Everyone knows about Sony/ATV Publishing (recently renamed Sony Music Publishing). Branding themselves as ‘the world’s no. 1 music publisher’, the company’s history extends back sixty years. Its catalogue of music contains the rights to thousands upon thousands of evergreen tracks. Their classic collection includes material by The Beatles, Queen, Motown, Carole King, Stevie Wonder, and mind-boggling amounts of more huge names. The Sony Music Publishing contemporary catalogue includes Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Calvin Harris, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and – once again – many, many more!
In this article, we will take you through what Sony/ATV Publishing does, their pricing, and also compare them to some alternatives. Be sure to read on to get this key information!
What Is Sony/ATV Publishing?
Sony ATV is the world’s biggest music publishing company with an extensive history of lucrative, high-profile deals and purchases. Sony/ATV Publishing offers sync licensing, administration, direct deals with digital music services. Such as Spotify and Apple Music, production composition, and rights protection for film, TV, and songwriters.
Their official beginnings occurred in 1988 when Sony made their foray into music by acquiring the massive CBS Records – a pioneer in the record industry, whose formation dates back to 1929 as one of the first ever major record labels. Three years after acquiring CBS Records and founding CBS Music Publishing, Sony rebranded the companies to Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Publishing. Thus began the dominance of Sony Music as the world’s second-biggest record label, and the world’s biggest music publisher.
In 1995, Sony Music Publishing partnered with Michael Jackson (yes, the Michael Jackson), who owned ATV Music. ATV Publishing owned the rights to the vast majority of The Beatles’ material. In 2016, Sony acquired Jackson’s half of Sony/ATV Music Publishing’s artists. Bringing the whole company under one banner – Sony.
In February this year, the company rebranded to Sony Music Publishing. But without Michael Jackson, who owns Sony/ATV Music Publishing now? CEO Jon Platt stated “Returning to the Sony Music Publishing name reconnects us to our legacy. Our New brand embodies a modern vision to be an authentic reflection of the music and songwriters we represent.”
Indeed, this renowned publishing company is known for taking the lead in influencing lawmakers and representing their clients’ rightsholder’s interests. But for now, let’s take a deeper look into the services that Sony/ATV actually offer.
What Does Sony/ATV Publishing Do?
Obviously, Sony/ATV Publishing are specialists in publishing – but they also offer a number of additional services that streamline their process.
Let’s take a look at them!
As one of the biggest income-generators for music artists, it’s a no-brainer that Sony/ATV Publishing UK and USA offer a first-class synchronisation licensing service for content producers.
If you are involved in the creation of advertising, TV, films, video games, stage productions, and even karaoke, you will know the importance of finding the perfect piece of music to back your content.
Luckily for you, Sony/ATV is home to roughly 125 sync licensing professionals worldwide, who will tailor customised song searches to any and all of your project needs – for free. Simply get in contact with their team, and you’ll get set up with your own personalised sync service.
As with their sync licensing, Sony/ATV’s administration services are worldwide. This means that, no matter where on the Earth you are based, there will likely be a local team to aid you with representation, contacts, song registration and royalty collection in your territory.
Sony Publishing are proud of their ‘royalty portal’, called SCORE. Available both in-browser, and more recently in app form, clients can use SCORE to access data on over a whopping 70,000 income sources for the company’s songwriters.
With Sony/ATV’s rebranding earlier this year, they made a swathe of improvements to SCORE. Perhaps the most important being the ability for clients to collect their royalties immediately if they so choose, rather than waiting for the next distribution. This also means that, if you are based out of the USA, you no longer need to wait for the US Dollars you earned to be translated into your local currency.
Needless to say, a massive quality-of-life improvement to the majority of the world’s songwriters!
Digital Representation & Fair Compensation
This is one of the most beneficial parts of signing on with the world’s biggest music publishing companies; connections!
Sony/ATV Publishing has negotiated direct deals with nigh-on every single significant digital music provider. Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, the lot. This means that not only will your music be that much easier to distribute onto these services, but you will also be guaranteed fair compensation for your music’s use.
Perhaps understated in its importance, Sony/ATV is also a leading force in pressing for legislative reforms to benefit the music industry and the rights of songwriters, and other creative rights-holders. There are many outdated copyright laws in the USA (and worldwide) which Sony/ATV seeks to change for the benefit of their clients. The company’s dedication to these fights is certainly admirable. As well as a great sign for potential sign-ups!
Broadcast & Media Rights
Sony/ATV isn’t just a leader in advancing and protecting the rights of music industry professionals. As a sync licensing agency, the company also manages and administrates the rights of professionals working in film, TV, and other audio-visual content.
Much like their impressive music catalogue, Sony/ATV Publishing also holds a shockingly impressive list of broadcast and media clients. Some examples include 20th Century Studios, CBS, Fox Entertainment, and Sky – as well as many start-ups, of course!
Sony/ATV boasts two major music production operations, ready to compose tracks specifically to fit your project. These are Extreme Music and EMI Production Music.
These divisions produce tailor-made, bespoke music for creative productions all across the globe, and Sony/ATV Publishing is proud to introduce you to them. EMI in particular boasts over 150,000 titles in their 60 years of experience. Extreme’s roster includes names such as Hans Zimmer, Timbaland, Sir George Martin, and Snoop Dogg. I guess we now know how those Just Eat adverts came about.
Yet another form of rights-protection that Sony/ATV Publishing straps onto its legal utility-belt. ‘Neighbouring rights’ are the assurance that any audible contribution made to a song recording will be paid their share of the royalties.
There are, unfortunately, different rules for different countries when it comes to neighbouring rights. Now that streaming is the primary way in which people listen to music, rights-holders are receiving income from all over the world. For a songwriter and performer, this means that ensuring you are receiving the correct level of income from your songs is more hazy and complex than ever before.
Thankfully, Sony/ATV has a dedicated neighboring rights team that maximises their clients’ rightful income from the royalties that their tracks generate. They will conduct in-depth research into all the versions of your track that appear (that includes remixes and samples). If your performance appears in those versions, they will direct all your rightful income to your bank account.
This is a service that not many other publishing companies have the resources, time, global connections and manpower to conduct. So, another point to Sony/ATV!
Sony/ATV Publishing Pricing
Sony/ATV Publishing pride themselves on their bespoke, tailor-made services, and of course their unrivalled status in the industry. There are no flat fees, rates, or commissions that Sony/ATV set out publicly.
As an artist, if you want to work with the world’s biggest music publisher, you need to get scouted. That means building your career to the point where Sony/ATV Publishing would say “we want to work with that artist,” – and pay you a massive advance to do so.
Sony Music Publishing has an unparalleled wealth of contacts, favours and opportunities to offer to artists – but you need existing prestige to become a part of it.
If you are representing a creative project looking to utilise their sync licensing service, the first step is to fill out a form to get in contact with the company. Once you have discussed the nature of your project and your budget, Sony/ATV’s sync team will then create a custom music search tailored to your needs. Upon identifying a song you would like to license, then your fee will be negotiated.
The good news is, up until that point, this service is free! Sony/ATV’s sync team will tailor your music search without asking you to bring out your wallet.
Alternatives To Sony/ATV Publishing
With all that being said, Sony/ATV certainly aren’t the only music publishing company out there.
Let’s take a look at a few alternatives, including us here at Мusic Gateway!
Downtown Music Publishing
Downtown Music Publishing aren’t quite yet a household name, but still run a very respectable and innovative publishing service.
Prior to their inception, sync licensing wasn’t generally considered a part of the role of a music publisher. Thankfully, Downtown Music changed this. Further innovating the publishing practice by supplying artists with one of the most lucrative ways of generating income in the modern music industry.
Downtown Music Publishing runs a similar platform to Sony/ATV’s SCORE, called Songtrust. It is a royalty collection app, but prides itself on its democratisation and accessibility. Indeed, it is far easier to access Songtrust than it is to access SCORE. A pitfall of Sony/ATV’s massive scale, and a benefit of Downtown Music’s smaller operation.
In addition to Songtrust, Downtown Music Publishing also runs dms.FM – an online, in-browser catalogue of music for sync licensing purposes. Perhaps you’re seeing a pattern here – dms.FM is open to all who want to browse the catalogue, but Sony/ATV’s sync service requires submitting an application. However, there is a trade-off; Sony/ATV offer their tailor-made sync searching thanks to their selective process. But due to dms.FM’s open nature, Downtown Music isn’t able to offer such a bespoke service.
Songtrust has a $100 sign-up fee, and takes 15% commission on all royalties they collect on your behalf. This is reasonably priced, but there are cheaper options out there.
Here’s a strong USP if you’ve ever heard one: BMG Publishing is the world’s fourth-largest publishing company, and is independent. Thus making it the world’s largest independent music publisher. They pride themselves on having the reach and influence of a company like Sony/ATV, but the passion and drive of an indie institution.
The primary difference between BMG and both Sony/ATV Publishing and Downtown Music Publishing is their ease-of-use. Offering just as bespoke services as Sony/ATV does, BMG Publishing makes the effort to keep these services on one platform. This simplifies the often intimidating and befuddling world of music publishing services.
Where Sony/ATV’s pricing policies are rather opaque, BMG makes its fees clear. They promise to eschew the traditional record deal approach in favour of taking a 30% cut of artist royalties, and giving transparency as to how it is spent. But that 30% is quite steep. Between Sony/ATV Publishing and BMG Publishing, it’s a toss-up. Would you prefer more initial transparency, or the ability to negotiate your fees?
Here at Мusic Gateway, we have a wide range of fantastic services that we offer to our members – including publishing.
Most importantly, Мusic Gateway is far more accessible than Sony/ATV Publishing or its world-leading competitors. We pledge to empower creatives and cultivate your talent, no matter the size of your fanbase. We encourage you to submit your music to us, and we’ll do everything in our power to get your tracks heard worldwide!
Мusic Gateway will absolutely ensure that you get paid all the royalties that you are owed while taking care of all the legal publishing rights – so you can focus on making great music. We register your songs in over 200 countries, on all major music distribution platforms (like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music), and bring 100% of your royalties back to you!
On our website, you will find the full selection of services you can utilise if you decide to go with Мusic Gateway’s publishing. This includes our well-established sync licensing agency, A&R submission, music distribution career development, and much more.
Sony/ATV Publishing is the world’s leading music publishing company. The potential for success in signing with them is virtually endless, given the wealth of contacts, favours and opportunities they offer.
This, however, means that only truly established artists have the chance of being scouted by Sony/ATV. If you are in the process of building your career, then Мusic Gateway will do all we can to grow your name in the music industry!
That Was Our Review of Sony/ATV Publishing
There we have it! We’ve discussed everything Sony/ATV Publishing has to offer, from sync licensing to their leading position in championing creative rights. We’ve looked through their SCORE platform, and humongous catalogue of music – classics and moderns.
While they clearly offer world-leading quality, it is for that exact reason that Sony/ATV are far less accessible than us here at Мusic Gateway. This makes us a more versatile platform for artists building their names, with tailor-made services funded by fair prices (and bonus free services!).
We hope that you enjoyed this article! 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 Мusic 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 music promotion and professional sharing tool. Try all of this out for yourself by joining Мusic Gateway. Get your 14-day free trial, no strings attached.