I get asked about music publishing all the time, because people always want to know how long I’ve been a music publisher. I always just say, ‘It’s pronounced “publicist.” And if you’re still in the dark, they are not even close to being the same thing. So, we’re going to embark on an enlightening journey through the labyrinth of music publishing. Buckle up, because we’re about to unveil the secrets behind this enigmatic side of the music business.
I am going to explain it to you like you’re a cowboy.
So, what the hell is music publishing? In simple terms, music publishing is the business of managing and monetizing songs. It’s like a cowboy herding cattle, but instead of cows, we’re dealing with melodies and lyrics. Think of music publishers as the savvy sheriffs of the music industry, protecting and profiting from the creations of talented songwriters.
Now, let’s mosey on to the heart of the matter: how does music publishing work? Picture this: you’ve written a killer tune, and it’s time to let it loose upon the world. But wait! Before you ride off into the sunset, you need to make sure your intellectual property is protected. That’s where copyright comes in.
Copyright grants you exclusive rights to your musical masterpiece, ensuring that no sneaky varmint can steal it from you. As the copyright owner, you have the power to decide who can use your song and how they can use it. This means that every time your song is played on the radio, streamed online, or even hummed in the shower, you can earn some sweet, sweet dough.
Enter the music publisher, the trusty sidekick that helps you navigate the treacherous landscape of the music industry. These folks specialize in exploiting your songs, making sure they reach as many eager ears as possible. They’ll pitch your tunes to recording artists, sync your music with commercials, movies, and TV shows, and even secure placements in video games. Yeehaw!
But what’s in it for you, the songwriter? Well, here comes the exciting part: royalties!
Just like a cowboy rounding up stray cattle, music publishers collect royalties on your behalf. These royalties come in various forms: mechanical royalties from physical and digital sales, performance royalties from public performances, and synchronization royalties from song placements in visual media.
Once the royalties start rolling in, your publisher takes a cut for their hard work. It’s like splitting the spoils of a successful cattle drive. The percentage they keep depends on the deal you struck with them, but typically ranges from 20% to 50%. Remember, it’s a give and take relationship, and a good publisher can be worth their weight in gold.
But hold your horses, there’s more to the story! In the wild west of music publishing, you may encounter other players like sub-publishers and administration companies. These folks help collect royalties from foreign territories and ensure you get your fair share of the loot, even if your music becomes a hit halfway across the globe.
In a nutshell, music publishing is the backbone of the music industry. It’s the unsung hero that enables songwriters to focus on creating their masterpieces while the publishers handle the business side of things. Together, they form a formidable duo that keeps the melodies flowing and the royalties rolling.
So, there you have it, pardner! We’ve lifted the veil on music publishing, revealing its inner workings without a single exclamation mark. Now go forth, armed with this newfound knowledge, and conquer the world of music like a seasoned gunslinger.