Why Music Publishing is Important for Every Artist
Why Music Publishing is Important for Every ArtistMay 4, 2021
For anyone who makes music, music publishing is arguably one of the most important areas of the music industry, yet it’s often the least understood.
But what is music publishing? And how can it generate income from your music? To find out, we talked to one of electronic music’s most accomplished independent publishers, Sentric Electronic, who recently partnered with Beatport for an easy-to-use publishing service designed especially for electronic music producers.
Firstly, why is this relevant to you?
If you’re writing and producing music, then you are creating a copyright that will potentially be generating income.
Well every time your song is streamed, downloaded, broadcast or played out in public, then it is generating royalties. And no matter what stage you are at in your career, you should be actively collecting this income, whether you are doing it yourself or via a music publisher.
So let’s get started.
PUBLISHING AND ELECTRONIC MUSIC
When it comes to music publishing, electronic music can often be confusing. Oftentimes, when a producer is writing a song, they tend to record at the same time. Think about your process in Ableton, FL Studio or other DAW: you write melodies, rhythms and bass lines, arrange them into a track, then “record” and export that arrangement into a file.
Because of this process, you have created two separate copyrights. The first is the publishing copyright and this relates to the actual song — the melody, bassline, lyrics and other key components we just discussed. This copyright is looked after by a music publisher to ensure you are paid all of the money you are owed.
The second is the recording or original file of that song, which is called the master copyright, and this is usually looked after by the record label.
For example, if artist A were to write and record a song, they have created both a publishing and master copyright. If artist B came along and decided to remix and record a version of artist A’s song, then artist B would have only created a master copyright.
In summary, music publishing is about the songwriter and the songs, not the recording.
So, how does the publishing copyright generate money?
There are four main areas where your songs will generate money and we’ve outlined these by royalty types below.
Performance royalties are the income that is generated from songs when your music is played out to the public. Now, this can cover a number of things including streaming, broadcast on TV or radio or being played live. The basic rule of thumb to remember is that the more people who hear it the more money it generates.
Mechanical royalties are the income that is generated from songs when your music is reproduced in any form, for example, this can cover being pressed onto CD or vinyl, when your song is streamed or digitally purchased via a download from online stores such as Beatport.
Synchronisation, or “sync” license fees, are income generated from songs when your music has been placed on TV, films, adverts, games and more.
If an electronic music artist is both songwriter and producer, then Neighbouring Rights can be collected from performance of the recording when it is played in public.
Now that we have covered the types of income generated, it’s time to look at how the income is collected.
PERFORMANCE RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS (PROs)
Around the world, there are PRO’s (performing rights organisations) whose primary focus is licensing music for use in clubs, at festivals, in stores, for retailers, and online in the territories they cover, then to ensure publishers, songwriters and rights owners are paid for the use of their music.
As a songwriter, it is advised that you join your local PRO so you can register your songs and start to collect any income you are owed.
Each territory has a local PRO. For example, in the UK it’s PRS, Germany has GEMA, France has SACEM, Australia has APRA, and so on. America is slightly different, as that country has three who compete with one another: BMI, ASCAP and SESAC.
All PROs have reciprocal deals in place with one another, so if you’re a PRS member and one of your songs generates money in Germany, then GEMA should collect that money and give it to PRS (after taking a cut), who then pass it onto you as a writer (after taking another cut). Now, this is the theory, but in reality, this can take a long time, if it happens at all.
Because of how long it usually takes to return royalties, and the massive amount of data handled, working with a publisher who is a member of all these PROs and can register your copyrights with all of them is strongly recommended. This will also ensure your pay comes directly from your publisher to you.
Beatport and Sentric Electronic have a direct collection network that spans over 200 territories, which means by signing up and registering your songs, you will get your publishing income faster and with less headache.
The partnership between Beatport and Sentric Electronic enables you to collect all of this global income from one online account. It offers full service publishing, with access to our award winning creative and sync teams, in just a few clicks.
Furthermore, our unique and industry-leading partnership enables Sentric Electronic to collect mechanical royalties from Beatport downloads and streams directly, without needing to go through third parties. This means that the first time ever, producers are paid their Beatport royalties directly, putting more money in your pocket faster than ever before.
By signing to this partnership you can maximize your income with a publishing service dedicated to electronic music.
In summary we:
- Represent your performing, mechanical and neighbouring rights
- Register songs/tracks with global PROs
- Offer the fairest deal on the market
- Deliver a tailored creative offering and access to a global sync team
- Guide and advise
- Collect income from PROs/direct licenses and pay them quickly and efficiently
To find out more head to publishing.beatport.com