How can I find out more about a career in music publishing?


Although the industry does not employ a great number of people, it caters for a wide range of interests and, in many companies, staff flexibility is essential. Often, a lively interest and willingness to accept any job available may be the key. You can then survey the music publishing business from the inside, and learn which particular department best suits you. Practical experience as well as formal education or training is important in the majority of vacancies that occur. Keep an eye on the careers section of our website for the latest vacancies within our member companies.

Music publishing jobs tend to fall into a number of broad categories, the majority of which require musical knowledge/experience. The various activities generally covered by each category are outlined below:

A&R (Artists & Repertoire) / Promotion

  • Actively search for new talent at concerts and gigs
  • Listen to demos received and make recommendations
  • Match songwriters/composers and lyricists/librettists
  • Produce demos for promotional purposes
  • Develop and maintain wide-ranging music user contacts with a view to their exploiting copyrights, e.g. broadcasters, record companies, concert promoters, film/video production companies, performers and others
  • Develop and maintain press and promotional contacts with a view to encouraging coverage/performances.
  • Oversee the career development of composers/songwriters

Rights Administration – Copyright / Legal / Business Affairs Departments

  • Negotiate and draft publishing agreements with composers/songwriters
  • Negotiate music user licences Negotiate sub-publishing agreements
  • Register new works and catalogues acquired with the collecting societies (eg MCPS, PRS)
  • Oversee the protection of rights and taking action when these are infringed.

Production & Editorial

  • Consider manuscript scores received and whether revisions/rewrites are required
  • Convert edited manuscripts into printed music and oversee style, design and origination
  • Liaise with typesetters/designers and printers and deal with proofs
  • Proof read and edit music and text
  • Commission and publish new music
  • Contribute to and monitor catalogue development

Sales & Marketing / Hire / Distribution

  • Devise and implement retail/promotional campaigns designed to highlight new printed music products
  • Liaison (direct and indirect) with dealers and, in some cases, educational institutions
  • Attend and organise promotional events
  • Circulate information and product to media
  • Manage the hire library and its loan to performing organisations
  • Control and monitor the use of hire materials
  • Process orders and oversee the physical movement of product from publisher to customer
  • Handle invoicing, stock control and warehousing

Accounts / Royalty Administration

  • Track all uses of works and collecting in royalties and fees for such uses
  • Manage royalties collected and distribute on to composers/songwriters and sub-publishers
  • Prepare and analyse profit and loss statements and balance sheets
  • Payroll and credit administration
  • Provide statistics for a variety of purposes