When Do You Need a Traditional Publishing Deal?

A Nashville music publisher says she hears the words “I want a publishing deal” more often than “Let’s grab some coffee.” A traditional music publishing deal might seem glamorous to new songwriters, but when do you really need one and do you need one to manage the business side of your career? The answer might actually be no, or at least not straight away. In fact, many top music publishers say they’d rather work with writers who already understand how the business works, and their favorite clients bring them industry knowledge and experience along with great songs.

May 8, 2018

ASCAP, BMI, SESAC: The Guide to PROs

Songtrust works globally to collect songwriter's composition royalties from performing rights organizations and mechanical rights societies.

Performing Rights Organizations (aka PROs) are an important part of any songwriter's career – even when a songwriter doesn't realize it. While PROs collect royalties for songwriters when their works are performed publicly, such as played on television and AM/FM airwaves, through internet radio services like Pandora, at a club, inside a restaurant, or at a concert, most organizations don't stop there. Many tackle other issues impacting their members, such as fighting music piracy and keeping up with changes to the industry that have resulted from the advent of digital music. They advocate for artists and writers in their countries or origin, too. We strongly believe that it’s important for songwriters to learn about the PROs in their territory and around the world. Here's a quick overview of just some of the biggest players in the industry:

May 3, 2018

Understanding Split Sheets and Lyric Sheets

Songwriters should know how to show off their work with the best advantage and how to make sure they are paid for their work. While not used by every songwriter, lyric sheets and split sheets are two important documents that may be of use to you as you grow, and something that you need to know how to create and use.

Apr 24, 2018

Avoiding Songwriter Burnout

"The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” - Lost in Translation

Songwriting comes to each person in a different way - for some, it’s easier than others. It's not uncommon for songwriters to experience burnout, and many careers have plateaued or ended completely because of it. It's important to remember that burnout is usually the culmination of issues that are troubling you – whether it's friction with collaborators or a negative reaction to your songwriting from loved ones – and this can eventually rob you of the joy you used to take in it. Even though burnout has leveled many talents, you can avoid it – or, if you burn out, fight your way back. Here are a few ways to jumpstart yourself:

Apr 23, 2018

The Basics of International Publishing

Songwriters dream of hearing their music in every far-flung corner of the world. Right now your music could be wafting through the streets of Tel-Aviv, Tijuana or Tokyo. Keeping track of what has been played where and by whom across the globe can be complicated, expensive and time consuming, but since international markets are a great source of revenue it makes sense to understand some international music basics.

Apr 19, 2018

YouTube 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Savvy musicians know that YouTube is one of the best ways to locate fans and potential fans around the world. If you’ve started your own YouTube Channel, you’re on your way, but are you taking all the right steps to earn royalties from your songs on YouTube?

Apr 12, 2018

The Importance of Setlists

While many setlists have been (and undoubtedly will continue to be) hastily scribbled on napkins and scraps of paper, that doesn't mean they're not valuable – a handwritten Nirvana setlist, complete with a dirty footprint, sold for a cool $10,000, after all. A setlist doesn't have to be a collectible item or concert souvenir for it to have worth. In fact, songwriters earn performance royalties from when their songs are played in public, and submitting their setlist is key to getting those royalties.

Apr 10, 2018

I've Written a Song, Now What?

You finally finished writing/producing that perfect song, worked out all the kinks and chosen the perfect words, and now you’re ready to share it with the world. How you move forward from here can define who you are as a creator/writer. The most important next step is to record, master, or mix your song. You can’t start collecting royalties or get public interaction until your songs are complete, so decide the way that works best for you and get finalizing.  

Apr 5, 2018

Mechanical vs Performance Royalties

Almost every musician knows they can make some money off playing a gig or selling CDs, but not every musician knows the difference between each revenue stream, nor that they can make money in so many other ways. When you’ve finished (written, produced, or composed) a song and start to distribute your music, you're due royalties from the use of your composition -- more specifically performance and mechanical royalties. It’s important to know the different royalties you can collect - whether its from streams on Spotify or serenading your local coffee shop - and how to collect them since publishing royalties make up a significant part of your revenue as a creator or music business.

Mar 27, 2018