If you’re a songwriter who wants to promote your music, working with a music publishing company might be a great idea.
Music publishers will help you license your music, negotiate fees for the use of your music, and so on.
In other words, a music publishing company will make sure that you’re paid the royalties that you’re entitled to.
And for today’s article, we’ve rounded up the best music publishing companies.
All of these companies are popular and trustworthy, and they can help you navigate the music industry.
1. Sony Music Publishing
Let’s start with the largest music publishing company in the world.
As a part of the Sony Music Group, Sony Music Publishing provides world-class publishing administration, synchronization, and music production services.
Headquartered in New York, Sony works with some of the world’s top singers, songwriters, and musicians, including Rihanna, Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran, Olivia Rodrigo, and Lady Gaga.
And they worked with legendary artists such as Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and Leonard Cohen.
With such an impressive catalog and collaborations, it’s no wonder that all aspiring songwriters and singers have their eyes on Sony.
Plus, they work with top global groups like 20th Century Studios, CBS Television Network, Apple, Discovery, and Fox Entertainment.
That said, Sony is undeniably one of the best music publishing companies out there.
But they don’t accept unsolicited demos, and it’s not easy to get their attention.
2. Universal Music Publishing Group
Universal Music Publishing Group is also one of the biggest music publishing companies in the world.
And it’s home to iconic songwriters and famous artists such as Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Alicia Keys, Sting, Adele, Coldplay, and Billie Eilish.
UMPG catalog covers a variety of genres, and they’re known for their top-notch sync licensing and administration services.
They also work with companies like Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Pictures, Lionsgate, Paramount, Amazon, and Dreamworks.
But just like with Sony, you’ll have to work hard to get noticed by Universal.
And there is no direct form to fill in for Universal as they don’t take unsolicited submissions.
That said, working with Universal might seem elusive, but that doesn’t mean that shouldn’t be your ultimate career goal.
3. Warner Chappell Music
Warner Chappell Music is one of the three major music publishing companies, along with Sony Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing Group.
As a part of the Warner Music Group, Warner Chappell Music has offices in more than 20 countries.
This iconic music publishing company also works with big names.
Their catalog includes Bruno Mars, Damon Albarn, Katy Perry, Van Morrison, and Hayley Williams.
The company is known for its personalized approach to songwriting development and pitching.
Moreover, they provide a variety of services and innovative opportunities for songwriters and copyright holders.
Songwriters and artists who want to try to get their services can contact them via their webpage.
But don’t get your hopes up – unless you have a large fanbase and outstanding writing skills, they probably won’t offer to represent you.
4. Kobalt Music Publishing
Kobalt Music Publishing is hands down one of the most popular music publishing companies.
They offer top-notch administration services and technology for royalties collection.
They also provide 100% ownership of your work, control over your future releases, and real-time transparency of your income.
Kobalt pitches music to major brands such as ABC, Apple, Disney, Google, Ford, and Columbia Pictures.
And they keep finding new opportunities for their artists.
All in all, Kobalt is regarded as one of the best music publishers for a good reason.
So it comes as no surprise that many successful songwriters decide to work with them.
Their roster includes Beck, Finneas, Childish Gambino, Diplo, Foo Fighters, Lorde, Marshmello, Erykah Badu, and many more.
They don’t offer a submission form, but you can find their contact info on their official webpage.
5. Wixen Music
Wixen Music offers some of the best music publishing administration services.
They offer flexible, short-term deals and the possibility to retain ownership of your songs.
Their services and fields of expertise include licensing, royalties, tracking, enforcement, pitching songs, and worldwide representation.
You can easily contact them via email or phone and request a license or ask them to become a client.
They have a quite impressive roster though – their clients include Missy Elliott, Tom Petty, Santana, The Black Keys, Weezer, and many more.
This might sound a bit intimidating, but you should go ahead and try nevertheless.
The fee for Wixen services is usually 10% of the net receipts or credits received by them on your behalf.
6. Atlas Music Publishing
Atlas Music Publishing is another widely known music publishing company.
They are focused on high-tech operations to ensure protection and efficient income collection.
And their quarterly accounting, they ensure their clients more regular payments.
Moreover, the company is very passionate about providing artists with protection and the services they deserve.
That said, many successful artists in the industry opted for Atlas.
The company has a roster of hit-makers that covers a wide range of genres.
Some of their clients are Eddie and Alex Van Halen, Brandi Carlile, Warren Haynes, and Dan the Automator.
7. Music Gateway
Music Gateway offers a variety of services, including music distribution, publishing, promotion, and online mastering.
They present themselves as the 360 music industry marketplace to access music distribution, record labels, music promotion, music publishing, and A&R.
With their music publishing service, you can keep 100% of your copyrights and pay zero commission.
They offer instant publishing with no set-up cost or long-term contracts, and they can register your songs directly with royalty organizations in over 150 countries.
On top of that, they provide YouTube monetization and collection for free.
All things considered, Music Gateway is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an accessible platform that offers a variety of music-related services.
8. Ditto Music Publishing
Ditto Music is a popular music distributor and publisher.
They spread music on all the large platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, Deezer, TikTok, and so on.
That said, they’re an excellent choice for aspiring artists who want to get their music heard.
But the company also works with companies like Netflix, HBO, Prime Video, and BBC, so if you’re a songwriter, Ditto can get your music in TV shows, films, and other media.
They usually take 10% of music publishing royalties and 20% from sync placements.
If you want to use their publishing service, you’ll have to subscribe to Ditto – they offer several pricing plans, including the Artist, Professional, and Label Plan.
9. Downtown Music Publishing
Downtown Music Services is a global music company focused on music distribution, publishing administration, creative marketing, and finance solutions.
They offer a variety of services, although they started as a music publishing company.
Over the years, they worked with many famous artists.
They signed publishing administration deals with Fiona Apple, Ryan Tedder, and music legends such as John Lennon and Miles Davis.
Generally, Downtown helps artists and creators to get paid fairly for their work, with the goal of contributing to the creation of a more equitable music industry.
And they’re dedicated to the empowerment of creators and their partners.
So, it’s fair to say that Downtown is one of the most prestigious companies out there.
10. Concord Music Publishing
Concord Music Publishing is a global, full-service, independent music publishing company.
Concord has copyright, licensing, income tracking, and royalty departments, so it offers a variety of services needed to succeed in the music industry.
They cover a wide range of genres and work with big names and artists such as Elvis Costello, Evanescence, and Common.
As with many major companies on this list, Concord doesn’t accept unsolicited material and submissions.
Nevertheless, they are considered to be one of the most important companies for music publishing, and they deserve a special place on this list.
What Is Music Publishing?
Music publishing is the business of promotion, monetization, and protection of musical compositions.
So, a music publisher works on behalf of songwriters or composers to collect and pay out all of the music royalties for their compositions.
In the music industry, this process is also known as publishing administration.
And this business side of music is often hard to handle – you need to understand copyright, music royalties, and so on.
And that’s why songwriters reach out to music publishers.
But music publishers can help in a number of ways – they can also guide songwriters through the creative process of writing songs and help them run promotional campaigns.
It’s a versatile field, and a very important one.
What Are Music Royalties?
One of the reasons songwriters work with music publishers is because they want to get their music heard and protected properly.
When it comes to copyrights, there are two types of the copyright every artist needs to be familiar with:
- Master rights – the rights related to the original sound recording belonging to the recording artist, the record label, and/or the recording studio
- Publishing rights – the rights related to the lyrics and melody of a song that belong to the songwriter and/or the publisher
When working with publishers, artists also want to make sure they receive royalties for their work, which is closely connected to the copyright.
So what are music royalties and how do they work?
Essentially, music royalties are the payments generated from the usage of songs – so whenever a certain song gets played or streamed, the right holder generates money.
So a general process of collecting music royalties includes:
- Creating and distributing music
- Your music being played (physically or digitally)
- Royalties being collected and shared amongst rights holders
In many cases, if a songwriter signs a deal with a music publisher, the publisher takes ownership of the publishing rights and collects the royalties.
In fact, a music publisher usually gets a 50% stake in a track – so, the songwriter assigns a portion of the copyright to the publisher.
And if multiple songwriters are involved, each will get a percentage of the collected royalties.
But how music royalties really work also depends on your individual case – for instance, it depends on whether you’re a signed or independent artist.
Generally speaking, publishing rights owners receive money from the following royalties:
- Mechanical royalties – royalties earned through the reproduction of music in digital and physical formats
- Public performance royalties – payments made to songwriters and publishers whenever their music is broadcasted publicly
- Digital performance royalties – fees that webcasters and service providers are required to pay for streaming musical content
- Sync royalties – royalties generated when a copyrighted music composition is used in TV shows, commercials, video games, music videos, and so on
What Does a Music Publishing Company Do?
As you can see, collecting music royalties and fully understanding copyright can be challenging.
The music industry can indeed be difficult to navigate, especially for new artists.
And that’s where music publishing companies come to the rescue.
A music publishing company is usually responsible for:
- Issuing licenses for songs
- Making deals with songwriters
- Collecting licensing fees on the songwriter’s behalf
Publishers now also promote your music and look for licensing opportunities.
That said, if you want to make it in the music industry, finding a good music publishing company is crucial.
However, major music publishing companies are sometimes hard to reach – if you want to be represented by them, you already need to have a steady following.
There are 3 main types of music publishing companies:
- Majors – a large company affiliated with or financed by one of the three major record companies (Warner Music Group, Sony BMG, or Universal Music Group)
- Mini-Majors – smaller, independent companies that distribute through a major company
- Independents – smaller companies focused on the independent distribution
Now, depending on your goals and the type of publishing company, you can get:
- Full publishing deal – the music publishing company wholly owns the music rights
- Co-publishing deal – publisher and songwriter/author share equal ownership of the music
- Administration deal – the publishing company only provides specific publishing services, and the author keeps 100% of the copyrights for their music
There are different types of publishing deals, and that’s important for you to conduct your research and opt for a company that suits you best.
Best Music Publishing Companies – Final Thoughts
We hope our list of the best music publishing companies helps you make an informed decision.
But don’t hesitate to enquire with the companies before making a final choice.
Depending on your goals and the career stage you’re at, you can choose a company that will help you deal with royalties and generally get around in the industry.
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