How Do I Become a Music Publisher?
“How do I become a music publisher?” You may ask this question of yourself as you continue on your path in the music business. What does a music publisher do? A music publisher makes songs available to be used by the public and collects associated charges and fees so that a songwriter gets exposure and profits. A publisher earns money for you (and for the publisher) each time your song is played through certain media. You can send your songs to a music publisher, but you will have to split your songs' earnings with the publisher. If you learn how to self-publish your songs , your hard work will pay off in earnings that you can keep for yourself.
First, you need to figure out whose music you would like to publish. Would you like to simply publish your own work, or perhaps that of friends as well? Or would you like to make your business larger and publish the work of other songwriters? Keep in mind that the larger your business hopes, the greater the scope of your publishing activities will need to be.
Once you determine your potential clientele, you can begin work on the preliminary paperwork for starting a business as a publisher. You will need to register with a performing rights company: ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. Research these companies to find the one that you would like to use. You can email the company to get the paperwork you need to register. You will need to register according to the type of business you are going to be running, which will depend upon the kind of clientele you will be working for. If you are going to be running something very small, you will need less legal work; if you are planning on operating a larger publishing company, you may have to form an LLC or other kind of small business. Finally, you'll need to select a name for your publishing company, which is an important step for your image and professionalism; select a few backup names in case the name you want is already in use. Now you are ready to complete your application; it may be helpful to enlist the services of an entertainment attorney to help you navigate the fine print.
Once the performing rights company approves you as a publisher, you may begin registering songs. When a songwriter wants to publish a song through you, you must register that song through the rights company to earn money through that song. If that songwriter is not you, you will also need to register the songwriter on the site so that they may share the profits.
After registration is complete, you can start looking for places to publish the songs. Seek out opportunities for placement in other media, and have a great website where the music is available. Get software so that you can physically publish the songs with musical notation. Get familiar with music licensing terms and legal information. It is your job to find out where and how to make profits from the songs you publish.
In the end, music publishing is necessary to make profits on a song. It can be a difficult and rewarding process, but once you know how to become a music publisher, you have the potential to create more profits for yourself as an independent artist.