Setting up your own Publishing Company

By understanding what a publishing company does and the fees associated with having hired a publishing company, some artist will look for an alternative way to handle the copyrights of their songs, such as setting up their own publishing company.  In this way, the artist will not ‘assign’ their copyrights to another copy which they can loose some ownership of their music, instead they will ‘assign’ the copyrights to their own publishing company in effect keeping the entire copyright in their name.
Setting up a publishing company is very simple.  The process is similar to setting up a business for your band except there are few more steps involved.  First contact one of the performing rights societies, ASCAP, BMI or SESCAC and request a "Publisher's Application." If individual band members have not affiliated with one of these performing rights societies yet, request a "Writer's Applications" as well. You will then have to choose a name for your publishing company and will be asked for several different names incase the name you are looking for is already taken.. After selecting a name, the application will request background information on who owns the publishing company. If the band will own the publishing company, list each band member and check the appropriate business license your band is registered under, sole proprietor ship, partnership or corporation. The application will then ask for a tax identification number. Write "applied for" in this box, considering you haven’t applied for a business license yet. If only one person owns (sole proprietorship) the publishing company, then using your personal social security number will suffice. Return the form along with any fees required and in a few weeks you should receive confirmation that your publishing company has been accepted.
This publishing company that you set up will be a separate company from your band as a business, in effect you are setting up a second company separate from your company that is your band.  Upon receiving confirmation of your new publishing company you will need to apply for a business license and a tax ID number.  Follow the same procedure that you did in setting up your band as a business.  Once you receive your license to do business and the tax ID number, you will send that information into the performing rights society that you applied for the publishing company from.  Once this is done you will need to open a bank account in the name of your new publishing company, for any payments that are received by ASCAP, BMI or SESAC will be made out to your publishing company.
Although the prospect of owning your own publishing company is more lucrative than perhaps hiring a publishing company, the question remains when is it necessary to have a publishing company?  Much of the monies generated for the copyright owner of the music created are generated through radio airplay and off of any records printed and produced.  Often times, if you do not have a record deal or your music is not being played live on the radio or elsewhere in public there will be no money generated.  So it stands to reason that before starting a music publishing company you should ask yourself, does your band need a publishing company yet?  If the answer is no, wait until your music begins to generate airplay or when a publishing company is required in the event of a record deal.  Otherwise you could just be wasting your money on setting up a separate business that will do nothing for you as long as no money is generated from the rights for people to use your song.

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