Creating songs is a gift
Songwriters speak the best language ever, music!
The history of music publishing and its importance in today’s modern industry can be traced back to the late 1800s. In New York City, a small neighborhood that came to be known as Tin Pan Alley housed a collective of music publishers and songwriters, who connected to create and release popular music outside of the religious and classical genres. Granted this era was defined by different sales methods and formats (think: sheet music), its eventual impact on how music publishers and songwriters conducted business and the overall perception of copyright protection is undeniable.
When it comes to how artists and songwriters are paid from digital music consumption (streaming and downloading), music publishing concerns the various kinds of songwriter royalties a composition earns. While streaming revenue and download sales can be collected by your digital distributor, the songwriter royalties associated with each stream and download must be collected and administered by a publisher.
When artists and songwriters hear “music publishing” for the first time, there’s usually a fair amount of confusion. When artists and songwriters begin to read more about “music publishing”, the confusion mounts even further. Not to fear – while music publishing is a complicated subject, it has a lot to do with how you make money from your music, and understanding the basics can go a long way.
In short, music publishing is really all about songwriters and copyrights. When music is used commercially (whether sold, licensed, or publicly performed), the songwriter and copyright owner is owed royalties. A music publishing company can offer multiple services for songwriters. As a ‘publishing administrator’, they administer the copyright – protecting the use of songs as well as collecting royalties owed from use. On the creative side, some music publishers focus on the use and exploitation of the copyrights they administer by securing opportunities in the form of ‘sync licenses’ for film, TV, ads, video games, etc. Additionally, these creative teams play an active role in setting up co-writes and pitching songs to artists and labels to be recorded for the first time.