Music publishing company staff members work with company song collections, coordinating artist publicity and pay.

The process of getting music from a concept to a fully realized brand has a lot of steps, but the music publishing industry has it down to a science. Traditionally, music publishing companies and record labels consist of an army of specialists who might do anything from marketing different artists to writing hit songs themselves. There are all sorts of jobs at any music publishing company, from writers and assistants to photo producers and contract lawyers.

Working in music publishing means interacting with the legions of administrative assistants, accountants, music directors, media marketers, artist managers, performers, songwriters, talent scouts, programmers, and others that make up this vital part of the music industry.

Work in music publishing may include...

  • Registering new songs in a publisher's inventory
  • Scouting for new songwriters, composers, and performers
  • Matching performers with songwriters or providing music from a catalog
  • Keeping track of licensed materials
  • Producing demos, live recordings, and printed music for publication or catalog use

Publishing companies may own or collect a variety of record labels, each of which represents a number of individual artists. The staff of these large umbrella companies are responsible for coordinating its assets: songs, artists, and the media they appear in. Work schedules tend to keep to standard business hours, but significant overtime is typical for some roles, while others may spend time representing the company at industry events on evenings or weekends. The breadth of expectation varies from role to role and from company to company; for someone committed to a career in music publishing, it's just a matter of finding the right fit.

Many jobs at publishing companies require a Bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as marketing or music business, but experience often outweighs education to hiring teams seeking employees. Gaining this type of experience can be difficult, but connections are key; having the right internship or making the right phone call can be a game changer for a career in the music industry.

If you want to be a part of the industry that makes music work, consider a career at a music publishing company.

The National Music Publishers' Association is the trade association representing all American music publishers and their songwriting partners.