Self Publishing Advice for Amateur Composer?

 
       
 
Jun 07, 2018, 12:45 PM

Hey everyone, I am an amateur piano composer. A few years ago I composed a series of solo piano pieces, one in each key. I wrote out all the sheet music, pretty meticulously, and made less meticulous recordings. I previously emailed a bunch of solo music publishers with a sample of my music, and one of them agreed to publish it, but they eventually stopped responding to me (I got the impression that they were pretty busy).

Anyways, I have some free time right now, so I’m looking into trying to publish my music again. My current plan is to put the recordings on youtube and soundcloud, then link a place to purchase my sheet music. I just discovered a few sites that will publish your sheet music and give you some of the sales. I’m just wondering 1) if anyone has used any of these sites, and if so, which one(s) they reccomend, 2) if I’ve missed any good websites in this category, 3) if anyone has any advice regarding my general plan?

 

Here are the best websites I’ve found so far:

 

https://smppress.sheetmusicplus.com/

https://www.musicaneo.com/services/publish_sheet_music.html

http://www.arcomis.com/publishing/

https://www.scoreexchange.com/

 

For context, I have a day job, and am not at all worried about supporting myself from music sales. However, I thought it would be cool to get my music out there, and see if I could make any money in the process. I know a little about website development, but am shying away from this option due to the time commitment.

 

Thanks in advance!

 
     
mysteriousmonkey29 Joined Jun 07, 2018
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Jun 07, 2018, 05:48 PM

Hi,

While I personally have never come across this, I did work with someone who did. She lived in San Diego and was a coordinator for the NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) chapter in that town. Her main job was a piano teacher, and she would publish her own song books for her teaching program. They featured several known songs and then several of her own songs. She featured a couple of the songs we wrote together in one of them, and I would get royalty checks from time to time. A few bucks here and there.

She had “SELF PUBLISHED” which was about the only way she could find to get it done. Publishers don’t often get involved with unknown songs unless the personally know the writers. So them not calling or contacting you back would not be surprising. It’s usually a “don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Type of thing. It comes down to money. you have to figure out what you would have to put into something, verses what you would get out of it. Single songs pay even below nothing, so doing a collection and self publish it might be your only option.

As you have seen, some of the Internet based companies that do self publishing might be your only route. Basically publishing is the financial side of a song and is a co-owner of the song. But every song is not nessasarily a business plus. There are quite literally billions of them out there. So you may have to do everything yourself until you can get someone else to take the job. But there is nothing wrong with setting up your own publishing company and do it as a business for yourself. We are all self published until we get someone to take over for us and to do that, you have to be generating some form of income to begin with.

Good luck. As usual, a “Google” or “Bling” search can probably help you. I’d give you my friend’s name and address but I know that she got married and completely got out of the business.

MAB

[ Edited: 07 June 2018 05:51 PM by MBarne4908]
 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Jun 11, 2018, 05:31 PM

Ok, thanks for the advice!

 
     
mysteriousmonkey29 Joined Jun 07, 2018
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Jun 12, 2018, 09:50 AM

Hello,

On another thread here, Carroll Kipkin was asking about “contacts to publishers” which you might find helpful. My job is helping artists and writers find assistance and “the next step” in their songwriting careers, as it relates to Nashville. Some of those next steps involve publishers. Many of my good friends are the publishers people are trying to get to know, and I understand not only how they think (because they tell me) but also how their business works.

And that is something that has to be kept in mind when you are asking for “publishers.” Most people don’t understand what a publisher actually does. They are just terms that people have heard about and their friends or online relationships tell them they HAVE TO HAVE. While it is true that in order to make the big steps up to mainstream radio success, artists, and deals, the truth is that publishers now perform a much different function because the business has changed so radically.

The majority of the public, no longer BUY music. They “rent it” or “listen to it” through streaming and services like Pandora, Spotify, etc. with many “freemium” (free) services and even the paid services greatly reduced payments. What this means to writers seeking publishers is that publishers can no longer MAKE MONEY. So most have dropped out of the business, or changed their business model to “fee for services” where the writer pays a fee for the publisher to be interested in the songs. There is no more “partnerships” which is what a song writer/publisher relationship is. The publisher is the BUSINESS half of that relationship.

Publishers in the old days put up the money for demos, for salaries, (draws) for writers to write and learn their craft. That pretty much ended when the Internet began to drain the money from songs. The publishers who did want to stay in the game, shifted their focus from developing songs and writers to developing ARTISTS, with the possibility of getting a record deal, have ARTIST BRANDING, etc.

So that is what you have to ask yourself when you are wanting to have advice for publishing. What, how and who is your music going to make money for? How is it going to do that?

With sheet music, composing, etc. where once people PAID for that, now they simply GOOGLE whatever they want. or go to YOU TUBE and view it for free. And most people interested in piano pieces, probably are more interested in writing their own, or in the case of my friend, piano teachers, who use music to teach methods. But again, those are usually arrangements of hit songs, that their students would know from the radio.

So that is pretty much where you and all writers are. You have to figure out HOW your music would make MONEY. For you and others, and believe me, it is MOSTLY OTHERS. If you want someone to put out what you are creating, someone has to pay for that, and until you are a proven commodity, that person paying is YOU. In fact YOU have to be your own publisher, producer, arranger, recording engineer, and financier until you can get someone to take over the job.

So again, you probably should research self publishing (you can find those things on YOU TUBE ALSO) and find where your niche is that people would be attracted to your music.

But you have to answer some WHY’S first. Why would people be interested in it? Why would they pay for it?
Until you answer that, you are going to have to be your own publisher.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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