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Advantages / disadvantages of signing with either?
a publishing company is about the song as a song (ie, the all songs written by x and y). a record label is about the music as a recorded artefact.
is more likely to make you money.
From my limited knowledge/research, a publisher is someone who acts on the artist's behalf to collect royalties for when the artist's songs are performed, recorded, broadcast, or otherwise played for someone else's commercial gain. Publishers can also be pro-active in that they can build links with music directors, other performers, etc. and try to convince these people to play/perform the artist's songs.
The record label is involved in the recording, production, pressing, distribution, marketing, etc. of your songs. Usually a record label has a publishing department as well, so most of the time, if you're signing with a label, you're signing with a publisher as well.
A publisher is not involved in the recording of music, however. If you sign with a publisher, no one is promising to give you money to record your music and no one is going to release it for you. Usually, then, you'd sign with a publisher if you wanted to self-finance and self-release your recordings. By the same token, publishers also have an interest in getting your recorded, because that means more royalties for you (and more commission/fees for them).
Finally, all of the above could be completely wrong. So my advice would be to ask some people who would know for sure... which is kinda what you did by asking the DiS community, but I went and fucked it all up for you by making you read something that I can't in all sincerity claim as fact.
no. two separate contracts, that.
As you can collect publishing royalties yourself by joining PRS/MCPS. You need a publisher to WORK for you.
You may be able to join MCPS/PRS, but what about the other territories in the world?
A worldwide deal with a publisher will ensure that your works are registered in all territories in which they are exploited.
MCPS/PRS are affiliated to similar outfits in other countries - I've had PRS money for plays in Japan...
You are right, PRS has reciprocal agreements with foreign societies meaning they can collect these royalties on your behalf. But what will happen is that you will end up paying the foreign society's commission, a PRS admin charge and then PRS commission. You will also have to wait for at least two distribution periods (which could mean over one year) to get your money.
Going to a (decent) publisher should mean that the publisher becomes a direct member of the foreign society, meaning that you will be paid faster and should end up paying less commission. You will also have someone with a bit of muscle on your side, to clear up any problems, disputes and underpayments that can occur.
You will have somebody actively seeking to place your music in products, meaning that you can make decent money from synchs and the performance royalties generated.
You should look into signing deals with both. They do completely different jobs.
Not strictly true! I work for MCPS and if you have a publishing deal a publisher uses us to collect their publishing royalties around the world.
I would personally advise all musicians who are releasing records and getting radio play or playing gigs in decent venues/festivals to join MCPS AND PRS directly, unless a publisher is offering you an advance and promising to exploit your works for you...
I work for a rather large independent publisher, and we are direct members of, at last count, 26 societies around the world, and we use subpublishers to collect on our behalf in those territories in which we aren't direct members. MCPS collects our UK/Eire royalties only.
This is somewhat clouding my original point, which is that bands shouldn't consider signing a publishing deal that doesn't include an advance.
Some bands may not want/need an advance.
If a young band gets a whopping advance, they are likely to be required to sign away their copyrights for many years. They will then be in debt for a long time, and will not have any control over their work.
Or, they could sign a simple admin deal. They will get 90%+ of their royalties, a short term, approvals over synchs and, most importantly, will retain proprietary ownership of their copyrights.
if broadcast publicly, performed by anyone
David Byrne will walk you through all the details.
Unless publishing is included in the label's contract (and it shouldn't be) you're free to sign publishing with whoever you like.
and watch out for any controlled composition clauses.