What is a Co-Publishing Deal?

Here’s what you need to know before signing your shares away.

In most co-publishing agreements, songwriters retain 100% of their writer’s share and 50% of their publisher’s share.  (The other half goes to the publisher.) This makes them more attractive, and potentially lucrative, than other traditional publishing deals. 

Owning a portion of your publishing does not mean you automatically have the right to administer your share, however. Co-publishing deals often require the songwriter to relinquish control of the song itself, allowing their publishing company to seek out as many sync opportunities (commercials, films, television shows, etc.) as they see fit.

One of the most enticing aspects of a co-publishing deal is the advance. An advance can be alluring for a songwriter because it can mean you’re able to quit your day job and focus all of your energy on writing. But it’s important to know that this advance must be recouped in full by the publisher before you are paid out any additional royalties from your compositions.

Typically, the publisher will collect their 25% of performance royalties (representing 50% of the publisher’s share of performance) and 50% of mechanical royalties, and set the rest against your advance until they are paid back entirely. Only then will you begin to be paid for the royalties your songs generate.


Publishing Royalties in a Co-Publishing Deal (1)


Interested in learning more? Check out our Guide to Publishing Deals webinar. 


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Disclaimer: This article is for educational and informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The content contained in this article is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific matter or matters.