There are few experiences more exciting for a songwriter than hearing your music played or streamed for the first time. It’s proof that the act of creating music is a reward in and of itself.
However, that shouldn’t be the end of the story. It’s more like the beginning because at the end of the day, every songwriter needs to eat. Signing up for a music publishing administrator, like Songtrust, is a crucial step toward getting paid. Here’s why:
1. They Help You Collect Your Global Royalties.
Step one is distribution, get those songs out there, but then what? Every songwriter or rights holder needs to be affiliated with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) or Collective Management Organization (CMO) in their territory. These societies help you collect your writers share royalties as well as the occasional publishers share. This accounts for half of your composition’s royalty pie.
Keep in mind that societies do not cover every potential global pay source, however, generally, it's just what's to collect within your territory. It’s not the easiest thing to do on your own, either; with more than 200 countries and territories around the world, affiliating and registering with every pay source is an enormous undertaking. Using a publishing administrator reduces this workload by only requiring you to register your song once.
Songtrust, for example, maintains direct relationships with 65 pay sources in 215 territories around the world, providing the widest coverage in the music publishing world. Our team is also global, with nine offices around the world and access to all the resources our parent company (Downtown Music Holdings) offers in 22 cities. Check out our global collection list here.
2. They Track Royalties as Transparently as Possible.
Most music publishing administrators value transparency. Songtrust, for example, wants you to have a clear understanding of where your royalties are coming from. That’s why we offer a comprehensive dashboard that allows you to easily follow all the royalties you’re collecting. You’ll also receive a detailed royalty report and direct deposit every quarter — more often than many publishers. If your publisher isn’t willing to be transparent, run the other way.
3. They’re Flexible.
Traditional publishing deals take a percentage of your musical compositions (often 25-50%) in exchange for copyright administration services, marketing and promotion campaigns, and creative opportunities like sync licenses and songwriting sessions. They may also require a minimum number of songs and the constant maintenance of a certain sound and image — as determined by your publisher.
Music publishing administrators are focusing on the administration of your songs, which means you’re free to make decisions about your songs that traditional publishing deals may not give you the option for. Songtrust, for example, is as flexible as publishing administration gets. We only require a one-year term, and we don’t require you to deliver your whole catalog — only the songs you want us to administer. If you don’t want to register any that were created before 2018, you don’t have to. If you choose to include every song you’ve ever made, even better. We have clients with thousands of songs, and we have clients with only a cut of a single song. We work right alongside you, whatever your catalog looks like.
This gives you the freedom to steer your own career while retaining 100% of your rights and feeling confident that your royalties are being collected from every angle.
4. They’re Here for You, and So Is Their Community.
Your publisher should be there for you when you need them (within reason). As a Songtrust client, you gain access to our global publishing royalty infrastructure and a robust team of publishing and rights management experts who are ready to offer advice on publishing issues Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. EST. Their mission is to make music publishing less complicated and more accessible.
The Songtrust community shares that mission. We’ve worked really hard to create an environment for songwriters to learn, network, and discuss everything from music industry issues to publishing resources. Whether that’s through our social media platforms (look for us at @songtrust) or our blog, we’re constantly looking for new ways to connect and share information with anyone interested in publishing.
When you become a part of the Songtrust community, we keep you connected with a weekly newsletter, virtual workshops, and an extensive YouTube channel. We also feature client songs on our playlists, social media feeds, and our Spotlight series.
If you have any further questions about the pros and cons of publishing administrators, please reach out to our team, check out our registration page, or consult the support topics and frequently asked questions within our Help Center.