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Signing with a Music Publisher

Do I have to sign with a music publisher?

Many composers and songwriters choose to sign with a music publisher to benefit from their services and in exchange give up a portion of their royalties by doing so.

What are the benefits of signing with a music publisher?

  • Advances based on future royalties
  • Administration deals, where a writer has set up their own publishing company and uses a larger corporate publisher to administer catalogue and collect royalties
  • Promotional assistance - the chance to get music placed with major recording artists
  • Free demo time and help securing a record deal
  • A good publisher will also aggressively promote your compositions to film makers, television production companies and advertisers.

What is negotiable in a publishing deal?

  • Length of contract
  • How long a publisher holds the copyright to your songs
  • Royalties and advances
  • Accounting statements and your right of audit, so that you can accurately check statements
  • Copyright and your moral rights, which allow you to claim ownership of your work and object to any distortion or modification to it
  • How damages from copyright infringements are split, and reversion and determination clauses if the music publisher fails to exploit a song or goes bankrupt.

Always seek advice from the MU before signing a publishing contract, to ensure that the agreement on offer is fair and comprehensive. For advice on negotiating the best deal for you, please contact your Regional Office.