Music Publishing Software - Registrations

For authors of commercial musical works, the largest sources of income are collecting societies and online services. To a lesser degree, this is also important in production music. A work should be registered anywhere where royalties or fees of all parties, starting from writers, through original publishers and administrators to sub-publishers, are larger than their marginal costs of registrations.

Simply, each of them has to be making money. Each of them can try to increase their profit in several ways:

  • reduce the number of middlemen:
    • writers can be their own original publishers
    • original publishers can ditch administrators
    • publishers become affiliates of societies in multiple countries
    • sub-publishers and original publishers connect directly
  • reduce their own processing costs by:
    • optimizing the registration process
    • optimizing the royalty distribution process

In all of these, having an appropriate musical metadata processing software is crucial.

Self-Publishing

Being one’s own original publisher is relatively simple. There are several reasons why a writer should do it:

  • Ownership – one owns 100% of the musical work
  • Control – when one is self-publishing, one has total long-term control
  • Income – you keep most of the money from all sources

One does not need any software for this, works can be registered in their respective collecting organizations through the web. Keeping track can be done in a spreadsheet. However, this is a process prone to errors.

On the other hand, most of these organizations accept Common Works Registration (CWR) format. It can be created from a spreadsheet (Excel), with our EBR to CWR Conversion service, at the moment one of the kind. Or from a dedicated software that validates the data, exports CWR and process acknowledgement files, as well as royalty distribution statements.

I released a free open source software Django Music Publisher, also available as a commercial service DMP Guru with a free 30 days demo period. Unlike all other available solutions that feature CWR registrations, this one is specifically created for original publishers. It does cut many corners, so it is not for everyone, but if you like to keep things simple, it is the best tool out there.

Ditching Administrators

Original publishers, both self-publishers and those publishing music by multiple writers, quite often delegated some of the publisher’s tasks to administrators. Administrators then do registrations and licencing, both in the home territory and abroad, usually through third-party publishers. The latter case, called sub-publishing, will be explained in the next section.

Most of the reasons for this are gone by now, and the lack of appropriate software was the last major technical obstacle to ditching administrators completely. Without legal and technical reasons why administrators would be needed, original publishers may still choose to pay for the convenience.

Direct Affiliation in Foreign Societies

While the actual presence in a foreign country may be important, this is not the case when it comes to registrations and collection of royalties in foreign societies. Different societies have different rules when it comes to registrations. Registrations in ASCAP and BMI (effectively MusicMark) have very different rules then PRS or GEMA (effectively ICE Services).

We may be able to consult you about the technical aspects of such an endeavour and provide technical tools for it. Please use our contact page.

Conclusion

Today we have solutions that were not available only a year ago. And we are not the only ones, although I will not be naming competitors here.

In the last year, my tools and services were used not only by music publishers but also by companies providing them with various services, including software solutions. Most of original publishers are covered by Django Music Publisher, which anyone can use and modify free of charge, and my free tools.

Aforementioned DMP Guru is just one of several services that provide complete CWR capabilities. I worked for some of them and hope to help a few more to make their CWR registration process as robust as possible.