A music publisher (or publishing company) is responsible for ensuring the songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. Through an agreement called a publishing contract, a songwriter or composer “assigns” the copyright of their composition to a publishing company. In return, the company licenses compositions, helps monitor where compositions are used, collects royalties and distributes them to the composers. They also secure commissions for music and promote existing compositions to recording artists, film and television.[1]

The copyrights owned and administered by publishing companies are one of the most important forms of intellectual property in the music industry. (The other is the copyright on a master recording which is typically owned by a record company.) Publishing companies play a central role in managing this vital asset.

11 thoughts on “Publishing

  1. I wouldnt sell my publishing. What if your biggest hit is off the record you sold half your publishing for? You just took a L. Ask Montel Jordan, Doc Dre or anybody who has did a deal with Puffy about selling their publishing.

  2. also depends on how much of marketing power you have. can they take the 50% and put you in a position to profit for the rest of your life? can you make it happen on your own if you keep it all? say if you are making $5,000 a month on your own and they buy half and put you in a position to make $50,000 a month

  3. It all depends on the terms of the deal and the options involved along with the amount of leverage you have. This could just be an album deal for one record, one album, multiple albums, or a yearly term deal for x amount of years. It solely depends on how the deal is structured. Are the advances of your 50% going towards your royalties to recoup first before your can be paid if a major label is involved? Do you have exclusive rights to work with other artist or shop songs you’ve written? This can play out a number of ways. Does the publisher have enough power and connections to get you to certain avenues to expand your brand? Normally I would say no, but let’s say you’re the hottest artist right now, your following is exceptional! You can leverage your publishing percentages to structure the right deal as a business partner because you have something to bring to the table. Just my thoughts. In the ent biz something’s got to give. Better a percentage than your soul and integrity. Don’t get me wrong it can be done without them. I.E. Tech n9ne, Nippsey Hustle. It’s just a lot more work involved, but the profits will be lucrative. It’s a roll of the dice.

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