Six Important Things to Look at in a Music Publishing Contract

1. Understand the type of contract (Deed of Assignment, Exclusive Writer Agreement, Publishing Administration, etc) NB: the title of the contract doesn’t conclude its content, so every Clause is important

2. Term (Duration): This can mean different things depending on the type of agreement, and can be misleading. In an Exclusive Writer Agreement or Publishing Preference agreement, the Term will mean the number of years you will be submitting songs to the publisher. Which is completely different from the Number of Years the publisher will own or control the song, or benefit from its income. Be sure to differentiate these two things.

3. How many songs are you expected to submit to the publisher? E.g in an exclusive writer agreement and some publishing preference agreements, all songs you write during the term, will be assigned to the publisher.

4. Territory: Which territories are you offering to the publisher? Most publishers will like to take over the whole world. But you always have the choice to offer them works for specific territories

5. Legal Jurisdiction: This is especially important if you and your publisher are not in the same country. You should ensure the jurisdiction of the contract is one where you are sure to have fair legal representation. And also where you will be able to afford expenses

6. Creative Services: while it’s not common, songwriters should be able to get some clause that clarifies extra creative services and promotions that the publisher is supposed to do. Some publishers will sign your songs but never prioritize you.

7. If there is a line in the contract, then it’s important