#MusicBrainer: 8 Things You Should Know About Music Publishing.

If you are looking to make money from music and perhaps even turn the passion into a career then this is for you.


Music Publishing simply put is the act or business of earning money from your music. Music Publishing could also mean the management of music copyrights for commercial purposes. 

Therefore when your music is played in a bar, used in a movie, used for commercials, or streamed online, you get paid by those who used your song. Music Publishing Companies help track all that usage of your songs, collect and accumulate your earnings then finally pay you – the creator.

Such earnings or payments are called ‘Royalties’.

The only way you can earn from your music is by having a publishing deal with a music publisher or a publishing company.

In this piece I will be sharing with you some basics of Music Publishing that must be understood from the get-go if anyone is looking to make money from music and perhaps even turn the passion into a career


A royalty is a payment, made by one party, for the right to use an asset of another party. In this case, the asset is could be your song, musical composition, lyrics or beat.


As an artist you songs, recordings and musical compositions (by this I mean beats, lyrics, etc) are your intellectual property. You OWN it!. The moment you write your original song down on paper, or record it – you own the copyright.

However, if it was a collaboration between several artists, they all can claim ownership. This gives both parties the right to earn money from that intellectual property. Also if the song is funded by a record label, one of the copyrights goes to the company.

Musical copyrights might get a bit complicated, but in subsequent articles I will give an overview on what music copyright is.


This is a type of royalty that is entitled to songwriters or composers when their musical composition lyric or compositions is sold or being reproduced for sale.


Sound recording is a type of music copyright which is a particular recorded version of a music and lyrics. Sound recordings are usually owned by artists or labels.


Performance royalties are those which are earned when your music, sound or composition is performed publicly. Performance royalties can be earned when your music is sung or performed, recorded or played on radios, television, internet or live shows; thus you should be getting paid when any of the above action/ situations take place.


All royalties or earnings are tracked and collected by the Music publishing companies with which an artist has a publishing deal with. They are the ones who help their clients get their songs in major media and collect mechanical royalties. Music Publishers take a cut of the earnings, depending on the agreement with you as an artist.


This refers to when a musician or songwriter grants the license for the composition or music to be used as soundtracks on adverts, games, films etc. When this is done musician owed a fee.


A sampling license is enforced when a third party wants to make use of your beat, sound or any other part of your musical composition.

On a final note, Music Publishing simply put is the act or business of earning money from your music. With this you earn when you song is streamed, played on a radio station, performed or used by a third party.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.