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Publishing and Licensing

What is music publishing?

Music publishing is one of the most promising areas for growth in today’s music business, precisely because it reaches across so many different products, services, and media. Anywhere music is being used in the world, there is a music publisher involved and profiting from that use. But what is Music Publishing and how does it work?

In this section of the blog we’ll be, step by step, unveiling the secrets of music publishing. My hope is that the ones reaching here, acquire a better knowledge of how to deal with their song’s rights and how to make the most of them. I had to study a lot of Music Publishing, Copyright and Licensing, along my Music Business studies. I can´t tell they are the most exciting and interesting subjects I have had. Nonetheless, every artist that wants to make a career in music, should have at least a basic understanding of how they work. It is important to know how to use copyrights and licenses adequately. Well handled they can mean A LOT for the artist’s careers.

What is Music Publishing?

Songwriting is an art. Music Publishing is a business.

At its core, music publishing is rooted in the concept of copyright law. As most of you might know, almost every country around the world recognizes that the creator of a song, or any intellectual property has the right to control the “copies” that are made of that work. This forged the the term of “copyright.” There are different types of copyrights, and I will talk about them in following posts. It is through these rights that the creator of a song can demand compensation in exchange for granting permission to use their musical composition. The granting of permission in exchange for financial compensation is also known as “licensing”. I will also talk about licensing and types of licenses in this section of the blog.

Even if this point results confusing for many people, a songwriter automatically owns the “copyright” of their creation. This happens as soon as it is created, and not after registering it on the copyright office, or anything on that line. Nonetheless, the registration can help in certain cases. It might mean not losing your rights if a super-famous artist with the most expensive lawyer in the world, claims that he is the author of that song.

After the song / creation is put out, and because the copyright is automatically adhered to the author, the songwriter can as his or her own publisher by granting licenses to use the composition in various ways, such as sound recordings (mechanical licenses), public performances (performance licenses), or in conjunction with a moving visual image (synchronization rights). We’ll talk more about this in further posts.

For much more to come!

So, publishing is all about the copyright. It makes sense, thus, that a publisher’s primary responsibility is to protect that copyright by stopping anyone from using the song / creation without the proper license. It also stands to reason that the publisher needs to find as many opportunities as possible to grant licenses for the use of the song in order to build a substantial business. We’ll learn about how to do this along the sections of this blog and live lessons.

As you can see, there are so many things to learn about Publishing and Licensing. All of them are extremely important for an artist. I hope my posts help you to make the most of your songs… in ways that you never expected! 🙂

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In the meantime, stay safe, and listen (or make!) more awesome music!



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