How to Publish a Music Album

Get your recording published with one of the most common performance rights organizations.Publishing music may seem like an unobtainable goal, but there is a simple process for getting your music published. It is possible to publish your own music or to try to find a publisher that is willing to market your music. Since getting your music accepted by a publisher is a daunting task, we will cover how to self-publish your music and accept royalties based on performances.

Step 1

Determine a performing rights organization with which to register your music. This is an important decision, so take the time to research the three main performing rights organizations — ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. You may only publish works with one organization, so choose carefully.

Step 2

Decide on a name for your publishing company. This should be something memorable and should stand out from other business names. This is the name you will use when applying for a publisher's account with your selected agency.

Step 3

Get a business license in your state. (An alternative to this is to register as a sole proprietor, but there are many benefits and protections to registering as your own business.) Check with a lawyer if you have any questions about the process.

Step 4

Register your music once you have been accepted by your publisher of choice. By doing so, you will ensure that royalties for performances will be collected for your works. Event managers report all performances directly to the agency responsible for your music, and in return, the agency sends you a check.

Step 5

Monitor your performances. If you are notified of a performance, report it to your publisher so that it can collect payment for you.

Step 6

Create a website to sell and track performances of your works. Have contact information available so that people can report performances, or ask permission to play one of your works.


Take time deciding on a performing rights organization. It is a big decision.

Being proactive in monitoring and recruiting performances is a big part of being self-published.


Choose a performing rights organization carefully. Once you have selected one, it is yours for life.

For extra protection, send your album to the Library of Congress.


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