Composers and songwriters can now quickly and easily self-publish their music through a range of web spaces such as Escobar•Digital, Arcomis, Composers Edition, and more. Each offers a unique service that is geared towards different types of composers’ needs.
This picture looks very different to how things used to be. Publication was once a world bossed by the likes of heavyweight European publishing houses and Tin Pan Alley outfits. But now, there are all sorts of ways for musicians to get work out there.
In fact, it’s even possible to break out entirely on your own, taking responsibility for the creation, marketing and sale of your music - though that’s by no means an easy route to take.
Fortunately, there are many intermediary services that cater to those looking for greater independence. Taking care of distribution, they give you the freedom to spend more time on what matters most: creating.
If you’re thinking about publishing sheet music, then you can find out more below about these options available to you. But whichever route you decide to pursue, there’s one thing that you're encouraged to keep in mind…
Protect your work
It’s important that you take steps to ensure that your property is protected. This applies to any and every method of publication, whether you're producing a sound recording or music notation, scoring an ad or a TV show. Full control of your work is your prerogative – don’t forget that.
Whether you end up striking a deal with a publishing house or an online marketplace, there’ll no doubt be small print pertaining to ownership, copyright, royalties and the rest. It’s worth taking the time to check out these terms and conditions.
Wherever your work ends up, once it’s in the digital domain then it’s to some extent susceptible to piracy. Musicians are inherent owners of copyright - as soon as a work is created or published it is protected by copyright. But there are extra steps you can take to protect it and you should at least consider the guidelines.
Organisations such as ASCAP, SESAC, PRS and BMI can help you find out more about copyright, performing rights, performance royalties, and so on.
Publish with aggregation services
Escobar•Digital is an example of an aggregation service, digitally compiling the works of independent composers and small publishing houses and uploading them to nkoda’s digital sheet music library. This is one of the easiest ways to self-publish.