Power of Publishing

By: Reggie Webb

Many artists become motivated by a desire to build their buzz to the point that a label comes to sign them to a recording contract, gives them a substantial signing bonus, then, they begin this illustrious lucrative music career. It’s an illusion that, signing a recording contract automatically equals riches. This is a dangerous way for any artist to think. The major financial gains in this business that will last beyond your life span comes from the true heart of the music industry which is, music publishing. There are various ways in which all parties involved the label, writer, producer, and artist all can earn residual income for years to come. Here are few ways artist and companies get paid from music publishing.

Performance Royalties: As a songwriter/publisher you are owed a royalty whenever your song gets played or performed in public. These public places include network or cable TV, internet radio such as Pandora, terrestrial and satellite radio.

License for Music Sampling: If someone wants to use a piano chord, guitar riff, drum pattern, or lyrics from a song you’ve created they must get your permission first and pay you as well.

Mechanical Royalties: As a songwriter/publisher every time your composition is sold or reproduced (with the intention of being sold) you are owed a royalty fee. Your music can be sold on vinyl’s, CDs, digital downloads, and streaming services, regardless of the type of sale you must be compensated.

Synchronization Licenses: If someone wants to use your music in a webisode, video game, motion picture, documentary, soundtrack, or any form of media they must obtain permission the owner/publisher of the music. A price for something like this varies depending on the placement of the music and the length to which it is used.

These are just a few of the many ways you can generate income from music publishing. Now, to reap the quarterly benefits from music publishing you must be registered with a PRO (Performance Rights Organization). You have a choice between ASCAP and BMI, there is also SESAC, but you must be invited to be apart of that organization. To join ASCAP as a writer or as publisher it’s a 50.00-dollar fee. To join BMI as a songwriter there is no fee but, if you wish to join as a music publisher that owns a company as an individual the fee is 150.00 dollars. If you have an LLC or a corporation the cost is 250.00 dollars. Registration for these PRO’s can be found on and or, you download the apps to your smart phone.


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