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 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
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
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