9th April 2021

The Life Cycle of a Music Publishing Copyright: Introduction

The Life Cycle of a Music Publishing Copyright: Introduction

By @Pursehouse.

Snappy title that, eh? I did suggest others to the comms team as well; ‘I’ve Written a Banger, Now Where’s Me Cash?’, ‘Don’t Put That Down Payment on a Yacht Just Yet, Guys’ and the rather clickbaitable ‘You’ll Never Believe What Income Streams a Song Generates!’

All of those proposed titles though, plus the actual title itself, are all rather relevant in this journey we’re about to take together, dear reader. One of the biggest quirks about the music publishing industry is the time it takes to get you (the songwriter) and us (the publisher) the money you so rightly deserve for writing your fantastic songs and we so rightly deserve for our rather fastidious administrative skills.

Hopefully, anyone who knows us by now will be well aware that Sentric’s core ethos/culture/schtick is all about artist friendliness and transparency, so the point of this piece is to shed some light on when you’ll get paid for a whole range of activities surrounding the songs that you have written.

At the surface of it all, I completely and wholeheartedly agree that it might seem quite simply ‘a bit daft’ for this lag in payments, but this isn’t a ‘Sentric’ thing, this is a ‘music publishing’ thing. All songwriters and publishers are in the same boat when it comes to cashflow, so knowing what to expect and when to expect it is a vital part of budgeting accordingly.

(In fact, when I say ‘all publishers are in the same boat’, that’s not factually correct, because in reality, we actually will get our writers paid significantly quicker than the majority of publishers who have sub-publishing networks rather than doing it directly like we do. So that’s one way where we’re quicker already. Lovely. And if you’re wondering what I mean by ‘doing it directly’ then check out this post which’ll explain that.)

So for this we’re going to create a fictional band who create a bop which goes on to do rather well. They’re going to hit landmarks that everyone reading this would be delighted to hit themselves (radio playlisting, Spotify playlisting, sync deals etc.) and we’re going to delve into what publishing income is generated from these said landmarks and how long it’d take for that publishing income to come through.

So let us begin. Allow me to introduce Pure-Horse, a four piece alternative band who are influenced by Radiohead, ABBA, The Ronettes, Slipknot, BTS and Little Mix. They met whilst hanging around the bar at the back of a jazz, ska, metal, grime fusion night and their music is quite simply like nothing you, me, or anybody else, has ever heard before. Imagine the songwriting sensibilities of The Beatles combined with the stage presence of Prince and then immediately forget that and instead envisage the Arctic Monkeys covering a Bananarama B-side in a bossanova style. You there? Good, because I’m not.

 For the purposes of keeping everything straight forward, I’ve decided to keep this fake band set up pretty simple…

  •   All four band members have equal 25% songwriting splits.
  •   All of them are published by Sentric Music.
  •   All of them are from the UK and are members of the PRS, their local PRO.

…but there are a whole myriad of combinations of the above which would affect everything we discuss. They could have varying songwriting splits depending on who wrote what, some of the band might be published by another publisher, some of the band might be a member of a different PRO etc., but let’s keep it straight forward for now. Please.

And so our journey begins…

Week 1: The Song Is Written.