How to Establish a Music Publishing Company

The choice of starting a music publishing company is a dilemma that most budding composers and songwriters face. Most artists prefer assigning all the legal aspects of their work to an experienced organisation and concentrate solely on their music. However, establishing a publishing company can have many benefits for an artist.

Having one’s own music publishing company can give a musician complete freedom to write, perform and earn royalties from his work. But, with this additional power also come extra responsibilities. The artist himself has to handle the considerable responsibilities of a publisher.

Here are a few key steps you need to follow before starting a music publishing company:

Engage a lawyer

Consider it a rule of thumb while publishing or promoting your original work, always engage a skilled Intellectual Property (IP) lawyer. Even if you are not completely sure about establishing your own publication, services of a lawyer are crucial. An IP lawyer makes sure your work is protected against infringement or unlicensed use. She can also help you through the process of establishing your company and make the process of IP commercialisation easier.

Register a name

Before you register your company at SOCAN or start publishing your music, it’s important to select a company name. Service Alberta offers a detailed set of instructions that you need to follow to register a business name. Some of the basic requirements include creating a unique business name, choosing the type of your business entity (Partnership, LP and LLP) and determining the fees of registration. Your lawyer can help you select a distinctive name for your business and register for it successfully.

Affiliate to SOCAN and CMRAA

Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) and The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) are independent licensing and performance registration organisations that help artists perform and earn royalties from their work. Registering your publishing business with these organisations makes the process of licensing and distribution a lot easier. You can also register your publishing company with other licensing organisations like Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) and Screen Composers Guild of Canada, depending on the nature of your work.

Register your songs

All original works of art including songs and song lyrics need to be registered at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office to avoid illegal use and infringement. Copyright registration is a cumbersome process but needs to be done carefully. Make sure you consult an IP lawyer to ensure a successful listing.

Explore the potential

Once you have established your publishing company, there are many other responsibilities such as issuing licenses, collecting royalties and managing tax audits that you need to take care of. Other creative tasks like finding new places of use for your work and franchising can be potential opportunities for your business to explore.

An experienced IP lawyer can help you understand the legal aspects of managing your music company better. Book an appointment with our law firm today to effectively start your own music company.