Music Publishing 101 Explained | 1500 Sound Academy Blog icon

Welcome to Music Publishing 101! At 1500 Sound Academy, we want to provide artists and entertainers with the tools and resources they need. So, if you want to learn the basics of music publishing, we’re here to help. From copyright to royalties, there are many facets of music publishing and the process of getting your music out there. Whether you’re just starting in the music business or have a whole album you want to release, let’s get music publishing explained. The professionals at 1500 Sound Academy have a wealth of knowledge to help you build your career! 


Simply put, music publishing is making art available for people to see or hear. Whether it’s on Soundcloud, Spotify, or a CD, publishing music consists of two basic elements: the sound recording and the composition, otherwise known as the melody and lyrics. When you publish your music, you’re able to make money and increase your exposure. Whether it’s through advertisements or subscriptions, there are a lot of ways artists get creative when it comes to putting their music out there, and one of our best music publishing 101 tips is that exposure is always a great way to start generating revenue from your art. 

Now that we’ve explained music publishing, let’s dig into some basic terms you’ll want to know: 


Perhaps the most basic component of music publishing 101 is copyright. Copyright is the ownership of everything you create, from lyrics scratched on a napkin to a simple beat you just built out. Once you’ve created something, it’s automatically copyrighted, so be sure to protect it with documentation and even legal representation if needed. 


What every musician wants: royalties! Royalties comprise a crucial facet of music publishing. Royalties are the money you make from the use of each piece you publish. So, that can be your song playing on the radio or being featured in a movie, commercial, or any other public usage. If you created it and someone else wants to use your song, you can draw up a contract that will pay you for your creative work. 


A music license ensures that owners of copyrighted music get paid. This is a type of contract that defines how royalties are paid. It can be a flat fee, based on the number of works sold or a percentage based on total revenue. Some of the best music publishing 101 advice is to be sure that you have an entertainment lawyer look over all contracts before you sign anything. 


A very important part of music publishing 101 is Performing Rights Organizations (PROs). PROs are agencies with the job of monitoring radio and live performances so that all artists get the royalties they are owed. PROs charge venues, restaurants, radio stations, and other places a blanket licensing fee so they won't get charged with copyright infringement and can play any music included in the license.

Now that you’ve had some basics of music publishing explained, dive even deeper with our Music & Industry Fundamentals Program or On-Demand Online Courses from 1500 Sound Academy! You’ll learn how to navigate the industry as you hone your craft and carve out a music career.