live performance or on the radio or through speakers at a restaurant, a gym, an office – that “performance” generates a corresponding performance royalty. These royalties are collected by the performing rights organization (PRO eg: STIM, PRS, BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, GMR) in which that performance took place. Performance royalties are payments made to songwriters and publishers for the use of their music in public performances, such as radio play, television or movies. These royalties are collected by Performing Rights Organizations (PROs), who then distribute them to the artists and publishers.
A performing rights organization or writer’s society, also known as a PRO, is an agency whose job is to monitor radio airplay and live performances. They then pay royalties to the songwriters and publishers who claim ownership to the songs. PROs charge a blanket licensing fee for radio stations, venues and even restaurants for the rights to host performances of the songs in the PRO’s catalog. This fee is scaled to the size of the station or venue; the larger it is the more they pay the PRO. The PROs use that money to pay songwriters and publishers.
If you’re touring or performing shows locally or on radio, it’s always a good idea and common practice to register your setlist with your PRO. That’s performance revenue waiting for you, and all you need to do is enter some quick data. It is also never too late, if you have unregistered works that have been performed or played on radio, we are able to retrieve and claim for up to 2 years after the fact. Those royalties are not lost yet!
This question comes up a lot with new songwriters / Producers / Artists. Since we are located in Sweden, we have one main PRO called STIM. You would register with a PRO based on the location in which the work (song) was produced / composed or the location in which you are situated. Please see a list that we have put together for you below:
- Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA)
- Australia Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA)
- Autoren, Komponisten und Musikverleger (AKM)
- Servicio Nacional de Propiedad Intellectual (SENAPI)
- ECAD (Escritório Central de Arrecadação e Distribuição)
- Sociedad Chilena del Derecho de Autor (SCD)
- Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique (SACEM)
- Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische
- Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA)
- GEA-GRAMMO, ERATO-APOLLON
- The Indian Performing Right Society Ltd
- Irish Music Rights Organisation, Phonographic Performance
- Ireland (PPI)
- Music Royalty Collection Society Nepal (MRCSN)
- Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO)
- KOMCA, KOSCAP
- We know
Trinidad and Tobago
- PRS, PPL
- Global Music Rights
Below are a few videos that explain in more detail what music publishing is and how it works. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com and we will answer you as best we can