What Is Music Publishing and How Does It Work?

What Is Music Publishing and How Does It Work?

The music industry is full of opportunities to make money and build the career you’ve always dreamed of, but it can also be extremely complicated and confusing to navigate. One way to make your music career more lucrative and less stressful is to learn more about music publishing, one of the ways you can monetize your craft. In this guide on music publishing, we’ll discuss what music publishing is and how it works, as well as introduce you to some of the companies who specialize in providing music publishers with their services.

What is music publishing?

Music publishing is an often-misunderstood facet of record label involvement in an artist’s career. Publishing refers to copyright ownership, but who owns what song rights, who has control over those rights and how they are (and are not) monetized... well, that’s a little more complicated. The publishing side of things deals with copyrights—the legal ownership of songs. In most cases, when you write a song as an independent artist or band you own 100 percent of your composition and lyrics; your publishing company owns 100 percent of your recording. So, if you sign with a major label, you will give up some percentage points on both your composition and lyrics—but you will retain all publishing income generated by physical sales or streams/downloads through services like Spotify or Apple Music.

Overview of Music Publishing Companies

Music publishing companies are firms that administer copyright protection for songwriters. These businesses exist in both an artist/creator capacity, and as a business organization that acquires copyrights from songwriters (with their permission). Publishing companies can be small operations that specialize in just one kind of publishing, such as country music publishing companies, or they can be large conglomerates that own all kinds of different publishing rights. They also handle other aspects of being an artist, such as promotion and distribution.  Music publishing companies were originally created to serve two purposes:

  1. To collect royalties on behalf of artists, and 
  2. To advance money to musicians. 

In simpler terms, they are responsible for administering rights. The services provided by publishing companies vary depending on whether they’re working with independent or signed artists. For example, when a company works with an independent artist, they will often handle all aspects of licensing and collecting royalties. However, if a publishing company works with signed artists, they will only handle administration while labels take care of licensing and royalty collection. A major music publishing company is – “Tunedly”. To know more, click the link - https://www.tunedly.com/.

What is Publishing in Music?

Publishing in music refers to a business model by which people who create or hold copyrights on musical compositions are paid every time their material is performed. It’s one of three main revenue streams for songwriters, alongside mechanical royalties (paid when someone buys a CD, for example) and performance royalties (paid when someone plays your song publicly). It’s important to know that publishing in music isn’t just for people who want to be famous; if you write songs, or even just partial song ideas, you can register a copyright with your local government. The copyright will protect your material so that no one can steal your original work—and also allow you to collect royalty checks when someone wants to use it.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to dig into publishing in music!



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