Music Publishers Frequently Asked Questions If you are thinking of getting into the professional music industry or simply want to know more about how the industry works, the following frequently asked questions about music publishers will get you off to a good start:
What is a music publisher?
The general public hears quite a bit about music producers and music labels, but not so much about music publishers. The music publisher, as it turns out, is actually quite important. He or she is the person responsible for ensuring that the musical artist gets paid for commercial air play.
How does that work?
When a song writer or singer composes a piece of music or releases an album, he or she signs an agreement with a publishing company. The agreement gives the company copyright power to use the music. That company is then in charge of disseminating the song or songs, granting companies, radio stations, or other broadcasters the rights to use the music for certain purposes. These licenses for use are then monitored by the publishing company so that terms are complied with and proper royalties can be collected in exchange for the use of the music. Guarding the musician's intellectual property is one of the greater responsibilities of a music publishing company.
How long does a publishing agreement last?
A publishing contract can last a lifetime, depending upon the agreement. Some musicians do their own publishing so as not to lose complete control of their own intellectual property. Others decide to buy back the copyright at a later date. As with any business agreement, it's important to ensure that your publishing company keeps your best interests in mind.