Music Publishing basically refers to anything and everything you’ve written or produced in a song. This includes production, melody, lyrics, arrangement and more (excluding the sound recording itself). It’s all publishing. Publishing gives you the ownership and controllership over any composition that you’ve played a part in writing; even if just partially.
For many new artists, publishing is probably one of the biggest mysteries in the industry. At first glance it can seem fairly vague, almost intimidating if you’ve never had to manage it yourself. But let me be the first to tell you: As a writer, producer or composer, your publishing is the most important and precious commodity in your catalogue.
Even if you’ve only written one line, in one song, on one album - by the laws of the US Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/), you are entitled to a partial ownership over the publishing rights to that entire song, and are thereby owed “mechanical” and “performance” royalties for any kind of performance, distribution or broadcast of that musical work.
What this means for you as an artist is that anytime someone wants to license your work, for whatever reason it may be (distribution, broadcasting, synchronization, etc.), your publishing is what will give you the right to either license that work or not; and will also ensure that you are getting paid based on the % of the publishing that you own.
It’s an exciting time to be an artist, and publishing is certainly the most exciting and rapidly evolving industry in the world of music. To learn more about how to get paid from your publishing, or where you can go to register your musical works, read our article on “What is a PRO?”. Otherwise, if you’re already registered with a PRO and are looking for more support in managing the administrative side of your publishing, you can also read our article on “What is Publishing Administration?”
All of these resources can offer you the support & assistance you will need to begin monetizing your publishing on a global scale.