Independent artists may find music publishing intimidating, but it is an essential aspect of the music industry to comprehend. By taking the time to learn about music publishing, independent artists can make sure they get paid fairly for their work and make smart choices about how to distribute and promote their music.
These are four main points to consider when it comes to music publishing for independent artists:
- Copyright your music. Consider joining a performance rights organization (PRO). A PRO is a organization that collects and distributes performance royalties on behalf of songwriters and music publishers. There are several PRO’s to choose from, including ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. Joining a PRO can help you get paid when your music is played on the radio, in a live venue, or on television. It’s important to note that joining a PRO is optional and may not be the best choice for all independent artists, be sure to do your research to see which PRO is the best fit for you.
2. Register your music with a mechanical rights organization (MRO). In addition to performance royalties, independent artists can also earn mechanical royalties when their music is reproduced and distributed. To collect mechanical royalties, you will need to register your music with a mechanical rights organization, such as the Harry Fox Agency if you’re in the United States. This allows you to get paid when your music is streamed, downloaded, or sold as a physical copy, essential if you want to get paid from your Spotify Streams.
3. Choose the right distribution and promotion channels. There are an increasing amount of ways to distribute and promote your music as an independent artist today. Some options include uploading your music to streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, selling physical copies of your music on platforms like Bandcamp or CD Baby, or promoting your music through social media, online marketing and even at live shows. It’s important to choose the distribution and promotion channels that make the most sense for your music and your goals as an artist. Don’t neglect physical distribution if it fits your music. Vinyl is still very popular with music fans and producing limited edition LP’s or EP’s could be a money spinner.
4. Work with a music publisher or self-publish. Another option for independent artists is to work with a music publisher or self-publish their music. A music publisher can help you license your music for use in films, television shows, commercials, and other media. They can also handle the administrative tasks of collecting and distributing royalties on your behalf. Alternatively, you can choose to self-publish your music and handle these tasks yourself. Self publishing can be lucrative if you have a good catalogue of well produced songs that would work in Film/TV or Computer games. Both options have their own pros and cons, and it’s important to carefully consider which option is best for your needs as an artist.
For independent artists, music publishing can be a steep learning curve that can be challenging and confusing. However, if you take the time to learn about the many different aspects of music publishing, you can educate yourself and make smarter choices about how to distribute and promote your music. This will help you open up another income stream for you and your music. In addition you could publish other peoples music and really build a profitable asset.