Publishing is one part of the music industry many musicians ignore. Big mistake. Do you ever wonder, "hey, how did so and so get their song on that commercial or in that movie"? Chances are that they are there because they have a good publisher. From the business side of things, publishing might be the music career you never really considered - but maybe you should. Publishing lets you work closely with bands and with production companies and lets you have a hand in creating the soundtrack to the world, by placing songs in TV shows, in movies, and more. You also get to work proactively on the side of the songwriters, protecting their rights and making sure they get their just dues. Lauren Barberena knows how important publishing is to musicians - so important, in fact, that she has started her own publishing company, Tall Girl Publishing. Here, she shares her story of getting her new business off the ground and what she thinks all musicians need to know about publishing.
Question: You got your start working in licensing for Greyday Records. Licensing is one of those areas that a lot of people tend to ignore when they are getting started in the music industry. What led you to licensing?
I was looking for a way to transition my legal career into a position within the music industry. Todd Berry, the owner of Greyday, steered me towards licensing. He immediately recognized how useful my knowledge of contracts and the legal language would be and felt it was an area of the label that was grossly ignored.
Q: You recently started your own publishing company, Tall Girl Publishing. Why did you did you start your own company? What is the main focus of your business?
I moved from Portland to Seattle and immediately picked up on the massive amount of talent in this city. It also was clear that publishing was an area in the musical community that lacked representation. It seemed a natural progression to expand my catalogue and focus on the amazing talent pool of Northwest musicians.
Q: Who are some of the artists with whom you work? How do you pick your artists?
In addition to great songwriting abilites, it's important to have original and inspriring lyrics and melodies. I also look for a certain level of professionalism. In order for me to do my job properly, I need the band or songwriter to be serious about their job as a musician.
Q: How have you gone about promoting your business? How much competition are you facing from other publishing companies, and what are you doing to counteract that competition?
I feel by focusing on music from the Northwest I'm bringing attention to a community grossly unrepresented and also offering something unique yet broad to the different media outlets
Q: Similarly, how have you approached establishing relationships with TV/film/advertising music supervisors?
I subscribe to several websites that provide a directory of production and advertising agencies looking for original music. I also try to maintain regular contact with individuals involved in the local film community. The key to being a successfull publisher is knowledge of your catalogue. Most supervisors are looking for specific material and it is my job to come up quickly with something to match their needs.
Q: What is a day in the life of Tall Girl Publishing like?
I still maintain my full time job as a paralegal, so the majority of my time is spent trying to find a balance between work and owning the publishing company. I spend most of my lunch hour sending and returning emails and usually several hours after work either meeting with the bands or continuing research.
Q: What do you think bands need to know about publishing?
Signing with the right publisher is crucial. Your music is your child and when entrusting someone with your baby its important they understand the direction you want your career to go. Working with a good publisher will give you the freedom to focus on songwriting and other aspects of your music career.
Media has infiltrated our lives and has quickly become a useful tool for unsigned artist. By utilizing this growing trend, artists can quickly rise to the top of their game
Q: What projects are you working on right now?
Being a startup company, I am working diligently to build my catalogue and develop contacts. At this stage its important to get my name out there and become familiar within the industry