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Earning Money for Music Publishing

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How Do I Earn Money as a Music Publisher?

By the collection of royalties that accrue from music broadcast on television, radio and the Internet. Additional royalties can also be earned through secondary uses on other television shows, in theatrical films or as record releases, as well as by licensing the music to other sources.

How Do I Become a Music Publisher?

The first step in becoming a music publisher is making certain that your contracts with music suppliers grant you all necessary rights for control of your music. The next step necessary to begin collecting royalties is the formation of music publishing companies with the performing rights societies (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC).

Will it Cost me Anything?

No. Fees are paid by the music users as license fees to the performing rights societies, which then pay royalties directly to their members. The royalties are divided among each society's members based upon a complex set of factors.

What Are Factors do Performing Rights Societies Base their Royalty Divisions on?

There are several factors used to determine the dollar value of a broadcast performance:

  • The amount of music used
  • The medium on which it is broadcast
  • How frequently the music airs
  • The type of performance
  • The time of day the music airs
  • The amount of money available for distribution
  • Sample and census surveys

How Do I Collect My Royalties?

In order to collect royalties, music must be registered with the performing rights societies. Documentation meeting specific requirements must also be reviewed and submitted to the performing rights societies for proper crediting.

How Often Is Payment Made?

Royalty distributions are paid quarterly to publishers and composers. Domestic revenues are not paid out until at least the second or third quarter following the first air play.

How about Earning Royalties in Foreign Countries?

Performance royalties earned in foreign markets can take up to two years to reach publishers in the United States, often without full accountability.

Do I Need an Entertainment Lawyer?

The entertainment industry poses many potential legal complications. Consulting with an attorney prior to negotiating any formal contracts or copyright privileges is always a wise thing to do. Speaking with the proper entertainment lawyer will inform you of your rights in the entertainment industry and protect your interests.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 09-29-2011 02:16 PM PDT

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