This episode was previously published on the Profitable Musician Show.

Emily Stephenson, president of Downtown Music Publishing, shares her background in the industry and her experience working in Nashville. She grew up in Nashville and started her career in publishing before moving to New York to work for Songtrust. Stephenson has worked in various aspects of publishing, including publishing administration, royalties, copyright, international expansion, client services, and business operations.

She began her role as president of the publishing company in January 2023 and moved back to Nashville to raise a family. She appreciates the unique culture and growth of Nashville, which has maintained its personality and culture. Stephenson also discusses the differences between Nashville and other cities, such as California during the pandemic.

She explains that independent artists often don’t understand the role of a publisher and a publishing administrator. A song contains two copyrights: one is the sound recording, which is intellectual property owned by the creators, and the other is the composition of the song. Publishing represents the composition piece of all songs, regardless of who sings or records it.

Unlike traditional publishing deals where publishers might want a portion of ownership, Downtown and Songtrust do not take ownership of songs. Instead, they ask for a fee to manage the catalog for the artist, register copyrights, collect royalties, do licensing, and perform creative work for a portion of the catalog. This allows the artist to own the copyright outright, but the publishing administrator handles the rest.

In summary, Emily Stephenson shares her background in the publishing industry and her experiences working with Downtown Music Publishing. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the roles of publishers and publishing administrators in the music industry.

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