Here are seven steps from an article I recently read on how to start your own publishing company:
1. Decide on a business name. Your business name will be the name of your publishing company. Check
2. Decide on a business structure. Check
3. Register your business. Check
4. Open a checking account. Check
5. Purchase ISBNs under your new business name. On the list!
6. Keep track of the money. What money?
7. File your business taxes. On the list!
In these “how to” articles they make it sound so easy! The process of starting any company can be daunting, even for someone like me who has almost 23 years of experience working for music publishing companies. I have toyed around with the idea of doing this on my own for a very long time, but as I am sure many of you can imagine, then life hits you smack in the face and you say “no way I have too many bills to pay!” Yes, I am there even right now after taking this leap of faith into the unknown. So, I have jumped off the proverbial cliff and now the work begins.
The first thing that I want to set out to do is to do something different. I guess most companies start out wanting to do that too, but I think it is time for a change in the music publishing business. Since I started 22+ years ago, things have basically been done the same for that period of time, but it goes back much further than that. How am I going to make a change you might ask? Well, I don’t fully know yet but since I am a composer and an author myself, I want to focus the company first on better serving the composers and authors who entrust their works to me. I want them to feel that I am doing everything I possibly can to champion their music and to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. This is a tall task today in a fractured market with a ton of music out there from many, many different sources, from full-fledged publishers to desktop folks doing it on there own. There is more music available today than at any other point in history, because through computers and the internet it has become easier to do overall.
The first part of serving the composers better is to select the highest quality music from the best composers I can find. That is my goal, always has been and always will be. Second, the product itself must be beautiful in all aspects, from the cover to the “engraving” to the promotional recordings. It has to be first class all the way! Third, I must find a way to get the composer’s music in every sheet music store everywhere. Fourth, I have to promote the composer’s music to the music consumers in a way that leads them to discovering all of the great music we will have to offer. This must be done today in different ways then in the past. Without CDs to send to everyone, Excelcia Music has to use every promotional avenue available today, including websites, social media, conventions, you name it! Let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter to you that the music you want is published by Excelcia or someone else. You buy the music because of the composer and the quality of the music itself. So, that will be the focus our efforts at Excelcia, which is to make you aware of the composers we represent and all of the great works they have to offer you the music consumer.
Next, we have to serve the customers. Excelcia Music will work very hard to provide you with music that will inspire and stimulate as well as educate. We must provide the necessary resources to make your decision to select our music easy. We want these resources like professional recordings to help to serve you in the selection process, but to help your students by giving them a model for a high level of musicianship that they can aspire to achieve. Getting students to play with better musicianship has been the focus of my career through my teaching, my compositions and books, and through my publishing. Excelcia is the culmination of my desire to forge a new publishing entity for the benefit of your students. We will embrace any and all new methods to help you to achieve this goal. We will strive to earn your trust each and everyday I can promise you that. Composers and authors are the life blood of a publishing company, but it is the trust our customers have in us as a company that will make the difference. I take my responsibility to both the composer and the customer very seriously and dedicate Excelcia Music Publishing to living up to these high standards.
If you would like take this journey with us, please sign up for our mailing list on the home page to learn more as things develop. Let us know how we can assist you.
Now its time to get to work!
Larry Clark is the founder and President of Excelcia Music Publishing. He is a well-known composer, author and clinician for bands and orchestras. His music is some of the popular and most performed around the world for school ensembles. He has over 300 publications in print and writes extensively about topics of interest to educators and composers. For more information, visit his website.