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What is Music Publisher?

And why every independent artist should have one.

Music publishing may seem like a labyrinth at first, but once you've got it down, it becomes a rewarding experience for some indie artists. Publishing is all about knowing how to properly register and distribute your content. When registered works are utilized, they earn royalties that can turn the songs you write into a sustainable career! Dive into this guide and discover why every professional songwriter needs a music publisher.

01

What is Music Publishing?

In order to truly know what music publishing is, you first need to understand what music copyright is. Musicians copyright their music so that PROs know which songwriters (or copyright holders) are due money through publishing royalties whenever their music is played.

What does a Music Publisher Do?

Publishers ensure songwriters and composers get paid their due royalties worldwide. Although there are now dozens of different types of licenses there are three main types of royalties:

Performing Royalties: From live gigs to radio plays.

Mechanical Royalties: From physical sales and digital streams.

Sync Licensing Royalties: From uses in ads, films, and games.

02

Explaining Music Copyrights

By registering for music copyrights you can safeguard original works of art, giving rights holders control over how their content is used, including performances and distribution.

 

The Sound Recording (Master Rights)

When artists talk about "owning their masters," they're referring to the copyrights of the original sound recordings—yep, the master rights, of that particular recording. Owning these means you get royalties anytime your version of that track is played or downloaded, be it through streaming services or online stores.

 

The Composition (Publishing Rights)

This refers to the music's underlying elements, like melody and chords—and maybe lyrics. Typically, the composer or songwriter holds these rights. Locking down your music’s copyright ensures you’re the one collecting those royalties!

03

What is a PRO?
(Performing Rights Organization)

A Performing Rights Organization (PRO) collects performing royalties for songwriters within a specific region. Major PROs include ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. You’ll need to sign up with a PRO in your area—or have your publisher do it—to claim your royalties.

04

Pitching Your Music for Sync

Sync licensing pairs your music with visual media like TV shows, ads or movies. Publishers have worked for years or decades to develop the connections required to offer access to sync pitching opportunities, potentially boosting your brand and reach as well as sync royalties.

Reach out to independent publishers like me at Amunson Audio for resources on how to get started with claiming your royalties. We'll handle all the tedious but necessary legal tasks of registering your music worldwide, ensuring you get paid for your work.

 

With this knowledge, I hope you're able to have a better understand on how to make the most out of your musical career. Consider your options, discuss with your manager (or 'Mom-ager' for most professional musicians who're just starting their career), keep creating your music, and ALWAYS read the Terms & Conditions for any online distributors! 

Use Coupon Code: 50OFF1ST to receive 50% off your first Service!

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