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Music Publishing 2
 4/19 Music Publishing Panel, Part 1 
4/19 Music Publishing Panel, Part 1
Summary of information from 4/19 music publishing panel, pt. 1 (of 2) ...

The accompanying comments topic for this post can be found here.

April 19, 2006
NARAS/BMI/Gibson Guitars/Billboard Magazine “Industry Insiders” Music Publishing Panel
Gibson Guitar Entertainment Relations Showroom, Beverly Hills, CA


The panel consisted of around an hour and a half of moderated questions answered by the panel members, followed by about a half-hour for audience Q&A. The panelists were people from various backgrounds in the industry, all with years of experience in music publishing, excellent credentials, and having all worked on deals for top-charting, big-name artists. They gave an excellent range of advice on various aspects of the music publishing field, from the perspectives of very differing companies, from small to large, and general to specialized.

I am not in any way an expert in the area of music publishing, one of the reasons I found the panel to be so informative myself. I have done my best to accurately note and present the information, facts, and opinions of the panel members. Please be aware that all of the information in this article is presented “as stated” by the members of the event panel, and not as my own knowledge, views, or opinions.

When I transcribed my 6 pages of handwritten notes from the event, I came up with 9 typed pages of text. Instead of making the article so long, I pared it down into more of an outline form, summarizing the points discussed and the examples given. This outline does not attempt to relate the information in the order that it was presented, but is my own organization, grouping related topics and facts together, to make the most sense for reading.

For more on the setting and atmosphere of the panel, and other events of the evening, please feel free to read my blog post here.


Panel Moderator:
Melinda Newman - West Coast Bureau Chief/Billboard Magazine

Panel Members:
Monti Olson - VP, Creative/BMG Music Publishing
Sara Kapuchinski - Director, Creative/Chrysalis Music Publishing
Dan Coleman - Managing Partner/A Side Music LLC
Leo Williams - Senior Director, Urban/Windswept Music Publishing


Publishing Contract/Deal = Contract between a songwriter, who may also be a performing artist, and a publishing company, for the purpose of selling licenses for the use of the writer’s songs, and promoting the career of the writer.
Record Contract/Deal = Contract between a performing artist, who may also be a songwriter, and a record company, for the purpose of making an album; record company owns master recordings.

Publishing contracts and recording contracts: Both entail giving up some rights to some part of the writer’s songs in exchange for services provided, and money put up, by the company.
Recording contract: Company owns rights to master recordings.
Publishing contract: Writer gives up some part of publishing shares in songs.
Advances: Both publishing and recording contracts usually include advance money given to the writer/artist.
Recouping: In either type of contract, the advance money and any other money spent on behalf of promoting the artist have to be recovered by the company through sales and/or licensing fees before the writer starts getting his/her share.

Record contract may encompass a separate publishing contract with the same company.
Publishing company may put up money toward artist development for the recording of songs.
Advice is to be careful of signing both a record contract and a publishing contract with the record company.
Publishing contract with record company ends if artist is dropped.
Publishing contract with separate publishing company exists on its own terms regardless of record deal.
Chrysalis Publishing: Beginning to finance album recording and shop record deals for signees whose music they believe in strongly, who are without other representation, who are having a hard time getting signed to a record deal. Chrysalis co-owns master with the writer. First artist they got signed this way is Ray LaMontagne. Record deals obtained for two other artists through this process since then, of 6 they’ve financed albums with.

Many artists who get record deals start with publishing deals first. Examples: Chris Martin of Coldplay, and the band Maroon 5.

Types of publishing contracts:
1. Traditional Publishing Contract: Writer signs over entire publishing rights to publishing company. Rarely happens anymore because of savvier new writers and stronger music attorneys.
2. Co-Publishing Contract: What most publishing contracts are these days. Writer and publishing company split publishing rights of the writer’s songs. Used to be 50/50, now more often 75/25 in favor of writer.
3. Administrative Contract: Publishing company shares no publishing rights with writer; functions as a bookkeeper, keeping track of licensing fees collected for writers owning percentages in lots of songs with lots of co-writers, possibly even overseas licensing. Usually not a deal needed by new writer, more for established writers with more songs being licensed and needing to be kept track of. Example: John Legend, co-writer of many songs before getting his own record deal, has an admin deal with A Side.

Percentage of publishing rights granted to publishing company in the contract also translates to the amount of incentive the company has to promote the writer’s songs. In admin deals, publishing company plays very little if any role in promoting/placing the songs, just tracks usage.
Reversions: It may be built into the publishing deal that at some point after the term of the contract, all publishing rights revert back to the writer. Deal must be recouped before any reversions happen. Also less incentive for publishing company to continue promoting writer’s songs after the contract ends, if no longer profiting from it. At that point, it has become essentially an admin deal.

Types of writers signed to publishing deals:
1. “Pure” songwriters who do not intend to record/perform the songs they write.
2. Performing songwriters who intend to be the primary performer of the songs they write.
3. Publishing companies might fill differing roles/perform different services for writers in each of these groups.

Contractual obligations of writer signed to publishing contract:
1. Contract renews in year terms.
2. Minimum delivery commitment per term for some number of songs written.
3. Minimum record/release commitment per term for some number of songs placed.
4. Deal can be suspended if minimum commitments aren’t fulfilled during the term.
5. Minimums are based on songs 100% written by the writer; co-written songs count as whatever percentage of the song that writer wrote.
6. Recouping of advance money.

Services that can be provided by publishing companies:
1. Song placements for sync licenses (tv, movies, commercials, video games).
2. Song placements to be performed by other artists.
3. Artist development: Budgets for recording some of the writer’s songs.
4. Shopping their artists to record labels.
5. Setting up showcases.
6. Support role helping to improve less-than-desired record sales; Example: Procuring song placement for Columbia records artist Anna Nalick on the show “Grey’s Anatomy” when her album sales were “not great”; sales improved when her song aired on the show.
7. Tour support: Example given: Windswept Publishing co-sponsored a tour to promote their artist Ginuwine, whose albums were selling successively fewer records.
8. Helping to keep the artist a priority with their record label.
9. Working to keep media runs going, such as keeping a commercial on the air where their writer has a song placement.
10. Making agreements with the two major sheet music companies, Hal Leonard and Warner; those two companies select on a quarterly basis which songs to print into sheet music based upon chart positions.
11. Panelists’ opinion that publishing companies have taken on many roles that record companies used to fill, in promoting the careers of artists beyond simply making an album. Publishing companies feel that they put themselves on the line for their writers/artists that they believe in, in ways that record companies don’t.

continue on to part 2...
Author: wynnesome
Date: Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:12 pm
Type: Music Publishing
Category: April 19, 2006: "Industry Insiders" Music Publishing Panel
Views: 3178

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