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Music News & Commentary: May 30, 2007

The Wall Stret Journal is reporting that Viacom will sell its Famous Music Publishing entity to Sony/ATV publishing for $370 million. The WSJ story is behind its pay-wall, but here is a link to Yahoo's reporting of the story.

This story is newsworthy for a number of reasons. First, Famous music was originally founded in the 1920s as a way to publish the music that was being released by its partner film company. So, here we sit, nearly 100 years later, and the idea of leveraging music in movies is perhaps more important than it's ever been.

This leads me to the second reason this story is newsworthy. Even as record sales plummet - and with them the value of labels - the value (and marketability) of publishing companies continues to increase.

Why? Publishing is at the center of the music business. It doesn't matter, for instance, if CDs disappear completely; it really doesn't even matter if labels disappear completely, whenever music is used in any manner (on radio, live, downloads, in movies/TV, etc.), publishing revenue is generated.

Publishing has always been at the center of the business, but it's been sort of an exclusive club. Outsiders have been unable to gain access because they've been intimidated by the arcane terms (controlled composition clause) and the - uh - math.

There's really no reason for this level of intimidation. Once you take the time to learn about 5 terms, and spend a few hours to understand how the math works - via understanding how the money flows - you can enter this club.

You should enter this club. It's the past, present, and future of the business. The barriers to entry with respect to publishing are much lower than for other parts of the music business; basically, either write or go out and find some songs, get them registered, and then hustle to get them used (on record, movies, etc.), and you're a publisher.

There's loads of info on the site to get you started.

Here's a video entitled Publishing 101 to get you started.

Managing Editor of the AHM site, Mike King, interviewed publisher and author Eric Beall to determine how to leverage publishing to make music make money. Check it out here.

To get a sense of how publishing companies work check out: About Publishing Companies .

If you decide you want to offer someone a deal (or if you're looking for a publishing deal yourself), check out this video on Types of Publishing Deals.

Finally, to see how publishing connects with the other elements of the business, check out my article entitled Royalty Streams.



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