Copyright? Publishing?

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Copyright? Publishing? What does that even mean to the artist and the studio?

This week I entered a new realm. I had no context on how to contract an artist with a recording studio. The only thing I had known was what I had heard from other people. Their words to me were as if it were this huge daunting weight of confusion and blurred lines.

No one actually knew what these words meant or how they played themselves out.

Through these questions Emily Hibard (Founder of Idle Tuesdays) sat me down to explain the difference between copyright and publishing.

I learned that copyright and publishing rights are two separate things within the music industry.

The owner of the copyright is basically the party that is in charge of what or how the music is used. While this initially sounds like a bad idea to a new artist, I learned that, in Idle Tuesdays’ unique situation, it is beneficial to the artist in the long run. If the copyright is under the control of the studio then they are able to get the artist’s songs into the hands of “big wigs” in the entertainment industry.

The studios have connections to other people in the entertainment industry that may be willing to use the songs in television, movies and commercials. While the artist can still make suggestions if some opportunity comes to them, it is beneficial because then the studio can deal with all the administrative stuff for them if the studio owns the copyright.

Publishing is separate from copyright.

Publishing distinguishes who has the writing credit(s) and who has the publishing credit. Publishing distinguishes how the revenue will be split among the different parties – writer 1, writer 2, publisher, etc. The publishing rights are like a pie, cut into different pieces, but still making up one full pie.

Going into this week I had no idea how the legal parts of the music industry worked. However, coming out of this week I am confident in how copyrights and publishing work in the music industry. Hopefully, you do too.

Copyright and publishing aren’t as scary or as confusing as people make it out to be.

-Alyssa Lujan

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On June 8, 2017
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