YOU SHOULDN'T BE AFRAID TO ASK
(c) 2002 Lynne Robin Green Worldwide rights reserved
If anyone had told me that I
would spend so much time trying to educate Artist's and Writer's on their
rights, and trying to rescue them from bad contracts and/or get them paid.
You wouldn't think that I was also a Music Publisher and Administrator
by trade. But still the questions and level of knowledge about Publishing
I find so common in Writers/Artist's- really bothers me and this motivates
me further to help try to make it all easier to understand. So, I give
you THE QUESTION'S WE GET (that too many folks are afraid to ask).
Q. What is a Publishing deal?
A. When a Publishing Company(or an individual who has a Publishing
entity), makes you an offer on a single song, a group of songs or as a
staff writer .Or an offer to shop your BAND for a record deal (contingent
on Publishing or Co-Publishing your songs on the first album) (and/or
Q. What is the offer?
A. This can vary depending on your credibility and track record
as a writer, or IF you're an ARTIST/WRITER who has, or has been offered
a record deal or a TV or Film Usage.
Q. How can it vary?
A. It can be without an advance -for a single song agreement
(for an unknown writer, un-proven -aka unpublished song), or with a monetary
advance for an established writer. It can be for full publishing rights
in the first case, to maybe only co-publishing rights' in the second case.
Q. What is an Administration deal?
A. When you have a record or tv or film usage imminent, instead
of choosing to assign your Publishing rights to a Publisher, you self-publish
it, and choose an Administrator to set up and handle your own Publishing
Company (and all of its licensing and collection services exclusively
for you). A standard Administration deal term is three years and the Administrator
charges from 15% to 20% of what they collect for you on all usage's of
your Published material put into the Company.This includes their collecting
all sources of revenue outside the U.S., Canada and in all Foreign territories,
to which their sub-publisher also charges to collect your monies from
the foreign territories..
Q. How do they do all that?
A. A Good Administrator - maintains strong relationships with their
own trusted sub-publishers in most all foreign territories (who license
your songs and collect the earnings out of that country and then pay your
Administrator these earnings) - which he/she then pay to you as received.
Q. What are the advantages and disadvantages
of Self -Publishing?
A. The Disadvantages are ONLY if you (1) Don't have songs earning
money and cant get anything placed to earn for you, and also IF your Self-Administrating
and you don't know anything about licensing or collection ,copyright,
sub-publishing, or the how to's- to license, collect and exploit. The
Advantages are - you keep your Publishing rights in your own Publishing
firm and you profit more so, than you would IF another Publisher owned
your songs. You can learn more about the licensing experience from the
Administrator while they handle your catalog- more of HOW TO handle the
Administration. You as the Publisher/Owner keep the right to pre approve
any synchronization (film/tv/commercial/video) offers on your material
Q. Why is it so hard to exploit
my songs and try to start or to build up my own Publishing catalog in
the first place?
A. Established Publisher's and Administrator's have long term connection's
(relationships) they maintain to get material heard and considered for
usage's. Part of their job is also making money with your Songs -so in
order to do that they must also have good industry outlets to get your
material used. In a closed submission situation it makes it harder for
an individual to submit their material without referral or representation,
not impossible by any means, just harder. Q. Why is it that every Publishing
contract, even when referred to as a Standard Songwriters Agreement may
contain - very different terms and conditions.?
A. Any Publishing contract offered is used and/ modified by each Party
that's offering it in all cases. If it was all standard that simply means
The Publisher gets Pub share and you get the WRITERS share -monies are
split 50/50- (to which the copyright belongs to the Publisher) and it
is controlled and the WRITER'S share is paid through the Publisher to
you. But extra clauses inserted that are misunderstood can mean much more--Thats
why WE always MUST have a lawyer look over and advise US on any contract
thats offered to you.
Q. What's the most important thing to have
in a Publishing contract (whether its built in or you negotiate to have
it PUT IN)?
A. A Reversion clause !!! And no longer than 18 months. This protects
you, if the Publisher fails to Publish (i.e., to get a commercially released
distributed usage ) on your song within this period. With this clause
put in -- all the Publishing rights you granted in the contract automatically
REVERT back to you. Be sure to be mindful IF there is a notification addendum
in the clause, which means you have to formally notify the Publisher in
writing to 'effect the reversion'. I wish you all safe and successful
publishing endeavors, and relationships that will only prosper for your
brief comments -email Sixties1@aol.com