If you ask any independent artist the difference between their copyrights and their publishing, there is an absolute guarantee that you will get many different answers. It goes without saying that an artist’s knowledge regarding the music industry and their preparation in their mandatory paperwork is equivalent to their professional success. The majority of artists will answer anyone’s copyright questions, with the solution being to register with the United States Patent and Trademark office. This is only part of the solution and the lack of knowledge plagues the successful independent artists, and handicaps them on the around to their success. There are a number of ways to copyright your lyrics, beats, song, and poems in order to make sure that the complete distribution of the song to the public is done correctly.
The publishing is an entirely different matter for artists. The PRO organizations and companies to act on the artist’s behalf is a great starting point for independent artists. I once conducted a small research study, in which I posted a simple status to determine the educational level of most social media artists. The response was astounding. The post read “How many artists have their copyrights?” The responses, (although not shown to protect the privacy of the artists), read something like “I have my publishing” or “I am registered with BMI, and ASCAP”. The confusion is evident with the independent artists, and the question is posed. “Is this why we have so many unsuccessful artists knocking at the door to stardom, with no one answering?”