Music Business

Universal Music Publishing Review: Is Universal Music Any Good?

Photograph of the blog post author, Dylan Easton

Dylan Easton

10.6.2021

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When we’re talking about the world of music publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group will undeniably be a talking point. They have a worldwide operation with a monumental amount of power within the music industry. 

universal music group logo

Their catalogue includes some of the most prolific artists to grace popular music. Universal Music Publishing Group artists include ABBA, Adele, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and countless others. That’s quite a collection of names! 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at what Universal Music Publishing Group do, their pricing, and some alternative music publishers. 

Stay tuned until the very end so you don’t miss out on any key information!

What Is Universal Music Publishing?

universal music malaysia office

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) is a leading global music publisher with 52 offices in 42 countries.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, UMPG represents music across every genre from some of the world’s most important songwriters and catalogues. 

What Does Universal Music Publishing Do?

universal music group reception

UMPG is an enormous music publishing company which offer a variety of different services. These range from administration services to creative services and much more. 

They offer their services for companies including Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Disney Europe (and other territories), Viacom, Amazon, HBO, DreamWorks, DreamWorks Animation, Legendary Pictures, Mar Vista Entertainment, NBC and Sesame Workshop, among many others.

Sync Licensing

producer in the studio with artist

Universal Music Publishing Group’s Film & TV Department creates opportunities for and licenses their catalogue of songs to film, television, advertising, computer games, and stage production. This is often referred to as ‘synchronisation’. 

They work closely with each writer to support their creative endeavors and both promote and protect their music at every stage of their career. The UK office has 12 strong Film & TV teams working alongside similar specialist departments in offices around the world. 

They cover everything, from a song’s first play on UK TV to a major US hit series. Or perhaps scoring original film music. They claim to always treat every use of our artists’ music with equal importance.

Administration Services

universal music group reception

Like all great music publishers, Universal Music Publishing International has excellent administration services. Their administrative duties range from filing all the necessary registrations (i.e., copyright forms) to answering inquiries regarding the musical compositions

They promise industry-leading administrative services so the artists can simply focus on their development and writing music

Creative Services

artists collaborating in the studio

UMPG Publishing has excellent creative services across the board to help you grow as an artist. As a company this size would, they have excellent connections within the music industry. They will introduce your music to the industry’s leading artists, A&R staff, managers and producers

Furthermore, they will connect you with other great songwriters for unique global co-writing opportunities. Good creative services are what you’d expect from a publisher of this size since it’s in both their interest and the artist’s interest to make hits!

UMPG Window

umpg window app iphone

UMPG Window is an app offered by Universal Music Publishing. The app is a platform in which artists can easily access their royalty statements and keep track of their position with UMPG. MPG Window also offers enhanced analytical tools. 

In addition to viewing your statements online, you can take advantage of UMPG Window’s real-time balance functionality as well as the one-click Advance tool.

Universal Music Publishing Pricing

google pay stock photo

Getting a black and white answer for pricing concerning major labels is a bit problematic. It depends entirely on your specific contract and can range from many figures. 

On their website, you are able to get a quote for a licence through UMPG, so head over there if you wish to know how much that service will be!

After doing this, you will be given a ballpark quote. The ballpark quote will outline the total percentage that they control. Then, they would only invoice for the percentage that they own.

The ballpark quote also states the fee is MFN. Most Favoured Nations (MFN) ensures parity between the rights holders. If the specified rights-holder (co-publisher and/or master) quote is higher, UMPG’s fee should be raised to at least equal theirs. 

You will pay a fee for the use of the publishing (copyright) and a fee for the master.

Alternatives To Universal Music Publishing

As great as Universal Music Publishing may be, there are a variety of other music publishers to choose from.

Let’s take a look at some alternatives to help find the best publisher for you!

Atlas 

atlas music publishing logo

Atlas defines a clear goal of what they can provide to their clients. Their motto is ‘Like the mythological figure Atlas, music has the power to truly lift up the world’.

This shows a passion and love for music and its creators. With such a significant introduction, Atlas portrays itself as a company that not only has a love for music, but for its artists and what they create. It is clear the company believes that their work should make a positive difference. 

Atlas boasts impressive clients such as Quincy Jones, John Denver, The Black Eyed Peas Above and Beyond, and the one and only Elvis Presley. It’s clear how much effort they put into getting your music recognised through their marketing and media channels.

They pride themselves on attentive client service and high-tech operations to ensure protection and efficient income collection. They also offer what they call their “Jet Stream” system to keep an eye on and understand exactly what they’re doing for their clients. 

On top of that, their accounting is quarterly instead of the standard half-year with most other publishing companies. This means you get more up to date statements as well as more regular payments.

Wixen

wixen music publishing logo

Wixen is an admin-only publisher. This makes them a good choice for those of you that don’t need an advance and want some more creative freedom. Like many companies, they offer a variety of services including Neighbouring Rights Collection and a detailed royalty review. 

Wixen’s musical catalogue includes UB40, Missy Elliot, T-Bone Walker, The Doors and The Beach Boys.

Since this is a publisher that only offer administrative services, it can’t really stack up against Universal Publishing Group since they offer a far greater variety services, such as creative. The UMPG app is also an intuitive way of tracking royalties as opposed to Wixen’s archaic way of doing so. 

Music Gateway

music gateway logo

Music Gateway has a number of other really great services that they offer our members. This includes submission to Record Label A&R (both for artists looking for deals and for songwriters looking to place their songs with artists) and even free digital Music Distribution

We also offer services such as Music Management, Artist Promotion, Career Development, Mastering. On top of this, we have Artist Sites, a place where artists can build an online showcase of themselves.

On Music Gateway, you can manage and store all of your recordings and assets securely in one place. Metadata and rights management are all handled within your private account database. You can assign song data (works) to files and add ID3 metadata information into your files. 

Furthermore, our inclusive audio library search tool gives you full flexibility to manage your music and add files to the integrated playlist creator, streamlining the whole curation process.

Music Gateway is also an established sync licensing agent. We work directly with music supervisors, broadcasters, TV production companies, advertising agents and games publishers worldwide licensing music and earning our rights holders revenue. 

Music Gateway offers a simple rolling monthly contract with quarterly royalty payouts and in depth royalty statements. What’s more, there are no upfront fees and you keep up to 95% of your royalty income!

How does this stack up against UMPG? Well Music Gateway is a service born in the digital age. This means we are better equipped to handle your music in the modern era with our excellent online music promotion services and our excellent online platform. 

Additionally, anyone is able to sign up to Music Gateway whereas even getting in a room with someone from UMPG can be problematic.

Verdict

Biased as we may be, our plethora of services for a minimal royalty commission makes us the stand out choice. The lack of transparency on pricing from UMPG and difficulty to get signed leaves a lot to be desired for the aspiring musician.

Here at Music Gateway, we make it our lives to ensure we can boost the careers of anyone looking to get into the music game and we offer far superior online tools.  

That Was Our Universal Music Publishing Review 

universal music group logo

So, there you have it! We hope you have enjoyed your crash course on Universal Music Publishing. We’ve discussed Universal Music Group’s creative, administrative, and licensing services as well as spoken about their UMPG Window app. 

Also,we have compared UMPG to other alternatives in the industry. No matter who you decide to sign with (we recommend us!), it is important to not lose sight of the bigger goal. Make sure you continue to enjoy making music and sharing it with the world. We’ll be here to help you every step of the way!

What are your experiences with Universal Music? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below! Also, be sure to share this article on your social media and tag us @musicgateway!

Whilst you’re here, why not check out some more guides on our blog? We have articles such as What Are Music Licensing Fees, a Beginner’s Guide To Sync Licensing, What Are Royalties In Music? and so much more!

Are You A Musician Or Artist?

Keep 100% of your copyrights and register your songs globally through our Music Publishing service. Wondering how to get a music publishing deal with us? Sign up free for Music Gateway now and we will guide you through it!

If that wasn’t enough, you can also grab free music distribution and find opportunities to get your music in film, TV, and more through sync licensing. Finally, you can amplify your music to those that need to hear it with music promotion and professional sharing tools. Try all of this out for yourself by joining Music Gateway. Get your 14-day free trial, no strings attached.

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