Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Step-by-Step Guide to Music Self-Publishing Online

Music publishing is a full-time job that requires consistent effort.

If your music is not sold by a publishing company, you are effectively a self-publisher. This enables you to keep 100 percent of the profits from sales, but you will also need to have the time to actively seek out clients and collect payments. The moment you create original work and attempt to sell it, you are the publisher of that work. Musicians that wish to self-publish their work must be willing to promote their music and work with clients on a regular basis.

Decide on a Company Name 


As a music publisher, you will need to have a name to receive payments. You do not need to have a limited liability company. You can simply go to your local government business authority and get a DBA license, or "doing business as." This will enable you to take payments in the name of your company. Just give the information to your bank and you will be able to cash checks in your company's name.

Prepare Your Music in Digital Audio Format and Sheet Music Format 


This can be done with tools that most people already have on their computer. Take the physical recording of your music and extract the files using a program like iTunes. Save the file in an MP3 format to create a downloadable version for your website. For your sheet music, you can either copy the music by hand or use a notation program to create your scores.

Copyright Your Music


This can be done for a fee by sending your music to the Library of Congress. Copyrighting your music protects you in the case of someone stealing your music. If you have an album, you can copyright the entire album for the fee of a single work. As of August 1, 2009, the fee for registering a work online is $35.00 and for mailing in a physical copy is $65.00. Mail or upload all of the requested documents to the address located in the copyright form. There is a different address for each type of media. Audio CDs are okay but do not send CDs with PDF files. The copyright office requires a hard-copy format of all sheet music.

Determine Whether You Want to Join ASCAP or BMI


Both performing rights organizations operate by collecting royalties for your music that is performed on radio, television, the internet and in live performances. They will represent you in a case of copyright infringement and work to collect money that is owed you.

Create a Website to Distribute Your Music


There are places that will prepare a website for you such as CDBaby, or if you have experience creating websites you can create your own. If you create your own, you will need to have a Web hosting service. Many independent publishers will list their works online along with sample recordings and provide a contact form for clients to contact them about purchasing music. Payments can then be taken online through a merchant processor, then you must then manually deliver the score to customers through email or postal mail. Avoid using PayPal and other non-regulated merchant processors.

Find a Music Distributor for Your Recorded Albums


This will enable you to get your music listed on iTunes, Amazon, and several other online music distributors. CDBaby and Tunecore both have options for submitting your music to digital distributors.