Publishers

Publishers

It used to be the case that publishers were major players in the music business. Back in the day, few singers wrote their own songs and the publisher was the guy who matched up songwriters with singers. They would take your newly written song, find the right artists to record it, and handle your business from there. This isn’t done anywhere near as much these days, but it is still done. Although far more artists write their own songs now, those big hits you hear on the radio are still very often written by someone other than who is singing it. So, who are the publishers and what do they do?

 

The Majors

We’re talking about the likes of Universal and Sony here, the big company publishers are also record companies and can handle everything. These guys have the best songwriters in the business on their books and they can pair them with the best (or most popular) singers. Get your songs published by one of these big hitters and you can expect to make fair amount of money. On the other hand, bear in mind that a major has a lot of talent on its books, and your chances of rising above the waves are lower.

 

Affiliates

These are independent publishers who have a separate deal with the majors. This usually comes into play when we’re talking about territories in publishing. So, an independent may have a deal with one major in one country and a different major in another. Think of affiliates as the middle men, a branch between an independent and the major. The up side of going with these guys is they can act like an agent and cut through to get you to the right people.

 

Independents

These are independent publishers who have a separate deal with the majors. This usually comes into play when we’re talking about territories in publishing. So, an independent may have a deal with one major in one country and a different major in another. Think of affiliates as the middle men, a branch between an independent and the major. The up side of going with these guys is they can act like an agent and cut through to get you to the right people.

 

Writers

It’s increasingly usual to see the songwriters themselves dealing with their own publishing, but if you’re just starting out this could be a bit overwhelming. Most writer/publishers are experienced and have a platform that allows them to utilise great artists. These writers have a track record of writing great songs and singers are banging on their door for more, which means they can take control of the business themselves. Having said that, there’s nothing to stop you from dealing with your own publishing, all you need is a little know-how and some connections.

If you’re a singer/songwriter who doesn’t want to write songs for anyone else then you don’t need a publisher, but it’s worth bearing in mind that even if this is you, writing songs for others artists can be another spoke to your career wheel and it can be very lucrative.

 

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