Understanding Music Rights: Publishing Administrators, Publishers, Copyright, and Neighboring Rights

Publishing Administrator

A publishing administrator plays a crucial role in the music industry by managing the administrative aspects of a songwriter's music catalog. A publishing administrator ensures that all the music compositions are properly registered with the appropriate Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) and other relevant entities and collects royalties on behalf of the songwriter for various uses of their music, including mechanical, performance, and print royalties. The administrator ensures that all due payments from record sales, radio plays, live performances, and other sources are collected and distributed.


Having a publishing administrator is not the same as having a full publishing or co-publishing deal. A Publisher typically takes ownership of a percentage of your compositions and exploits them by seeking licensing and placement opportunities for them, as well as co-writing opportunities for their songwriters.
Though you may have signed up for Publishing Administration through us, Symphonic will not be listed as your publisher. Due to Symphonic’s exclusive partnership with Songtrust, they will represent Symphonic songwriters’ compositions as their Publishing Administrator to collection agencies worldwide.


Copyrighting involves the registration of a composition with the U.S. Copyright Office as a legal copyright. Filing a registration of your song with the U.S. Copyright Office allows you to make a legal case against any entity or individual who steals your original creative ideas.

Neighboring Rights

Neighboring rights and publishing rights (rights to the musical composition) are two completely separate businesses. Neighboring rights relate to sound recordings. Record labels and performing artists own the rights to sound recordings, and therefore, they collect neighboring rights royalties. Publishing rights have to do with musical compositions. Publishers and composers/songwriters own the rights to compositions. Therefore, composers/songwriters collect any publishing-related royalties (performance royalties, mechanical royalties, etc.).

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