Music publishers control musical compositions via publishing contracts with songwriters and composers. Publishing agreements vary in terms of length, exclusivity, size of advance, rights granted, and royalty splits. Most publishers require the fullest possible exploitation rights in order to maximise the earning potential of the compositions under their control.
The term ‘music publishing’ used to mean the printing and publication of a musical score, or manuscript. The public performance was first established in France, when a composer, Ernest Bourget, heard musicians playing one of his compositions being performed in a café and demanded recompense from the owner. When the owner refused, Bourget refused to pay his bill and the matter ended up in court, whereupon the French courts ruled that the café should indeed pay royalties. Thus, the composition performance right – now generating vastly higher revenues in the UK than its mechanical counterpart - was born!
Today, music publishers work to ensure that songwriters and composers receive their royalties and other fees when their compositions are used. In the UK, publishing rights for all music and words fall under the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988 (as amended). Royalties can be generated from an increasing number of sources, such as record sales (physical and digital), film/TV/radio broadcasts, live performances, corporate uses, stage theatre, streams and other varieties of online usage.
At Paul Rodriguez Music we have many years of experience in representing music copyrights, as well as acting as advisors to those signed exclusively to us (see Consultancy).