Are you aware there are numerous ways a song can can produce income? It’s true. There are mechanical royalties; airplay royalties; foreign publishing; synch licenses; sheet music income; download income; ringtone revenue; YouTube views; jukebox and bar band cover tune revenue from licensing fees collected by ASCAP and BMI … it’s a long list and I have to question the wisdom of the songwriters who decide to self-publish. For a few it makes sense, For most it’s, “What are they thinking?”
It’s highly unlikely that most songwriters with no publishing experience have the contacts or experience to fully promote their work. In many cases the money generated by a major label release is the tip of the iceburg with the bigger money being made on covers of the tune by other major label artists; “Greatest Hits of the Decade” type packages; foreign language releases by top artists in other countries and other avenues.
Some songs make substantial money from repetetive upfront licensing fees paid by aspiring artists. When I produce a singer who doesn’t write on a Nashville Trax project I search for suitable songs from our own Play It Again Demos catalog as well as the catalogs of song publishers and begin running them by the artist. In order to be legal to sell downloads or press CDs the artist or their backer has to pay the songwriter(s) upfront according to the type of project. The minimum is a limited release license payment for 10,000 CDs or downloads.
One reason to consider pursuing publishing deals for your songs is it frees you from copyright administration and promotion. You’re most likely a creative type and not particularly good at exploiting a song copyright so why not hand the reins over to a pro while you focus on increasing the herd?- B.E. Watson