The first day into my first job in music publishing, my boss took me aside and said, with earnest, “Give it time, Mandy. It will take many years to master music publishing administration”. How right he was! I’ve been working in music publishing for over a decade now and I’m still learning. The landscape is currently vibrant. There is erosion and evolution.
The paradox is that once publishing royalties have been generated, the clock starts ticking and the race is on to collect those royalties before it’s too late. Uncollected royalties don’t wait around forever to be claimed. There is a fixed window of time to claim and once that window has passed, the unclaimed royalties are dispersed.
The process of global royalty registration and collection is challenging. There are many publishing collection societies and services, each with its own complicated rules for royalty registration and distribution. Abide by the rules, and the royalties due to you should flow. However, I wouldn’t want to claw my way alone through all that red tape, without the knowledge, experience, expertise and support of a publishing administrator. There isn’t enough time to learn the rules.
I have come to terms with the fact that there will always be new things to learn relating to music publishing but quite honestly, I don’t need to know everything because companies like Songtrust have numerous personnel who are knowledgeable, dedicated and at the top of their game with regards to each area of the global royalty collection process. Sure, you can go it alone, at the very least join your local PRO, but you will undoubtedly miss out on some of the royalties due to you. The key to optimising royalty collection, in my opinion, is to have in place the infrastructure to work the system. That is where a publishing administrator can help you.
Historically, not everyone had access to global publishing administration and traditional publishing deals offered little flexibility. They often unfavourably tied the writers and all their copyrights into contracts in perpetuity. As such, writers would sign deals to obtain the royalties due to them but in doing so, give up control. Luckily, there are now more options available and these work much better with the ever evolving nature of music and especially, the careers of those who make it! Never stop trying to learn more about the music business, but know that there are those out there ready to help it make more sense.
Songtrust is rapidly growing and looking for talented, diverse, and intelligent people to join our team. If you'd like to help move our mission forward, take a look at our open positions. For more information about Songtrust or publishing administration, check out our help desk.