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Music Publishing by Dick Weissman, Ron Sobel

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5 Publishing deals

Publishing contracts

People often speak of “publishing deals” in a generic way, which implies that there may only be one kind of publishing deal. In fact, there are a number of different kinds of publishing arrangements that a writer may enter into. In the days of Tin Pan Alley music publishing, songwriters simply sold the publishing rights to music publishers for a flat fee. Later, as songwriters became more business savvy and gained more negotiating leverage, a new kind of contract evolved, consisting of three basic elements: (1) an assignment of all or a portion of the copyright ownership (so-called “publisher share”) of the song to the publisher; (2) an obligation on the publisher to commercially exploit the songs (e.g., ...

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