Music publishing companies have expanded their role since the recent decade’s technological changes influencing the music industry. Nowadays, their main four functions are to [1]‘work creatively with songwriters, protect and enforce the[ir] copyrights, promote and license the songs for different uses, including reproduction in records, motion pictures and television programs; and collect and distribute the income generated from the uses, reproductions and other exploitations of the songs.’

 

[2]Publishers are different to record labels as they work with the songwriters and regularly these are separate to artists. Many artists do not write their own songs, or need guidance, meaning that A&R representatives from the record labels will go to the publishers and create deals for their artists to use their catalogue of compositions, or work collectively with the writers. Copyrights are then automatically in place, as the songwriters and/or publishers’ own the intellectual copyright and the owner of the recording owns the master rights. This means that revenue that is made from collections and performances for that recording of the song will often be split fifty-percent to both sides.

 

However, often artists themselves don’t own the master rights to their songs because in their contracts their work is assigned to the record label. An example would be Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’, where Def Jam owns all master rights to the record. The complications carry on with the song’s intellectual copyright, as it is [3]owned by Ed Sheeran, paired with Sony/ATV, who get 47.5%, Benny Blanco, with Universal, gets 47.5% and Justin Bieber, with Universal, has a 5% share for composition. This does not mean however that Ed Sheeran will get 47.5% as he, along with the rest, has a publishing deal with Sony/ATV, meaning they will actually own a percentage of that share.

 

[4]Royalty rates are split differently for digital streaming, as shown in an article by The Guardian, where it is stated that ‘record labels…get five to 12 times as much as the writers when a track is streamed’, with label’s using the justification that ‘they have to invest more money in marketing, PR, recording costs and tour support’. However, record labels have been more frequently signing artists to 360-degree deals, meaning that they receive a cut from all revenue streams that an artist has, making their argument for a bigger streaming share questionable. [5]The problem with this is that digital revenue within the industry is the dominant source of revenue now, and streaming makes up 43% of that, which is only 2% away from surpassing downloads. This shows that publishing companies and songwriters are missing out on a large amount of revenue that they could have if the royalty rates were evenly split.

 

 

[6]There are five main job categories within a music publishing company; A&R, Rights Administration, Production, Sales and Accounts. Each sector of the company, however, works closely with all the others, and many employee’s roles cross into multiple categories. A&R personnel source for fresh talent, produce concepts and demos and use these for promotion to get composition deals for their clients. The rights administration sort copyright agreements and enforce action to any legal infringements. The production team works as an editorial role for everything that goes through the company, whilst the sales team will work on marketing and distribution for each project, and the accounts employees will gather and send out royalties accordingly.

 

[7]Sarah Pickering, Head of Promotions at Sony/ATV spoke about how her job is always changing from day to day, as the projects and tasks that come her way differ. This is because Sony/ATV publish both commercial music and production music, and production music is very different to commercial music, with promotion and sales being conducted in a completely different manner. Production music is often made in accordance to film and television productions that are work-in-progress, and pitches are made to musicians to create certain styles of music to fit with up-and-coming productions. These are then posted on an online library and can be bought for a one-time-fee and used within the buyer’s production, meaning that no royalties can be claimed afterwards, unlike commercial music where royalties are collected for each performance and use of the song.

 

Publishing companies can be daunting for a musician as they will often take a large share of copyright, however, they have built up extensive relationships with manufacturing and distribution companies that cannot be found elsewhere. Many record labels are tied to publishing companies or have their own publishing department, as they provide compositions for many of their artists, and if the label has ownership of both intellectual and master copyrights they will make additional money.

 

The role of the music publishing company has changed due to music becoming digital. However, as they represent the composers, not the artists, they are still marketing a sellable product as productions and artists will always need new compositions. [8]Nonetheless, publishers still face the same issue as record labels with commercial music, as sales continue to drop. They do have an advantage, though, as they have the ability to negotiate good deals for themselves and their clients by licensing songs to artists/labels instead of assigning them. In doing this, they effectively lease the song to the licensee for a set period of time and can they can then go on to license the composition to whomever they choose. This means that they can make money from multiple recordings of the same song as they own the intellectual copyright. However, if they were to assign the song to a label then they would not be able to license out the song to anybody else, meaning that they would only gain royalties from that one recording.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Goes, K. (n.d.). Music Publishing – How To Guide To Music Publishing | TuneCore. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.tunecore.com/guides/basics-to-know

 

IFPI (n.d.). An explosion in global music consumption supported by multiple platforms. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from http://www.ifpi.org/facts-and-stats.php

 

Kawashima, D. (2015). Careers In Music Publishing. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.songwriteruniverse.com/careersinpublishing.htm

 

Lindvall, H. (2014, April 30). The music industry is divided over streaming – and heading for a collision. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2014/apr/30/music-streaming-revenue-pandora-spotify

 

Musicbusinessresearch. The Global Music Publishing Market – An Analysis. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from https://musicbusinessresearch.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/the-global-music-publishing-market-an-analysis/

 

Newmark, L. A. (2010). An Overview Of The Music Publishing Industry (R. E. Allen, Ed.). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from www.pli.edu/emktg/toolbox/music_publishing16.doc

 

Pickering, S. and Price, H. The Music Industry Today, presentation at The University of Gloucestershire. Presented on November 9, 2016.

 

Songwriters-guild. The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers – songwriting, music publishing and music publishers. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.songwriters-guild.co.uk/faq.htm

 

Www.mpaonline.org.uk. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://mpaonline.org.uk/content/about-mpa

 

Www.mpaonline.org.uk. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.mpaonline.org.uk/content/how-can-i-find-out-more-about-career-music-publishing

[1] Newmark, L. A. (2010). An Overview of the Music Publishing Industry (R. E. Allen, Ed.). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from www.pli.edu/emktg/toolbox/music_publishing16.doc

 

[2] Goes, K. (n.d.). Music Publishing – How To Guide To Music Publishing | TuneCore. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.tunecore.com/guides/basics-to-know

 

 

[3] Pickering, S. and Price, H. The Music Industry Today, presentation at The University of Gloucestershire. Presented on November 9, 2016.

 

[4] Lindvall, H. (2014, April 30). The music industry is divided over streaming – and heading for a collision. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2014/apr/30/music-streaming-revenue-pandora-spotify

 

[5] IFPI (n.d.). An explosion in global music consumption supported by multiple platforms. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from http://www.ifpi.org/facts-and-stats.php

 

[6] http://www.mpaonline.org.uk. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.mpaonline.org.uk/content/how-can-i-find-out-more-about-career-music-publishing

 

[7] Pickering, S. and Price, H. The Music Industry Today, presentation at The University of Gloucestershire. Presented on November 9, 2016.

 

[8] The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers – songwriting, music publishing and music publishers. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.songwriters-guild.co.uk/faq.htm

 

 

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