Who Owns Your Music Publishing Rights and How Does the Money Get Split?

Category: Music Industry

By The DIY Musician

Your music publishing rights and you

If you’re a songwriter, and you’ve not signed a deal with a music publishing company — you own your music publishing rights!

What are those rights exactly?

Well, you get to determine how the musical copyright to a song you’ve written (meaning the composition itself, as a separate entity from any particular master recording of that song) is used or “exploited.”

And you earn money any time that song is sold, performed, or covered.

How do publishing royalties get divided up?

For all publishing royalties that are generated from the usage of your music, 50% is paid to the songwriter/s and 50% is paid to the publisher/s.

As I mentioned above, if you’ve not signed a deal with a publishing company, you are considered both the songwriter AND the publisher. You are owed both shares (50% for the songwriter, and 50% for the publisher) of any mechanical royaltiesperformance royalties, or licenses that your songs generate. However, it’s up to you to exploit the copyright to your compositions, and it’s up to you to collect the royalty payments. [...]

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