Course 8: Music Publishers

Publishers are responsible for licensing these copyrights to other companies or entities that require music, and ensuring that these companies and entities pay for the usage. Songwriters and producers assign their copyrights, or songs, to a publishing company through a publishing contract. Proactive music publishers also play an important role in the development of talent.

Publishing houses have many of the same departments as record labels (A&R, Marketing, Legal, etc.) but work on the behalf of the songwriter. One area unique to publishers is the Sync department, which works directly with music supervisors, advertising agencies, trailer houses, film studios, and more, to pitch songs for use. They are also responsible for quoting and negotiating the terms of the license, invoicing, chasing payments, and ensuring that the terms have been met.

In this course, you’ll learn the different types of publishing deals (such as co-publishing and single song deals), different stipulations (bonuses and “Key Man” situations), and publishing royalties for the songwriter. This means whenever the song is played, downloaded, and even sheet music purchased, the songwriter will get a cut. You’ll also learn about the different organizations that represent songwriters and performers.

Your assignments for this course center on scouting an artist or songwriter to pitch to your mentor. You’ll need to gather pertinent information and present a pitch, both in the terms of the deal and the artists you’ve chosen. You will also create a mock “demo memo” for your choice of artist to present to your mentor.