Music Publishing Explained for Musicians

Music publishing means collecting and paying royalties for songs that are “used”. Although it may seem straightforward, this is only a small part of the story.

Music publishing can be a great way to generate new revenue streams for artists. It can seem complicated and overwhelming at first, but artists must understand it. We’ll explain how musicians can earn more from their music through publishing royalties.

A Guide for Music Publishing.

Before we can understand the music publishing process, it is important to understand how copyright works.

Each track has two copyrights. There are two copyrights for each track: one for the sound recording and one for the Composition.

The Sound Recording (Master Rights).

Artists who say they “own their masters” refer to their copyright to original music recordings, also known as master rights.

The master rights to a song’s original sound recording will be paid royalties if the recording is broadcast, reproduced or used in any other way. This includes streaming and downloading.

The artist or record label usually owns the copyright to the Sound Recording.

The Composition (Publishing Right)

The Composition, also known as “Musical Work”, refers to the musical structure, Composition and underlying elements of a song. This could include lyrics.

The composer or original writer of the track usually owns the copyright to the Composition.

What is a Music Publisher?

A Music Publisher is a representative of composers and songwriters who collect all royalties from their compositions.

Publishers can receive a variety of royalties from different sources around the globe. Click the links to find out more about each.

– Performing royalties

 Mechanical royalty

– Sync licensing royalties

An independent musician could theoretically claim some publishing royalties without the assistance of a publisher.

Publishing is a complex business. It’s difficult for artists who have smaller back catalogues to establish the relationships necessary to collect all royalties. There are hundreds of organizations around the world that provide different royalty sources. This could leave potential revenue unclaimed.

This is where a music publisher steps in.

Publishers are in good standing with Performing Right Organisations around the world and have years of experience tracking down all possible sources of royalties.

They have the responsibility of making sure you get all your dues.

What is a Performing Rights Organisation (or a Performing Rights Organization)?

A Performing Right Organisation is responsible for collecting performing royalty payments on behalf of composers or songwriters in a territory.

Many countries have their own Performing Rights Organizations.

What is the difference between a Music Publisher or a Performing Rights Organisation, you ask?

Music publishers, composers, and songwriters control PROs. They are responsible for collecting royalties from millions of songs. This reduces costs and protects the music’s value by grouping copyrights to license digital services, broadcasters, and venues.

PROs do not collect mechanical royalties. However, your music publisher will be a member in good standing of a mechanical right collection society such as MCPS (in the UK) and MLC or Harry Fox (in the USA), among others.

How to Find a Music Publisher

To start claiming all royalties due to you, sign up for Ditto Music Publishing now.

Ditto Music Publishing will take care of all administrative and legal work when it comes time to collect worldwide publishing royalties. This includes:

– Register your music with the performing rights organizations worldwide

– Registering music with mechanical rights collection societies

– Collecting all royalties earned from performing arts across the globe

– Collecting all mechanical royalties around the world

– Pitching your songs for sync placements and collecting sync royalties

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