Music Publishing Industry, The



This course provides an overview of the legal and business aspects of the music publishing industry, which itself is a major part of the entire entertainment ecosystem. It is a complex field, composed of a framework of legal regulations and evolving business practices. It governs virtually every aspect of the music business, including recorded music, film, television, video games, commercials, and live performance.

A music publisher represents composers, songwriters, and the musical compositions they create.

The related copyrights, owned and administered by publishing companies, are among the most important forms of intellectual property in the music business. Music publishers exploit these rights in a variety of ways, including samples, synchronization licenses for film and television, digital licenses with streaming services, and mechanical licenses for recordings.

Following the completion of this course, the student should be able to demonstrate a foundational understanding of the music publishing industry, including the various types of earnings, customary and standard terms of the various songwriter/publishing agreements, the functions of performing rights organizations (e.g., ASCAP/BMI/SESAC), domestic vs. foreign considerations, and strategies for negotiations and drafting.

Prerequisite: Copyright Law (538 or 538A).