Should Artists Sign A Publishing Deal?

EMI-PublishingMusic Publishing comes along at a stage in your career when you’re ready to expand musically. Maybe you’re a songwriter and have a great catalogue already, and are looking for a good way to help get the music out to new people. Maybe you’ve been distributing your own music out via Word Of Mouth Marketing or Social Media Marketing in the DIY world, and are ready for some help to get you to the next level.

This is where Music Publishing comes in, the publishing world can be a confusing place. With the all the rules and the hoops you have to jump through it can be vital to have a company behind you helping to guide the way through the confusion.

Music Publishers are essentially tied to royalties with music. Anytime your music gets streamed on Spotify or downloaded, you earn a royalty. They handle your music for you, and make sure that you get all the royalties you have earned.

They can also help you get your music placed with other artists to record, or placed in an Television Ad or on a TV show. They will use their connections to help you earn more royalties. Through this they will get a cut of the profits, much like a manager will. The percentage publishers charge to expose your music to these different platforms can be as high as 50% of the revenue generated. This varies from company to company.

When it comes down to it Music Publishers do have their pros and cons so weight them both out before deciding to sign to one.

The pros of signing a publishing deal are:

  • You do not have to be signed to have a Music Publisher. You can still remain a DIY band if you want, or if you can’t find a good label to sign with, you can still be collecting royalties and getting your music placed in Ads or on TV. This can actually help your chances of getting signed. If you have a good outlet for your music to be heard already, labels will love it.
  • Publishing can be really confusing. Mechanical Royalties, Licensing, and Accounting maybe things you either don’t want to deal with or can’t. The great thing is the Publisher will deal with all of it for you.
  •  Publishers are connected. They will have a great network already built in. Signing with them will ensure that you have access to that network. You might be able to get connected with artists or companies that you could not have on your own.
  •  You will get a draw, which is a lump sum for you to live off of while you write, and a demo budget, so that you can ensure that your music is even higher quality.
  • Publishers will make sure you get paid. Royalties can go missed by artists on their own. Publishers will ensure that you get every penny you have earned.

The cons of signing are publishing deal are: 

  • When you sign to a publisher the draw and the demo budget will be recouped. Meaning these are monies that  are basically loans given to you by the company. They will expect you to pay that back before you even get paid. While the money upfront can be an initial draw to the company, you have to remember that you will be paying it all back
  • You may not always be the priority. Even though your songs will be heard by a song plugger (these are the guys at the company that are paid to find you placements), they may not always be able to find you placement. Or even worse they may have more clients that are in demand, or bring in more money for the company. If you’re not making them a lot of money, you may fall by the wayside.
  • You may not get the Validation you seek from the industry. Everyone wants to be told that they are good at whatever they do, but you may not get that from the company. It may be a case of your music not getting heard, or your music not being a good fit with in the company. But that external validation is a tricky thing.

Music Publishers are not a one size fits all scenario. You can find a way to make it all work for you and your needs. You can do it yourself, you can sign with a publisher, or if you’re especially brave, you can create your own publishing company. It’s doing research and making sure you know exactly what you are signing yourself up for, and knowing what you are capable of doing.

There are many music publishing companies throughout the world. The two heavy hitters for Music Publishing are the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI). There are so many other companies that fall under the umbrella of Music Publisher. It’s best when researching potential publishers to see where you would get most attention and what would be a good fit for you and your needs. Again,  if you want to remain independent and not give up any of your publishing or royalties you can always Start your Own Music Publishing Company

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Hip Hop Think Tank, Inc. Specializes In Educating Indie Rap Artists On How To Become Successful In The Music Industry.

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