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Songwriters/composers who neither want to do an exclusive publishing deal nor self-publish, should consider two other options.

Administration Deal

Under an administration deal, the publisher agrees to collect and pursue royalties on behalf of the songwriter/composer in return for a split, which is likely to be significantly lower than with an exclusive deal. However, the publishing company will not work the music, for example pitching it for synchs, so this approach is likely to be favoured by a more established songwriter/composer, or one who is confident that they can earn more by taking responsibility for the exploitation of their own work.

Like an exclusive deal, factors such as territories, split and term will also be considerations with an administration deal.

It is also worth inquiring who administers the copyrights held by smaller publishers, in particular outside the UK. Often sub-publishing deals are done with larger companies or other independents, in which case it should be clear what the split is with the third parties.

Non-Exclusive Deal

Some publishing companies will work compositions without requiring the composer/songwriter to sign an exclusive deal for a set term. In these cases the publisher represents specific compositions, but the composer/songwriter is not obliged to sign over other work. Such deals can be a good indicator of how effective a publisher is, before entering into an exclusive agreement, and might be particularly suited to musicians writing a diverse range of music. They composer/songwriter is free to work with the publisher best suited to exploiting a particular piece of work.


A songwriter/composer who has an administration deal or is self-published, might consider hiring an agent to act as a salesperson for their compositions. Agents aim to get the work used or performed, and charge a commission on the fee paid.