What is a music publisher?
A music publisher is a business that works with songwriters and composers. Music publishers support their writers’ careers to maximize royalties, and take a share of this money in exchange for their services.
In Australia, a publisher is NOT a songwriter or composer whose works have been published.
Publishers and songwriters/composers – how does it work?
When songwriters/composers sign a publishing deal, they assign the copyright in their music to their publisher. The publisher then tries to generate as much income as possible for their writers’ songs and compositions by:
Pitching them to films, TV programs and advertisements.
- Organising other well-known artists to record and perform them.
- Getting them onto compilation albums and promotional recordings.
- Connecting their writers with other musicians, studios, promoters and industry contacts.
- Protecting their writers' works against infringement, such as unlicensed commercial use or plagiarism.
Publishers take care of their writers’ copyright and royalty administration. They may provide other services such as paying for demo recordings and getting record and management deals for their writers. Sometimes they pay advances to their writers to support them while they write new music.
I want a music publisher!
APRA AMCOS doesn’t offer publishing deals. However we do run workshops and events that focus on music publishing. Subscribe to APRAP and check out our calendar to stay informed about when the next event about publishing is happening near you.
Also, get some tips from Jeremy Fabinyi, the General Manager of the Australasian Music Publishers’ Association (AMPAL) in our ‘Tips of the Trade’ interview.