Publishing Administration refers to all the dirty little details that are involved when collecting and accounting for your individual publishing rights. It is an operation that is required of any publisher (or any independent songwriter) to process and collect all of the royalties that you are owed from the work in your catalogue. This service is usually in exchange for a small commission.
In the last couple decades, Publishing Administration has become a more and more popular service for artists and producers in the music industry. Distinct from the more classical roles of music publishing, which usually entitle an outside publisher to an overall percentage of your publishing rights (usually motivated by a large sum of cash in advance), publishing “administration” has become a much more lean and independent way for small publishers and independent composers to work with one another, without having to hand over a large portion of your publishing rights.
Publishers vs. Publishing Administration
In technical terms, a publisher is defined as “the owner of a compositional copyright”. If an artist does not have a deal in place, specifically with an outside publisher, then by law the songwriter(s) is considered the natural “publisher” of any composition that is written. That being the case, a publishing administrator is a licensed and empowered representative chosen by a publisher to manage all of their copyrights and account for any of the income that they earn.
On the other hand, Publishing Administration lets you get paid without taking away any ownership over your work! They are responsible for accounting and distribution over your catalogue, and specifically handle your Performance and Publishing Royalties, in addition to PROs. (SEE: “What is a PRO?” LINK)
If you are a publisher, or an independent writer/producer, the best thing you could do for your career is hire a representative to handle all of your administration. That way you can get paid doing what you do best and never have to worry about it yourself! To learn more about Publishing Administration for yourself and your catalogue, look into Songtrust, the most trusted Administrative service for Independent composers and writers. (https://www.songtrust.com/)