How to Run your Own Publishing Company

Perhaps you are considering starting up your own publishing company instead of hiring a Publishing company to collect any monies generated from the copyright of your songs.  The question is, how do you actually run your own publishing company?  There are various functions to a music publisher but mostly it is used in collecting monies from income generated by the use of your songs, like public performances. 
So let’s quickly summarize what a publishing company does. A publishing company collects money for songwriters (owner(s) of the copyright for a song). A songwriter makes money every time his or her song is on the radio or in public, every time it is on television/video/movies, and every time someone manufactures a record/tape/DVD/mp3. A publishing company collects this money for the songwriter(s), keeps some as its fee, and gives the rest to the songwriter(s).
Considering much of income generated for songwriter(s) is collected by the performing rights societies, it is your job as the Publishing Company to submit and fill out forms for each and every song the band records and releases to the each performing rights organization that each owner of the copyright belongs to.  Meaning, you as the publishing company is submitting a song that was written by four people.  Each person owns ¼ of the copyright.  Even though you set up your company with one performing rights organization, not all the owners of the copyright of the song have to be with the same organization.  One owner could be associated with SESAC, while another member is associated with ASCAP and the other two is associated with BMI.  That means you as the publishing company will have to submit that one song to all three performing rights association for each owner of the copyright detailing the owners of the song and what percentage they will receive. The second half asks for who the publisher is. Fill in this information and once submitted the performing rights societies will monitor how often songs are played on the radio (among other things). They will then take any money generated and pay the publisher which will be your publishing company and then your publishing company will disperse any money generated amongst the owners of the copyright material.
The second area of income from publishing companies comes from mechanical royalties. A band (through the publishing company) is entitled to mechanical royalties every time the record label makes a copy of their tape or DVD or even electronic copies. This is also publishing money for which your publishing company must collect. Fortunately, just like performing rights societies, there is a company that performs this function as well, The Harry Fox Agency. Just like the performing rights societies, you as the publishing company will be required to fill out a form identifying the owners of each copyright song and then Harry Fox will do the rest in collecting monies from the sources of where your songs are duplicated and copied.
The Harry Fox Agency can also negotiate synchronization licenses for you as well. A synchronization license is one you grant to television to play your song accompanied by video images. There is a small fee for this service, but considering their experience and business relations with the studios that use songs for commercials, TV and movies, the fee will be well worth it.
Another thing to consider for owning your own publishing company is that the songs generated by your band will not only be performed in the country that you reside but also around the world.  Considering it is your publishing company’s job to collect monies generated by any performances in foreign country’s it would be beneficial to associate and contract sub-publishers to collect money for the public performances of songs in your publishing company’s catalogue on behalf of your publishing company.
There are other areas of operation that a publishing company performs but the above is the most prominent functions of what your publish company will perform. But it should be stressed that if your band generates little or no money from public performances it may outweigh the need for a publishing company and starting one of your own should be done when the need arises for you to hire or create one.

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