Berklee Today: So You Want a Big Publishing Deal?

Eric Beall
September 16, 2004
Eric Beall '84 is vice president of A&R at Sony Music.
Photo provided by the artist.

So you've written a song or two, maybe even several dozen, or even hundreds, for that matter. They're all recorded on dusty work tapes stacked in your closet or on Pro Tools files eating up space on your hard drive. All these songs, carefully and lovingly created, are silently waiting on the answer to the inevitable question: What next?

The answer is a publisher. You need an effective, diligent music publisher who will share your enthusiasm for your creations; use his or her music business acumen to organize those piles of tapes into a coherent catalog; dip into a bulging Rolodex of industry contacts to put those songs into the hands of the right recording artists, music supervisors, and A&R staffers; and then, with the tenacity of a Brooklyn loan shark, will collect the inevitable flow of money that results. Simple, right?

If it's a hardworking, well-organized, well-connected music publisher that you're looking for, look no further. You already have one. In fact, he or she has been around for some time now, having been with you since you penned your first potential hit. Your publisher is your greatest untapped resource, ready to take your assets (your songs) and put them someplace where they can earn income. Whatever your publisher may lack in experience will undoubtedly be compensated for through an uncanny understanding of your work and an unquestionable devotion to your career. So, songwriter, meet your first-and quite possibly finest-publisher: you.

Read more about music publishing in Berklee Today.