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Self-publishing musical works

2 min read

What does it mean to self-publish?

Self-publishing allows creators to retain full control over their publishing rights.

There are songwriters who may not have a music publishing , which means they are self-published.

As a self-published songwriter, you retain all the in your , except if you collaborated with others and have negotiated with them. Explore our page on Songwriter Splits to learn more.

It is also important to understand the different protected by and how they apply to musical works and , so visit our topics on Music Creators´Rights, Rights Transfer and Licensing, and Scope of Protection to learn more.

What you need to do if you self-publish

If you act as your own music publisher, you are responsible for the monetization of your musical works, the of your rights and the collection of your and other income. This means the responsibility to your musical works with a and ensure you receive all the income owed rests with you. Your CMO will also need to know you're the publisher of your own musical works, and may request that you register as a corporation.

Learn more about royalties in our Getting Credited and Paid topic.

Being self-published means you take on all the actions a music publisher might carry out for their songwriters, including;

  • Developing and building your own career

  • Pitching, promoting, and marketing your musical works

  • Registering new musical works with CMOs

  • musical works for use in films, TV shows, and commercials

  • Administrating rights, tracking and collecting royalties.

Being self-published can be a daunting task, but a can help. Typically, for a small percentage of the income your works earn, a publishing administrator will manage your rights and collect your income for you. A publishing administrator does not have copyright ownership of your musical works.


Test your music publishing knowledge

Image credit: Jakob Johansson, Parapix