WHAT IS MUSIC PUBLISHING, RELEASE COMMITMENT
By Thaddaeus Thompson
1. What is music publishing?
DEFINING PUBLISHING IN ITS SIMPLEST FORM:
Publishing is where the money is in the music business. Although publishing can be quite cumbersome to understand (just when I think I get it, I read something else that makes me realize how little I know about the subject), but the most basic principle is that when an artist puts pen to paper, or makes a beat, the artist owns the publishing. It's that simple. Whoever creates the words or music owns those words or music. Where it gets confusing is all the different ways to get paid on publishing, all the ways to split publishing with other folks, and all the ways artists get screwed out of their publishing and that is the reason you need the service of a professional Publishing Company. - Wendy Day
In short, the eight kinds of publishing deals today are as follows:
(1) The “traditional” Publishing Agreement;
(2) Single Song Agreements;
(3) CO-Publishing Agreements;
(4) “Step Deals”;
(5) Administration Agreements;
(6) Income Participation Agreements;
(7) Catalog Representation Agreements; and
(8) Self-Publishing Agreements.
Publishing income differs from country to country although many of the performing rights companies are interrelated or affiliated. In the United States and Europe, the performing rights organizations have virtual monopoly in relation to performing income, which is generated by the public performance of musical works. For more on this topic and other topics enroll for Artist Training Course.
2. The nature of a publishing contract?
Stated in the simplest terms, a publishing contract involves the writer giving the rights to his songs to the publisher, in return for which the publisher collects all of the income accrued from the exploitation of those songs and then accounts to the writer for an agreed share of that income.
Let professional editors review your works, publish, and set the pace for your musical career. For music publishing contact our management office.
3. Word from the editor
Desperate to sign to a major label, many artists, especially newcomer, tend to skip the publisher, who is in most cases the gateway to a record deal. Record companies will attach more interest to a product with a publishing deal. The publisher could be you but fact is a professional publisher or publishing company may assist in achieving a better deal. If you are not very familiar with the publisher's work, read this:
DO I NEED THE PUBLISHER'S SERVICES?
All publishers will emphasize a number of positive reasons why a writer should enter into a publishing contract. The publisher will claim that, with the various systems it has in place, it is better able to collect efficiently any available income than a writer operating on his own. Moreover, the publisher is more skilled in negotiating fees for the licensing of certain rights in the writer's songs. The publisher will also have a professional manager or team of managers searching for additional ways in which to exploit the writer's material. He may even be able to offer help and guidance in the songwriting process, although this is very rare these days and the publisher's creative involvement is usually limited to suggesting potential co-writers. The publisher may also have facilities which the writer may use, either at a subsidized cost or for free (i.e., for recording demos). The publisher may also be prepared to invest in the writer's career by paying advances to him, even before there is any sight of any publishing income from which to recoup them. The funding which is supplied by the publisher may prove vital during the early states of the writing process.
4. Release commitment the record company imposes on you.
1. The Record Company's Obligations
a. One sided
b. Release commitments
THE RECORD COMPANY'S OBLIGATIONS
a. One sided?
The recording contract is the main principal means by which a recording artist earns his living. Securing a recording contract could become your biggest tax ever. A good record deal not only gives you the necessary financial coverage, but it also helps you set up the needed team for a successful career. Let's take a look at some of the complex issues involved in a Record Contract. Recording contracts issued by majors now stretch to 60 to 70 pages. About a third of the agreement is taken up with financial provisions, most of which deal with the various means by which the artist's basic royalty is reduced, as we will discover later. The bulk of the contract is for the company's benefit. It imposes obligations on and extracts warranties (legally binding promises) from the artist. Beyond the obligation to pay an advance and possibly some royalties, at some future time, it is difficult to find anything in the document, which imposes any obligation on the record company.
b. Release commitment
That said however, most recording agreements now include a release commit of some kind. This will appear to favor the artist, but this can be deceptive. Record companies rarely agree to a positive commitment to release a particular record in a particular territory within a given period. A company would probably give such a commitment only for a record, which has already been made, and for which there is an obvious market. In such a case, there is little benefit to the artist in securing a binding release commitment because commercial reality will ensure that the record is released in any event. The main reason for the release commitment is to satisfy the company's concern that, without it, there might be a stronger argument that the agreement constitutes an unreasonable restrain on trade. Courts do not look favorably upon an exclusive recording contract, which does not contain an obligation to make the artist's work available to the public.
Because of the complexity of recording contracts, we strongly recommend you seek assistance from a professional music attorney when a record company starts negotiation (usually, it is the record company and not the artist that starts negotiation). In addition, when you receive a letter from a record company showing interest in your work, the first thing we recommend you do is get a manager (if you do not have one already) and hire a music business attorney. Contact T&T Music Records for contract analyzing services: Click here
and you will be ahead of your competitors.
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