Publishing is one of the most misunderstood parts of the whole songwriting business industry, yet it is what everything revolves around.
If you don’t know anything about publishing, and you are already working as a professional songwriter, then you are literally throwing money down the toilet.
There are a lot of publishers out there circling new artists like sharks, signing anyone that they can get their hands on! Do NOT be in a hurry to get a publishing deal. It costs a publisher nothing to sign you (unless you get a substantial advance), but once you are signed, you can be locked in for many years and they can even control aspects of your career. A good publishing deal can help facilitate your career internationally– a bad publishing deal is like a death sentence for any songwriter. And once you are in a bad publishing deal, it is very difficult to get out.
I am going to be dealing with publishing in great depth in this blog as this is the backbone of what is going to empower artists. I’ve met so many artists that have made the mistake of signing onerous publishing deals early on in their career and have had to spend a small fortune to get out. I have also signed a bad publishing deal before and it was one of the worst business experiences anyone could wish for.
That’s why such a large part of the Songwriting Business blog is going to be dedicated to publishing.
There are VERY simple ways you can register your publishing properly and professionally, get the most money from your songs possible, retain the rights and control over your work forever and not to have to stress about publishing ever again. That is what I call good Songwriting Business!
So what is publishing?
In short, publishing is the legal rights to your song. If you write a song, then you own the publishing. If you co-write a song with a partner or bandmates, then you need to decide who gets how much of the publishing pie. Is it 50/50 or is it 60/40? In a band, when you are splitting publishing a few ways, things can get tricky and you need to decide early on – are you going to split the publishing evenly among all the writers or are you going to work out everyone’s individual contribution in each song. Remember that these splits directly affect how much money each writer is going to make and these splits take effect for life. So consider carefully.
The song is then registered, either through a publisher or independently, and you become the owner of songwriting property for life!
In coming weeks, I will be talking more about publishing: when do you need a publisher, and how do you make money from publishing.
I’ll also be interviewing some leading publishers in the world, to talk about the role of publishing, globally, and showing you a few tricks of how to maximize what you earn as a songwriter through your publishing.
Please subscribe to my newsletter so I can let you know when these interviews may be happening.
Until then, please feel free to send questions by posting them in the songwriting business comments section below.