Music publishing is simply the act of getting a song published. Music publishers play a very important role in the music industry today. Music publishers develop, protect and value music. They are in charge of the business aspect of music. With the music publisher in the picture, the songwriter or composer can relax and concentrate fully on being more creative – which is writing more good songs.
The music publisher ensures that the songwriter’s songs are properly paid for each time they are being used. Basically music publishers exploit the creative works of their songwriters and administer royalty payments. Before a music publisher enters into a relationship with a composer or songwriter, the two parties first enter into an agreement which is supported by a music publishing contract. The music publishing contract will explicitly show the rights and obligations of both parties. The songwriters give the copyright of their songs to the music publishers who in turn use every means possible to exploit the songs, promote it and make sure that the songs are fully protected. The music publisher then pays the songwriter an agreed percentage of any revenue that is made from the exploitation of the music. This is called royalties.
What are some of the basic roles of a music publisher?
- One of the most important roles of the music publisher is to be able to instantly identify good talent and song that would appeal to a very large audience.
- The music publisher is responsible for supporting the songwriter or composer in order for them to advance their career. Some of the supports some songwriters receive from music publishers include financial help, advice on their career and facilities needed to produce better music.
- The music publisher also helps in registering the creative works of the songwriters signed under them.
- The music publisher is also responsible for producing a demonstration recording of the songwriter or composer’s songs. Demonstration recordings are usually referred to as Demos.
- The music publisher also licenses the songwriter’s songs.
- They ensure that they make regular payment to their songwriters.
Some of the biggest music publishing companies in the world are Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Kobalt Music Group, BMG Chrysalis, Downtown Music Publishing, Harry Fox Agency, EMI Music Publishing etc.