When we use the term “music publishing” we are referring to the structure of ownership along with the process by which it is protected, licensed, distributed, or otherwise sold. A Publisher might be considered the owner and administrator of the copyrighted work. Most Songwriters form a publishing company to hold the rights to their work, or sign a deal with an established publishing company. Some do both.
A Music Publisher, or a publishing company, is responsible for ensuring the Songwriters and Composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. They also secure commissions for music and promote existing compositions to recording artists, film, and television.
Songwriters or Composers can form their own publishing company, and it’s not difficult to do so. It’s possible to own your publishing and also co-publish with other Publishers. One way or another, it’s important to have your music published if you intend to earn royalties from it through licensing deals or automatic royalty payments.
A note: if you ever get confused by any of the terms in this article, scroll down to the bottom of the piece. We’ve provided a glossary to commonly-used music publishing terms.