REGISTERING, PUBLISHING AND DISTRIBUTING YOUR MUSIC PART 2
This is part 12 of “How To Create A Rap Song” By The Lokkz Music
PART I – MINDSET
PART II – CHOOSING THE MUSIC
PART III – BEAT LICENSING
PART IV – SONGWRITING TECHNIQUES
PART V – THE HOOK
PART VI – PRE-PRODUCTION
PART VII – VOCAL RECORDING TECHNIQUES
PART VIII – OVERDUBBING
PART IX – MIXING THE BEAT
PART X – VOCAL MIXING TECHNIQUES
PART XI – BASIC MASTERING TECHNIQUES
PART XII – REGISTERING, PUBLISHING AND DISTRIBUTING YOUR MUSIC PART 2
Hello my fellow artists, welcome to the 2nd part of Registering, Publishing and Distributing Your music. In part 1 we discussed copyrighting your work, and registering with a PRO. In this article we will dive in and talk about publishing your music either with a publishing company or on your own, and also distributing your music to the world so you can get those record sales! So without further adieu, let’s get into it.
WHAT IS MUSIC PUBLISHING?
We should be at the point where our song is copyrighted, and registered with our PRO. Now that you have done that, you are legally and officially the full owner of the master recording of your song, and you get 100% writer’s share of the actual song or composition. The total ownership of a song is 200%. Half of that being writer’s share, and half of that being publishers share. If you own the song in it’s entirety and you own your publishing rights, you are at 200% ownership.Since we only created the lyrics and the composer made and produced the music, depending on your contract with the composer of the music, that 200% is divided between the two of you. The most common division with this type of situation is 50/50, 50% is given to you as the writer of the lyrics, and 50% is given to the composer and producer of the music. This all depends on the contract you signed with the owner of the beat and knowing what you are allowed to do with the song. So let’s say in addition to releasing your song as a single or part of an album, you also want to make your music available for others to use, whether it is for a cover song, to be place in a film or game, placed on a commercial, or even printed to sheet music to be performed. This is called music publishing. Anytime you want to exploit your music to be used by other people for profit, you are publishing your music.
When you publish your own music, you are responsible for exploiting the copyright of your song and for collecting all royalty payments. If you are doing everything on your own, this will be a ton of work. Might as well say goodbye to making music for awhile. For this reason, many artists seek out a publishing company that will handle this for them.
A publishing company will be in charge of displaying your music and getting out there for possible placements. They usually have tons of connections and opportunities to place your music. They also collect your publishing royalty payments for you. The only thing they require in return is a percentage of your publishing royalties. At the bottom of this article I have added some resources that will get you in touch with publishing companies.
SELF PUBLISHING VS. PUBLISHING CONTRACTS
When it comes to publishing your music, there are two ways we can go about doing that. The first way is publishing the music ourselves, the second is signing a contract with a publishing company to do it for us. Let’s take a look at both routes more closely.
Self publishing is the way everyone starts. When you create a piece of music, you automatically are your own publisher. Meaning when your music is placed and you get royalties, you will get your complete writer’s share, and you will also get the complete publishing share. Of course if there are other writers, then you will get the correct percentage agreed upon. So if you and a producer/composer make a song, where he creates the music and you create the lyrics, and you both do your own publishing, You each will get 50% of the writers share and 50% of the publisher share. But with your own publishing you get to keep all of your royalties owed to you, and you will have total control over your music and what you do with it.
However the biggest cons with self publishing are limited exploitation, meaning you won’t have a big network of opportunities to get placements quickly, and you have to seek out your royalty payments on your own, which can take literally so much time that you won’t have time to make music. However, there are a few agencies such as the Harry Fox Agency that will seek out those that owe you royalty payments and bring those royalties to you. But if you would rather have all of this taken care of so you can focus completely on making music and building your career, signing a publishing deal may be the better route for you.
A publishing deal can have great benefits. The main one being that you now have a bigger company with more credibility representing your music, rather than just doing it on your own. So that means they have a lot of connections to shop your music to get placements in films, Tv shows, commercials, video games, etc… Another obvious benefit is that they will now be in charge of retrieving the royalties you make from those placements. Sometimes you may also get cash advances from your publishing company. A lot of times in a publishing deal, it can take a long time to start generating royalties. And even when you start getting royalties, it may take even longer for them to be sent out to the music publishers. So sometimes a publishing company will estimate how much royalties you will make off of a song and give you an advance payment. This works well for the artist because you do not have to pay back your publishers if you don’t actually make royalties from the song. But once you do, the royalties are paid to the publishing company until they have recouped from the advance that they paid you.
The only con about getting into a publishing deal is that you have to give up some of your publishing rights and royalties to the company. Each contract will be unique, but the most common percentage is 50% splits. So in this type of contract. You will only get 50% of your publishing royalties known as the “writer’s share”, and the publishing company will get the other 50% known as the “publishers share”. You will also not have full control of how your music is handled. Publishing companies will be able to shop your music however they want. But again, if you know how to work out a contract that works to your benefit, you can avoid things like this.
TYPES OF ROYALTIES
So as we mentioned above, the whole point of getting your music published is to get paid. The way you get paid is by getting royalties from the usage of your music. Think of royalties like a subscription payment. In order for you to use Netflix, you must pay a monthly fee. This is the same as receiving royalties. The company that is using your music is basically subscribed to the particular song or a certain catalog of your music that they are using and each time they get paid off of it, they send you their subscription payment. There are two types of royalties we receive from publishing. Those royalties are called Mechanical Royalties and sync royalties.
These are royalties that are earned when someone sells your song. This could be part of a soundtrack album, a greatest hits album, or just when your record is sold as is. When you sell your own records, you are technically paying yourself mechanical royalties when your music get’s purchased. If you have a feature on someone else’s song and you are registered as a songwriter for that song. You will get a mechanical royalty. The mechanical royalty rate is usually a set number called statutory rate. This rate is currently set to 9.1 cents per unit/song sold. So every time your song is sold, whether it’s from a cover song, a feature, or a re-release, you are owed the full or a percentage of 9.1 cents.
Sync royalties are generated when your song is synchronized with a visual medium such as a movie or video game and then sold to the public. This doesn’t matter if your song is used as actual soundtrack music or background music in the film or game, it is still required for the company to get a sync license from you or your publisher and then pay sync fees for usage. The royalty rate for sync royalties are agreed upon between the songwriter/publisher and the party that is obtaining the sync license.
DISTRIBUTING YOUR MUSIC
WHAT IS DISTRIBUTION?
Distribution is exactly what it sounds like, making copies and distributing your music to the public. This can be in either physical copies, or digital copies. Distribution also applies to online radio stations such as Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, as well as many others. Now if we were to handle our distribution on our own, it would take lots of money and time. However, we now have distribution companies that handle all of the dirty work so we can just sit back and watch those sells roll in. Well, not exactly, we still have to do marketing and make more music for our loyal fans.
A distribution company handles everything that involves making copies and distributing your music to the world. They will use a special ID for your song called an ISRC code. This code can be obtained here. Each song will get it’s own ISRC code to act as a fingerprint for the song. Then the distribution company will place your music on as many online music platforms as possible. They detect when you make a sale by the ISRC code and then pay you your money. Some distribution companies will also create CDs of your albums or singles and distribute them throughout the world in stores. They keep track of sales by using what is called a UPC code. This code gets listed on the CD packet’s barcode.
Distribution companies usually only require you to make an upfront payment to distribute your music. This will be either a one time payment or a yearly payment. There are also different prices for if you want to just upload a single, or upload an album. Some even offer packages where they will not only distribute your music, but also register it with a PRO and publish it in music libraries. At the bottom of this article I have added a list of music distribution companies along with what they offer and their prices.
OTHER TYPES OF RELEASES
Most distribution companies will place your music on almost all platforms, but there are still a few platforms that may be left out. Lets take a look at some of those.
We all know what Youtube is so I don’t need to explain this. Regardless if you have music videos or not, you need to have your music on Youtube. Some distribution companies will add your music to Youtube, if not, most add your music to Amazon and in turn, Amazon automatically creates a Topic channel for your music. This consists of a basic Video with just an image of your cover art and the info of the song. This is also fine, but as an artist, you want to keep your brand consistent so make sure to upload you own topic videos or music videos to your official Youtube channel. You can also get paid by Youtube for getting views, but that’s a topic for another article.
Soundcloud was one of those music platforms that blew up unexpectedly. By as of right now, it is the best community for anyone to go and listen to music, engage with other artists, bands, and even labels and music publishing companies.So you definitely want to make sure your music is on Soundcloud as well. You can also get paid on Soundcloud for getting plays. Once again we will discuss that in another article.
Bandcamp, AudioMack, Ecommerce stores
Bandcamp and AudioMack are great platforms to upload that will allow you to sell high quality files of your music. Most platforms require you to upload an MP3 file which in itself is a very low quality file. So having the option to give your fans the high quality versions of your songs is something they will love! You can also add more info on these sites such as tours and news.
E-commerce stores are what you would use if you want to sell your music from your website. This is a must for any artist. For one, if you don’t have a website, then you need to get one as soon as possible. Secondly, your website should be the official source for people getting your music. Your website is the one place you can have all attention to you. On other platforms, you are sharing the platform with millions of other artists that can be distracting from your music. Using sites like Shopify and Woocommerce will allow you to upload your files on a protected server and sell your music right from your store.
We made it! After all of this hard work and learning, We are officially done with Creating A Rap Song. We captured the idea, picked out a beat from The Lokkz Music catalog and wrote our song. After that we recorded a basic rough draft of the song in the pre-production stage. Took notes and prepared for an official recording session. After all recording sessions were finished and we were happy with the song, we learned about mixing the beat to the vocals as well as mixing the vocals to sound as great as they can be. Once the mix was done, we finally mastered the track, added the proper metadata to the song and prepared it for release. Now we have copyrighted our song, registered it with our favorite PRO, and decided if we are going to publish it ourselves or contact a publishing company to sign a publishing deal. Finally we have now found a distribution company to distribute our song so we can make some money! Now that we have officially created and released a rap song, we can just relax right? Wrong! Think of all of the work you put into making this song, well now it’s time to put the same amount of work if not more into marketing and networking to actually get more fans and more sells.
That just about sums everything up, thank you for going along this whole journey, I hope you’ve learned a lot and that you will put these lessons into practice. Don’t forget to check out the resources I have listed below! If you have any comments or questions, make sure you submit them in the comments section below. It has been a pleasure. Happy creating!
Music Publishing Companies
Music Publishers Directory – Full directory of music publishing companies from A – Z
Songwriters and music publishers agreements – Article explaining types of agreements betweensongwriters and music publishers.
The Pros and Cons Of Signing A Publishing Deal – Lists out more pros and cons for you to think over beforeyou make your decision
Music Distribution Companies
WHAT THEY OFFER: Digital distribution of music to all major digital streaming networks as well as over 200 CMJ and Billbaord radio stations.
PLATFORMS: Itunes, Emusic, Amazon Music, Google Play Music, Napster, Spotify, Tidal, Shazaam, Apple Music, BeatPort, Tidal, Deezer, And more
COST: Multiple packages including single song submissions for $69 and unlimited song submissions for $199. PAckages go up from there with added features.
WHAT THEY OFFER: Digital distribution of music to all major digital streaming networks as well as worldwide Physical CD and vinyl distribution. They also offer publishing administration.
PLATFORMS: Itunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, Pandora, 8Tracks, Shazaam, Apple Music, Tidal, Youtube Music, Groove Music, And More
COST: Multiple packages including standard distribution: $10 per single and $50 per album. Pro Packages which features Distribution and Publishing royalty Collection: $35 per single and $90 per album.
WHAT THEY OFFER: Digital distribution of music to all major digital streaming networks and publishing administration
PLATFORMS: Itunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, Youtube, KKBox, Deezer, Groove, Napster, Simfy Africa, IHeart Radio, Tidal, And More!
COST: Music Distribution Package costs $10 per Single, $30 per album, and $20 per ringtone. They will also publishing your music for $75