What are Music Publishers in the UK?

What music publishers UK are and what they can do for singers

What are Music Publishers in the UK? Music publishers UK are also known as publishing companies. Music publishers UK make sure artists and composers get paid royalties every time their compositions (songs) are used commercially.

Music Publishers UK

Through an agreement called a ‘publishing contract’, an artist/composer assigns the copyright of their recordings to the publisher for which they will take a cut of what they collect. The company then:

  • Licence compositions.
  • Monitors when and where a composition is used.
  • Collect any royalties to give to the artist. The publisher takes a percentage of the amount to cover its services.
  • Promote commissions for the artists’ compositions to be used by: films, television, advertisements and other recording artists. They also seek out newer ventures to promote the music to, such as ringtones for phones.
  • They take action on anyone using the music without the necessary licence.

The copyrights to compositions are one of the most important forms of intellectual property in the music business. The music publishers UK’s main role is to manage this asset on behalf of the artists.

Music Publishers UK – How do Royalties work?

After agreeing to a publishing contract, the music publishers UK will collect various kinds of royalties. They may pay the artist an advance up front if they can see there is royalties to collect and then take a percentage of the royalties, sometimes as much as up to 50%, but it’s usually around 20%. There are a few kinds of royalties:

  • Mechanical Royalties – these are from the sales of recorded music, such as CD’s and digital downloads. Record companies pay these to the music publishers UK.
  • Performance Royalties – these are collected by performance rights organisations such as BMI or PRS. Radio stations and others who broadcast recorded music pay these.
  • Synchronization Royalties – these are paid when a composition is played in a film or in a TV show.

Music publishers UK also take songs by songwriters and give them to suitable recording artists to perform. They also try to get them included on film and TV soundtracks. They handle copyright registration and ownership issues for the artist.

Music print publishers supervise the issue of songbooks and sheet music for the compositions of the artist. Again, royalties are paid for songwriting credits and through the books containing how to perform the artist’s compositions.

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