How to Establish a Music Publishing House?

How to establish a Music Publishing House?

Publish music - turn music into money: Labels in particular can integrate the publishing arm into their own company with little effort and build up a further financial pillar through a publishing house. The administrative effort for the administration of publishing rights is limited by the increasing digitalization. The bureaucratic and organisational work involved in setting up a music publishing company is also manageable. Within Germany, it is accompanied by membership of the Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA) (Society for Musical Performing Rights and Mechanical Reproduction Rights).

Although the publication, performance and exploitation of music is generally governed by national copyright laws or international treaties, this does not guarantee that the author will be remunerated for the use of his works by others. In Germany this task is performed by GEMA. In addition to regulating all rights in the form of licensing, invoicing and fair distributions, it offers every member access to the internal database and thus provides information on the current distribution of rights for all registered titles.

It doesn't take much to found a Music Publishing House:

First of all, it is essential to register the trade (a copy of the trade licence is submitted here) and to fill in the GEMA application form for music publishers. In addition to the admission fee of 180€ (plus 19% VAT: 214.20€), an annual membership fee must be paid. For music publishers this fee is 100€. Copies of the contracts of all cooperating authors must also be submitted.

It is also advisable to join the DMV:

If you want to secure your rights as a music publisher, you can register with the Deutscher Musikverleger-Verband e.V. (DMV) (German Music Publishers Association). The DMV has set itself the task of promoting the expansion of copyright law in close contact with state bodies and is regarded as the strongest representative of German music publishers' interests public authorities and other interest groups.

Among its most important tasks are:

-    Comprehensive public relations work on current topics of the music market

-    Publication of newsletters via e-mail to all members for ongoing information on developments and trends, copyright, tax law and economic issues

-    Advice on general legal issues and prosecution of infringements of competition, copyright and publishing law in the interests of member publishers

-    Award of the "Best Edition" German Music Edition Prize to music editions and music books of outstanding quality

Another collecting society that is worthwhile in individual cases is the VG  Musikedition. It also advocates the copyrights and remuneration claims of its members, but has the special feature that it can be used to acquire copy licences for churches, schools, kindergartens and retirement homes, as exclusive contracts exist with the respective communities. For this reason, the VG Musikedition generally exercises reprinting rights for textbooks or church services and is subject to its tariffs.

With the right tool you can easily create commercially available sheet music online:

One of the major hurdles for prospective music publishers is the submission of sheet music in commercial printing format, which is required for a correct registration procedure with GEMA. Concrete templates are used for this purpose, which should eventually lead to a commercially available music notation. The creation of the sheet music is usually associated with a great deal of effort. Not everyone has the appropriate music notation software or the time and knowledge to deal with a correct transcription method.

Soundnotation offers with its Creator-Tool the possibility to create notes in the required format quickly and inexpensively within a few mouse clicks. All you need is a recording of the piece to be transcribed and laid out. If required, Soundnotation can also take care of any processing with GEMA for all rights holders.

In addition: Homann, H.-J., 2007. Praxishandbuch Musikrecht: Ein Leitfaden für Musik- und Medienschaffende. Berlin.

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