If you create original music, it’s always helpful to understand your rights and revenue sources. The guide below will provide a high-level view of music publishing, and spotlight the most relevant points for songwriters.
The blog article from ReverbNation, authored by Chris Robley, delves into the intricacies of music publishing, a crucial aspect for any songwriter or producer dealing with original music. Here’s a distilled summary of the key points:
Understanding Music Publishing
Music publishing is essentially the business side of songs, focusing on promoting and monetizing composition copyrights, distinct from recordings. The term originates from the era when songs were disseminated through sheet music and songbooks, predating recorded music.
The Essence of a “Song”
In the realm of music copyright, a song is fundamentally composed of the melody and lyrics. Other musical elements like chord progressions, groove, tempo, or instrumental choices are not copyrighted but serve as the foundational building blocks or arrangement choices for a song.
Two Vital Copyright Types
- Composition Copyright: Pertains to the song itself, typically owned by the songwriter(s) unless a music publisher is involved to aid in monetization and royalty collection.
- Sound Recording Copyright: Relates to a specific recording of the song, usually owned by record labels or the artists and producers of the track.
The Trio of Music Publishing Royalties
- Mechanical Royalties: Generated from the physical or digital reproduction of songs, including streams and physical formats like vinyl or CDs.
- Performance Royalties: Accrued from public performances of a song, encompassing radio plays, live performances, and streams in public spaces.
- Sync Licensing Fees: Earned when a song is licensed for use in media such as films, TV shows, games, and commercials, involving negotiations for both the recording and the song rights.
Navigating Publishing Arrangements
The level of publishing support needed varies based on the songwriter’s stage and the song’s potential. It ranges from basic royalty collection for emerging artists to comprehensive publishing deals for songs with significant revenue potential or demand.
The article concludes by emphasizing the importance of understanding one’s rights and the various revenue opportunities in music publishing, offering a broad perspective with detailed insights into each aspect.