You got a Publishing Contract! Part 1
Congratulations, you did it! Somehow you broke through the mucky muck and landed a meeting with a publisher, someone who can actually do something with your songs.
This is great for at least one reason: you’ll actually have proof that they listened to your songs. So, instead of sending something through the mail and never hearing back, instead of handing a package off to a friend who has a friend who knows someone, instead of mailing a song off to a competition, instead of checking Songcloud to see how many plays you got and wondering who played what, instead of wondering what happened to your email with the attached mp3 and EPK, you are in the room…sitting right there with them…listening to your songs.
Or, you will be shortly.
After the introductions and other pleasantries take place, they are going to want to learn more about you. Most likely, they are going to want to be reminded how it is (or who it was) that got you in to see them.
They are going to want to know if you’ve written for a publisher before. The reason they ask this is because they’re wondering who owns you catalog (the songs you previously had written). If you recently written for a publisher before, it is highly likely that that publisher still owns your catalog. If some time has passed since your contracted ended (depending on how that contact was written) the rights to your unexploited material (the stuff that never got cut) may have reverted back to you or are available for you to reclaim.
If you haven’t had a publisher before, they are going to ask you how many songs you have written. Don’t over-inflate your prolificacy! If they are interested in signing you because of the brilliant material you played them in this meeting, and you told them that you’ve written a couple of hundred songs; they are going to assume that at least 10% of them are equally brilliant. That’s 20 billiant songs.
When, as a previously unpublished songwriter, they offer you a contract as a staff writer, they are going to ask you to fill out a Schedule A: a list of all your previously written compositions. Unless negotiated otherwise, they are going to want to assume ownership of these songs. So, you can see how not having the two hundred songs (of which 10% are brilliant) may prove to be a sticky situation.
Continued in Part 2.