I’ve received questions from several artists asking what is publishing and is it necessary for them to seek a publishing deal. First, let me give you the definition of music publishing and what a publisher does for you.
Publishing is tied to royalties for songwriters. If you are a songwriter and you have a publishing deal, the "publishers" will manage your songs. They will make sure that all of the royalties to which you are entitled are being collected, and they will usually go hard to make your songs more popular. Most good publishers will try and place your music in TV, films, advertising and so on. Your publisher is also the first point of contact for any artist that wishes to do a cover version of one of your songs. In exchange, the publisher will get a cut of income generated by your songs.
Keep in mind though, you do not have to have a publishing deal to collect royalties for your songs. As long as you’re ASCAP or BMI registered, you should be good. But, if you are looking to sign a publishing deal, you do not have to have a record deal to get one. As you should with anything else pertaining to business, make sure you do your research before jumping into any deal. Make sure the publisher is reputable and it truly out to protect your interests.