Self Publishing Your Music
When you license your music for use in TV, Film, Video Games, etc.. someone needs to administer the publishing. A question people often ask me is whether it’s better to self publish or to assign your publishing rights to a separate publisher. You DO give up your publishing rights when you assign them to an outside publisher,as well as half of all the royalties each song that is assigned to a separate publisher earns. This is what’s known as the publishing share of performance royalties and it’s how publishers earn their money.
But the question remains, is it better to self publish or to work with an outside publisher? The answer really depends on how established you are as an artist and how many contacts in the business you already have. Chances are that if you’re reading my newsletter you are an independent artist who is still trying to break into the business of music licensing. In this case working with an established publisher who already has industry contacts makes perfect sense. You give a portion of your royalties away in exchange for the relationships the publisher you are working with has. It’s a perfectly fair trade off if you align with an established publisher.
However, if you are actively pursuing licensing opportunities I would still recommend establishing your own publishing company through either ASCAP (who I belong to) or BMI. It’s very easy to do and anyone can register their own publishing company for a nominal fee. The fee through ASCAP is only $35.00. The fee for BMI is a little higher.
Someone has to function as the publisher if and when your music is licensed in order to get paid a publisher’s royalty. More and more there are music libraries that will pitch your music directly to supervisors without touching your publishing at all. So if your lucky enough to have your music licensed through one of these companies you’ll want to make sure you have a publishing company in place in order to list yourself as the publisher.
P.S. Aaron Davison is the creator of a course called “The A to Z of Music Licensing“. Want to check it out? CLICK the link below for instant access!