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Standard Publishing Deal:

The songwriter is signed exclusively to a publisher for a time period, and is given an advance check against future royalties (the amount of which is negotiated & depends on the writer’s bargaining power). The publishing company then co-owns any songs you write during this period, takes care of the administration & exploitation of the catalog, and is entitled to the publisher’s share of the royalties.


Co-Publishing Deal:

The songwriter and the publisher are co-owners of any songs written during the contract period. The songwriter collects the 50% writers share, and as “co-publisher”, splits the publisher share 50/50 with the publisher. In the end, the writer receives 75% of the income, and the publisher receives 25%.


Administration Deal:

The songwriter licenses a selection of their self-published songs to an outside publisher (or independent administrator) for a time period. The publisher is responsible for handling the administration on behalf of the songwriter, and collects a fee of 10-20%. In this deal, the writer retains 100% of the copyright.

Other types of publishing deals include:

  • Single song agreement: the writer grants publishing rights for one or more songs to a music publisher.
  • Collection agreement: like an administration deal, except the publisher isn’t responsible for exploiting the copyrights. Usually handled by an accountant, attorney, or business manager, the “publisher” only collects royalties on behalf of the writer.
  • Purchase agreement: when one music publisher acquires the catalog of another publisher (whole or partial).