What about Publishing? This is one of the most asked questions from songwriters, musicians, and others in the entertainment industries. And is the most complex subject when it comes to who gets what and how.
If you’re in the business of writing songs or exploiting the works of other writers, you will greatly benefit from setting up your own publishing company. You will collect money from mechanical, performance and other licenses that you might grant.
Quite simply there are five steps to setting up your publishing company.
The first step is naming your publishing company. It could be the same or some variation of your label or production company. Or simply, it could just be your name if you’re an artist or songwriter/composer. But be creative because ASCAP and BMI databases are full of similar names.
You’ll want your name to be unique among the thousands of names already existing. Come up with more than one in the event the first choice is taken. An example of being creative is ECAF Music, which is for Babyface or ECNIRP Music, which is for Prince. Because there were so many similar names existing, their names are spelled backwards for their publishing companies and stand out amongst the rest.
Once you’ve chosen your name(s), the second step is to join one of the performance rights organization - BMI, ASCAP or SESAC. You can only be an "active" member of one and there is a fee to join either of the PRO’s.
Hopefully by now you’ve decided which business structure you’re going to file your company under - Sole Proprietor or a General Partnership, if its a group of writers. If you’re an indie label or production company, you want to include ‘publisher’ as one of the purposes for conducting business. After completing that task, you should also apply for your Federal Tax ID to complete your applications to BMI, ASCAP or SESAC. (We’re listing this as step three – but this is an exception to aspiring executives – this should have been the first step in setting up your business).
Opening up that Business Bank Account is the fourth step, because when the money starts rolling in, you’ll want your account to be in place.
The fifth step is to contact The Harry Fox Agency - They issue mechanical and digital licenses to collect money on your behalf. Publishing can generate income for life and beyond the life of the songwriter. It offers not only a lifetime income for the songwriter, but for the children of the songwriter.
For more information about the publishing process, be sure to check out our video with Desha Jackson, Esq. on our self-publishing page.