You might have heard about music publishers but the great question is: what are music publishers? we will help you to understand it a little bit better.
First of all, we have to differentiate between who’s the artist and who is the songwriter. The Artist usually refers to those people who perform a musical piece at a live concert or a music studio (musicians can specialize in playing on recording studios).
On the other hand, the songwriter is the one who has composed the musical piece (you can find some editorial playlists dedicated to them on Spotify) Nevertheless, both skills of Artist & Songwriter usually mix.
Music has two kinds of rights: Moral Rights (Disclosure, Paternity, Integrity, Modification, Retirement) and Exploitation Rights (Copy + Fee Private Copy, Distribution, Public Communication: Traditional Communication + Interactive Communication, Transformation and Synchronization rights)
Moral rights don’t generate income, you can’t give up the rights to anybody, furthermore, as a songwriter, you can’t transfer these rights to your heirs. Once you’ve composed one musical piece these rights automatically only belong to the songwriter until the end.
In exchange, exploitation rights generate income and the songwriter can transfer them to their heirs. However, once it has passed seventy years since the songwriter’s death these rights will pass to the public domain, in other words, they’ll stop generating incomes (The intellectual property law secures future heirs to build their own life and don’t live from the copyright revenues of their great-great-grandfathers). There are loopholes on this to keep updating these rights using unregulated standards, but that’s a different topic.
Publishing and sync deals
When the songwriter signs a publishing deal gives up their exploitation rights to the company that’s signing it, indeed they give up an established percentage by each kind of right. The partition of the rights usually stays around 70% (ARTIST) – 30% (PUBLISHER). On the contrary, the sync right divides 50% for each part (the publishing company can never take more than 50% by the intellectual property law in Spain, for example).
Depending on the attention of both parties, we can deal with different kinds of publishing agreements: Publishing, Commission, Management, Sub-Publishing, Co-Publishing. The most common ones are the publishing and commission contracts. One important thing you need to know is that these companies usually offer advances, we always recommend you secure this advance is RECOUPABLE BUT NON-REFUNDABLE. This way, you won’t have to give back the advance from your own account in the event of these rights haven’t reached the specified advance on the established timeframe. However, these companies are guided by professionals, the companies never give advances if they don’t feel they are to recover them (this is only one technique to secure our butt).
That’s all for now, the topic is quite dense but if you have any doubts you can always leave us a comment and we will be more than glad to help you.