Today, I want to tackle a question I got from a Songwriting Pro / Man vs. Row reader. If YOU have a question you’d like me to address in a future blog post, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (I can’t get to them all, but I’ll answer your question here on the blog if I think it’ll help the Songwriting Pro community. Oh, and I’ll leave your name out, so you’ll keep your privacy.)
“…I don’t have any cuts, but I don’t want to give away my publishing. I feel the publishers work for the songwriters and should be given, if any, no more than 30%, which is the amount you’d give to a waiter/waitress. I know there are writers who keep all their publishing, and that it’s easier to get a song cut if you have a publisher. So I don’t want to come off as mean, impractical, or ignorant.”
If you’re dead set on not giving away any publishing, you either need to do all the publishing work yourself or hire a good song plugger for a monthly retainer.
Expecting to sign a good publishing deal for only 30% is simply not going to happen- unless you get a bunch of cuts without a publisher and basically don’t need one. Or if you write for them with ZERO advance/draw. Meaning, they don’t pay you anything but the royalties your songs earn. And maybe some demo expenses. But even then, that’s a long shot.
With so many songwriters out there (many with cuts to their credit) who can’t even get deals or a co-pub, you simply don’t have the leverage.
Publishers usually do a few things in exchange for your publishing: 1) pay you up front (a draw or advance) so you can afford to write full time or thereabouts 2) they have connections you don’t have- and they leverage those connections to get your songs cut 3) they handle the licensing and other administrative paperwork 4) cover your demo expenses 5) fly your flag around the music biz- building your personal brand and helping you get cowrites.
That’s way more value than you get from a waiter. (And I say that with love for waiters… I’ve been one!)
If you can handle that stuff without a publisher and actually BE your OWN publisher- rock on. If not, a pub deal may be a good idea. If you can get one (which is NOT easy.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment! And, again, if you have a question, email it to me at email@example.com.
If you want to become a songwriting pro (in how you think, write songs or do business), then a great place to start is RIGHT HERE. I want to help you on your songwriting journey. I’ve been in the music business for years, and I’m here to help you get the cuts – and avoid the bruises. CLICK HERE TO START HERE.
God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,
Brent Baxter is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ruthie Collins, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.