ION INDIE MAGAZINE December 2015, Volume 19 - Page 54

Songwriting Series: Being Your Own Publisher By Paul Bordenkircher In our previous installments, we've been setting the groundwork around intellectual property and how it relates to songwriting. I’m the first one to admit it’s a lot of tedious, nap-inducing information. But understanding the basics of intellectual property could be a critical part of your music career, so you avoid many of the pitfalls and problems in the future. We’ve talked about the basics surrounding songs, why it’s important to protect them, and what you should do. Make sure you've got those parts down solid. Truth be told, if you’ve paid attention throughout this songwriting series, I’ve kinda been setting you up. Remember the original Karate Kid movie? Mr. Miyagi made the Kid paint the fence, wax the car, etc., until he was sick of it. Then Miyagi suddenly shows him that he’d been secretly teaching him karate moves the whole time. Well I’ve been doing the same thing to you when it comes to handling your own song publishing. Cuz let’s face it: publishing is BORING! But it might be the most important aspect of your career in the long term. Now that we’ve covered theory, let’s move on to the next step - making concrete steps to getting your back end in order. A Quick Review In our first installment, we discussed that any song you write is immediately split into two parts of ownership. The songwriter(s) share 50 percent of revenues, while the publisher(s) share the other 50 percent. Did you remember the dirty little secret? It’s that the publisher is the one that actually owns and controls the song. So it’s an important long-term step to maintain records that confirm ownership of your own works. So guess what’s the most important thing you can do with your songs? That’s right - it’s time to establish your own publishing company. Publishing Basics