The first part of this informational will highlight the pros of signing a publishing deal and the benefits that come with and part two will obviously focus on the cons and with advice on what you can do to avoid getting screwed in the long run which I feel is really important to know for those who have no clue. I hope you enjoy this article as much I did and ultimately I hope you learn something new from it and make use of it on your path to success in the world of music business.
This article originally appeared on http://songwriter101.com/
For most songwriters in the early stages of their careers, the idea of being hired as a staff songwriter for a publishing company is close to the Holy Grail, but it’s essential that you understand what you’re giving up as well as what you stand to gain by signing over partial (or complete) ownership of your copyrights to a music publisher.
By Cliff Goldmacher
For most songwriters in the early stages of their careers, the idea of being hired as a staff songwriter for a publishing company is close to the Holy Grail. It represents that coveted prize of industry recognition and validation of your talent along with a gateway to cuts, movie placements and number of other exciting possibilities. However, keep in mind that wanting or entering into a relationship with a publisher in order to simply validate your talent is probably not the best approach. As with any business relationship, it’s essential that you, as the songwriter, understand what you’re giving up as well as what you stand to gain by signing over partial (or complete) ownership of your copyrights to a music publisher.
What is a Publishing Deal?
In general terms, a typical publishing deal involves the assignment of some part of the ownership of your songs to a publishing company in exchange for a share of the royalties received by the publisher for exploitation of the songs. The publisher can also provide co-writing opportunities based on industry relationships and pitching opportunities by members of the publishing company’s staff, known as song pluggers. I’m aware that there are many variations on this arrangement but, for the sake of this article, I’m going to paint in broad strokes.
Listing the advantages of a publishing deal is easy, as most songwriters have heard (or dreamed) of these.
A Draw – For a songwriter getting started in the business, it’s extremely difficult to write full time without having money to live on. The monthly draw provided by a publisher can help ease that burden. The typical draw is considered an advance against the writer’s share of royalties payable under the agreement with the publisher. While some draws are enough to allow the writer to write full time, most are enough, at least, to make it so the writer only has to have a part-time job, leaving more time for songwriting.
Demo Budget – Making high quality recordings of your songs is not cheap and having a publisher to put up the money for these recordings can help quite a bit.
Song Pluggers – These are employees of the publishing company who are specifically charged with finding opportunities for your songs. They pitch your songs, relying on their relationships with record labels, producers and artists as well as a variety of other music business decision-makers.
Networking/Connections – The credibility that comes from signing with an established music publisher is a powerful thing. It can open doors to meetings, co-writes and countless other relationships in the industry. Also, publishers have industry-wide relationships that can provide great opportunities for songwriters who haven’t had the opportunity to network much on their own.
Validation – The validation that comes from a publishing deal is what most beginning songwriters long for. In the early stages of most songwriters’ careers, they’ve most likely written songs in obscurity and, with the exception of friends and family, they’ve never received praise and recognition from anyone. It can even act as a motivator to improve a writer’s work ethic and inspiration.
Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, producer, engineer and the owner of recording studios in both Nashville and New York City. To download a free copy of Cliff’s book “The Songwriter’s Guide To Recording Professional Demos” go to http://www.cliffgoldmacher.com/ebook
Thanks for sticking around for the first part of this article and stay tuned for part two to find out the cons of a publishing deal. The second part of the post is where you’re going to want to pay close attention. It’s going to be super informative and I advise you to hang around for the advice Mr. Cliff Goldmacher provides to those working independently. The information is golden! Until then folks…Adios!
Here’s a short 4 minute with entertainment lawyer Barry Menes giving a quick breakdown on how Publishing Deals work. He talks about how money is made and distributed from arrangements, how publishers use their catalogs to generate revenue and what good publishers should be doing with catalogs to generate money for their clients. Pay attention and listen closely. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post. Enjoy!