Music publishing is one of the primary goals of most musicians. Unfortunately, many have been left in the dark when it comes to understanding how to publish music, instrumentals, beats, lyrics, et cetera. The following will provide you with a few easy steps to follow as you’re seeking to have your music published.
1. Record High Quality Music
If you haven’t done so already, compile a strong selection of songs and/or instrumentals that you would like to publish. Music publishers often look for fresh, unique, contemporary songs with universal lyrics. Music that is fully developed and ear-catching is ideal. If you can, keep your lyrics safe (no swearing, profanity, or risque topics). Although your music doesn’t necessarily have to be mastered, you’ll want to get as close as possible to a mastered recording as you can. This will help “sell your brand” to the music publisher.
2. Register Music Copyrights Online
Once you’ve made some top notch, broadcast quality music, the next step you’ll want to take is to register copyrights for your music. This can be done with the US Copyright Office.
Under the law as soon as you create your work AND it is “fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device”, it is granted a copyright. It is highly recommended that you register your music copyrights online if you’re looking to save some extra cash.
3. Search For Music Publishers Online/Offline
After completing your copyright registration, you’ll want to search for music publishers who’d be interested in your music catalog. To start, look at your current Rolodex or even cell phone contact list and ask people in your network to recommend music publishers. Research music publishers both online and offline. You’ll want to put together a strong list of potential candidates, the more the better.
4. Contact Music Publishers
After creating your list, you’ll want to email and/or call each company/contact person to ask if they are currently soliciting music submissions. DO NOT AVOID THIS STEP. Most companies nowadays won’t accept unsolicited material. Your first objective should be to get permission to submit material unless the company has otherwise stated.
It may take a while for you to receive a response from them. This is normal. Music professionals and music publishing companies tend to work with a full schedule so it may be some time before you hear back from them.
If the company is not accepting submissions KEEP THEM IN YOUR CONTACT LIST. They may be accepting submissions in the future. If the company is accepting submissions be sure to send exactly what they are asking for. If you need clarification, ask!
Also, if you have an electronic press kit or physical press kit, send it to them. Your physical press kit should be shipped via FEDEX or UPS so that you make a great first impression.
5. Sign Your Music Publishing Deal
If the music publisher finds that your music would be a good fit and they’re interested in publishing it, they’ll have you complete a written contract (e-contract for music publishers online). Be sure to review ALL of the terms in the contract thoroughly. Contact an entertainment lawyer for legal counsel where needed.