Music Self Publishing

Music Self Publishing

Should You Have a Publisher?

There are many in the songwriting industry who are not certain if they should get a publisher or if they would do better becoming their own publisher. This article may help to provide essential information to the songwriter to help him or her determine which is the best choice.

The best thing that the songwriter can do is take a personal inventory of his abilities and commitments as a publisher--not as a songwriter-- to determine if he should locate a publisher or if he can do his own publishing. If the songwriter does not feel that he has the necessary strengths in the following areas as a publisher, he may want to consider getting a publisher.

There are key components that make one a good publisher. They include personality, education, and contacts.Music Self Publishing


Assess yourself as best you can. Do you have all the following traits required of a good publisher?

  • Tenacity – Tenacity is best described as the ability to stick with it. It goes deeper than the concept of following through on things. Think of the bulldog that won’t let go, won’t give up, and won’t walk away. Think of the person who keeps on going even though he may be thinking it is over --despite exhaustion, apathy, and frustrations galore. You begin to gain the right perspective on tenacity.
  • Charisma/Charm – Can you win the crowd? Can you win the individual? Can you present yourself to the right people in the right places with the correct social skills for that group or individual? Can you assess how boisterous with one person, and how reserved with another you should be. Can you laugh at the right times, pause for thoughtful contemplation in the next? Can you read the person in front of you and show him or her that part of you that will help cinch a deal? People should not have to lie or fake it, but they need to know what aspect of themselves to present.
  • Focus -Staying on the tasks at hand in a number of situations is very important. If you have a hard time keeping yourself organized, and on top of the day-to-day operations that cover “a life in the day of a self-publisher,” it will affect your bottom line. The ability to focus and complete the tasks is required.
  • Communication Skills -- Some of us can just naturally can talk, speak, write, leave strong messages, and engage in the right conversations at the right time. If that is not you, and it doesn’t come naturally, get a publisher.
  • Multi-Tasker -- Write the song, handle the phones, sign the contracts, protect the copyrights, promote the song, write another song, pick up the phone, send out the presentation to promote the song, revise the presentation, set up lunch, cancel lunch, get the next presentation out, correct the score, get the demo CD re-cut, get the lunch rescheduled, answer the phone, make the deposit at the bank, call the record company, cancel the original recording artist, pay the phone bill. Schedule a dinner meeting, update the website, review the contract, answer the phone, etc. Can you do it?

  • Sharp Mind – You’ve just been offered a contract, do you see the three gaping holes in the deal in one quick glance, do you open your mouth, automatically, and with genuine courtesy point out the flaws, negotiate to get them fixed, arrange a time for signing, and then shake hands leaving everybody happy to fix what could have been deadly to your song?
Music Self Publishing


You can write and publish hundreds of songs. But if you don’t have some basics in business, contracts, promotion, advertising, and accounting they may never get to be profitably published. The main sources of publishing income come from record sales, broadcast performances (radio & TV), licensing for films, TV & commercials, and from sheet music. You are going to have to have enough knowledge to promote the song, handle copyrights and contracts, manage the accounting, etc. Music Self Publishing


If you have industry contacts sufficient enough to promote your songs and generate revenues then you have one piece of the puzzle, and it is a very important piece. Without contacts, self-publishing can be very difficult.

If you find that what you’ve got is a song that is destined for greatness, but you do not have all three of the areas above sufficiently under your belt, you may want to go with a publisher. However, if you do have all three areas sufficiently under control, you may be a candidate for self-publishing. Music Self Publishing

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