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Music Publishing is something many musicians know little about, and probably relate it to being just another part of a Record Label. Well, while many record labels will have a separate publishing entity, there is more to Music Publishing than you may have previously realised.

person using an old green typewriter to make the word Copyright

Have you ever wondered exactly what music publishing is? You’ve probably heard about music publishing before, but thought it’s only something a record label does for their artists. Well, that’s not exactly true.

Everyone who writes their own music – from the bedroom composer to the multi-platinum rockstar – needs to understand the basics of music publishing. So, let’s dive a little deeper into the foundations to see how it all works.

Say you’ve just written your first song. Possibly the last thing on your mind is how you’re going to make some money from it. However, there’s more to music publishing than just money. The first key aspect of publishing is to understand what copyright is, especially when it comes to your music.

  • Copyright ownership is when the owner, or in this case, YOU the ‘songwriter’, has the exclusive right to use a work you have created, with some exceptions.
  • When you create an original work and it becomes fixed in a tangible medium, (for example, once it’s written down or recorded in some way), you automatically own copyright to that work, which could be a song, a melody, or even just a tune, with or without lyrics.
  • And.. no one is allowed to use that work without your permission, or by paying you to use it. This is known as licencing.

Music publishing is simply about helping songwriters like YOU protect the copyright of your works and collect the royalty payments for you, whenever your song is used in a variety of scenarios.

Also, music publishers traditionally help to “exploit”, or generate profits from an artist’s work by getting it out into the public where it can be used in different ways like:

  • Being played on radio
  • Used in films or television shows
  • Used in advertising commercials
  • Featured in video games or other software
  • Printed as sheet music
  • And of course, in digital streaming and downloads.

Music publishers can also help to negotiate a deal on your behalf when someone wants to license or use your song. There are different types of publishing deals, and sometimes it can get a little complicated.

So, it’s always best to do your research or speak to someone who understands the music business, such as a lawyer, or an experienced musician you know and trust. And the experienced team at Dark Escapes is always happy to answer any questions you have about music publishing.

We also have a corresponding educational video for this blog. You can view that video on the Dark Escapes Music YouTube Channel by clicking HERE!

Dark Escapes Monogram (large)

Dark Escapes Publishing Pty Ltd is a registered publishing company in Australia offering services across the music industry to help artists licence and distribute their content internationally, while also collecting royalties on their behalf. If you are a musician who needs assistance with this, connect with us to find out what happens next: hello@darkescapespublishing.com

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