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It is key to have at least a basic understanding of what music publishing is. Here’s our go:

A music publisher represents song writers and their compositions.  

This could be any writer, from one that never performs and only composes for others, to a writer that performs and promotes their own compositions, through to entire bands that write together.


The publisher monitors the usage and collects the payment when any of their compositions are used commercially (this can be gigs/shows, used on TV, film, radio etc.) The publisher then distributes the monies collected to the writer(s).


The publisher also works towards getting the compositions used, whether by already established acts (called ‘covers’) or by getting them placed in TV, radio, film or advert productions (called ‘sync’).


The publisher may help develop the writer, suggest co-writes or instigate commissions. They can even get a little more stuck in than that.


The agreement contract between a music publisher and a writer allows the copyright of the writers’ songs, always owned by the writer, to be licensed by the publishing firm. The contract will have a term (the duration – start date and end date), obligations (what is expected of the writer and of the publisher) and royalty details (what percentages go to whom). Every contract can be specific to each individual writer.

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