A&R and Manager Advice

Top Music Publishers

Top Music Publishers

Unleashing your creative potentials in songwriting can be truly exhilarating, but it is equally important to ensure your music reaches the right audience. You can achieve this by getting your music published. Do you know which music publishers are considered the best in the industry? Stay with us as we walk you through a comprehensive list of top music publishers who can help elevate your music career to greater heights.

What Are Music Publishers?

Music publishers play a significant role in the music industry, taking charge of the administration, promotion, exploitation, and protection of songs under their control. They ensure music creators receive the payment they deserve when their music is used.

The Top Music Publishers

Here are some of the industry's best music publishers:

1. Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Sony/ATV Music Publishing is a leading global music publisher managing a vast music catalog from legendary artists like The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Queen to contemporary stars such as Taylor Swift and Drake. The company works diligently to protect and maximize the value of their artists' work.

2. Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG)

UMPG is another prominent global music publishing company representing a myriad of genres. The company boasts an impressive roster of artists including but not limited to Adele, Billie Eilish, and Elton John.

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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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

3. Warner Chappell Music

Warner Chappell Music is a global music publishing company with a rich history and illustrious catalog, which includes timeless song classics and mega-hits from top performers such as Led Zeppelin, Madonna, and Bruno Mars.

4. Kobalt Music

Kobalt Music Group takes a unique approach to music publishing with advanced technology designed to accurately track and collect royalties. The publisher represents music legends like Paul McCartney, alongside upcoming artists.

5. BMG Rights Management

BMG is a music publisher and a record label, with an innovative service-oriented approach. They have works of numerous known artists from David Bowie to Sean Kingston.

Aiming to Get Published

If you aspire to work with one of these top music publishers, you should:

  • Ensure your music is of exceptional quality, original and appealing.
  • Build a strong online presence as a music artist.
  • Network and build relationships within the industry.
  • Submit your music portfolio to publishers who align with your style and genre.

Top Music Publishers Example:

Sony/ATV Music Publishing, for instance, successfully helped a budding singer-songwriter transition from performing at local spots to becoming the winner of Grammy's record of the year award. With the backing of the publisher's network and resources, the artist's song enjoyed worldwide airplay and made it to multiple music charts. This saw the artist's career flourish, with their music reaching millions of ears globally.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a music publisher?

A music publisher is an individual or company responsible for ensuring that songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. They handle the licensing, collection of royalties, and give legal support and advocacy for copyright holders. Music publishers play a crucial role in the music industry by promoting and monetizing compositions, helping artists to maximize their income and protecting their intellectual property.

How does a music publisher differ from a record label?

A music publisher focuses on the rights and earnings related to the composition of music – the melody and lyrics – while a record label concentrates on the recording of that music. A label deals with the production, distribution, and promotion of music recordings, and typically signs artists to record deals. Publishers, in contrast, sign songwriters to publishing deals and look after the usage of songs in various media.

Why is choosing the right music publisher important?

Choosing the right music publisher is important because a good publisher can be instrumental in advancing a songwriter's career. They can secure high-quality placements of songs in TV, movies, and other media, negotiate favorable terms in deals, and ensure that rights and royalties are properly managed. A publisher with strong connections and a proactive approach can significantly increase an artist's visibility and income.

What are some of the top music publishers today?

Some of the top music publishers in the industry include Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, BMG Rights Management, and Kobalt Music. These companies lead the market in terms of revenue, catalog size, and artist rosters.

What services do music publishers provide?

Music publishers offer a variety of services such as copyright management, royalty collection, music licensing, synchronization rights management, songwriter and composer representation, catalog promotion, and career development for artists. They tailor these services to individual artists' needs and work to optimize revenue streams from their compositions.

What are synchronization rights?

Synchronization rights, commonly known as "sync" rights, involve the permission to use a piece of music in audiovisual formats such as movies, TV shows, advertisements, video games, and more. Music publishers often negotiate these rights on behalf of the composers and songwriters they represent.

Can independent artists work with music publishers?

Yes, independent artists can and often do work with music publishers. In fact, many publishers seek out emerging talent and up-and-coming songwriters to add fresh material to their catalogs. A good publisher can greatly assist independent artists in navigating the industry and accessing opportunities they might not find on their own.

What are mechanical royalties?

Mechanical royalties are earned when a composition is reproduced, either physically or digitally. This includes CDs, vinyl, tapes, digital downloads, and streaming. Music publishers ensure that songwriters and composers receive their mechanical royalties from record labels and digital platforms that reproduce their music.

How does a music publisher help with copyright issues?

Music publishers are well-versed in copyright law and can assist in registering copyrights, managing copyright claims, and defending against infringement. They can also help in negotiating settlements and navigating the complexities of intellectual property rights in the music industry.

What is a publishing deal, and what are its benefits?

A publishing deal is an agreement between a songwriter and a music publisher in which the publisher acquires the rights to market and license the songwriter's compositions in exchange for a portion of the generated income. Benefits include professional advocacy, the possibility of securing more lucrative licensing deals, and administrative support in royalty collections and copyright management.

How are royalties collected and paid out?

Royalties are collected by various organizations, such as Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) and mechanical rights agencies, which then distribute them to the rightful owners. Music publishers also collect and distribute royalties they’ve directly negotiated on behalf of their songwriters and composers. Payments to artists are usually made on a regular basis, according to the terms of their contracts.

How do I choose a publisher that's right for me?

Choosing a publisher requires research and consideration of your individual needs as a songwriter or composer. Look for publishers with a proven track record in your genre of music, strong industry networks, and a fair and transparent royalty collection and payment system. It's also important to feel that the publisher believes in your music and is committed to your career growth.

Should songwriters establish their own publishing company?

Establishing a self-publishing company can be a good move for songwriters who want more control over their works and potentially higher income from their music, as they eliminate the middleman. However, it requires a significant amount of knowledge about the music industry and a willingness to take on administrative and legal responsibilities.

What's the difference between exclusive and non-exclusive publishing agreements?

Exclusive publishing agreements require songwriters to grant all their publishing rights to one publisher for the duration of the contract. Non-exclusive agreements allow songwriters to work with multiple publishers at the same time. Each type has its own pros and cons, and the choice between them should align with the songwriter's career goals and need for flexibility.

How can a songwriter submit their work to a publisher?

Songwriters can submit their work to publishers through various methods including direct submissions, music conferences, industry networking events, online platforms, or with the assistance of a manager or agent. It is important to check each publisher's submission guidelines before sending your work.

What is a sub-publishing agreement?

A sub-publishing agreement involves a primary publisher who partners with other publishing companies in different territories to promote and license music in areas where the primary publisher may not have a strong presence. Sub-publishers manage rights and collect royalties within their specific region on behalf of the original publisher and songwriter.

Can music publishers help increase an artist's exposure?

Yes, music publishers can help increase an artist's exposure by securing placements in various media, creating opportunities for cover versions of their songs by well-known artists, and facilitating collaborations that can introduce songwriters to new audiences.

What are performance royalties and how are they collected?

Performance royalties are earned when music is played publicly, such as on radio, in venues, and through streaming services. These are collected by PROs like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC in the United States, and similar organizations around the world, which track performances and distribute the royalties to their registered members.

What sort of contracts can I expect to sign with a music publisher?

Potential contracts with music publishers can include single-song agreements, exclusive term agreements (where you commit to a publisher for a certain period of time), or full catalog deals. The specifics of each contract can vary greatly, so it's essential to understand the terms and ensure they align with your career objectives.

Is it necessary to have a lawyer when dealing with music publishing contracts?

It is highly recommended to have a lawyer, preferably one specialized in entertainment law, when negotiating and signing music publishing contracts. A lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected, help you understand the complex terms and conditions, and negotiate on your behalf to secure the best possible deal.

Choosing the right music publisher is an important step in your music career. Hopefully, this guide helped you understand more about the music publishing world. Feel free to explore more articles on Lyric Assistant to equip yourself with more knowledge about the music industry. If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your fellow songwriters!

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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