A&R and Manager Advice

Music Publishing Companies

Music Publishing Companies

Each artist's dream is to create music that resounds with the audience, developing a bond that transcends cultures and languages. A fundamental piece in achieving that dream is understanding the role of music publishing companies. Once you grasp how these entities operate, managing your artistic career becomes a smoother path.

What are Music Publishing Companies?

Music publishing companies play a vital role in the music industry, acting as the crucial connection between artists, their music, and those who wish to use that music. They ensure artists receive payment when their compositions are used commercially.

Roles of Music Publishing Companies

  • Finding and Signing Songwriters: Their primary role includes scouting talents and getting songwriters under their wings. They then give these talents a platform to express and market their artistry.
  • Song Promotion: They actively promote songs to musicians who are seeking new tracks to make them more appealing to potential users.
  • Managing Licensing: They handle all legal rights and licensing issues to safeguard the artist's musical composition. This includes mechanical rights and performance rights in the music industry.
  • Finance Management: They ensure that the artists get fair compensation for their work. This extends to collecting the royalty due from record companies, usage fees from movies, television shows, and advertisements.

Choosing the Right Music Publishing Company

There are various music publishing companies out there, but choosing the right one is a crucial step towards a successful music career. When deciding which company to sign with, consider the following points:

  1. Compatibility: Does the company understand your genre and style? Can they promote your music effectively?
  2. Company Size: Larger companies have more resources and contacts, but smaller companies might offer a more personal and attentive service.
  3. Reputation: A highly reputable company can add credibility to your music career. Check out any potential company's previous work and client satisfaction before making a decision.

Music Publishing Companies Example:

Imagine you are an up-and-coming folk artist who values a personal and hands-on approach. You are deciding between two publishing companies—an independent firm specialising in folk, and a massive corporation with a diverse portfolio. You might choose the indie firm because they understand your genre well and can provide more personal attention, even if they don't have as many resources or connections as the larger company.

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Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

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Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a music publishing company?

A music publishing company manages the rights and royalties related to a musical composition. These companies ensure that songwriters and composers receive payment when their music is used commercially, whether it's played on the radio, performed live, or synchronized with visual media.

How does a music publishing company make money?

A music publishing company earns money by collecting royalties from various sources including mechanical royalties, performance royalties, synchronization fees, and print music sales. These revenues are collected on behalf of songwriters and composers, and the company takes a percentage as their fee.

What is the difference between a music publisher and a record label?

While a music publisher deals with the rights and earnings from a musical composition, a record label deals with the recording (the actual sound) of that composition. They are two distinct parts of music industry, focusing on different rights and revenue streams.

How can a music publishing company help an artist?

A music publishing company can assist an artist by handling the administrative work associated with licensing, collecting, and distributing royalties, leaving the artist to focus on the creative process. They often also work to promote the compositions and secure placements in various media.

Can a songwriter be their own publisher?

Yes, a songwriter can act as their own publisher. However, managing publishing requires a significant investment of time and expertise in the music business, which is why many songwriters choose to work with established publishing companies.

What are mechanical royalties?

Mechanical royalties are fees that music publishers collect whenever a composition is reproduced, which means whenever it's pressed onto CDs, vinyl, downloaded, or streamed through services like Spotify and Apple Music.

What are performance royalties?

Performance royalties are paid when music is played publicly, which includes radio, television broadcasts, live performances, and through streaming services. Organizations known as performing rights organizations (PROs) collect these royalties on behalf of songwriters and publishers.

What is a synchronization license?

A synchronization license, or sync license, is the right granted by the publisher to synchronize music with some sort of visual media output like movies, TV shows, commercials, video games, and more.

What is a co-publishing deal?

A co-publishing deal is an arrangement where a songwriter and a publishing company share ownership and revenue from a composition. Usually, the songwriter retains a larger percentage of the royalties, while the publisher provides resources for administration and promoting the work.

How are royalties collected from music streaming services?

Music streaming services pay royalties for the streaming of songs through licensing agreements with rights holders. There are typically two types of royalties involved: performance royalties and mechanical royalties. Collection agencies and PROs are responsible for distributing these to the publishers and songwriters.

What should I look for in a music publishing company?

Look for a company with a proven track record of success, transparent business practices, a fair and clear contract, good communication, strong collection methods, and the ability to promote your work and develop your career.

Is it necessary to register with a performing rights organization?

While not strictly necessary, registration with a performing rights organization (PRO) like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC can be essential for songwriters and publishers to ensure they collect all performance royalties owed for the use of their music.

What is an advance in a music publishing deal?

An advance is a payment made by the publishing company to the songwriter or composer up-front against future royalties. It is not additional income but a part of what the publisher expects the work will earn. The songwriter typically must "recoup" this advance from subsequent royalties before receiving additional payments.

What does it mean to recoup an advance?

To recoup an advance means that the songwriter or composer has earned enough in royalties to pay back the initial sum given to them by the publishing company at the outset of the agreement. No further royalties are paid out until the advance is fully recouped.

What are some red flags to watch out for in a publishing deal?

Be wary of deals with lengthy contract terms, a lack of creative control, unfavorable royalty splits, hidden fees, or any clauses that limit your ability to exit the agreement. Also, watch out for publishers that lack clear communication or have a poor reputation in the industry.

Can a music publishing company help with songwriter development?

Many music publishing companies offer developmental support to songwriters by providing opportunities, resources, and industry connections that can help them refine their craft and get their music in front of more people.

What types of songs do music publishers look for?

Music publishers generally look for songs with strong commercial potential, meaning compositions that have the ability to be widely performed, reproduced, and licensed. The specific genre or style can vary greatly depending on the publisher's focus and current market trends.

How can I submit my songs to a publishing company?

Start by researching which publishing companies align with your music style and see if they accept unsolicited submissions. Follow their submission guidelines carefully, which may include sending a demo, lyric sheets, and a cover letter or email introducing yourself and your work.

Do I need a lawyer to review a music publishing contract?

It is highly recommended to have an entertainment lawyer or a legal professional with expertise in the music industry to review any contract before you sign it. This will ensure that you fully understand the terms and protect your rights and interests.

How long does a typical music publishing contract last?

The length of a music publishing contract can vary, but common terms are anywhere from one to three years, with the possibility of extensions. This can depend on the nature of the deal, whether it's a single song agreement or a longer-term exclusive contract. Always understand the terms before agreeing.

What is “cross-collateralization” in music publishing contracts?

Cross-collateralization is a clause in publishing contracts where revenues from multiple works by a songwriter are pooled together to recoup advances or debts. This means if one work earns significantly, it helps offset the advances given for other works, potentially delaying the point when royalties start being paid again.

Now that you understand the role and importance of music publishing companies, you are better equipped to manage your music career. Remember, while these companies are a crucial stepping stone to success, it's only one aspect of the complex music industry. For more insights and assistance when creating your music, explore Lyric Assistant to guide your artistic journey. From choosing your genre to generating a full-fledged song, we've got you covered. Don't forget to share this article with your fellow musicians!

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

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About Toni Mercia

Toni Mercia is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and the founder of Lyric Assistant. With over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Toni has written hit songs for some of the biggest names in music. She has a passion for helping aspiring songwriters unlock their creativity and take their craft to the next level. Through Lyric Assistant, Toni has created a tool that empowers songwriters to make great lyrics and turn their musical dreams into reality.

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