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Everything you need to know about music publishing, music publishers...and how they apply to unsigned acts

Blog by Louise Dodgson under Music Publishing

Possibly one of the foggiest areas of the music industry, we are often asked the question ‘What is music publishing?’ or ‘what do music publishers do?’, and it is true that a lot of bands and artists are unclear on just what the term music publishing means and how it works.  So let us shed some light on the matter for you!

In a nutshell music publishing is basically the exploitation of songs and compositions. Just as an artist manager will try and secure the best opportunities and deals for their band or artist, a music publisher will do the same for your songs – aiming to gain exposure through radio airplay, placements on TV, films or games (known as music synchronisation), or even getting other artists to record cover versions. And there is money to be made from this for bands…you are due royalties for the exposure your songs receive so this can be a great source of income for bands and artists, whether signed & established, newly-signed, or unsigned and emerging. A music publisher will take a cut of your profits and all the finer details will be drawn up in a music publishing agreement or contract.

Songwriting royalties are typically rounded up and paid out by collection societies, such as PRS For Music, to their members who include songwriters, composers, and music publishing companies. We spoke to Simon Pursehouse who 2 years ago set up  Sentric Music, a company who not only act as a music publisher to exploit songs for unsigned bands, but also take on the guise of a collection society by gathering and distributing the royalties back to said unsigned members.

So what exactly does Sentric Music do?
Sentric Music is a music publisher, but not your stereotypical traditional publisher. We’re a publisher that tries to suit artists’ needs within the modern and ever-changing music industry. We collect performance royalties from the MCPS/PRS, place our artists’ music on TV programmes and adverts, offer digital distribution to iTunes (and very shortly Spotify) and offer general music industry advice via our blog (www.sentric.wordpress.com)
and over Twitter www.twitter.com/sentricmusic

How does your royalty collection service work?

We’ve tried long and hard to make it as easy as possible for artists to use so hopefully that shows! Basically you sign up as a new user on our website (www.sentricmusic.com), give us some basic information about your tracks (track title, writers, if it contains any samples etc) and then tell us about all the gigs you’ve done in the past few years. That might sound like quite the task but thankfully MySpace holds onto every gig you input onto your profile there so most bands just check with that to refresh their memory! We need to know the venue, the city, the postcode and the date along with a generic set-list – all of which is explained on the site. On top of that you can also tell us about any exposure you’ve received on TV or radio and we’ll chase up any royalties that you should be owed from that exposure. There is no charge to use our service; we just take a 20% admin cut for all our hard work.

What can I get paid for?
For gigs we can claim for ANY performance within the last 12 months regardless of size or venue, and for medium sized gigs upwards (which basically means anything from a Barfly to Wembley Stadium) we can go right back up to 3 years, so if you’re an artist who performs regularly then there could be a good bit of cash waiting for you which we can sort out no problem. As well as live performance you can also get money from radio airplays and TV exposure (up to £18 per minute on BBC Radio 1 & 2, more figures can be found here). Basically anywhere your music is played within the public domain then royalties are generated, from discos to gyms, restaurants to cafes or pubs to clubs; there is money to collect! Be it £5, £50, £500 or £5,000+ it’s your money which we can collect for you.

Why should I use Sentric Music rather than trying to deal with royalty collection myself?
If you joined the PRS For Music directly you can only claim back a maximum of 6 months whereas with us you can go back up to 3 years due to the fact we’ve been a member of their organisation for several years now. We also take away a lot of the hassle and admin involved in getting hold of your royalties, freeing up your time to work on your music. One of the most attractive aspects of our service is the synchronization side of things where we regularly send out briefs/pitches to our artists for adverts/TV shows/games and if they have anything that fits they send it over to us, we ‘A&R’ the submissions and send them onto the client for consideration. We’ve had music featured on adverts around the world and for internationally broadcasted programmes such as One Tree Hill, Cold Case, Paris Hilton’s BFF and, of course, Hollyoaks! It’s worth noting that quite a few of our artists are also direct members of the PRS, as well as using our service. One artist was receiving around £30 per quarter from the PRS, joined our service and after we worked our magic and chased everything up for him his next distribution was over 10 times that!

So, you can get my music placed on TV, film, games etc? How does that work?

When you sign up to the site you’ll automatically be added to our mailing list so you’ll regularly receive emails from us asking for certain styles of music for various campaigns. We also listen to every artist who signs up (which is quite the task as we have over 1,100+ as we speak!) so we have an idea of the music available when we have a brief with a quick turnaround which we can’t send out to the artists. If you read this blog '6 things to improve your chances of getting your music synched…', it’ll hopefully shed some light on how to get your music out there! The one to really remember is to make sure you have instrumental versions of everything you record as we often get requests from music supervisors for them.


For more information about music publishing please take a look at the following websites.
www.prsformusic.com  
www.mpaonline.org.uk
 


Tags

music publishing, music publishers, exploiting rights, music royalty, music royalties, sentric music, prs for music, collection societies

 

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