Steps to Become a Music Publisher

Steps to Become a Music Publisher

Are you passionate about music and interested in the business side of the industry? Becoming a music publisher may be the perfect career path for you. In this article, we will explore the steps you need to take to become a successful music publisher. From understanding copyright laws to building relationships with artists and songwriters, we will cover everything you need to know to break into this competitive field. Let’s dive in and discover how you can turn your love of music into a thriving career as a music publisher.

Education and Training

When it comes to becoming a successful music publisher, having the right education and training is key. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you are well-equipped for a career in music publishing:

Obtain a music business degree

One of the best ways to kickstart your career as a music publisher is by obtaining a degree in music business. This will provide you with a solid foundation in the industry, as well as the knowledge and skills you need to navigate the complex world of music publishing. Look for programs that offer courses in copyright law, music licensing, marketing, and finance to ensure you have a well-rounded education.

Gain hands-on experience through internships

In addition to formal education, gaining hands-on experience through internships can be incredibly valuable. Look for opportunities to intern at music publishing companies, record labels, or music industry organizations. This will give you the opportunity to learn from professionals in the field, gain practical skills, and make valuable connections that can help you advance in your career.

Attend music publishing workshops and conferences

Continuing education is important in any industry, and music publishing is no exception. Attending workshops and conferences focused on music publishing can help you stay up-to-date on industry trends, network with other professionals, and gain valuable insights from experts in the field. Look for events hosted by organizations like the Music Publishers Association or the Association of Independent Music Publishers to enhance your knowledge and skills as a music publisher.

Understanding Copyright and Licensing

Learn about music copyright laws

Understanding music copyright laws is crucial for anyone looking to become a music publisher. Copyright laws protect the rights of creators by giving them exclusive rights to their work. As a music publisher, you will need to know how these laws apply to the music industry, including how to obtain licenses for the music you wish to publish.

Understand the different types of music licenses

There are several types of music licenses that you may need to obtain as a music publisher. These include mechanical licenses, sync licenses, and performance licenses. Each type of license grants different rights to the user, so it’s important to understand the distinctions between them and when they are required.

Get familiar with performing rights organizations

Performing rights organizations (PROs) play a key role in the music industry by collecting and distributing royalties for music performances. As a music publisher, you will need to work closely with PROs to ensure that the creators you represent are properly compensated for their work. It’s important to understand how PROs operate and how to register your works with them to ensure that you receive the royalties you are entitled to.

Building a Network

Connect with musicians, songwriters, and producers

Building a strong network of musicians, songwriters, and producers is crucial for becoming a successful music publisher. By connecting with these individuals, you will have access to a wide range of talent and music that you can potentially publish. Attend music events, concerts, and open mic nights to meet new artists and build relationships with them.

Attend industry events and networking mixers

Industry events and networking mixers provide a great opportunity to meet other professionals in the music industry. These events often feature panels, workshops, and networking opportunities that can help you connect with potential collaborators and partners. Make sure to bring business cards and be prepared to talk about your publishing services.

Utilize social media to connect with industry professionals

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram can be powerful tools for connecting with industry professionals. Follow musicians, songwriters, and producers on these platforms, engage with their content, and reach out to them to start a conversation. Social media can also be a great way to promote your publishing services and showcase the talent you are working with.

Starting Your Own Publishing Company

Starting your own music publishing company can be a rewarding venture for those passionate about music and the business side of the industry. By following these steps, you can establish a successful publishing company in the music industry.

Register your business and obtain necessary licenses

The first step in starting your own publishing company is to register your business with the appropriate authorities. This includes choosing a business name, registering your company as a legal entity, and obtaining any necessary licenses or permits required to operate a music publishing business. It’s important to ensure that you comply with all legal requirements to protect your business and its assets.

Build a catalog of music through signing artists and songwriters

Once your publishing company is registered and licensed, the next step is to build a catalog of music by signing artists and songwriters. This involves scouting for talented musicians and lyricists, negotiating contracts with them, and securing the rights to publish their music. Building a diverse and talented roster of artists and songwriters will help attract clients and establish your publishing company as a reputable player in the music industry.

Market your publishing company to attract clients

To attract clients and grow your publishing company, it’s important to market your services effectively. This can include creating a professional website, networking with industry professionals, attending music industry events, and promoting your company through social media and other marketing channels. By showcasing your catalog of music, highlighting your expertise in music publishing, and demonstrating your commitment to supporting artists and songwriters, you can attract clients and grow your publishing company successfully.


In conclusion, becoming a music publisher involves a series of steps that require dedication, knowledge, and perseverance. By following the steps outlined in this article, individuals can successfully navigate the music publishing industry and establish themselves as reputable professionals. From obtaining the necessary licenses to building relationships with artists and understanding copyright laws, aspiring music publishers have a roadmap to follow on their journey to success. By staying informed, staying persistent, and continuously honing their craft, individuals can turn their passion for music into a thriving career as a music publisher.