Lingo - Publishing

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The supervising for a fee (generally a percentage of income), usually by a major music publisher, of a smaller music publisher’s financial and copyright matters regarding one or more songs or an entire catalog. The administrator does not necessarily own a share of the copyright, although one co-publisher could administer another co-publisher’s share.

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Audit Clause

An important clause in any agreement between a songwriter and a publisher, or any business agent, that allows the songwriter the right to have access to the publisher’s books and records (usually once a year), so that the songwriter can determine the accuracy of the publisher’s accounting practices.

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Exclusive Songwriter Agreement

A contract between a publisher and a songwriter in which the songwriter assigns all songs written during the term of the contract to the publisher in return for a percentage of royalty income. Such an agreement usually involves advances paid by the publisher to the songwriter.

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When used in relation to publishing, “exploit” refers to encouraging the licensing and commercial use of a particular copyright.

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A collection of musical compositions that are licensed by the publisher or administrator for use as background, theme, or score music, on radio, broadcast and cable television, films, or video productions.

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A person or company that publishes and exploits songs, scores, or compositions, usually acquired from the author via an assignment of copyright.

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Single Song Agreement

A contract between a publisher and songwriter(s) where the songwriter assigns to the publisher the copyright in one particular song in return for a percentage of royalty income. Sometimes referred to as a “one-off” contract.

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Songwriter/Publisher Contract

An agreement between the two parties that sets, among other things, the terms under which the composition(s) is transferred (assigned) and income is earned and divided.

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Split Publishing

When the publishing rights in a song are held by more than one publisher. Each of the several publishers is called a “co-publisher.”

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Staff Songwriter

A songwriter who has an exclusive agreement with a publisher.

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