Infusing a knowledge of the power of music into your creative processes will help you better understand how to craft your music. Today, the way music is received and heard is very different than even ten years ago. The older knowledge base that informed the music business won’t help new artists collect a steady revenue.
The Breakdown. Most artists who hope to make a living from their music are familiar with the general definition and goal of music publishing. With that in mind, let me start off by letting you know that organizations like COMPASS, ASCAP, BMI, and PRS are not publishing companies, but are rather performance rights societies. Their job is monitoring songs plays, collecting fees from entities that use copyrighted material, and paying a percentage of those fees to the copyright holders. Major companies pay big bucks every year to these agencies, so you’ll need to have an understanding of their importance to make sure your ventures are headed in the right direction.
Royalties. Simply put, royalties are the funds you receive as payment for the use of your music. There are different types of royalties, so let’s break them down real fast for you.
Mechanical Royalties. A mechanical royalty refers to royalties paid for the use of sound recording material (digital downloads, streaming, CD’s, vinyls, etc.).
Performance Royalties. Performance rights are geared toward the use of music for radio play, professional sports games, as well as use and performances in live venues.
Synchronization Royalties. These royalties are paid when music is used in film or a television soundtrack. These royalties differ because publishing companies generally audition songs on the artist’s and/or copyright holder’s behalf to music directors for use.
Print Royalties. Print royalties are paid based on the sale of printed sheet music.
Keep these types in mind when creating your next tune. You could end up making millions from performance royalties alone, if your music is able to create an impact that crosses different genres and engages a very large fan base.
Do I need a publishing company? Can’t I start my own? If you’re just starting out in the music industry, maybe you haven’t released a full album yet, then you don’t yet need a publishing company. Registering with a publishing company doesn’t guarantee you any royalties. The first thing you should worry about is that you own the rights to all of your original music. So, when your music is bought and played, you receive full payment for your creation. But keep working, and you’ll get to a point where you may find yourself enlisting the work of a publishing company.
Why you may need a publishing company? If you make music that is geared toward a large audience, then seeking out a publishing deal might be the right path to take. Usually, artists that are already commercially successful fare better in securing publishing deals before new artists. Publishing companies license songs to be used in a variety of mediums, so going with the “hot” artist can seem like the better gamble.
Companies sometimes offer advances if they believe work will bring a strong return on that investment. Another benefit to artists, are deals where the publisher helps the artist obtain a provisional record deal to pay for recording demos. Know that these advances are generally offered to artists with proven track records.
The most common deal between songwriters and publishing companies is an even 50/50 split. They take that 50% because they’re able to accomplish way more than an artist o their own. But beware, assigning your copyright to a publisher allows them to make decisions about the placement of your song — even if you disagree. This is just a part of the music business.
We Flipside do provide music publishing services. Please contact us to get to know more about the possibilities of collaboration with Flipside.