5 thoughts on “Music publishing for 2nd graders

  1. Hi, one thing that I keep trying to get answers for is this mysterious process of establishing a “publishing” company. Almost none of the articles I read mention this, but a lot of people insist it is still true. Like this is why you see Chappell Music listed under the songs on a Police CD, or In One Ear And Out Your Mother Music on a Soundgarden one, etc. That it’s not enough to just join BMI or ASCAP – you have to form a publishing company, or join an existing one, or you won’t get paid. This is the explanation I’ve heard countless times, and is the reason given as to why, though having dozens of songs registered for over a decade on BMI, we’ve yet to receive a cent. Even though when registering the same songs through CD Baby’s publishing service, we started instantly collecting these royalties. Can you possibly address this at some point?

    1. Great article Tony but this leads me to a question. If I am only with the Plain Vanilla version of CD Baby which I am because I am also with ASCAP as my PRO yet my PRO does not collect BOTH of the royalties from streaming then who does? The only money I see from ASCAP is from Sync. As far as my guess is it would be Sound Exchange but I have not seen anything from them nor my PRO for streaming like Spotify and yes, I am registered with them as are my songs.

      The problem with signing up with the PRO Pub deal with CD Baby is that they then act like your publisher and that is EXCLUSIVE so that negates me from signing any of my catalog to music libraries not too mention, I love CD Baby and they are great but they are not set up to collect sync royalties that I get thru placements from music libraries.

      1. Chris, ASCAP collects public performance royalties when your music is performed at venues, plus the public performance royalty piece from streaming, plus publishing royalties from US radio airplay. A service like CD Baby Pro also collects mechanicals from streaming companies plus select other royalties, including the label part of SoundExchange for you. The fact that music libraries want part of your publishing royalties is an industry practice that I am not a fan of, and I know a number of CD Baby artists are conflicted by this – and are leaving royalties on the table by not signing up for a publishing admin service.

    2. Horace, regarding your question…if you are with ASCAP you would also need to sign up as a Publisher in addition to just a writer so you would have 2 memberships which is what I have with them. I can’t speak for BMI but my understanding is with them, you CAN do that but it’s not necessary as if you are not also signed up as a Publisher they include that publishing money in your writer’s share. i would suggest contacting a writer rep there.

    3. There are certain royalties for which you need to have established a publishing company in order to collect them. However, if you use CD Baby Pro, their distribution service that also includes publishing administration, you will get CD Baby to act as your publisher. They’ll collect all the royalties for you, yet you retain all your rights.

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