Music Composers Unite!
I have a number of questions to the professionals among you, and I would like to ask to tell me your experience. I am bringing up these questions here, because I think that the issue is likely to be highly relevant for many composers of this forum.
One of the publishing houses (a fairly small one, but not unknown) has made me a potential offer to sign a contract to publish my music. Another publishing house has also shown an interest. I have no experience whatsoever in dealing with music publishers.
Can anyone give me some advice? I am particularly asking myself the following questions:
- What is the normal level of royalty? 10%, 20%, or more? It seems reasonable to me that the royalty level should be dependent on how many copies of the scores are sold. (Is this a correct assumption?)
- Obviously, the publishing house will obtain the full copyright of my music. Is this normally for an indefinite period of time, or is this conditional (e.g. for a particular period of time or dependent on sales records)?
- I assume that the copyright for recorded music (CD´s etc), including the right to sell my music on such media and associated royalties has to be treated as a separate deal. Is this correct?
- Any income as a result of public performances is normally not included in the financial agreement with the publishing house. Is this correct?
- Is it normal that publishing houses want to ensure, that they obtain copyright of all
future musical outputs from me? Do they normally demand (expect) a certain output/year from a composer (this is an important question! - I do not want to become a “work slave” for the publisher).
- How about music, which I have put on the internet (including in this forum!). MP3 streamers - SoundCloud, YouTube etc. and scores laid out on internet. Does this inhibit my chances to get such music published by a publishing house? How do the professionals deal with this issue?
- Are there any guidebooks or internet articles on how to deal with publishers?
- Any further important points, which I may have overlooked.
Very grateful for your advice
Without sounding like I am avoiding anything all of the above is up for negotiation Johan. You need to discuss between your self and the publishers what your expectation is and then maybe meet half way.
Why not offer a small piece and check out the contract. It is not theirs until you sign anyway.