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What are the different types of music contracts for songwriters?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2023 | Entertainment Law |

As a new artist looking to make their way into the music industry, you’ve probably been told many times about the importance of securing a contract with a music publisher. This is what’s going to help the world hear the songs that you have written and to make sure you profit from their use by musicians. 

Having said that, how do you know what type of contract you should be looking for and what is going to benefit you the most? Here are some options:

An individual song and exclusive songwriter agreement

This is the most common type of agreement signed by songwriters. At its most basic, the premise is that you, the songwriter, transfer the copyright of your composition to a publisher. 

The publisher will then negotiate deals with mediums such as TV, film and advertising who want to use your song and you will receive a percentage of the income earned on each piece. This can have many benefits, the main one being the guarantee of a regular income. 

Co-publishing and participation agreements

With this type of agreement, you and the publisher both co-own the copyright to your music. You will then receive your income as a songwriter while receiving a portion of the publisher’s share of the income, too. 

Administration agreement

With this type of agreement, the music publisher can administer a composition for an allotted amount of time. This means that for that period the publisher can allow the song to be used in TV series, motion pictures, CDs, etc. in return for an administration fee. This is usually somewhere in the region of 25% of the income earned during the term of the agreement. 

It’s important to make sure you’re protected legally as a songwriter in the music industry. Making sure the songwriting agreements you’re signing up for are beneficial to you is key to gaining you the recognition for the work that you deserve.