Emily White: Artists: Don’t fear 21st century publishing

From MIDEM’s blog:

Emily White manages (predominantly) DIY artists through her talent shop, Whitesmith Entertainment. She is a frequent contributor to midemblog: check out all her posts here.

“Publishing” is a word in the music industry that strikes fear and confusion into artists.

I’d like to clear that up with this post, showing that most of the horror stories from the past have been eradicated, and that your publisher is not only a huge ally but also a crucial revenue stream.

There are two main sets of rights in a piece of music: the recorded master and the written song. Every artist on my roster writes their own material or music for others; so although this is not the case for everyone, let’s assume that the artists we are referring to in this piece write their own material. The past decade has allowed artists to have as much control as they want in every way over their recordings. At the same time, there are a slew of forward thinking publishers who have evolved as well.

When I first bring up publishing to an artist, there are often fearful, saying that “I have to own my publishing”, and they are like a wounded animal concerned about even taking a publishing meeting in the first place.  One thing I’d like to highlight is that there are different types of deals a writer/artist can strike with a publisher, including administrative or “admin” deals in which the writer/artist owns their rights.  In the past, this option may not have existed, but if an artist is adamant about owning their rights, working out an admin deal should not be a problem with most publishers.

On the same topic, don’t fear co-publishing or “co-pub” deals.  Most of these deals are not the horror stories many artists have heard from the pre-digital era in which a writer signed their catalogue away for a sum of money that seemed high at a time, but didn’t benefit on the works past the signing.

Continue reading the rest of the story on MIDEM’s blog