7 Great Tips on How to Create a Successful Independent Music Publishing Company
During this new day and age where going independent as an artist is very popular among many why stop at just one category? Why stop at simply being an indie artist? Why not also look into handling the business side of your music independently? This means independently collecting royalties. Independently issuing copyrights. Independently publishing your own music. This brings me this very important topic which is how to create a successful independent music publishing company. Here are 7 amazing tips on how to create not just an music publishing company but a successful independent music publishing company.
1) Become an ASCAP or BMI affiliate
In order to create and have a successful independent music publishing company the 1st thing you have to do is become an ASCAP or BMI affiliate. ASCAP and BMI are performing rights organizations (PRO’s). A performing rights organization is a company that collecting different forms of publishing revenues for songwriters and composers. However, PRO’s are not music publishing companies. They do however, work hand and hand with music publishing companies. If you’re an inspiring music publisher and want to establish your own independent music publishing company you would register with one of these performing rights organizations as a songwriter and music publisher. There is a fee involved to register, but the good thing is it’s only a 1 time fee and it’s definitely worth it. After you register with either ASCAP or BMI you now have an organization that will track certain music publishing or yours and pay you monies owed from that form of publishing. If you decide to go with ASCAP a good factor to be aware of is once you’re registered as a music publisher with ASCAP you automatically have a publishing company name through them. This helps you eliminate 1 of the steps when establishing your own music publishing company. You now have a publishing company through ASCAP.
2) Create an LLC for your independent music publishing company
When establishing your own business whether it’s an independent music publishing company or a candy shop you have to register that business. You have to officially file with whatever business organization that’s in your city or state. You can either set up a sole proprietorship or a LLC (limited liability company). My advice for you would be to register a LLC. You can operate your publishing company under both. However, the reason I suggest LLC is because of its advantages. With an LLC your liability is limited meaning you’re not personally responsible for any debts regarding the business. Your business could go bankrupt tomorrow and your house, car, etc. would still be protected. With a sole proprietorship if anything goes wrong with the business your personal assets can be targeted and taken away from you. This isn’t to say sole proprietorship has no pro’s to it. It’s actually easier and cheaper to start a sole proprietorship than a LLC. You don’t have to pay any initial fees when you start a sole proprietorship. The good thing about registering with ASCAP as a music publisher is the fact that you have a publishing company by default and it’s already seen as a sole proprietorship. So if you’re reading this and feel like it’s too late to have an LLC because you already have a sole proprietorship don’t worry. You can always switch it over later. If you don’t have the money for the registration and filing fees that’s mandatory with a LLC you can always start out with a sole proprietorship and then switch over. Just keep in mind once your independent music publishing company really takes off you should eventually create a LLC.
3) Use a name other than your first and last name
When creating and establishing your own music publishing company you must come up with a name. The name of any business is extremely important. It states what the business is about and what the business actually do. A lot of newcomers who are just starting out in the music business tends to name everything after his or her first and last name. When creating your music publishing company give it a more professional sounding name rather than just naming it directly after you. Yes it’s your company and you want to be represented in the title. However, there are various ways to accomplish this without simply naming it your first and last name. If your name is Michael Houston name your publishing company something like Houston Publishing or MH Music Publishing or Michael H Music Publishing Firm. The reason behind this is because it gives your company a more professional sounding name, it allows your company name to stand out. Also naming any company simply after your first and last name with nothing else adding to the equation comes off as amateur.
4) Copyright your songs
If you’re going to be a successful music publisher than you have to know everything about copyrighting songs. You’ll be in charge of registering and protecting the copyrights of every artist apart of your company songs. The key to having a more successful and professional run publishing company is to copyright the songs under your publishing company name. Don’t copyright the songs under your personal name. If you already have songs copy written under your name that you now want under your publishing company you can simply transfer then. This of course would be done with the official government copyright registration.
5) Provide special services to artists
If you have or want to establish an independent music publishing company one thing you have to understand is how to work for your artists/ clients. Music Publishing companies that are backed by major labels offer artists advances. Independent music publishing companies don’t. This may be a turn off for some artists. However, for artists who understand the importance of independence they won’t mind. But as the owner of a company you still have to make the artist feel like signing with your indie publishing company is worth his or her while. You have to offer other perks to make up for not being able to provide advances. This can be financing studio time to record songs, paying copyright registration and other small fees that may come along.
6) Promote, promote and promote
Since you’re and independent music publishing company competing with major publishing companies you’ll have to work extra hard. This is the reality. With that being said in order to give artist signed to your company faith in your as their publisher you have to provide results. The only way to get results is to promote the artist and songs under your company. You’ll have to promote, promote and do more promoting. This means finding unique ways to get the artist music out there. This means working around not clock not just simply 9-5. This means going above and beyond to establish business relations and more.
7) Think outside the box
As a music publisher your job is to get licenses and deals concerning songs that are under your publishing company. As an independent music publisher this may come off as difficult. It won’t be as easy as your established counterparts to get your songs picked up. Instead of waiting on a record label or manager to pick up your artist song, think outside the box in terms of getting licenses and recognition for your artist songs. If the process of getting one of your artist songs picked up by a record label that you’re currently shopping to is taking too long, then take another route. Try getting your artist song picked up by a local news show as a theme song. See if your artist is interested in recording a few jingles and shop those jingles to small town TV production companies. See if your artist has songs that will fit as a score for a local play or music production. This will help your artist gain notoriety, business acquaintances and income in the meantime. The income may not be as large as getting your song picked up by a major artist or label. However, it will suffice in the meantime and show progress.
Applying these 7 amazing tips on how to run a successful independent music publishing company is just the beginning. There is no cut and dry answer on how to make any company successful. The reality is you have to make it your duty to work on advancing that company day and night. However, these 7 tips will definitely make a great start.