If you’re a songwriter, and you’ve not signed a deal with a music publishing company — you own your music publishing rights!
What are those rights exactly? Well, you get to determine how the musical copyright to a song you’ve written (meaning the composition itself, as a separate entity from any particular master recording of that song) is used or “exploited.”
And you earn money any time that song is sold, performed, or covered.
How do publishing royalties get divided up?
For all publishing royalties that are generated from the usage of your music, 50% is paid to the songwriter/s and 50% is paid to the publisher/s.
As I mentioned above, if you’ve not signed a deal with a publishing company, you are considered both the songwriter AND the publisher. You are owed both shares (50% for the songwriter, and 50% for the publisher) of any mechanical royalties, performance royalties, or licenses that your songs generate. However, it’s up to you to exploit the copyright to your compositions, and it’s up to you to collect the royalty payments.
Unless, of course, you work with an established music publisher who can (either for a fixed period of time or in perpetuity) help you find opportunities to earn money from your songs.
[With CD Baby's Sync Licensing Program, your music will be included in a catalog of songs available for use in film, TV, commercials, games, and more. Plus, you'll earn money for the usage of your music on YouTube.]
What does the publisher get out of the bargain? As mentioned above, a typical royalty split between the songwriter and the publisher is 50/50 — but 50% is a small price to pay if they’re using their publishing expertise to generate big income from the exploitation of your copyright.
How do you collect your publishing royalties?
When it comes to getting paid for the usage of your music, there’s a simple solution that will set you up to collect ALL the publishing royalties you’re owed. With CD Baby Pro, we’ll affiliate you as a songwriter with a performing rights organization (either ASCAP or BMI — your choice), we’ll register your songs directly with many collection societies around the world, and we’ll collect all those royalties on your behalf — paying you weekly!
[Pie chart picture from Shutterstock.]