by Jeffrey and Todd Brabec
When a composition is co-written by a number of songwriters, all of which are signed to different publishing companies, the various publishers many times enter into what is known as a co-administration or joint administration agreement.

This type of agreement will define the rights of all the parties with respect to licensing the composition and collecting royalties from uses.

The agreement has a number of variations but in most cases it will provide that each publisher may only negotiate for and license its respective share of the composition to ensure that any licensee must go to each publisher for permission to use the composition.

For example, if a motion picture producer wants to use a composition in a theatrical film and there are three publishers, each of which own 33 1/3 % of the song, each publisher can only negotiate a fee and license its 33 1/3 % share of the composition.

If there is more than one music publisher of a composition, they usually agree on a overall fee to charge the producer (for example, $35,000 for 100% of the composition) and split it according to their respective percentages.

This type of agreement prevents one publisher from licensing another co-publisher's share of the composition without that company's knowledge and approval.

The co-administration and joint administration agreement will also provide that each of the music publishers will collect their share of all royalties directly from the source of the monies (for example, directly from the record companies, performance rights organizations, etc.) and will be responsible for paying the songwriter signed to them his or her respective songwriter royalties from the monies received.

There will also be an agreement that if a publisher receives another publisher's share of royalties, it will remit such monies to the other publisher within a set period of time.

If demo recordings are made, the publishers will usually share the costs according to their respective interests; provided that all publishers have approved a demo session for the composition and the cost budget related thereto.

The agreement will also guarantee that, outside the United States, each of the publishers will be able to have its own foreign representative administer, license and collect royalties on its respective share of the composition.

© 2006 Jeff Brabec, Todd Brabec

This article is based on information contained in the new, revised paperback edition of the book "Music, Money, And Success: The Insider's Guide To Making Money In The Music Industry" written by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec (Published by Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales).

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