How Does a Music Publisher Differ From a Record Company?

Music publishers do not work with master recordings

A music publisher invests in songwriters and composers and controls musical compositions.

A record company invests in artists and controls master recordings.

Not all songwriters and composers are recording artists and many recording artists don’t write their own songs. Money is collected separately for musical compositions and for master recordings.

For example, Bruno Mars co-writes his own songs but has also written for other artists such as Natasha Beddingfield. Therefore, he has a music publishing agreement for the songs he doesn't record and a record deal for those he does.

Some of the writers that Bruno Mars co-writes with (such as Ari Levine) are not recording artists. Therefore, the only way they get paid is from music publishing royalties (unless they have a stake in the master recording).

Interested in learning more? Check out our blog post on Publishing vs Distribution. 


Thanks for reading. Please rate the article below.

Want to keep up with Songtrust for frequent music and publishing updates?

Follow us @songtrust 
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Visit the Songtrust Blog