- Publishing Music Yourself Through a PRO
- Working with an Outside Publisher
- Sharing Your Album with the Public
There are more ways than ever before to share your music album with the world, which is a great thing for an artist. However, this rapid expansion of options has perhaps made publishing an album a bit more confusing. It is worthwhile to go through the process, though, because publishing is typically a key element in earning royalties. You can become a music publisher and publish your album yourself, or work with various publishing entities to register and circulate your music.
Publishing Music Yourself Through a PRO
- You can try to find a reputable music publisher who’s willing to take you on as a client, or publish your own music and register with a PRO.
- It is possible that you may be able to register your music with a PRO and earn royalties without working with or becoming a publisher. Consult an attorney for the laws and rules where you live and/or create music.
- As a publisher, you can register with multiple PROs, but you can only (and need only) register a single work (like an album) with one PRO.
- Outside the U.S., look for PROs that operate in your country, such as SOCAN in Canada.
- However, if more than one person is involved in the business (such as co-writers, band mates, etc.), it’s strongly recommended that you form a more structured business, for example a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation. The operating agreement or by-laws for the business should address who does what, who owns what, how members are compensated, how new members join, and how members can leave.
- It is entirely possible to set up a LLC or alternate business entity without assistance, but it may be easier for you to consult with a knowledgeable attorney.
- For example: If your songs are played, the radio station lets ASCAP know that they played your songs and sends ASCAP a check. ASCAP then looks up the album on their registration, finds it registered to “Your Name Music Publishing,” and cuts you a check.
Working with an Outside Publisher
- Landing a successful publisher is far from a sure thing, of course. Try to build up a network of contacts with various publishers, artists, and others in the music business, and be prepared to be turned down one or maybe many times.
- A publishing administrator may charge a one-time fee (for example $75 U.S.) and a percentage of your royalties (perhaps 10-20%) for its services.
- Make sure the publishing administrator has an existing working relationship with the PRO you are using, so that the process of collecting and distributing your royalties is streamlined.
- For example, the Google Play Artist Hub charges an initial fee and thirty percent of your revenues in return for global distribution of your album across the company’s various music platforms. Using Tunetrax, artists retain 100% of revenue and how their music gets distributed.
Sharing Your Album with the Public
- In the United States, for example, you can submit a digital or physical copy of your album to www.copyright.gov, pay the fee (currently $35), wait several months for processing, and receive a copyright registration that will protect the ownership of your musical creation in U.S. and many international courts of law.
- Whether you’re working with a publisher, acting as your own publisher with Tunetrax, or not using a publisher at all, register the copyright for your work. Protect your legal rights to your album.
- If you’re an independent artist looking to distribute your album freely and start to make a name for yourself, this simpler approach might work; if you’re seeking to control dissemination and earnings, follow a more structured publishing approach.