Music Publishing Sources of revenue in music publishing

Music Publishing Lawyers

As Music Publishing Lawyers we represent both songwriters, and music publishers.

Music Publishing Lawyers

Music publishing lawyers

To understand how it all works the following is a typical scenario for music publishing lawyers.
Meenie, Miney and Mo are songwriters professionally known as the Head-bangers (HB). Beakless Woodpecker UK Limited (BWL) is a music publisher based in Notting Hill Gate London W11. BWL wants HB to supply them exclusively with a number of previously unreleased songs.
In return for HB fulfilling their obligations under the publishing agreement, including assigning their rights in the songs to BWL, HB & BWL will earn the following royalties and fees.
Sheet Music Royalties
These are a percentage of the recommended retail selling price (after deduction of taxes) generated from the sale of each sheet music published and sold by BWL. This is not a huge money spinner.
Mechanical Royalties
Paid by record company to make copies of the sound recording. The mechanicals are recouped against the advance received by BWL.
Synchronisation Fees
A percentage of all monies (other than HBs’ share of performance income) actually received by BWL relating to the exploitation of the songs after deducting PRS fees, VAT and other expenses, through synchronisation with TV, Film, Adverts, Internet and any other visual images.
In the event that another artist wants to record their own version of one of HBs’ songs then that artist will need to secure a mechanical license from BWL. A percentage of the receipts relating to the Cover shall be payable to HB.
Performing Fees
HB and BWL will split the fees relating to the public performance of the song distributed by PRS 50:50. If HB are not members of PRS then BWL collects the fees from PRS and pays HB.
General Fees and Uses
Any other fees and uses which doesn’t fit in to the above categories.
There are other revenue issues including royalty calculation, taxation, royalty accounts and advances which all impact on revenue but are outside the scope of this article. It is advisable to seek legal advice when preparing or signing any music contract.


To book a face to face consultation for commercial legal advice you should contact a specialist music solicitor (charge rates may apply and may vary).

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