Songwriters Are Increasingly Turning to the Internet to Publish and Copyright Their Own Songs

So How Do You Start Your Own Music Publishing Company?Until now, there have only really been two valid ways. Either by ‘Self-Publishing’ or by forming a ‘Corporation’ or ‘Limited Company’. This first route is -Self-Publishing: Easy. Let’s say your name is Jim Smith. Or Jane Smith. Think of a name: how about ‘Jim Smith Music’? Or maybe ‘Jane Smith Publishing’? Then you publish your songs on a piece of paper and/or record them on a CD or as an mp3 file. At the bottom, in addition to your ‘Copyright Notice’ you write ‘Published by… ‘If you do nothing more, then you’re always going to be ‘The Publisher’ and ‘The Copyright Owner’. You can even print up your own headed notepaper! It won’t ever earn you a cent that way, but it’ll have cost you next to nothing.However, I have to add a caveat here, a warning:There’s an offshoot of this known as ‘Vanity Publishing’. It started out with books, but it’s spreading to songs. This is where a ‘Publishing Company’ offers to ‘publish’ your songs for a fee. They’ll make you a CD, create artwork, produce (say) 500-1,000 copies and maybe even offer your a ‘Publishing Contract’.BE AFRAID – BE VERY AFRAID! (Okay, I’m exaggerating here… ) Seriously, be extremely careful. If you sign anything connected with publishing your songs, you can very easily sign away your copyrights for life. Never sign anything, especially from an on-line company, without having a Lawyer or Music Attorney check it out.Which brings us to option #2 – Form you own ‘Corporation’ or ‘Limited Company’.Not so easy, but it’s do-able. Call your Company ‘Jim Smith Music Inc.’ or ‘Jane Smith Publishing Co. Ltd’ or LLC or Holdings or SL – whatever applies in your country. Contact the Government Agency that administers Company Registrations. Do a search to find out whether you can use the name. Get a Lawyer. Get an accountant. Get a website. Check domain is available.This is the best option and many, many successful songwriters own their own Publishing Companies.But it’s expensive, especially if you’re not earning from you writing. You’re looking at (ballpark) 2,000 Dollars, Pounds or Euros to do it all properly. Maybe 200+ a month to maintain it, whether you’re getting Royalty cheques or not. On top, (and this is a pain), you have to keep books and do regular accounting returns to the Tax Authorities in your country.The Internet now provides us with a viable alternative, a ‘middle field’ – Songwriters are forming ‘Virtual’ Music Publishing Companies on-line. This allows Publishing and Copyrights to be easily established. Later, when revenues start to rise, a Corporation or Company such as Inc. or Co.Ltd. or LLC or SL can be established.In the meantime, an online Publishing Company offers very low running costs, security (with the advent of highly-secured websites) and flexibility.In fact, an online Publishing Company with a catalogue of songs can be worth a lot of money – while protecting the Songwriters property and rights.

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