There is a general misconception when it comes to music publishing that if you get a song published you are going to be rich and that your song will be recorded and/or played on the radio. If only things were so simple, of course, these events are a possibility but usually not the case.
What does publishing mean?
Publishing can be defined as assigning all, or a portion of, ownership, particular legal rights, and a percentage of any income a song or musical composition might generate to an individual or a company for a specified period of time. Any income generated is divided into two equal shares: the writer's share and the publisher's share.
Giving 50% of the income a song generates to a publisher might seem like a lot but isn't 50% of something better than 50% of nothing.
So What Exactly Is A Publisher Looking For?
If you imagine for a second that you were a music publisher and you were going to a label with your catalogue of songs.
You would want to have the strongest songs possible because you're going to have some stiff competition from hit songwriters. So you can see why it's in the publishers best interest to only add songs to their catalogue that they feel are hits and that have marketability.
Some things a publisher looks for:
- Songs of the highest calibre
- Songs with commercial potential
- Songs with great marketability
- Singer/Songwriters who have already built up a fan base
What Happens When You Get A Song Published?
When you get a song published by a publishing company, it means your song has been added to the company's catalogue.
The catalogue can contain thousands of songs by various songwriters. The company then approaches record labels, producers & artists managers with songs they think would be suitable with the hope of getting a song placed. They also try to licence songs for use on TV shows, Films and commercials.