Today, we’re going to talk about the Publisher. Do you need one? And if you’re going to work with one, what do you need to have in mind? My life completely changed, especially my music career, because I decided to work with a publisher. I had a good network as a musician in Sweden and Europe but when it comes to putting my music out there, it’s quite hard unless you work with a solid group of people or a record label. I started to work with many people in Stockholm when I moved there. I had a lot of sessions with people both signed and unsigned. One thing I learned was to have sessions with people that you have a great chemistry with and write music that you really love. I was focusing on my skills as a producer and a songwriter.
I found this great guy, Anders Wigelius, and he was signed to this publishing company, Firefly. We wrote music that wasn’t really into that publisher’s niche because they were working exclusively towards Japan and Korea while the music I was writing with Anders was for the Swedish market and dance band. Anders and I wrote a lot for the Swedish market and since he was signed to this publisher, we always sent all those songs to his publisher but the publisher couldn’t do that much. I wasn’t into the Japanese and Korean music back then but I was improving my game as a producer and songwriter so we started to write different genres like pop and chart music. Then one day, Anders suggested we should write some Japanese and Korean music. He sent me some tracks as reference but I didn’t understand them at all; there’s so much energy, it’s all over the place and I had a hard time breaking every piece down and understand what was going on. Eventually, we started to work on some ideas and I sent him something that could work for the Japanese music industry. He liked it, and we worked on that song which was also my first song for the Japanese market. It also became my first cut and a number one song in the Japanese chart; it sold over 310,000 copies. It was crazy and totally unexpected!
Since we had many good things going on and Anders publisher had a good connection with Japan, it was a big advantage for me. The publisher signed me and I started to work with them. This opened many opportunities for me – credits to Anders and Firefly Entertainment. The terms they gave to me were open and we had a great discussion since day one. Firefly is a small publisher and record label but they have personal contacts with their writers, which I really love.
How does it work?
Normally when you are signed to a publisher, you get money in advance BUT that money is considered as a loan. For instance, if you are signed for 2 – 3 years, that money will cover your bills and other expenses for those years because it will take a while before the money starts coming in. For me it was a bit different. Firefly focused on getting all of us, the writers, different sessions with talented and successful people. Months after being signed with them, I started to travel around the world. They paid for the expenses and organized sessions with talented people – it was a very great year for me.
How to find a publisher?
It can really be a game changer as long as you are with the RIGHT publisher. Note that publishers also have a great relationship with some record labels and they may send your songs to them, which is a big advantage because it is what you want to happen. Publishers will help you put your music out there. With this workflow, keep in mind to always have a good conversation in which direction your publisher is going. I’m just thankful that Firefly signed me even though I made music for the Swedish market and they cater to the Japanese market.
If you want to get in touch with a publisher, don’t just go to the first publisher you find on Google. In many cases, they will not be interested in what you have. You have to do some research; what kind of publisher work with the music that you have, etc. In some cases, it is an advantage to work with smaller publishers because they have small number of writers and they will concentrate on each writers’ projects unlike the bigger publishers, where you might become “one of the rest”.
Working with a publisher did great things for me but it may not work for everyone. I know some people who got the same success without a publisher because they had sessions with some successful people. Also, the terms in each contract may differ. Some publishers requires you to deliver a specific amount of songs in a certain period. Always follow what your heart says.
We hope this was helpful to you. It’s is a broad topic and this was just a brief insight of my experiences. As always, comment down if you worked with one or if you have some questions.
Best / Dejo
CEO, Eleven B Studios