Music Publishing Coordinator
When a music supervisor or other client is searching for the perfect soundtrack to accompany a television episode, film, or advertising campaign, they often turn to boutique music publishing companies that offer services for sourcing existing songs and producing original scores. The music publishing coordinator works directly with the owner and senior management of the company to perform administrative and creative functions in relation to music publishing activities.
Upon securing a new project for the studio, the music publishing coordinator will communicate extensively with the client to process contracts, maintain record production schedule deadlines, and input billing information. If the studio elects to source music for the client’s production, the coordinator will also process the licensing agreements, ensuring that the composer and other copyright holders are paid the appropriate royalty fees. If necessary, this person uses proprietary catalogue search engines to hunt for appropriate songs for the client. In the event that the studio commissions a composer to write and record new material, the coordinator is responsible for obtaining licensing or work-for-hire agreements for the songwriter. The coordinator maintains an in-house database of licensed material and compositions produced under contract with the publishing company.
An important function of the music publishing coordinator is the preparation of cue sheets, worksheets that identify information for clearing the copyrights. Information will include the songwriter/composer name, contact, song title, duration, as well as a breakdown of when and for how long the song(s) is used in the film, video, or advertisement. The cue sheets must be accurate in order to determine the proper splits of royalty payments, seeing that the artists, publishing company, and any other copyright holder are paid appropriately. Other functions of this position include supervising recording sessions on behalf of senior management (if requested) and overseeing revisions in collaboration with the composer. When a project is complete, the coordinator delivers final tracks to the client and follows up to ensure that royalties have been paid.
Skills & Education
A specific degree is not required for this position, though an education in entertainment business with a concentration in communication law, including copyright and licensing agreements, is encouraged. The music publishing assistant should have a basic knowledge of the music production process (mixing, producing) and music publishing as it relates to film, television, and advertising. This person must be Internet-savvy, familiar with Word and Excel, and able to quickly adapt to in-house and proprietary software tools like Soundminer. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential.
What to Expect
Specific working conditions vary by company, but you can anticipate a fast-paced environment in which you juggle several competing priorities simultaneously. In this role, you must operate efficiently under tight deadlines and with minimal supervision. This is an office job with a standard 40-hour workweek, though some overtime or weekend hours may be necessary to accommodate clients. During the course of your employment as a music publishing coordinator, you will have the opportunity to work closely with music supervisors, song pluggers, and composers, and to gain extensive experience in both music production and the process of film and television scoring. This position can lead to a career as an independent music publisher or senior-level manager within a large publishing house. This career can also lead to opportunities within performing rights organizations like BMI or ASCAP or, alternatively, provide the expertise necessary to transition to a role as a song plugger or music supervisor.
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