Does a Traditional Publishing Deal Make Sense For You in 2014?


The goal of any budding songwriter has always been to receive an offer for a publishing deal from a reputable publishing company to kickstart their career. But with the rising number of artists making waves in the industry on their own, are there other options for songwriters? How much ownership are you willing to lose for the benefits that a traditional publishing deal will give you today? Is one of these deals truly relevant in 2014 and would it make sense for you?

Learn more about the main types of publishing deals you will come across here.

Lets talk about advances: Advances may seem very enticing as an independent musician and they definitely can be helpful. They can give you an up front pay off and allow you to quit your day job to start working full time as a songwriter. However, advances come at a major price, the loss of partial or half ownership of your copyrights and administration rights. Labels and publishing companies (especially successful ones) are passionate about your music and career, but are ultimately in the business of profit. They would not stay in business if they didn't format their deals in a way that generates large amounts of revenue in their favor. Especially if your songs are already out there, these people are experts in making predictions and analyzing financial risks over profit. They are professionals in making these deals and always have more experience in them than you do.

The Breakdown: An advance of between $25,000 and $200,000 may sound like an abundance of wealth. Don’t forget however, that the team that helped make this deal happen will need to get paid as well. You will have to subtract a manager’s 15% - 20%, 5% to a business manager, and potential $10,000+ or 5% to a lawyer for negotiating this deal (and you want a good lawyer). After all of this is subtracted you will also need to pay taxes on your percentage. On top of that, remember that this will need to be recouped in full before you are truly in the green. If at this point, the number is still high enough for you to justify losing that much control then go for it! Remember however that you have options.

In 2014, there are vast amounts of opportunities to promote yourself as an artist independently and generate real publishing royalties without a creative team behind you. Here at Songtrust, we have created a platform where you can retain 100% ownership of your copyrights and collect royalties worldwide. Click here to learn more.


Access what you’re due.