Making the Most of Your Music Publisher Relationship


Music publishing is a complex part of the music industry which can sometimes be hard to navigate for songwriters. As a music publisher, Anara Publishing deals with the copyright of the composition of your songs, not to be confused with the ‘sound recording’ or ‘master’. In short, this refers to the musical elements of the song such as the melody and lyrics, therefore protecting you as a songwriter and composer.

Once you’ve created a song, the next goal is to earn money from your hard work. As Deepa Seshadri, Head of Business Development in India for Anara Publishing explains “A song is an asset. If you play your cards right, it will make money for you over a long period of time.”


A music publisher assists with this by taking control of 3 areas:


  • Administration of your publishing rights (for example, a publisher can register your works with the relevant collection societies).


  • Collection of performance and mechanical royalties (for example, a publisher liaises with collection societies to ensure that you receive all money owed to you). Along with this, print rights are important. Whether physical or digital, each time your lyrics are reproduced and sold onto merchandise, you’re entitled to royalties


  • Pitching for creative opportunities to earn more revenue for your songs (for example, synchronisation licensing).


In short, the music publisher looks after the business side of your writing career, helping you to develop and streamline your revenue. Of course, there are different types of publishing deals on offer – and you can take a look at key industry terms in our previous blog ‘An Independent Songwriters’ Guide to Music Publishing.


As with any professional relationship, trust and transparency are key. Here’s a mixture of top tips to think about when working with your music publisher:


  • Communication is the basis of a solid working relationship. Keep your publisher in the loop with what you’re working on, like tour plans and upcoming releases, and regularly check-in with them and respond to emails.


  • Be open-minded and welcome feedback – your publisher is there to help you exploit your music and earn income.


  • Set realistic goals and expectations together. Don’t be afraid to talk to your publisher and keep them informed on your projects as they will be able to help you in the creative process and get the best out of your songs.


  • Make sure that you have instrumental versions of your songs. These are often needed when pitching for sync opportunities, so you don’t want to delay sending these to your publisher and risk missing out on getting a sync!


  • If you’ve written a song with someone else, document your song splits and make sure all parties involved sign and agree. Check out our Song Splits: 101 blog for further guidance.


  • Even if you have a publishing deal, you still need to join a Performance Rights Organisation in order to get paid some of your royalties. Discuss this with your publisher if you need assistance.


  • If you’ve used any samples in your production, make sure that they are cleared to avoid future legal trouble.


  • Correct metadata is crucial. Ensure that you list your song information accurately. Examples of this include song title, artist name, genre, mood and ISRC code, to name a few. Your music publisher can assist you with this if needed.


Overall, it is important that you make the best of your relationship with your publisher, they are there to help you gain opportunities, earn revenue and move your career forward. As noted by Musician on a Mission, pretty much “every person in the music industry has a relationship to music publishing” so it’s a good idea to learn more about this sector of the business and maintain a healthy relationship with those in your team.

If you have any more questions on music publishing, feel free to contact us. Alternatively, you can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram