What is music publishing?

As a songwriter, you are the author of musical compositions, and entitled to receive royalties for the copying and performance of your songs.  A publisher is a business that administers the copyright in your songs, collects royalties, and issues licenses for the use of your songs.

Can I be my own publisher?

Yes, but it can be a full time job!  Usually songwriters find the administrative aspect overwhelming, and outsource this work to someone else (like KGN SIX).

What is the difference between a composition and a sound recording?

A composition is a song – music and lyrics – think of sheet music.  Different artists and musicians can perform the song, and each recording of a performance of the song is a sound recording: an embodiment of the composition.

What uses of my song should I get royalties for?

You should be paid royalties for performance of your song (recorded or live), copying of your song (like for every copy of a record or single that is sold) and synchronization of your song (see sync licenses, below).

How much will I get paid for use of my song?

That all depends.  Collection societies (like BMI, ASCAP or PRS) issue blanket licenses to venues like nightclubs, restaurants, gyms, etc. and divide and distribute the license fees among their members.  If you play at live venues, the amount you get paid depends on the size of the venue, and whether you are the headliner or a supporting act.  Synchronization licenses usually pay flat fees which can range from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the use. But most importantly: the collection societies need to know about the use of your song in order to pay you the royalties that are due to you – so if you don’t provide them with set lists and cue sheets, then you may get paid less than you deserve!

What is a mechanical license?

A mechanical license is a license for the reproduction of your composition – in a nutshell, every time a song you’ve written is sold (on a CD, as a digital download, or as a digital stream), you are owed a mechanical royalty.  In the U.S., this royalty is usually equal to 9.1 cents for every copy of the song that is made (the mechanical rate for on-demand streams like Spotify and Rdio is far lower).  In other words, if someone covers one of your songs and they manufacture 1000 CDs, they owe you $91.  And you are also owed mechanical royalties for the sales of your music on your own albums or singles.

How do I collect mechanical royalties?

That’s where KGN SIX comes in – we negotiate and issue mechanical licenses for your compositions, and collect mechanical royalties on your behalf (as well as performance royalties and sync license fees).  You could, of course, negotiate mechanical licenses and collect mechanical royalties yourself – but if you are a successful author/artist, it can be a full-time job.

What is a sync license?

A synchronization license (or “sync” license for short) is a license to use your composition along with moving images – movies, television shows, advertisements, video games, etc.  There are a number of variables: territory, nature and kind of use (background, etc.), etc., and the sync fees will vary accordingly.

How much money do you take?

KGN SIX takes 20% of gross revenues from royalties, and 50% of gross revenues from sync licenses.

Do I have to be a member of a collection society?

Yes, to work with KGN SIX, you need to be a member of a collection society.

Can I get money for past performances?

It depends on your particular circumstances, but usually you can claim past royalties for approximately a year back.

Do I get paid for every performance?

You are entitled to get paid for every performance, but a lot depends on what information the collection society has.  If you’re on tour, it’s important to save and submit set lists so you can be properly paid.

When do I get my money?

Once you sign up with KGN SIX, it takes about 6-9 months for us to register your works and/or for us to collect from the collection society.  We pay you on a semi-annual basis (i.e., twice per year).

How will my royalties be paid to me?

KGN SIX pays you in US dollars, to a bank account of your choice.

Can I still pursue my own deals while I’m signed up with KGN SIX?

Yes – you can independently seek out sync licenses, but if you require our assistance to get the deal done (remember our team is made up of two experienced music industry professionals, one of whom is also an entertainment attorney), then we would take a share of the revenue.