Music Publishing Basics (2)
Music Publishing Basics (2)
Independent Music Publishers
Whether large, medium, or small, independent music publishers aren’t owned by a record label. This doesn’t of course prelude joint venture trading, such as Time/Chappell/Warner. However, they are still separate corporate entities and as such they are not officially affiliated. If such a joint venture carries on for several years it has evolved into a consortium. (Frankly, this music publisher is no longer independent.)
When a writer allows someone to gain some temporary income from his or her songs, even if that someone didn’t contribute, a cut-in has been negotiated. Traditionally, it’s for a specific project (or series of projects) over a fixed period of time. For example: 25% cut from 2 songs on a Madonna album, for 2 years.
If an American based publisher has royalty income in a foreign country, or territory, from which it is either impossible to transfer the currency (frozen funds), or it is exceedingly slow and complicated, a locally based publisher is essential. This publisher (sub-publisher), functions like your sub-contract collection agency. This “sub-pub” can transfer royalty credits, so you get payment from their office, or an affiliate, here in America.
Sheet Music (Printed Music)
Sheet music still represents about 10 to 15% of this industry’s worldwide revenue. Be sure your contract with a publisher, or a label’s publishing division, compensates you at about the 10 to 12% level, from all print editions. Not 10 cents a sheet, as is so often written in contracts.
Collection of Works
If you have a bunch of songs to register, listing them as if they were an album under a collective title can save you money. Using one from accompanied by a separate typed page, featuring the individual song title, numbered and double spaced, up to 20 songs may be registered at one time. The hitch is that if more than one author created the songs, the nature of each participant’s contribution must be consistent throughout the whole collection. For example, one author created the lyrics, one wrote the chords and melody, and another produced the recording. Alternatively, two or more authors may have created the songs, collectively, being each fully involved in the entire process, as often case when musical groups write and produce together.
The “Poor Man’s” Copyright
The theoretical self-protection action of mailing a copy (recorded or printed) of your recently completed music, to your own address. Upon receipt, you store this sealed envelope to offer as pristine evidence of you authorship, complete with date neatly stamped upon the envelope’s exterior. Unfortunately, it is totally useless as a defense, particularly in the U.S.
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