What does a Music Publisher do?

June 2019

Music publishing is the beating heart of the music industry. If you are a songwriter or composer, your publisher will take care of business, promote you and your music, maximise revenue and in many cases, significantly accelerate your career. If you are a copyright owner, someone who commissions music, a film or television production company, for example, you need a music publisher as well. Who else is going to help you to protect and monetise the music you commission? Who is going to help you to acquire the correct rights, keep you safe, help find and develop talented composers and songwriters to contribute to your productions and maximise your income from the music your commission?

So maybe a better question is what doesn’t a music publisher do?

Let’s look at this in a bit more detail.

A bit of background first. The entertainment industry – music, film, TV, video games – is truly global, and that means the legal aspects of creating, commissioning or using music have become exponentially more complicated. With a truly bewildering and scary variety of legal frameworks for intellectual property in different countries around the world, staying the right side of the law has never been harder.

Equally, there have never been more opportunities. As the industry doubles in size, as it has done in the last ten years, so does the demand for music. All this applies to songwriters as much as television producers, film composers as much as the film producer who commissions them. In all these enterprises, the creator and the commissioner often share in the ownership of the intellectual property and therefore have a common interest in maximising revenue.

So in short, whether you commission or create music, you need help.

At the heart of what music publishers do is copyright, the intellectual property that creators and commissioners own but frequently have not the remotest idea what to do with. More often than not, they don’t even know precisely what it is they own, let alone how to monetise it effectively. That’s not really surprising as copyright law is extremely complicated. In a streaming world, almost every film or television project has global potential. Every song and piece of music could be making money in China or Brazil. But that massive potential is frequently severely limited by lack of specialist knowledge, insight and experience.

Specialist film music publishers like Accorder Music Publishing, a Peermusic company, offer 360 music service, including music supervision. A music supervisor is responsible for coordinating the music and clearing the rights in any piece of music, the film or television production company might wasn’t to use. You can see how having a music supervisor who is wholly embedded in the music publishing company makes complete sense. Joined up thinking like that means fewer misunderstandings, fewer expensive mistakes and higher revenues.

So now you appreciate the scale of the challenge and the opportunities, you are probably starting to appreciate not only what a music publisher does, but why almost everyone involved in the creation or commissioning of music needs a music publisher in their corner.

But why Accorder Music? Well, Accorder is a specialist film and television music publisher which combines a personal touch with a global reach. Accorder is part of the Peermusic, a global independent with offices in over 30 countries. And that’s really important. If you are a US production company and your TV show is on a network in Germany, you may need someone on the ground to make sure you get the money that’s owed to you. Not everything can be done by email and a network of offices with local specialist knowledge is what makes the difference.

But why is a “personal touch” important? Because every project is different. They all have their own character and quirks, different challenges and opportunities. In a real sense, the music in each of these projects is like an independent business that needs to be nurtured and managed. An industrial scale one size fits all approach to music publishing misses so much. Accorder perfectly combines individual attention with scale and scope.

Accorder Music offers a fully integrated approach working closely with the companies own internal music team if there is one, offering music supervision for TV & film music in all genres of programming and feature films. Finally, Accorder can even digitally distribute the soundtracks through its own digital label REDROCCA.

Accorder Music will help you establish your own corporate music publishing company that is fully administrated by Accorder Music global network of offices.

This article tackles many of the most common questions composers, songwriters, film and television production companies ask including:

What is a music publisher? How do I find a film music publisher? How can I clear music for my production? How do I find a composer for my TV show? How do I make money from my music? How do I collect royalties from music? How do I licence a commercial track to put in my film? How do I find work as a songwriter or composer? What is a music supervisor? Who is the best music supervisor or music supervision company?

Answer: to all the above questions is to be found at Accorder Music. Get in touch and find out how our personal touch and global reach can help your next project.