What is music publishing?

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What is music publishing? How can I collect all the worldwide music royalties that are owed to me? And what exactly is CD Baby Pro?

The handy video below will answer all these questions and more.

Get the most money for your music: sign up for CD Baby Pro (available to songwriters in dozens of countries and territories around the world)!


Publishing Guide: Get Paid the Money You Are Owed

In this article

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  • StevenCravisMusic

    Would you be willing to give us some anonymous examples of best (specifically) publishing royalties income earned by CD Baby PRO artists so far?

  • Laurie Story Vela

    Thanks for this great overview yet I still have a stack of questions:
    Been with CDBaby a bunch of years, 7 albums, 1 single
    To be a “pro” member, is this a paid upgrade?
    If so, is there a page to compare membership levels?

    Though I love CD Baby doing our digital distribution,
    it also feels out of the said control the video speaks of.
    At least this gets me going on a much needed investigation!
    Where do you set controls on the distribution?
    Why did CD Baby put a bunch (all?) of my songs, in full, on YouTube?
    Is that part of sync licensing?
    I thought I checked, “Everything that pays.”
    In that case, is there room for further modification?
    There’s a wide range of monetization;
    what if I don’t want my songs going out for a few cents or less … or free?

    Maybe all of this is explained somewhere on site? Thank you, thank you!

  • I am very surprised this doesn’t mention copyright. Is it still recommended to copyright one’s songs, or does registering them with a PRO cover one’s rights adequately? Thanks!

  • Great video, Rob!

  • I’m quite surprised there is no mention of copyright here. Does registering one’s songs with a PRO make copyright registration unnecessary? Thanks!

  • You control/own the copyright to your music as soon as it’s set down in a fixed form (recorded, written as sheet music, etc.), BUT… registering that copyright is another matter, and it’s important to do if you want to have solid proof in the case of infringement. Also, registering your copyright affords you certain protections and guarantees certain payments for damanges should you win an infringement case. So,… still register those copyrights! Speaking of: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/musician-tips/how-to-copyright-your-music/
    CD Baby Pro will register your songs with collection societies, but we don’t register your copyrights.


  • Laurie Story Vela

    So I posted some questions before about this … trying again:
    Difference between CD BABY Standard and Pro? Page that shows this?
    Is there a way to more closely monitor and modify distribution channels?
    Is there a price point you can choose or is “anything that pays” (incl. a penny or less per play)
    as close as it gets?
    How is it that my CD Baby songs landed on YouTube ~ for free in their entirety ~ without my permission and how do I get them removed?

  • Here’s a few recent examples:

    $14,000 in performance royalties from Siriux XM
    $7,000 in streaming mechanics from Spotify
    $1,800 in download mechanicals from Brazil recovered 6 months after sales.


  • CD Baby Pro includes CD Baby Standard distribution, PLUS publishing administration (explained here: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/music-rights/what-is-music-publishing-2/).

    You can customize your distribution preferences by company or territory within your CD Baby member account.

    The only price you can select is the selling price on CDBaby.com. Our partners determine their pricing for downloads and streams.

    Your songs were probably delivered to YouTube Music by CD Baby as part of your digital distribution. You can cancel that portion of your distribution if you don’t want those videos on YouTube. Just send an email to cdbaby@cdbaby.com.


  • Whoops. Sent wrong link. This one shows the difference between Standard and Pro: http://members.cdbaby.com/cd-baby-cost.aspx

  • If you don’t want your songs available for streaming, you can choose that distribution level in your members account. Regarding YouTube, that’s part of digital distribution — the streaming service known as YouTube Music.


  • You should definitely still register your copyrights. CD Baby Pro gives you a way to leverage those copyrights to collect the most amount of publishing revenue possible, but we don’t do any copyright registration. We DO however do song registration and songwriter affiliation with performing rights organizations.