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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Many songwriters and composers ask The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers questions relating to the music industry, songwriting, composing, lyric writing, music publishing and about music publishers. Below are a few examples of the many and diverse frequently asked questions that the Guild answers 

Frequently Asked Questions - click the + to reveal the answer

Music publishers are your promotional vehicle for songs and instrumental themes if you are not retaining and exploiting your own copyrights. In some instances they will nurture and develop singer-songwriter-artistes to help them gain a record deal. Music publishers promote and exploit songs and instrumental themes which are signed to them under an assignment of rights publishing contract. Music publishers also register the copyrights as assigned to their catalogue with the relevant royalty collection organisations in the countries in which they operate. Music publishers take a percentage of the money being royalties that may be earned and these percentages are set out in the terms and conditions of the music publishing contract entered into with the songwriter, composer.

Music publishers also print sheet music. Music publishers collect and distribute money (royalties) to the contracted songwriter as received from the various royalty collection organisations within the music industry, such as the Performing Right Society (PRS) and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS), which are the UK organisations, etc. Songwriters and composers can of course elect not use a music publisher as the middle person for the promotion of their songs and instrumental themes to record companies and artistes, but someone has to be identified as the Music publisher and copyright owner of the song especially if it becomes successful, as credits on commercial record, video and DVD releases need to be identified even if the rights are solely retained and controlled by the writer. If you have a song which has been taken up by a record company or artiste then it may be advisable for you as the songwriter to retain the music publishing rights by forming a music publishing facility, therefore, retaining all the royalties 100%. The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers can advise its members on how to set up a music publishing company and how to promote songs to record companies and artistes, help with market direction and advise on the right to receive money by way of royalty payments due. 


The answer is, basically, yes. They are all looking for recognised success of their talent, publication of their songs and instrumental themes, and to receive money earned as royalties from the exploitation of their songwriting, composing and performances. The main difference is that songwriters and composers are seeking music publishing publishing deals, to have artistes record their songs and to see any instrumental themes succeed in television programmes and advertising, whereas performing songwriters are not only seeking music publishing publishing deals but also management deals and record deals.

Fortunately, copyright infringements are quite rare but they do happen-at all levels within the music industry. Care to safeguard and register your copyright is essential. 

The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers Copyright Service is free to all Guild members. From the moment you have conceived an idea and committed it to paper or tape then, if you are a United Kingdom citizen, under the 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents Act copyright automatically exists to you as the writer. Unlike some countries, there is no UK government legislation to help protect songwriters and composers in respect to proof of ownership of their copyright works, therefore, the problem arises in proving that you were the person responsible for its conception in the first place-that you are the rightful owner. The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers members FREE Copyright Service registers members’ works in respect to their claim for copyright and the Guild issues a Copyright Certificate to the member. Obviously, if you have registered your copyright and the song is then plagiarised or stolen, you will be in a stronger position to sue for copyright infringement, to have any royalty payments made over to you and the credit for the work recognised to you, as the rightful owner. As a member of The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers you will be entitled to the members FREE Copyright Service. (See also Copyright information in the Copyright Service section.)

We believe this to be problematic. It may be worth doing as a secondary back-up but it cannot be relied upon, especially if your letter or packet has been sealed with sellotape, staples or in any other manner that would create doubt as to whether it had been opened and re-sealed. If you do have to seek legal redress to fight a copyright infringement case then it is advisable to have a third party responsible organisation, such as The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers to come forward on your behalf to help you prove the right to claim your copyrights.

No, not at all. Modern technology allows songwriters to collaborate over vast distances. The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers collaborators can work with each other on a split percentage of the copyright of works and share accordingly in any money earned through royalties, which would be paid directly to each individual writer by a music publisher through any music publishing agreement entered into, or payment of royalties direct from any royalty collection organisation of which the writer is a member, therefore, safeguarding each collaborator’s interests. No fees whatsoever should be paid or asked for by collaborators. (See also Collaboration Service.)

The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers feels that under no circumstances should a songwriter, composer or lyricist part with any money to anyone offering to put music to lyrics (a melody to lyrics service) or lyrics to music (a lyric to melody service). The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers believes that you will never have any success or a hit song by paying for a melody or lyrics. If those offering this type of service were any good then they would be successfully writing hit songs on their own and would, therefore, not have to resort to making money this way.

The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers can give practical advice on the issues of songwriting. Songwriters and composers can learn how to structure a song and present the song in a recognised format but the definition of a hit song is extremely subjective. The commercial value of a song to non-performing songwriters and composers is important, but it is not necessarily as important to performing songwriters who are capable of exploiting their own works through their own performances and any record deal they gain, which may produce a hit song for them through their popularity as an artiste.

A hit song may come about because an artiste is popular, therefore, the song has become a hit through the artiste. Certain influences may give you that inspirational ingredient to write a hit song but only your own ideas and imagination can give you the talent that is recognisably your own. Some songs are so incredibly strong they are destined to become a hit. The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers believes that you can learn to write successful hit songs by studying what is currently successful and by learning format, style and content combined with the use of your own ideas, imagination and any inspirational ingredient you possess. Acquiring a market direction to bring your songs, instrumental themes and talent to a wider audience may see you rewarded with the success you feel you deserve.


When a song has been written, that is where the melody and lyrics are combined, the next step is to promote the song to music publishers, record companies, management companies, artistes, etc to gain interest for obtaining a publishing deal, record deal and/or recording of the song by an artiste. When an instrumental theme has been written, which may be suitable for the television, radio, audio-visual, film and advertising industries worldwide, the next step is to promote it to publishers, production companies and producers to gain interest for obtaining a music publishing deal and for use in programming, broadcasting and advertising.

To promote your songs and/or instrumental themes to music publishers, record companies, managment companies, agencies etc you will need a suitably produced and arranged demo recording to a studio standard. Demos can be recorded in your own home studio, by a local studio close to you, or non-performing songwriters who are unable to produce their own demos can use The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers Demo Service. When your demos are ready for promotion they can be sent to publishers, record companies, management companies, artistes, etc. 


Market direction is important, as is having contact information available to you. Every songwriter, composer, lyricist, performing songwriter, singer, group, musician, artiste etc needs to know how to contact music publishers, record companies, management companies, music industry personnel, recording artistes etc.


The Guild of international Songwriters & Composers has a comprehensive music industry reference library and the Guild can assist you in your own research for the artistes, companies and people you wish to contact, work with and deal with in the music industry. You may wish to locate artists such as Robbie Williams, Beyonce, Olly Murs, Rick Astley, Keane ,Emile Sande, Craig David, Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, Taylor Swift, Charlie Landsborough, Michael Buble, Cliff Richard, Britney Spears, Tom Jones, Bruno Mars, Christine Aguilera, Michael Ball, Mariah Carey, Ronan Keating, , Eric Clapton, Celine Dion, Westlife, Snow Patrol, Daniel O'Donnell, Dominic Kirwan, David Guetta, Shawn Mendes, Madonna, Calvin Harris, Redbecca Ferguson, Coldplay, KT Tunstall and many, many more to numerous to mention.


Perhaps your musical preferences are different to some of those mentioned but this does not matter as The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers can give members contact information for artistes working in all styles of music from country/MoR artistes such as Daniel Donnell, Dominic Kirwan, Charlie Landsborough, Foster and Allen, Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, , LeAnne Rimes, etc, etc, to Urban / R&B artistes such as; Zara Larson, Rag 'N' Bone Man, Rihanna, Gabrielle, Eminem, Honeyz, Craig David,etc, etc, to dance artistes,Upfront Club artsites, to music publishers, artistes, record companies, management companies, etc who work in and require all styles of songs and music, from mainstream pop to rock, reggae, Soul,Urban, R&B to dance, house to drum'n'bass, grunge, techno, TV, film and audio-visual, gospel, jazz, folk, Christian, heavy metal, contemporary pop-chart material, high energy dance, rap, club, ballads, funk, instrumental, middle-of-the-road (MoR), easy listening, novelty, Latin American, indie-pop, underground, roots, world, ethnic-to singer-songwriter, etc, etc.


The Guild of International songwriters & Composers can advise as to the correct procedure for promotion of your songs or instrumental themes to music publishers, record companies, artistes, producers, managers, agents. As a member of The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers you will be entitled to the free Advice, Consultancy, Information and Contact Service along with all the services The Guild of international songwriters & Composers offers to Guild members.


Yes, The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers can take you through a step-by-step procedure to set up your own record label and/or publishing company and how to join the relevant organisations in respect to protecting your rights and identity, through to the right to receive money by way of royalty payments from the many sources where royalty income is generated.

Absolutely not-all members are treated equally. The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers has members of all ages and all nationalities, all with different levels of ability and knowledge. As a Guild member you will be entitled to all the benefits, information and services that are available, no matter what level you are working at.

If you are not an experienced songwriter/composer/performing artiste then your membership to The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers will immediately safeguard your interests against unfair practices and policies that exist within the music industry.

The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers helps all songwriters, composers, lyric writers, performing songwriters, bands, etc, and maintains a united voice for all those who are trying to establish themselves and who may already be established in a competitive music industry environment.

Many Guild members who were inexperienced songwriters and composers and who were struggling to understand the complexities of the music industry and songwriting before they joined The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers, have benefited enormously from their membership to the Guild.

The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers continues to be of immense benefit to those who are inexperienced songwriters and composers and indeed to all songwriters and composers regardless of the stage they are at with the progression of their songwriting, composing, performing and pursuit of their ambitions to succeed in the music industry-from the hobbyist songwriter, composer, lyricist, performer-to the amateur, to the semi-professional, to the professional through to those with modest home recording facilities through to more comprehensive recording / studio facilities to music industry personnel.

The many services The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers provide to inexperienced amateur songwriters, composers and performing songwriters provide them the opportunity to gain a wide understanding of songwriting, composing, performing and the many other aspects of the music industry. Through this understanding, progression, development and the gaining of knowledge, and along with continuing to support and guide those Guild members who work at a semi-professional and professional leve, those inexperienced, amateur songwriters, composers and performers will soon gain the knowledge and experience to compete in the music industry to try to gain the deals they seek.

The Guild of International Songwriters & Composers has members of all ages and all nationalities, all with different levels of ability and knowledge.


How to join or renew your membership

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