What is Music Publishing?

Ownership and exploitation of one or more musical compositions.

Music publishing refers to money you can make as the copyright holder of the music you write. Basic copyright law protects songwriters by giving them exclusive rights to grant or deny the reproduction, distribution, or performance of their work. When you write original music and register the copyrights correctly and comprehensively, you may be able to start collecting royalties on that music in the following forms:

  1. Public Performance Royalties (generated when a song is publicly broadcast--on radio, on television, in restaurants/bars, live)
  2. Mechanical Royalties (generated when a song is sold or streamed)
  3. Sync Royalties
  4. Foreign Royalties
  5. Printed Music Royalties

Music publishing refers to the money you make from government mandated royalties that must be paid to you when other people or companies use music that you wrote. That can refer to your record company making a copy of your music (mechanical royalties), when a radio station, website, or restaurant plays your music to help them make money (public performance royalties), or if a television show or film uses your music in their productions (sync royalties).