Seven Steps to Launching Your Own Music Publishing Company
If you are a musician or songwriter looking to take control of your music rights and maximize your earnings, starting your own music publishing company can be a game-changer. A music publishing company allows you to manage your compositions, license your music, and collect royalties effectively. With our 20+ years of experience in the music business, we will walk you through seven essential steps to successfully launch your own music publishing company and achieve greater success in the music industry.
Step 1: Release Music To The Public To Meet Eligibility Criteria for Music Publishing
The very first step we must take for establishing your music publishing company involves an official release or broadcast of a song you represent, be it your own creation or another's. The song in question may be featured in diverse formats such as a proper record, CD, or digital release, grace the soundtrack of a motion picture, or resonate through the airwaves of television or radio broadcasts. By releasing music this ensures your eligibility to join a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) to collect monies/royalties for the exploitation/usage of your music.
It's crucial to grasp the fundamentals of music publishing. Music publishing is the business of owning and administering musical compositions. It involves securing copyrights, licensing, royalty collection, and distribution of music. As a music publisher, you act as the bridge between the songwriter and the marketplace, ensuring that the songwriter gets compensated for the use of their work. For more detailed information on how to understand music publishing check out: The Musician's Guide To Music Publishing eBook.
Step 2: Create a Business Name and Outline
Like any venture, a solid business name is the foundation of your music publishing company's success. Be sure to select a name that aligns with your company's mission, vision, target market, and services you'll offer. Some people go even further by establishing a business outline to identify their competition, unique selling points, and defining short-term and long-term goals which can chart a clear roadmap for achieving success. A well thought out name and and outline will not only guide your actions but also impress potential investors and partners.
Step 3: Register Your Music Publishing Company
To legitimize your music publishing business, you need to register it as a legal entity. Choose a suitable business structure, such as an LLC or corporation, and register your company with the appropriate authorities in your country or state. This step will not only protect your personal assets but also add credibility to your enterprise in the eyes of clients and industry professionals. You will also need a Federal Tax ID number. This will also make you eligible to open a bank account. To start an LLC or corporation, and get your Federal Tax ID, we use https://incfile.com. They have a very easy and user friendly website that makes the process of setting up a LLC or corporation a lot smoother. For additional information on setting up a music business LLC, be sure to check out: The Ultimate Guide To Forming Your Own Music LLC eBook
Step 4: Establish a Dedicated Bank Account
As a registered business entity, you become subject to tax responsibilities on your earnings. Hence, having a separate bank account for your publishing business allows you to manage finances efficiently, keep track of earnings with precision, and ensure you receive all the rightful dues attributed to your musical endeavors.
This bank account serves as a distinct financial vessel, safeguarding your business transactions from mingling with personal finances. By isolating your publishing earnings and expenses in a dedicated account, you gain greater clarity in managing financial matters and complying with tax obligations, while simultaneously facilitating a smooth flow of income and expenditures within your publishing venture.
Step 5: Select a Performing Rights Organization and Apply as a Publisher
As a music publisher, you have to now affiliate yourself with a collection society, which are better known as Performing Rights Societies (PRO). If you are already affiliated with a PRO as a songwriter, it is essential to extend this affiliation to encompass your publishing company as well. In the United States, the two major PROs are ASCAP and BMI. SESAC, is an additional PRO which operates on an invitation-only basis, making it exclusive. The choice of a PRO profoundly impacts your publishing journey, and thorough exploration of each option is warranted.
one of your primary responsibilities is to license your catalog for various uses, such as film, TV, commercials, and streaming platforms. Develop strong relationships with music supervisors, producers, and content creators to increase your chances of securing licensing deals. Additionally, partner with a performance rights organization (PRO) to handle royalty collection on your behalf, ensuring you get paid for every use of your music.
Step 6: Copyright and Catalog Management
The heart of your music publishing company lies in the catalog of songs you represent. Register the copyrights for each composition with the relevant copyright office to protect your intellectual property. Implement a robust catalog management system to organize and track ownership details, licensing agreements, and royalty data efficiently. This will help streamline operations and ensure you maximize revenue from your catalog. For more detailed information about music copyright be sure to take a look at: https://arkatechbeatz.com/products/the-musicians-guide-to-music-copyrights
Step 7: Enroll with U.S. Mechanical Rights Organizations
The last step of your music publishing journey entails reaching out to essential U.S. Mechanical Rights Organizations. This pivotal step involves contacting The MLC, The Harry Fox Agency, and Music Reports to register as a publisher. It is important to note that this registration is separate from affiliating with a collection society.
Distinguishing these mechanical organizations from collection societies lies in their distinct roles. While collection societies primarily deal with performance royalties, mechanical organizations specialize in issuing and collecting royalties derived from mechanical licenses. These licenses encompass various forms of music distribution, such as streaming, downloads, and the sale of CDs and other physical music formats.
Congratulations! By following these seven crucial steps, you are well on your way to launching a successful music publishing company that can outrank other players in the market. Once you start the process of additional songwriting, creating reference/demo songs, pitching your songs to other artists/films/games, etc., the real work begins. Also you may want to consider hiring a publishing administrator to assist with the collection of the royalties. For this we recommend SongTrust. For more info on Songtrust check out our comprehensive guide here.
Remember that patience, persistence, and continuous adaptation to industry trends are key to long-term success. Establish strong relationships, provide exceptional service, and always prioritize the interests of your songwriters. With determination and a well-executed strategy, your music publishing company will become a driving force in the music industry, empowering artists and generating substantial revenue.
Arkatech Beatz (Jugrnaut & Mike “Trauma” D) are a Grammy nominated music production team from New York now based in Atlanta. They were affiliated with Loud Records/Sony Music Entertainment as A&R’s and have produced for artists such as Big Pun, Nas, Raekwon, Jadakiss, Prodigy of Mobb Deep,The Game, Waka Flocka Flame, Freddie Gibbs, Killer Mike, Mýa, Max B and others. They are the host of The Arkatech Beatz Music Business Podcast. Arkatech Beatz are also authors of The Songwriter's Guide To Song Registration .