Music publishers play a vital role in the industry. They’re the ones who ensure an artist’s work gets out there and they are compensated for it. Music publishing can be a challenging but equally rewarding business venture. It takes a lot of attention to detail, negotiating and professionalism to exceed as a music publisher. While we can’t help you with that part, we can make sure your music publishing business is legally secured. So, while you’re out there negotiating deals for your clients, your business can remain protected from any potential legal issues. 

Keep reading to learn more. 

How Does Music Publishing Work? 

Music composers and songwriters often turn to music publishers to get their work noticed. A music publisher’s task is to ensure a song is commercially successful. That means, getting the song played on television or radio, purchased and performed. In return, the music publisher collects a portion of the royalties the music earns. 

However, that’s just a brief overview of how music publishing works. In reality, music publishing can get a bit tricky. There’s a lot of different factors that need to be taken care of when determining how a music publishing deal will play out. The best way to navigate this industry is to be legally protected. That way, even if something does go wrong, your music publishing company has a better chance of remaining safe.  

How To Become A Music Publisher In Australia 

To become a music publisher in Australia, you can either work for a music publishing company or start your own music publishing company. Of course, as this article is focused on starting your own company, we’ll discuss that.  

Start A Music Publishing Company

The first step to starting a music publishing company is getting your music publishing company registered. To register your music publishing company, there’s a few things you’ll need to figure out. 

Every company in Australia is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Therefore, when you start a company, it’s important to abide by ASIC’s rules and regulations. According to ASIC, every company needs to figure out things like who their directors and shareholders will be as well as how the company will be governed prior to opening the registration application. There’s also the other administrative things, such as a company bank account, name, address, phone number and email address. These may seem like minor details but it’s important to have these particulars finalised before you start the application process to register your company. 

It’s understandable to feel a little overwhelmed at the prospect of registering your music publishing company – after all, there’s quite a  number of things you need to figure out. However, it’s always worth taking the steps to register your company correctly. Once your company is officially registered, it will stand as a legal entity on its own. This can help limit your own liabilities and put your venture in a better position to expand in the future. Having the right help along the way is always recommended, as this can make sure everything gets done the right way. Talk to our experienced legal experts today about registering your company

What Legal Agreements Do I Need For A Music Publishing Company? 

Earlier in the article, we mentioned that taking care of the legal aspects of the music publishing business can help keep it safe. One of the key ways to achieve a good level of protection for your company is to have strong, professionally drafted legal agreements in place.   

The world of business can get tough to navigate and sometimes, things don’t always go as planned. However, with the right legal agreements, you can come out of these situations with minimum damage or avoid them all together. Let’s take a look at some of the legal agreements that could help your music publishing company.

Service Agreement: When you’re providing a service to clients, it’s always good to have a service agreement in place. A service agreement covers important information like the scope of the services you will be providing, how payment is to be made, what the responsibilities of both parties are and much more. It’s better to get these matters down on paper as opposed to just shaking hands on it, that way you will always have something to look back on.

Copyright Licence Agreement: Copyright is going to be one of the most important legal factors you’ll need to think about when starting a music publishing company. Having important IP agreements like a copyright licence can make sure you’re legally in the clear to use your clients music when working with them. 

Employment Agreement: No matter how small or big your music publishing company is, it’s essential to have employment agreements for all your employees. As a music publishing company, you’ll likely be holding your employees to a particular standard of professionalism and confidentiality. Ensuring this is clearly addressed in the employment agreement can set the right expectations from the beginning. 

These are just a few of the potential legal agreements that could help safeguard your music publishing company. Your company is unique and therefore, the exact legal agreements you will need depend highly on your specific circumstances. It’s best to get in touch with a legal expert so they can provide advice that’s catered to your company and go from there. 

What Legal Considerations Do I Need To Look Out For When Starting My Own Music Publishing Company? 

As we noted, copyright is going to be one of the major legal factors you’ll need to prepare for when starting a music publishing company (see above). It is a wise idea to get a copyright consultation with a legal expert, so they can provide you with more details. However, copyright isn’t the only legal aspect you’ll have to think about. 

For starters, Data and Privacy regulations are likely to impact your company. Your clients are going to be trusting you with their compositions and material, along with their personal details. As a company, it’s your responsibility to make sure their creations and information don’t fall into the wrong hands. A data and privacy expert can provide guidance on the best steps to protect your clients privacy.

It’s also essential to ensure your company is compliant with any rules and regulations that may apply to it. As a music publishing company, there may be industry specific regulations or rules determined by your location that you’ll be on the lookout for. It can be hard to keep up with everything, which is why talking to a legal expert and getting some legal advice can help keep your company moving in the right direction.  

Next Steps 

When you start a music publishing company, the legal considerations are going to be one of the most important factors you need to consider. Being legally prepared can help keep your company safe and secure its longevity in the business world, so it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a legal expert. Tpo summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • To start a music publishing company in Australia, you will need to register it with ASIC 
  • The registration process includes decisions on directors, shareholders and administrative details, establishing the company as a legal entity
  • Legal protection is crucial, with professionally drafted agreements recommended, such as service agreement, copyright licence agreement and employment agreement
  • Additional legal considerations beyond copyright include data and privacy regulations, industry-specific rules and compliance with location-specific regulations
  • It’s important to be legally prepared for starting a music publishing company, as this can make the road ahead a lot smoother

If you would like a consultation on starting a music publishing company, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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