Re-Title Publishing – Is it Legitimate?

I recently submitted music to a licensing opportunity via Sonicbids, and was psyched to see that it was “selected” by the licensing company. But I was thrown by this statement: “Please send a disc of tracks that are clear for licensing and re-title publishing.” I have no idea what “re-title publishing” means, and could not find much mention of it anywhere. I flipped open my copy of All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman, and there was no mention of it there either. So I emailed Don, and he claims no knowledge of “re-title publishing.” Which has me worried. If the expert who wrote the industry standard book hasn’t heard of it, can it possibly be legit?

Am I Just Paranoid?

If any of you are familiar with this concept, please post something in the comments. I’m going to call the company and get some details. My google searches did return some info on “sharking” songs, where publishers in the old days used to change the names of songs and register them again, so that they could claim the share of licensing that originally went to the artist. Not that this is the case in this instance, but I don’t want to get screwed.

Help, anyone?

6 thoughts on “Re-Title Publishing – Is it Legitimate?”

  1. I work with artists who write music for film and television. We only do re-titled licensing. The artist signs a non exclusive deal allowing us to re title their music. That way the artist can also license that same song under the original title and we can keep our earnings separate. That way everyone wins by the hard work they put into the process. What ever songs the artist license we collect nothing from them. We supply all information about the artist and the songs. So if someone really liked the band they would be able to contact them.

    My company is different from all the music publishers and other companies that license re titled work.

    My company splits all licensing fees 50/50. We also split our publishing shares with the artist 50/50. Other publishers keep 100% of the publishers share. So to do the math, the artist is getting 75% of ALL earnings the song will bring in. For all the work that we do for the artist we basically charge 25% of the earnings.

    What happens in this industry is you got greedy bastards wanting to drain as much as they can from the artists not caring about them. My company is filled with other artists who love what they do. We are not in this to become millionaires (we all ready are). We just collect enough to cover the work we do for the artists. Are main goal is to get your music heard.

    So re titled work is not a bad thing if you get with the right company. Try talking any other music publisher into allowing you to keep your copyrights and ask for 50% of the publishing shares and see what they say!

  2. Bill,

    I was just offered a re-titling single song contract for a few compositions. However, the deal is not as friendly as your standard 25% arrangement-I suspect because there are third party entities involved. Please let me know if you would be interested in possibly reviewing my material for placement consideration.


  3. We also re-title for some of our artists for the same reasons stated by Bill C. above. As publishers, we have a business to run, an overhead to keep down, and anything less than 25% just doesn’t cut it. When an artist chooses to sign with a Publisher, they should do so based on that Publisher’s relationships within the industry and previous successes. Also, as an artist, you need to consider the point where you are in your career. Sometimes, it takes giving up a little in order to move your career forward. Once you have some placements under your belt and have grown a fan base, developed yourself more, you will have more bargaining power and more Publisher’s will see value in your works.

    For example, an unknown indie artist might earn 1-2k on a TV placement, while a better known artist might earn 4-5k on a TV placement.

    It should be safe to mention license fees are getting lower and lower too which doesn’t allow much room for adjustment

  4. I’m not surprised to hear that licensing fees are getting lower and lower. I’m sure they will continue to fall to the floor as the availability of licensed tracks increases as do third-party licensing services. Hopefully big budget film and TV will continue to be exceptions.

  5. Sorry to burst your bubble but the act of publishers taking 100% of publishing is something that stopped happening a looooong time ago. The industry norm right now is a 50/50 split on publishing right across the board, unless you make arrangements otherwise. Only a fool would sign a publishing contract today that gives 100% of the publishing away.

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