Re: Setting up your own publishing company and record label.

You should join a performing rights organization like ASCAP or BMI. Why? Someday you might get airplay and they will collect royalties for you. Ya, right. But still, it’s a good idea to join. Before you name your publishing company and get a business license, get some ASCAP forms . They’ll ask you to submit three possible names for your publishing company. You can’t have the same name as somebody else. They’ll let you know if you can use your first, second or third choice. You can become kind of a member-in-waiting until you actually release your CD. With that, your publishing company has actually published something and can be considered bona-fide and you have the priveledge of giving ASCAP $50 a year to be a publisher member.

You can be just a writer member of ASCAP, but you have to have something published. ASCAP splits the performance royalties it collects between the publisher and the composer. If you’re both the publisher and the composer, hey, you get all the royalties and not just half.

So why also have a record label? The record label owns the recording; the publisher owns the song. What about the copyright? Well, that properly belongs to the composer. If you wrote the song, then you inherently have the right to make copies and sell them. Used to be, that meant sheet music. Used to be, you needed a publisher--who had a press and a distribution system--to go anywhere with that. Hence, a composer would assign his or her copyright to a publisher for a 50 percent share of the proceeds, less the publisher’s expenses and whatever else the publisher could come up with to screw the composer. So the publisher holds the copyright and issues a license to record the song to the record label for which the record label must pay a per-copy-made-&-distributed fee.

As composer, publisher AND record label, you own the whole shebang and don’t have to split nothing with nobody. You can sell your CD, pay yourself the license fee (mechanical royalty) and split it with yourself. And, if you get lucky and somebody else wants to cover one of your songs, you get the royalties.