Recommended Reading, Resource, Industry Insight

Top Four Reasons You Need Music Publishing

Liane Bonin Starr
Liane Bonin Starr on Oct 18, 2018

The act of creating music is a reward unto itself – but even the most evolved songwriters need to eat. While it can be a thrill to hear your music on Spotify or YouTube, it can be even more exciting to be compensated for your work every time someone listens to it. But reaping those rewards can seem like a daunting task to a songwriter – especially one who doesn't know the complex path to compensation. Here are the reasons every songwriter should have publishing.


Plug Your Work

Depending on the publishing company, a publisher can promote your songs to musicians and other entities to license, such as films, commercials, and television. However, this does come at a price – usually 50 percent of the song's copyright. 

Nab Mechanical Royalties

Mechanical royalties – which are earned anytime your copyrighted work is reproduced, whether it's played on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube or elsewhere – also include sales of your music on CD or vinyl. Publishing administration services like Songtrust can make sure your work is registered with any recommended PROs to collect these royalties, as mechanical royalties are not readily accessible.

Collect International Royalties

PROs should also work closely with international organizations to collect mechanical royalties worldwide, and a publishing administration service like Songtrust can make sure you get paid. While a distribution service like CD Baby can pay your mechanical royalties from digital sales, most other countries pay a direct fee (roughly 105 of the wholesale unit price) to their regional mechanical society. If you don't have a publishing administrator collecting those royalties, you'll never see them.

While it may seem simple enough to register your music with PROs like ASCAP or BMI, for most professional songwriters only 30% of their overall publishing royalties come from these two sources. If you only register at these two places, you'll be unable to collect international performance or mechanical royalties, and may also miss out on some interactive streaming royalties in the US. A publisher or a publishing administration service can handle international moneys, meaning you won't have to learn a foreign language to contact a faraway PRO. Songtrust covers about 95% of the music publishing market and maintains direct relationships with over 43 societies in over 120 territories around the world -- the greatest amount of coverage in the publishing space. 

Less Time Hunting, More Time Writing

Whether or not you crank out a top 10 hit every time you put pen to paper, the time needed to learn enough about publishing to make sure you're getting paid all royalties earned is not insignificant – and not all royalties are available to individuals trying to handle their own publishing unless they're running a fully-fledged publishing company. While some publishing deals with labels or managers may seem onerous, if you want to maintain control over your work but not start a second business in the publishing field, finding a publishing administration company like Songtrust may strike the best balance. With Songtrust, you pay a one-time administration fee for a set term while keeping 100% of your copyright. With the hefty task of tracking your money off your plate, you're free to do what you do best – write songs.

To make sure you’re collecting all of your mechanical and performance royalties globally, register for Songtrust as your publishing administrator today!

Related Articles

Breaking Down IPIs


Sometimes the business of being a songwriter or musician can seem overwhelming, an endless muddle of tasks ranging from registering with a PRO (performance rights organization) or CMO (collection management organization), and tracking royalties to negotiating contracts. The good news is that there’s one number that makes the important job of ensuring royalties end up in your pocket easier for all involved. It’s the IPI (Interested Party Information) number -- and chances are, you may already have one.

Jan 30, 2019

Building a Visual Portfolio on YouTube

A major frustration the music community faces today is songwriter and producer discovery. There is not a single destination that displays credits and the sources that aim to do this lack easy customization, control and a way to listen and engage with the music.

Jan 29, 2019

How To Get The Most Out of Your Tidal Account

Founded by Jay-Z and a select group of music all-stars, Tidal’s dedication to new music is evident in its Tidal Rising program. Each week, Tidal’s team of curators picks what it calls the highest quality releases to be featured in its monthly playlists and promoted on the service. But even without that extra push from Tidal, you’re still reaching out to a select group of music fans and audiophiles who know good music when they hear it. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your Tidal account.

Jan 17, 2019