Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Difference Between Music Publishing and Distribution

Recently, people have been getting confused about the process of getting music out on the market. Because of the technology we have today, people believe that music publishing and music distribution are one in the same. Although this could seem possible because of the technological boost, they actually have two different processes. This will always cause them to be two different jobs.

Music Publishing is normally for the sheet music and compositions. This is where the writer or composer would collect his or her share of the royalties. It can also just be the finished product of the music, whether it is the sheet music or the sound recording. “We register your works with the global rights organizations and digital stores around the world(TuneCore, 2013). Many artists do not feel that they need Publishing Administration, but if they want money for the composition or sheet music, they have to publish everything.

Distribution is the step after publication. Something can be published and never go on the market. In retrospect, something can be distributed, but never published. Distribution is simply putting the music out there for consumers. Distribution can be in-stores, online shipping, or online downloads. “Distribution is the act of making the score publicly available and accessible – getting it to stores, selling it online” (Tobenski, 2013). With today’s technology, and the future to come, music can be bought and distributed virtually any way possible.

There are many different sites that can be utilized by novice artists. Some of these sites specialize in both Publishing Administration and Music Distribution. A few to list would be CDBaby, TuneCore, and Taxi. There is also the option of sending music into studios to see if they will publish and distribute everything. The only downside to that choice is that many studios do not accept unsolicited music. This means that the artist has to obtain a manager to promote his or her music. It also means that the artist has to lose more money. The simplest way for a novice artist to get money out on the market without everyone claiming ownership would be to use one of these sites.


Tobenski, D. (2010, June 24). Why self-publish? part 3: the difference between

TuneCore. (2013, January 15). What is the difference between music distribution and
publishing administration? do i need publishing administration?. Retrieved from


  1. Great blog describing the difference between publishing and distribution. Many up and coming artists do not have a great understanding of these concepts. Although, internet sites such as the sites that you mentioned are making it easier to achieve these goals. Thank you for the information.

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  5. Thank you so much for this article. Simple, Easy to read and to the point. Awesome jobs!

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