4 things Music Publishers want in a Songwriter

It takes more than simply writing decent songs to get signed by a publisher. Here are 4 of the main things that publishers look for in songwriters.

by Randi Zimmerman from the Symphonic Blog

Whether or not you have a publisher isn’t necessarily make or break, but they can certainly help secure your music a plethora of opportunities that are hard to come by independently. On top of monetizing your songs through media like TV, advertising, and film, they are also masters of making sure copyrights, song registration, and general admin are taken care of. To secure a publisher, there are a couple things that they look for in the ideal songwriter. In this post, we’ll break it down to 4 main qualities…


No matter what you do as a creative, you have to have vision. As a songwriter, you must have a clear sense of what type of writer you are. What type of people do you want to work with? Any dream cuts? 5 year plan? All of this shows you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve with a publishers help.

Don’t go into your search with the “do anything” mentality. Be secure in your genre, know what you want, and stick with it. That in itself is inspiring to a publisher.

Work Ethic

No publisher wants to micromanage a writer to make sure they are working. You’re looking for a business partner, not a mother. Publishers asses this by looking into your song count, your network (how many people you know in the industry), as well as whether or not you are knowledgeable of what you’re looking for.

Not only that, but they’re also looking to see that you have a genuine desire to be better, to work hard to see your dreams become a reality. Nothing beats a good work ethic.

Quality Songs

This almost goes without saying… If you aren’t confident in the quality of the work you put out, publishers see right through that. If the songs just straight up aren’t good/commercial, there’s little a publisher can do to help.

A Good Hang / Comfortable Relationship

The backbone of our industry is built on relationships. A bad reputation can severely limit your success in all aspects of your career, not just publishing opportunities. Not only will publishers not want to work with you, but other creatives, writers, and even brands will steer clear. Being able to build good relationships with the people around you is a major part of securing deals and building a community for yourself.

Be humble, kind, and genuine with your efforts, and the people around you will gravitate towards your good energy and want to work with you. Publishers included.

To wrap it all up…

Symphonic’s Publishing Administration was designed to help artists just like you collect the royalties you are rightfully owed. The core of what we collect for you are your mechanical and performance royalties, and we do this by registering each one of your songs in every individual performance AND mechanical rights organization in over 60 territories.

So, no matter how your song was, is, or will be used – downloads, streams, internet radio plays, performances by DJs, anything – our publishing administration can collect the maximum amount of mechanical and performance royalties you deserve.

In the meantime, continue to work on your craft and understand what you want. Publishers will pick up on your passion and be eager to help you reach your goals. With these tips in mind, you’re off to a great start.

Good luck!

Share on:


Email address is not displayed with comments

Note: Use HTML tags like <b> <i> and <ul> to style your text. URLs automatically linked.