I advise against major pub deals. I was signed to Sony ATV as a songwriter, and it is my opinion that if you want to build a sustainable living and be financially comfortable making money in music, then a major pub deal will slow you down.
However, if you’re here because your biggest dream is to hear your song sung by a famous artist, and the money is secondary, a pub deal might help a little. Major publishers do have the ability to connect you with major players, but honestly they’re more like investors who expect you to do the footwork. You have to hustle. The world of writing for major artists is cut throat.
I wish I learned sooner that the songs I’d write in my bedroom or in the studio had a really tiny chance of making it anywhere because the reality is: artists today are songwriters. The majority of songs you hear these artists singing were written while they were in the room, or they co-wrote the songs.
What does it even mean to have a major publisher? Your major Publisher will own 100% of your publishing on all music you write within the term of your agreement. This is different than the deals I sign in sync where I assign my publishing on one song at a time to a publisher. The difference here is that you’re signing up to design for Gucci and only Gucci. You may not design bags for Louis Vuitton or any other haus. Any purse you sew will be owned by Gucci.
This fact alone closes the thousands of doors to potential revenue streams in the sync world (writing for TV, Film, and Advertising). When your publishing is 100% owned by Universal or Warner Chappell, agents in sync who take publishing won’t represent your music or pitch it for you. If you happen to pitch one of your songs to a Nike ad directly, and you get it, your publisher still keeps their half, even though they did nothing.
I even see where I’d run into clients on Soundbetter not wanting to work with me. If a producer hires me and wants to pitch our song to a certain publisher, my major deal would have prevented that from being able to happen.
Now I am out of my deal and I’m a free agent. I make exponentially more money in music than I ever did a signed writer. Every 3 months I make the same amount of money as my SONY publishing advance was, that locked me up for 4 years.
Before you consider signing a major pub deal or major record deal, learn about the opportunities that exist for independent musicians, vocalists, songwriters, and producers to make money in music in this article where I highlight 5 of the music revenue streams on my Master List of 30 Revenue Streams (free pdf).