How to Publish a Song? Difference with Unpublished Songs

However if you simply share the CD with your private friends (not the public), the song is still unpublished in nature.

3.) If your song has been played on the radio with public listeners, then the song is now published. This is regardless whether you made a royalty or not from public performance.

4.) If the song has been included in a video or film which will be shown to the public, the song is considered published because it has already been synchronized.

5.) If you allow any bands or artist to cover your song and have it recorded on a studio that is under a recording contract/agreement with a label, the song is considered published.

6.) If the song has been licensed to anyone for use (regardless of application), the song is not anymore considered unpublished.

7.) As a songwriter, if you have entered into an agreement with a music publisher and have the song included in their catalog. The song is considered published.

Why “publishing” a song is sometimes a risky act?

Songwriters are proud to publish their song but sometimes this is a very risky act. Why? Consider the situations below:

1.) If you have written a really great song and you published it, you decrease its opportunity for future exposure. A good example is when a label requires songs from writers to be unpublished. Or a prestigious songwriting contest requiring songs to be purely unpublished. In this case, your great song may not be able to grab this opportunity.

2.) When you write and record songs and have it marketed and published, big recording labels or major music publishers are sometimes hesitant to touch published songs especially if they are not successfully marketed. They sometimes correlate it (although not true in all cases) as a “bad or low quality product”.

Best practices for songwriters when to publish a work

To increase the marketing potential and success of your every song, consider the following advice:

1.) Don’t hurry up self-publishing your songs in useless and non-profitable ventures. As a songwriter, you should spend a lot of time improving your song than thinking for ways in publishing it. Remember that time will come your great song will be presented with a proper opportunity.

2.) It’s not your job to market your song. It’s the job of your customers which could be the labels or the music publishers. Bear in mind that when you start marketing your work, you will be publishing your songs. Save the publishing for last. For more details, read this post to understand the music industry.

2.) Keep copies of your original work; these are evidence of copyright. And do not forget to register them to the copyright office and beware of these common copyright mistakes.

3.) If you self-published your work, make sure you do it right and you make a living out of it. Reckless publishing can only reduce the value of your catalog and minimize the opportunity for your great songs. Learn the business aspect of writing songs. It requires proper timing and careful planning.

4.) If you are not confident with your marketing and self-publishing skills, don’t publish your work. Instead wait for the proper opportunity to be presented to you and partner with an established music publisher that would be publishing and marketing your songs. This is where you can start to make a living as a songwriter.

Content last updated on July 5, 2012