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Entertainment and Media

Steps to Becoming a Successful Music Publisher in Nigeria

Last Updated on August 31, 2023


Music publishing involves the business of acquiring, administering, and exploiting musical compositions.

Music publishers play a crucial role in the industry by representing songwriters and composers, protecting their rights, and securing opportunities for their works to be recorded, performed, and monetized.

In the Nigerian music industry, the importance of music publishers cannot be overstated.

They serve as the bridge between artists and key players in the business, ensuring that artists are fairly compensated for their creative works.

Music publishers also handle the legal and administrative aspects of copyright, licensing, and distribution, allowing artists to focus on their craft.

The Nigerian music industry has experienced exponential growth over the years.

With a diverse and vibrant music scene comprising various genres such as Afrobeat, Afropop, and Highlife, Nigerian artists have gained global recognition and commercial success.

The rise of digital platforms and social media has further propelled the industry, creating opportunities for artists to reach a wider audience and generate revenue.

However, the Nigerian music industry also faces challenges such as piracy, inadequate infrastructure, and limited access to funding and resources.

Music publishers play a pivotal role in addressing these challenges by advocating for copyright protection, supporting talent development, and facilitating collaborations between artists and industry stakeholders.

In the end, music publishing is a vital component of the Nigerian music industry.

By understanding the importance of music publishers, artists can maximize their potential, protect their intellectual property, and thrive in a rapidly evolving music landscape.

Gain Music Industry Knowledge

Understand the basics of music copyright and licensing

  1. Copyright protects the original work of a songwriter and grants exclusive rights to it.

  2. Understanding licensing helps you know how to negotiate and earn royalties for copyrighted music.

  3. You should be aware of different types of licenses like mechanical, synchronization, and performance licenses.

  4. Knowing the rights and responsibilities of music creators and publishers ensures legal compliance.

Gaining music industry knowledge is crucial for becoming a successful music publisher in Nigeria.

By understanding the basics of music copyright and licensing, you can navigate the legal aspects of the industry.

Knowing the legal and regulatory framework for music publishing in Nigeria safeguards your rights and ensures compliance with the law.

Research the legal and regulatory framework for music publishing in Nigeria

  1. Obtain a comprehensive understanding of Nigeria’s copyright laws and music industry regulations.

  2. Familiarize yourself with the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and its functions.

  3. Keep up-to-date with any changes or amendments to the existing legislation.

  4. Knowing the legal framework will help protect your rights as a music publisher in Nigeria.

Ultimately, a solid understanding of music copyright and licensing, combined with knowledge of Nigeria’s legal and regulatory framework, is essential for success in music publishing.

Continuous learning and staying updated with industry developments will keep you well-equipped to navigate challenges and seize opportunities in the Nigerian music market.

Learn about different types of publishing contracts

  1. Explore various publishing agreements such as administration, co-publishing, and sub-publishing contracts.

  2. Understand the terms and clauses included in these contracts, including royalty splits and rights granted.

  3. Consult with legal professionals to ensure the contracts protect your interests and are fair.

  4. Learn negotiation skills to secure favorable publishing contracts with artists and songwriters.

Understanding different types of publishing contracts enables you to enter agreements that benefit both parties involved.

By exploring administration, co-publishing, and sub-publishing contracts, you can find the best fit for your business.

Consulting with legal professionals and honing your negotiation skills will help you secure favorable deals.

Investing time and effort into gaining music industry knowledge sets you apart as a knowledgeable and trustworthy music publisher.

It allows you to guide artists and songwriters through the intricacies of copyright and licensing. By staying informed about changes in legislation, you can adapt your strategies and stay ahead of the curve.

Read: Creating a Winning Demo Reel for Voice Actors in Nigeria

Develop a Strong Music Network

Building a successful music publishing career in Nigeria requires more than just business acumen. It demands a robust network that allows you to stay in tune with the rapidly evolving music landscape.

Here’s how you can take your networking game to the next level.

Attend Music Events and Industry Seminars

Actively participate in music events, concerts, and industry seminars.

These gatherings provide valuable opportunities to interact with fellow professionals, exchange ideas, and gain insights into the latest trends. Staying engaged helps you remain relevant and informed.

Connect and Build Relationships

Forge strong connections with local artists, producers, and songwriters. Collaborations are the cornerstone of the music industry.

A strong network not only fosters creative partnerships but also increases your chances of discovering hidden talents that could become the next big sensation.

Establish a Dynamic Social Media Presence

Social media is a powerful tool for networking in today’s digital age. Create profiles on platforms frequented by Nigerian musicians. Share industry news, insights, and your experiences.

Actively engage with the community by commenting on posts, participating in discussions, and showcasing your expertise.

In fact, developing a robust music network is an essential step on your journey to becoming a successful music publisher in Nigeria.

Attend events, connect with local talents, and leverage social media to amplify your presence. Remember, the relationships you build today can pave the way for the hits of tomorrow.

Obtain Rights to Publish Music

Sign agreements with songwriters and composers

  1. Connect with talented songwriters and composers in the Nigerian music industry.

  2. Approach them with clear proposals, highlighting the benefits of working with your music publishing company.

  3. Negotiate fair and mutually beneficial agreements that outline the terms and conditions of the partnership.

  4. Ensure that the agreements cover areas such as rights ownership, compensation, and duration of the partnership.

Negotiate royalty splits and advance payments

  1. Work closely with songwriters and composers to determine the appropriate royalty splits for each song.

  2. Consider factors such as the level of involvement, contribution, and popularity of the songwriters and composers.

  3. Come to a consensus on the percentage of royalties that will go to each party involved.

  4. Discuss advance payments, which are upfront payments made to songwriters and composers against future royalties.

  5. Determine the amount and terms of the advance payments, taking into account the financial capabilities of your music publishing company.

Register music copyrights with relevant collecting societies

  1. Research and identify the collecting societies in Nigeria responsible for managing music copyrights.

  2. Understand the registration process and requirements set by these societies.

  3. Gather all necessary documentation and information related to the songs you intend to publish.

  4. Complete the registration forms accurately, including details about songwriters, composers, and ownership rights.

  5. Submit the registration forms along with the required fees to the relevant collecting societies.

  6. Regularly update the societies with any changes or additions to your music catalog.

  7. Keep track of the royalties collected by these societies and ensure that you receive your fair share.

By following these steps to obtain the rights to publish music, you can establish a successful music publishing career in Nigeria.

Building meaningful partnerships with songwriters and composers, negotiating fair deals, and registering copyrights will lay a strong foundation for your publishing endeavors.

Read: Emerging Trends in Music Publishing in Nigeria

Promote and Market Your Catalog

After you have built an impressive catalog of music, it’s time to shift your focus towards promotion and marketing.

This will ensure that your music reaches a wider audience, leading to greater success as a music publisher in Nigeria. Here are some essential steps to follow in order to effectively promote and market your catalog:

Create a professional website showcasing your current catalog

  1. Purchase a domain name that reflects your brand and is easy to remember.

  2. Design an attractive website with a user-friendly interface to showcase your catalog.

  3. Include detailed information about each song and artist, making it easy for visitors to explore.

  4. Ensure that the website is mobile-responsive, as many potential listeners access music from their smartphones.

  5. Implement an efficient search function on your website to make it easier for users to find specific songs.

Utilize social media and online platforms to promote songs and artists

  1. Create accounts on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

  2. Regularly post updates about new releases, upcoming projects, and behind-the-scenes content.

  3. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages promptly.

  4. Collaborate with influencers and popular online personalities to expand your reach.

  5. Explore online music platforms such as SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music to distribute and promote your music.

Collaborate with local radio stations, DJs, and music bloggers to increase exposure

  1. Build relationships with local radio stations and DJs who have a dedicated music segment.

  2. Submit your songs to these stations and request airplay for your artists.

  3. Participate in interviews and guest spots on radio shows to discuss your music and upcoming projects.

  4. Connect with influential music bloggers and offer them exclusive content to promote on their platforms.

  5. Encourage reviews and features on music blogs to generate buzz and attract new listeners.

By implementing these strategies, you will effectively expand the reach of your catalog and gain exposure for your artists in Nigeria’s music industry.

Remember to constantly monitor and evaluate your promotional efforts to identify what works best for your brand.

Be persistent, adapt to changes, and stay connected with your audience to achieve long-term success as a music publisher.

Read: Interpreting and Translating: A Fast-Growing Job in Nigeria

Steps to Becoming a Successful Music Publisher in Nigeria

Handle Administration and Royalty Collection

As a music publisher in Nigeria, handling administration and royalty collection is a crucial aspect of your job.

This ensures that all contracts and licenses are properly documented and organized, keeps track of royalties owed, and accurately distributes them to artists and songwriters.

Ensure proper documentation and organization of contracts and licenses

One of your primary responsibilities is to ensure that all contracts and licenses related to the music you publish are properly documented and organized.

This includes contracts with artists, songwriters, producers, and any other parties involved in the creation and distribution of music.

By maintaining a thorough and well-organized system for these documents, you will be able to easily retrieve them when needed and ensure that all parties abide by the terms and conditions agreed upon in the contracts.

Keep track of royalties owed and collect income from various sources

Another important aspect of your role as a music publisher is keeping track of royalties owed to you and collecting income from various sources.

This includes keeping tabs on the usage of your published music on platforms such as radio stations, streaming services, TV shows, movies, and live performances.

You will need to stay informed about the different royalty rates and ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation for the use of your music.

This may involve negotiating with different platforms and licensing agencies to maximize your earnings.

Distribute royalties to artists and songwriters accurately and on time

Once you have collected the royalties from various sources, it is your responsibility to accurately distribute them to the artists and songwriters associated with the published music.

This requires detailed record-keeping and calculations to ensure that each party receives the correct amount.

Being transparent and efficient in the distribution process is essential to maintaining good relationships with your artists and songwriters.

They rely on you to provide them with their rightful earnings and to do so in a timely manner.

In review, as a music publisher in Nigeria, handling administration and royalty collection is vital to your success.

It involves ensuring proper documentation and organization of contracts and licenses, keeping track of royalties owed and collecting income from various sources, and accurately distributing royalties to artists and songwriters.

By executing these tasks effectively, you will establish yourself as a reliable and successful music publisher in Nigeria’s vibrant music industry.

Read: Music Publishing and Copyright Laws in Nigeria

Stay Updated with Industry Trends and Changes

A successful music publisher in Nigeria understands the importance of staying updated with industry trends and changes.

This allows them to adapt, innovate, and capitalize on new opportunities. Here are some steps to follow:

Follow industry publications and blogs

  1. Subscribe to reputable music industry publications and blogs that provide valuable insights.

  2. Read articles, interviews, and news about the Nigerian music industry.

  3. Stay informed about the latest trends, developments, and emerging artists.

  4. Engage with the content by sharing your thoughts and experiences in the comment sections.

Attend music conferences and seminars

  1. Participate in local and international music conferences and seminars.

  2. Network with industry professionals, artists, producers, and fellow music publishers.

  3. Attend panel discussions, workshops, and keynotes to gain valuable knowledge and insights.

  4. Take note of emerging trends, technological advancements, and legal changes discussed at these events.

Adapt to new technologies and digital platforms

  1. Embrace digital platforms and technologies that impact music publishing.

  2. Stay updated with the latest streaming platforms and music distribution services.

  3. Understand the changing consumption habits of music listeners and adapt your strategies accordingly.

  4. Investigate the potential of blockchain technology and its implications for music rights management.

  5. Explore opportunities in virtual reality, augmented reality, and other emerging technologies.

By following these steps, you can stay ahead of the curve and position yourself as a successful music publisher in Nigeria.

The music industry is constantly evolving, and being proactive in your approach will ensure that you can navigate the changes effectively and capitalize on new opportunities.

Continuously Build and Improve Your Catalog

A successful music publisher in Nigeria understands that a strong and diverse catalog is crucial for longevity and success.

To constantly build and improve your catalog, here are some essential steps to follow:

Sign new artists and songwriters

As a music publisher, it is essential to have a constant influx of new artists and songwriters.

Look for talented individuals who have unique perspectives and styles that align with your publishing company’s vision.

Consider scouting local music scenes, attending open mic nights, and leveraging social media platforms to discover hidden gems.

When signing new artists and songwriters, ensure that you thoroughly vet their work, examine their track record, and assess their potential for growth.

Look for individuals who demonstrate professionalism, dedication, and a strong understanding of the music industry. Negotiate contracts that are fair and mutually beneficial for both parties involved.

Encourage collaboration and co-writing sessions

Collaboration and co-writing sessions can lead to the creation of unique and commercially successful songs. Encourage your artists and songwriters to work together and explore different creative approaches.

This not only enhances the quality of your catalog but also creates a sense of community and shared success among your roster.

Facilitate regular co-writing sessions by providing a conducive environment and necessary resources.

Collaborations can also be encouraged by organizing workshops, songwriting camps, and other creative events.

Remember, the goal is to foster a collaborative and supportive atmosphere that leads to fruitful musical partnerships.

Regularly scout for new talent and potential hit songs

To maintain a fresh and dynamic catalog, it is crucial to actively scout for new talent and potential hit songs. Keep an eye on local and international music trends to stay ahead of the curve.

Attend live music events, shows, and talent contests to discover aspiring artists who have the potential to make an impact.

Additionally, explore online platforms such as SoundCloud, YouTube, and social media to uncover emerging musicians and songwriters.

Engage with these artists, offer feedback, and express your interest in working with them.

Building relationships and staying connected to the music community will help you consistently find new talent and potential hit songs.

All in all, continuously building and improving your catalog is a crucial aspect of becoming a successful music publisher in Nigeria.

By signing new artists and songwriters, encouraging collaboration, and regularly scouting for new talent and potential hit songs, you can ensure the longevity and profitability of your publishing company.


To recap, follow these key steps for success:

  1. Understand music industry trends.

  2. Build a strong network of contacts.

  3. Learn copyright laws and contracts.

  4. Develop excellent negotiation skills.

  5. Create a diverse music catalog.

Dedication, hard work, and perseverance are vital. Success demands relentless effort and a strong work ethic.

Aspiring music publishers, it’s time to take action! Embrace challenges, stay updated, and wholeheartedly pursue your passion. Your journey starts now.

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