What is Music Publishing?
Music publishing is one of the most important ways for songwriters and composers to generate income. If musicians write an original lyric and/or composition, they own the copyright to that piece of music and are able to monetize their creative work through exploitation.
What Does A Music Publisher Do?
A music publisher assists songwriters and composers in the business exploitation of their copyright protected work. They ensure that the musicians they represent are getting paid for the commercial use of their material by creating a lot of opportunities and revenue streams with the music. In exchange for this effort, the artist assigns ownership and control of the rights to the music publishing company.
They play a key role in the development of new music and in taking care of the business side of the industry, allowing authors to concentrate on working on new lyrics and/or compositions. A music publishing company like MusicBrokers helps their songwriters and composers in the following areas.
Whenever producers of films, television shows, commercials or computer games want to use music in their projects, they have to license the composition which gives these parties the permission to use the copyrighted work for specific terms and conditions. It’s the responsibility of the music publishing company to screen the proposed deal term, undertake necessary negotiations and conclude the deal on behalf of the musician.
Promising and established musicians both need to plan their careers well to stay ahead of the game. Publishing companies assist their authors by setting up writing sessions with other artists to stimulate the process of making new music. It often happens that a music publisher organises songcamps, which bring together a wide variety of creative minds to write and compose for one or more days in professional, fully equipped studios.
Music publishers pitch the demo’s of their authors to record labels in order to get them released by established artists. These companies also have good relationships with advertising agencies, professionals who are responsible for music in film and TV and video game producers, which increases the chance to get songs in their catalogue featured in commercials, games, ad campaigns and TV shows. When a song is used by these parties, a performance royalty is paid to the musicians.
Even the strongest single release, album release or multi-platform campaign will fail if it is not backed up by an accurate and efficient administration system. A music publishing company deals with everything from global copyright registration, income tracking and accounting for local and foreign royalty income to ensure that their songwriters and composers receive the income they worked hard for to earn.
Music Publishing Deals
The deal made between a musician and a music publisher regarding the publication of creative works are settled in a publishing contract. According to ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Artists, and Performers), there are four types of deals in music publishing that are most common.
Authors who sign a title-based deal give their share in the copyright of certain songs to the music publisher. This type of deal can be a good way for songwriters and composers to get their feet wet in the business of music publishing. The agreement only applies to those selected number of tracks. That means that songwriters and composers aren’t tied down to just one music publishing company.
Exclusive publishing deals
If a musician signs an exclusive deal, he accepts the fact that he has to assign the rights to all the musical works during a specified period of time and his services are exclusive to the music publishing company. In return for signing away exclusive rights to the creative work, the songwriter or composer gets paid a negotiated advance against future royalties by the music publisher.
This type of agreement is mostly given to musicians who have a proven track record of making songs with potential. It’s a safe bet for music publishing companies to give these songwriters and composers an advance, because the chance is very high that the money will be recouped and all the earnings made from the songs will be under contract.
It’s also a possibility that a musician and publisher team up to start a new music publishing fund together. The songwriter or composer is now able to scout new gems and sign songs and talented musicians to this joint venture.
This is an agreement where the musicians self publish their own songs and licenses it to the music publishing company for a fixed turn and agree to a certain share of royalties. Under this deal the songwriter or composer keeps full ownership of his copyright, but the publisher will take on the duties of exploiting the songs and also monitor and collect fees on behalf of the musician.