Types Of Publishing
For this reason, there are a lot of smaller players in the publishing business, and it isn't nearly so dominated by the majors as is the record business. There are, to be sure, megaton publishing companies such as Warner/Chappell and EMI, who have worldwide operations ad generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year, but there are bush loads of others running the gamut from a one-person show to the giants. Here's a broad-stokes view of the different types:
The 900 Pound Gorillas. These are the major companies, most of which are affiliated with a record and/or film company. Examples are Warner/Chappell, EMI, Unviersal, BMG, Sony/ATV, Famous music which is owned by Paramount Communications. Actually, the weight of these gorillas varies considerably. EMI and Warner/Chappell are clearly the 900-pounders, while Universal, BMG, and SOny are clearly 600 pounders.
Major Affiliates. There are a number of independent publishing companies, with full time staffs of professionals, whose administration is handled by a major. Quincy Jones Publishing, for example is administered by Warner/Chappell. And there are hundreds of smaller examples as well. Publisher's affiliation with a major may be for the world, or it may be for only certain territories. For instance, a publisher might be affiliated with a major for the United States and have separate sub publishing deals for the rest of the world.
Stand-alones. Stand-alones is my term borrowed from cable TV and not and industry one. I'm using it to mean a company that's not affiliated with a major, and instead does its own administrations. In other words, it collects its own money, does its own accounting's, etc. It may. however, license territories outside the United States to a major. Example stand-alones are Peer and Bug.
Writer-Publishers. Many writers keep their own publishing. Examples are well-established writers who don't need a publisher because people are constantly begging them for a song.
Just because the publishing game has a low entry price doesn't mean it's an easy gig. So you have to check out your publishing thoroughly. The difference between a good publisher and a unqualified one can mean a lot to your pocketbook. For example, a good publisher knows how much to charge for various licenses and where to look for hidden monies and foreign monies. The bad ones can lose you money just by sitting there and not doing what they're supposed to. An inexperienced publisher affiliated with a major is a quantum improvement over an unqualified publisher trying to go it alone. However, the major will not have the same incentive to take care of the independents songs as it will to take care of its own. Also, a major own tens of thousands of copyrights, so you can get shoved onto the back shelf. On the other hand, a good independent publisher affiliated with a major can often do better for you than if you signed to the major directly. If the publisher has enough clout to become a squeaky wheel on your behalf it can prevent you from getting lost in the shuffle. Hope you enjoyed this post.