What we get asked most often when it comes to Publishing

What is Music Publishing ?

The song is the foundation of the music industry. This fact is reflected in the Copyright Law which states that the songwriter is the “first owner of copyright” (Art. 17). In other words, he is the fountainhead of all rights that exist in the music industry: nobody has any right to exploit a song unless the songwriter authorises him/her to do so. That’s why all rights other than those of the songwriter/publisher are called ‘neighbouring rights’ or ‘derived rights’.

Therefore, to publish means to exploit all the potentialities of a song globally (get it recorded by as many performers in as many territories as possible, used in films, TV serials, commercials, performed on radio, TV, etc.), administering the royalties and defending it against any unauthorised use.

In other words, the publisher is the first promoter and the first line of defence of a song. He is the interface between the songwriter and all potential users of his/her works. As the Indian music industry will evolve, new independent professions will arise – producer, manager, touring agent, entertainment lawyer, etc. – but the publisher will always remain as the songwriter’s best advocate and promoter.

How does a music publisher acquire a song/catalogue?

He either acquires a song/catalogue through an outright purchase (which he then owns completely) ; or he enters into a joint-ownership with the songwriter and they split the royalties 50/50; or else he only administers a song/catalogue and charges an administration fee.

How does a music publisher make money?

Publishers have three sources of income :

  • Performance royalties, which are collected by Collection Societies like IPRS when a song is played on radio, TV, clubs, etc. or performed live anywhere in the world. It is the publisher’s job to get the song registred in all societies, verify that it is properly registred in their database.
  • Mechanical royalties, received from record companies when a song is licensed or a copy sold (including video when the work is a soundtrack).
  • Synchronization fees, which the publisher charges whenever he places a song in a film, TV program, documentary, commercials, plays, etc.

Since his income depends entirely on royalties and licensing fees, it is the obvious interest of the publisher to maximise the returns of a song by promoting it near all possible users : record companies, performers, film and TV producers, the creative people in the ad agencies, etc.

Since the songwriter usually entrusts the rights to him for the whole world, he appoints a sub-publisher in every territory to promote the song and any royalties received from that territory are usually split accordingly : songwriter 50%, publisher 25%, sub-publisher 25%.

I am a songwriter : how can I get a publishing deal…

Send us a simple demo CD (no tapes please !) of 3 or 4 of your best songs. No need to record it on 48-track, just remember : if the song is good, one track will do ! If we like your material, we’ll get back to you.

…and how will I benefit ?

The publisher is your first supporter because you are the very basis of his business ! Once we have entered into an agreement with you, we assist you in the marketing and promotion of your songs among all potential users in India and – through our network of sub-publishers – we market and promote your songs in the rest of the world.

We see that your work is properly registred all over the world and that it gets the maximum attention, otherwise we wouldn’t have signed an agreement with you in the first place ! To do this, we may help produce a good demo, get involved in A&R, sometimes co-produce the music video, assist the record company in the promotion/publicity of the record, find new uses for the recorded song (which helps also the record company), help fight unauthorised usages or piracy (together with the record company). We also promote your songs in the film and TV industry.

I am a performer and I am searching for a good song for my next record.

We can work out either an original song or a cover version of a powerful song that’s adapted to your style.

Some tips for sending us your songs.

  • Don’t send more than 4 songs, preferably less than that.
  • Don’t send cassettes, old technology. Only a CD will do.
  • If some of your work has been published earlier, give all of your contract details and any previous activity in a short and simple to-the-point covering letter.
  • Don’t spend time and money making the perfect demo. Remember : if the song is good, one track is enough ! Let us hear the tune and the lyrics – not your opinion of how it should be arranged, produced or performed.
  • If you are also a performer, send a few photos and some biographical details.
  • Call us up after some days to make sure that we received your material.

What you should know while Licensing a Song

Why do I need a license to use a song?

A song has been written by someone and is, therefore, the property of that person(s). So its stands to reason that if you want to use it – even for a non-commercial purpose – you have to ask the permission to use it to its owner or to the publisher who manages his/her rights just as you ask someone’s permission if you want to use his/her car. Please note that permission is required even if you use a sample of a song.

Just keep in mind that :

  • You need a license from the publisher of the song
  • If you use a pre-recorded version of a song, you will also need a license from the producer of that sound recording. If you re-record the song yourself, you don’t need this second license.

When do I need a license?

You can do whatever you want with a piece of music, but within the four walls of your home. As soon as you want to use in public – either for commercial or non-commercial music – you must acquire a license to use it and pay for it.

Will DEP help me in getting a license?

That’s our job. We will get for you the license from the original publisher (if the song is not administred by us) and from the record company if you use a pre-recorded version.

If you need music for your project but don’t know which song(s) you want to use, we can work one-to-one with you to help you find the right score, whatever your project: commercial, film, TV program, CD-Rom, theatre play, in-store music, branding, etc. And if you know which song you want but don’t know how to get a license, here too we’ll be glad to do the job for you. In both cases, just fill up the License Request Form and submit it and we’ll get back to you.

How much will you charge me?

Licensing rates are not fixed because many factors are taken into account, such as the size of the territory (India, Asia, the world), the fame of the song, the period of the license (1 month, 3 months, 1 year, 5 years, perpetuity), the support (commercial, film, CD-ROM, etc.), the production budget of the support, and so on. We offer this service free-of-charge.

I know the song I want to use but don’t know how to get a license.

To use any music, you need two licenses: one from the publisher (for the song) and one from the record company (for the recorded version). We’ll negotiate both for you.

Just fill-up and submit the Licensing Request Form and we’ll find the original owner and negotiate a license for you.