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What does a music publisher do?

Every successful song becomes a business venture at some point and your music publisher is like your business partner. A good music publisher has the knowledge and contacts to promote a composition. Usually a publisher enters into songwriter/publisher agreement with the songwriter. The songwriter signs a contract assigning ownership and control of their copyright-protected works to the publisher, in exchange for a percentage of the income the publisher receives for exploiting your musical work. A reputable publisher never charges a fee for his/her service. You can also form your own publishing company but unless you have the knowledge, skills and contacts to be a successful publisher, there may be no need. In Canada, if there is no publisher assigned to the work, the songwriter gets 100% of the royalties.

The Business of Music

You’ve heard a lot of fairy tales and myths about the music industry but really it’s pretty straightforward. The music business is like any other business, you make a product and sell it and hopefully there is a large demand for your product. You as a songwriter are entitled to a portion or percentage of each product sold that you helped create. The whole music industry is based on percentages of potential earnings.

How songwriters make money - As a songwriter, your path to the money is fairly short. A songwriter makes money when a CD containing their song gets sold. You will also make money if your song is played on the radio, in a TV show, broadcast in a foreign country, or performed in a motion picture or as part of a theatrical production.

Step#1 - Write the words and music to your song
Step#2 – Prepare your song for presentation to a music publisher. This means you need to record a good, professional quality demo recording of your song.
Step#3 – Present your song to a music publisher, who then seeks out a record label to place your song with. The record label has many performers and artists under contract who may want to perform your song.
Step#4 – The record label then pays a percentage to the publisher, who in turn, pays a percentage to you the songwriter.

Any reputable music publisher will fight to make sure that its writers are fairly compensated for the use of their copyrights.
Intellectual property is defined as a creative endeavor that can be protected through a copyright, trademark, patent, industrial design or computer program. Your song is your intellectual property and as such can be protected through copyright.

Learn more about a Music Publisher

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