Agreements with music publishers

What is a music publisher?

The core function of a music publisher is to promote, disseminate and raise awareness of your musical works.

The publisher cooperates with you creatively on the development of the works, but also acts as a kind of seller of the finished works. Your creative sparring may also involve the publisher setting up co-writer sessions with other composers or lyricists to optimise the works. The music publisher monitors the use of the works and seeks to place the music on relevant platforms in connection with, for example, concerts, online content, film, radio, advertising, sheet music, print and television.

Administrative tasks

In addition to this, the music publisher will typically handle a number of administrative tasks, which include handling work registration, checking the distributions received from Koda / NCB, including distributions for performances abroad, managing your print rights and paying out royalties for sheet music rentals and sales.

Often, an agreement with a music publisher will also mean that the music publisher handles requests from third parties for permission to use your works in special contexts. For example, this may involve other rightsholders wanting to process your music / lyrics, a book publisher wanting to print sheet music (music or lyrics), or a producer wanting  to use your music in movies or advertisements.

Shares for the music publisher

Agreeing on what the publisher should get in return for its services is a matter to be settled between you and the publisher. However, the usual starting point is that the publisher gets a share in your earnings on the various works. At Koda, we have rules regulating the maximum share of a music work that can be allocated to a publisher. You can read more about these rules here.

What is a general contract with a publisher?

As an author, you can enter into an agreement with a publisher which applies to specific works by you, the author – or you can enter into a general contract with the publisher, which means that the publisher is entitled to shares in all of your works. The general contract may be limited to apply from a given date or for a specified, limited period.